Have you noticed a growing trend sweeping across Australia? I’m talking about the trend of people finding free street libraries in their neighbourhoods.
These street libraries can be found outside cafes, in community gardens, near children’s playgrounds, at railway stations and on beaches. The books in the library are either donated, swapped, borrowed or kept by anyone in the community. As such, there are no library cards or late fees and no obligation to return the book.
How did Street Libraries come about?
The trend originated in the USA under the name of Little Free Library. The founder, Todd Bol, wanted “a little free library on every block and a book in every hand.” Todd’s idea soon gained traction and has taken off all over the world.
Nick Lowe from Sydney, founded Street Library as a not-for-profit organisation and a way of encouraging both literacy and community. As the libraries continue to grow around Australia, Nic has set a goal of reaching 5,000 registered libraries by the end of 2021.
How can I get involved?
You can create a street library to benefit your whole neighbourhood. All you need to do is, visit the Street Library website and buy a ready-made, purpose-built box that needs some decorating. Alternatively, you can get creative and make your own from scratch. Some of the fantastic inventions popping up around Australia include re-purposed microwaves and fridges, fish tanks and phone booths. In Canberra, there is even a TARDIS library. This Dr Who quote below inspired a family to create a tardis-themed street library.
“Every book is like a TARDIS, innocuous on the outside, bigger on the inside and able to transport you through time and space.”
A family in Reservoir, Victoria offer fresh eggs for sale from their backyard chickens alongside their street library. There is even a popular street library in South Australia that has its own Facebook page! The community updates the Facebook page with book reviews and recommendations from their little street library.
If making your library isn’t something you’re ready to start then, search the Street Library website and visit street libraries in your local neighbourhood.
We found two libraries near Camp Blue in Manly, 12 libraries in North Sydney and six libraries near Camp Blue in Melbourne.