Have you thought about putting up a Street Library or a Little Free Library? We've had our Street Library in since October 2020. Being a Street Librarian has been rewarding and I encourage you to consider it.
Studies have shown the more books in a child’s home, the better their educational outcome. I hope the same can be applied to books in the neighbourhood, perhaps Street Libraries can influence neighbourhood educational outcomes?
There are social reasons to install a Street Library too. Neighbours and passersby will often stop and chat while visiting the Library, some will sit and read at the bottom of the Library and occasionally people will stop and take selfies with the Library! I've had children make requests for specific authors. We've also shared puzzles, board games, card games and small model animals in the Library.
While I believe Street Libraries are owned by the community, they do require a Librarian to look after them. There are times when the Library is overflowing or has an oversupply of one genre. At one time we had three copies of What To Expect When You're Expecting and we often have lots of health-related cookbooks.
I have storage boxes in our garage which I put in reserve or backup books, so I always have fresh stock to draw on. Some of these are our own books which we are ready to pass on. I also accept books that neighbours and friends donate when moving. If I hear of anyone moving I let them know I'd love any unwanted children's books.
My intention was to create a Children's Street Library. However, children's books go fast and sometimes I find the Library filled with adult books. So I keep on adding books to achieve around a 50/50 mix, half adult, half children's books.
There is a need to check on the Library regularly. Occasionally the door to the Library has been left open in the rain, sometimes it is so full that books fall out and sometimes it just needs a little straightening and tidying up. Every couple of weeks I will wipe the library down so it's not too dirty or covered in bird poop. Our Street Library is next to our driveway, so it is super easy for us to take a look when we go in and out.
It's important to keep the library active and not let it stand still for too long. I've had neighbours tell me they walk by to check on the Street Library (with their children) once a week, so I always want something different in there for them to explore. At times there are also bookmarks (AU), and children's activity sheets in the Library.
We can support Street Libraries in our local area. Look at this cute Street Library near the Randwick Environmental Park.
This one is in Randwick, near Centennial Park.
And a Pool Library at Maroubra!
Pictured at the very top is our Street Library canvas bag (AU).
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