Loves going out and about in Canberra and writing about her adventures! Also addicted to coffee, high teas, escape rooms, and dressing up.
Published January 22nd 2019
Give a book, take a book, and be part of your community
Have you driven through your neighbourhood lately and noticed what looked like brightly coloured birdhouses standing in front of some houses? Or perhaps you've seen an old fridge, or an old TV cabinet, or a bright pink locker, or even Dr Who's TARDIS standing in someone's front yard?
The birdhouses, old fridge, old TV cabinet, bright pink locker and TARDIS are actually not waiting to be collected by garbage trucks. If you stop and look closely, they're actually filled with books.
They're called little street libraries, and they're popping up everywhere in Canberra.
What's a little street library? A little street library or street library is basically a box of books planted in someone's front yard and is accessible from the street. It's an invitation to share the joy of reading. Anybody can drop by and take a book that interests them. You can return the book when you are done or pass it on to friends or to another little street library. You can also donate books to a street library. Books come and go. You don't need to check them in or check them out. The street library network operates on a system of trust and hope.
Little Street Libraries certainly encourage a love and joy of books and reading. But they do more than that. Little Street Libraries encourage community. A recent report in The Canberra Times cited research that found just 4% of Canberrans socialised with their neighbours. That's not surprising, though, considering the modern, busy lives we lead, and the huge impact of social media in our lives. But hopefully, little street libraries will bring our neighbourhoods closer together, even in this internet-driven age. Little Street Libraries aim to motivate people to engage with their community in a positive and easy way. When people take a book and leave a book, they create a cycle of generosity that allows them to share what they love with those around them.
And I think our neighbourhoods could do with a lot more reading, sharing and community, don't you?
To find out more about Canberra's little street libraries, visit the Lil' Street Libraries Facebook page here. And to find out more about the Little Street Library movement in Australia (or even to create your own little street library!) go here.