Teale Phelps Bondaroff

Dr. Teale Phelps Bondaroff is a researcher and community organizer who lives in Saanich. As a volunteer member of the board of the Greater Victoria Placemaking Network, Teale heads up the Pocket Places Project, which helps promote, map, stock, and build little free libraries around the CRD. To date, he has helped build over 80 of these little book boxes, and has delivered and distributed more than 70,000 books to the region’s growing network of over 615 little free libraries, with his bike trailer. In addition to topping up little free libraries with books, Teale also drops off other important information, including Book Bash! book marks.  He is the Director of Research for OceansAsia, a marine conservation organization based out of Hong Kong, the Research Coordinator for the BC Humanist Association, and the Chair and Co-founder of the AccessBC Campaign for free prescription contraception. His academic research examines the strategic use of international law by non-state actors. He enjoys playing hockey, building giant puppets, placemaking, and board games, and lives in Saanich, BC, Canada.  You can learn more about Dr. Phelps Bondaroff at his website:

Favourite Book:

It is always difficult to pick a favourite book, and I probably have favourites in every genre, but if pressed, I’d have to say Phillip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy. It is the series that got me excited about reading as a young person and I’m currently enjoying reading new stories being told in this amazing world.

What does LITERACY mean to you?

Literacy is a critical component of lifelong learning and vital for our very survival. Books are amazing things. Jeannette Winterson compared books to doors, when “You open them, and you go through into another world.” Books are a way of learning new things about the world and challenging our preconceptions. They are a way to encounter unfamiliarly ideas, to explore new concepts, to encounter and dive into stories and adventures that entertain, teach, and expand our understanding of the world around us. And in a world facing many significant challenges, this has never been more important.

What books do you recommend?

One of the books I can’t recommend enough is Charles Montgomery’s Happy City. This book talks about how we can design cities to improve well-being, connect people, and build community. I try to keep a couple of copies of Carl Sagan’s Demon Haunted World on hand, one to read and one to gift. Despite the fact that this book was published in 1995, it is incredibly relevant in today’s complicated information environment, and helps equip readers with important critical thinking skills. I also love the rich and beautiful story of Le Petit Prince, by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Favourite quote:

This is a tough one, as I’m currently working on a book of quotes for one of my projects, and it’s always hard to pick just one, but as we are talking literacy…

“One glance at a book and you hear the voice of another person, perhaps someone dead for 1,000 years. To read is to voyage through time”. – Carl Sagan


Or the longer version:

“What an astonishing thing a book is. It’s a flat object made from a tree with flexible parts on which are imprinted lots of funny dark squiggles. But one glance at it and you’re inside the mind of another person, maybe somebody dead for thousands of years. Across the millennia, an author is speaking clearly and silently inside your head, directly to you. Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people who never knew each other, citizens of distant epochs. Books break the shackles of time. A book is proof that humans are capable of working magic.” – Carl Sagan, Cosmos.