Want to borrow or donate a book and get to know your neighbours? Get involved with a Street Library. Street Libraries are sprouting up around Newcastle, Lake Macquarie and the Hunter region promoting a love of reading and providing a chance for communities to connect.
“Take a book, Give a book, Share a book” is the motto of the Street Library movement. It’s basically a micro library that you install in your front yard that’s accessible to the street. People can walk by and take or donate a book to the Street Library as they wish, without checking them in or out.
It’s a creative way to swap books and get to know your neighbours. According to the Street Library Australia website, there’s 791 registered street libraries in Australia, in front of people’s homes, childcare centres, schools and even beaches. Randwick City Council installed a Street Library at Coogee Beach for the summertime period. Maybe a similar initiative could be replicated at Newcastle and Lake Macquarie beaches by our local councils.
I dropped by a Street Library on Gregson Avenue in Mayfield West called “Books On The Avenue”. Located less than 60 metres to Mayfield West Public School, this location enjoys lots of passing foot traffic every school day.
Avid readers, Margaret and Geoff were inspired to start the library after seeing a feature about Street Libraries on ABC TV. Geoff built the library using upcycled materials from a variety of sources including a TV cabinet and a kids chalk easel.
With a six year old, Margaret and Geoff have filled their library with both adult and kids books and advise that anyone can contribute or take books. Occasionally there may be DVDs and CDs donated. I was impressed with their selection and “borrowed” two books and plan to donate a few more in return. To feature books that have arrived on the shelves of their Street Library, Margaret and Geoff have launched a Books On The Avenue Facebook page.
At the current time, there are many other Street Libraries in the region with the number expected to grow.
- Becky’s Book Hive at The Canopy, Cameron Park Community Centre at 107 Northlakes Drive. ***Open only when community centre is open.***
- The Book Stump at 48 Tirriki Street, Charlestown
- Cherry Road Community Library at 80 Cherry Road, Eleebana
- Book Here at 8 Teramby Road, Hamilton
- Chinchen Street Little Library at 56 Chinchen Street, Islington
- Lambton Little Library at 75 Elder Street, Lambton
- Book Collective, 48 Melbourne Street, East Maitland
- Bourke Street Library at 81 Bourke Street, Maitland
- Lorn Library at 34 Queen Street, Lorn
- Maryland Neighbourhood Centre at 207 Maryland Drive
- Century 21 Medowie Street Library at 1/37a Ferodale Road
- Child’s Play Library at 2 McLeod Avenue, Metford
- Eucalyptus Leaves Library, 31 Eucalyptus Crescent in Metford
- The Little House of Books Street Library at 22 Auklet Road, Mount Hutton
- Rathmines Tardis Street Library at 60 Hamstead Way, Rathmines
- River Retreat Library at 23 Hunter Street, Raymond Terrace
- Books at 19 Beachside Street Library at 19 Beach Road, Redhead
- The Bendy Book Box in Swansea at 21 Ross Street, Swansea
- Tyrrell Street Library at 19 Tyrrell Street, The Hill
- Tighes Hill book nook at 55 Henry Street, Tighes Hill
- Union Street Book and DVD Exchange at 29 Union Street, Tighes Hill
- Orana Community Preschool Street Library at 10 Bean Street, Wallsend
- Sugarvalley Neighbourhood Centre Community Library at 65 Carrington Street, West Wallsend. ***Open only when community centre is open.***
Want to start your own Street Library? It’s easy to get started. Check out the Street Library website for information on how to build a waterproof container for your own Street Library. Or you can adapt items such as beer or wine fridges, birdhouses, dollhouses, furniture cabinets and even telephone booths into Street Library boxes. Once you’ve got your container, fill it with books and officially register it on the Street Library website.