Gold Coasters will soon see little street-side libraries pop up across the City, thanks to a concept which has been on the to-do list of Storyfest Director Andrea Lewis for some time.
The libraries, which are built at the Somerset Shed (who are mentored by Burleigh Men’s Shed) under the guidance of Clare Walker, are made of plywood with a roof and door to keep them relatively protected from the elements.
“Each year, the Somerset Shed gets involved in some way to assist with theming of the writers Festival. With our Little Lending Libraries, we have a set pattern and then as I raise the funds and can buy more plywood, I pass it over to the students who build me more,” explained Andrea. “We involve the Marketing and Art Committee students to paint them up and then they’re ready to go to the community.”
Street libraries are a big deal globally with communities big and small jumping on board (and indeed disrupting) the share economy by installing outdoor bookcases, filling them with books and making them available to the community at no cost.
Andrea says it’s the accessibility of the books that makes these programs so appealing.
“I love the idea that Little Lending Libraries provide opportunities for everyone to have access to books,” she said. They can just take a book – there’s no pressure to return – if you’re on holidays, you can take it with you if you haven’t finished, if you absolutely love it – keep it! All we ask is to share it to the next person or share a book you’re finished with.”
While Andrea’s grand vision is to see a Little Lending Library on most street corners, there are currently four installed across the city as part of a trial, with the formal launch of the program happening as I write.
“We’re working on a location map, so everyone will know where they’re at. We have another four ready to go, two are awaiting collection and we’ve got two ready for their new home,” she said.
The libraries cost around $150 in materials to make and you’re able to contribute to the program to help get more libraries built. Gold Coasters can choose to be involved as a Little Lending Library Champion where they monitor and care for a library and advise organisers if more books are needed or they can chip in cash to build a library ($150), buy a library ($500) or sponsor a library ($500). Books are donated by members of the community as well as some of Australia’s largest publishing houses and Gold Coast Libraries.
To find out more, or to sign up for a Little Lending Library at your place visit bit.ly/StoryfestLibraries.