Street Library

Street libraryDear Chatswood West Ward Progress Association,

I am writing to you to see if Chatswood West Ward Progress Association might be interested in installing a Street Library in your area. We’re writing to all members of Better Planning Networks as we reckon you’re the kind of people who might support a new idea and who care deeply about what happens in your local community.

What’s a Street Library?

Street libraries are little weather proof houses for books so anyone can ‘take a book or leave a book’. They provide significant social and cultural benefits, and encourage people to read, talk to their neighbours and share. This includes people that may not feel comfortable visiting a library or can’t afford to buy books. They also activate streets and provide a sense of place..

Around 20,000 street libraries are installed in America and around 100 in Australia.Street libraryX Councils that have installed street libraries or little free libraries include Canterbury, Randwick, Shoalhaven City, Cairns in Queensland, Wodonga in Victoria, and Banyule in Victoria.

My kids’ school, Australia Street Infants School in Newtown, recently installed a street library so its publicly accessible from the street and it’s been an instant success. The kids painted it and it’s the first street library to be installed in front of a school in Australia. Humans of Newtown Facebooked it and it received 1,500 likes and 120 comments in the first 24 hours alone! ABC’s Bookish program is doing a story on it on iView in a couple of weeks.

We founded Street Library Australia as a registered non-profit charity at the end of 2015 to support literacy and community. It’s goal is to facilitate the installation of 500 street libraries across Australia in the next three years.

If you like this simple idea, here are a few ways you might be able to support the project:

  • Purchase a street library from Street Libraries Australia (https://streetlibrary.org.au/buy/) for about $200 each, and install it yourself

  • Invite one of your members to a “Build your own street library (https://streetlibrary.org.au/build/) held in Sydney once a month.

  • Download plans from our website and build your own street library, perhaps in conjunction with your local men’s shed or literacy volunteer group.

  • Approach your local council to financially support the installation of Street Libraries within your Local government area.

If this is something you are interested in, let’s talk further.

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