Words by Tess Becker
You can’t overstate the importance of books, especially to kids learning about how the world works. But not every kid has a love for reading or access to them.
Sure, there are libraries but they aren’t always close enough for kids to make use of them. So in different places around the world, people have been starting small community ‘street libraries.’
In the US these street libraries come from Little Free Library, and way across the sea in Australia, they’re called Street Library Australia. They are weatherproof boxes set up outside a house or in a public space, filled with books that community members can take from or donate to.
The founder of Street Library Australia was inspired by the ones in the US and decided to bring the idea back to his home country. In the beginning, he planned on having about 30 libraries in 2015, and there are now about 4,500 registered Street Libraries in Australia.
Beyond the focus of free access to books a large part of these libraries is the idea of bringing the community together. Both organizations let individuals petition to bring a street library to their community and Little Free Library even hosts building events.
On top of that, the idea that anyone can give and take books at their leisure incentivizes helping your community while they help you back.
“Our vision is a Little Free Library in every community and a book for every reader,” Little Free Library says on its website. “We believe all people are empowered when the opportunity to discover a personally relevant book to read is not limited by time, space, or privilege.”
And over in Australia, it’s much of the same.
“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,” they write on their website. “By participating in the Street Library movement, you too can help encourage reading, encourage sharing, and encourage community.”