The Book Drop: Local history books and CDs part of Creston library collection

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Aaron Francis is the chief librarian at the Creston Valley Public Library.

When Mark Forsythe announced his retirement from CBC Radio’s BC Almanac late last year, a tremor of sadness was felt across the province. After 30 years on public radio, Mark was more than just a voice on the air. More like a friend, a familiar face that reminds us of our place in the world, of home.

Comments posted on the CBC website story announcing the move reveal what an impact he had on folks’ lives:

“Back in my childhood home in BC. Listening to Mark Forsythe’s last Christmas Card of the Air on #bcalmanac. #gettingteary. #publicradio”

“Thanks, Mark, for being a constant voice in my life since childhood.”

“Thanks for all the great years, Mark. Should call you Mr BC.”

“Mark, I will miss your lovely voice. I have enjoyed your intelligent presence in my home.”

While officially retired, Mark continues to write, together with friend and colleague Greg Dickson, producing popular works exploring the little known and curious events and personalities in B.C. history.

His first book, British Columbia Almanac (Arsenal, 2001), has been described as “the equivalent of Peter Gzowski’s Morningside books on a provincial scale… A folksy mix of letters, favourite beers and books, salmon recipes, immigrant stories, neighborhoods, maps and photos from his travels.” Successive collaborations have included a collection of stories about great and/or colourful British Columbians (such as Joe Coyle, inventor of the egg carton), a history of the B.C. gold rush, and their most recent work, From the West Coast to the Western Front, an exploration of B.C.’s involvement in the Great War.

Mark Forsythe and Greg Dickson will be at the library at 2 p.m. April 18 to talk about their latest collaboration and share stories and anecdotes from B.C.’s colourful past. Come by with your questions and stories and make it an afternoon to remember!

Speaking of history, some of you may know that Creston Valley Public Library has probably the best collection of books relating to Creston history available anywhere. Among the local items in stock are Tom Lymbery’s fascinating Gray Creek memoirs, a number of works by Creston Museum manager Tammy Hardwick, and even the hard-to-find The Limits of Sanity, which details the gruesome, cannibalistic West Creston murders of 1970.

If you are heading out for a long drive this summer, you may want to check out Voices of the Pioneers, an 18-CD set of interviews with longtime residents and descendants of early settlers of Erickson, Creston, Canyon and Wynndel communities.

And, in case you are wondering how in the world to pronounce ki’suk kyukyit, we also maintain a collection of Ktunaxa language learning materials, as well as stories, histories, and biographies from the Ktunaxa Nation.

Have comments or questions about any aspect of the library? I’d love to hear from you. Call 250-428-4141, email or come by in person.

Aaron Francis is the chief librarian at Creston Valley Public Library. He is currently reading Beneath Mazurka for Two Dead Men by Camilo Jose Cela.

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