Starting a Library 
I want a Street Library at my house, how can I start?
There’s numerous ways to get your very own Street Library, look first at our Build page for tips on making your own or if you’d rather Buy one, you can do this too.
I want to put my library on the verge – do I need permission from the Council?

Short answer = Yes.

Long answer = Don’t put it on the verge.

Longer Answer = Maybe Not.

You are always better off installing your library on your property, or property you control.

Having a library on your property means:

  • You get your library going faster (speaking to council can take years)
  • You don’t need anyone else’s permission
  • You control it better, and these libraries are generally better looked after than ones that are on community property
  • There is zero chance you’ll find your pride and joy library removed by an over-zealous council worker

However, some councils do turn a blind eye to great community projects like this, or indeed, have a great set of policies that might encourage Street Libraries.

We’ve written a list of the ways council can help here.

Our experience is that speaking to council will:

  • Add time to your project (average 6-9 months)
  • Add cost to your project (average $500-$2,000 – and do you have public liability insurance?)
  • Add complexity to your project (you’ll have to explain to council that no, it won’t be used to store drugs, and yes, we’ll monitor it daily in case anyone puts something dodgy in it)

So, it’s a decision you have to make.

But, in the interests of getting things going we’d say – put it on your property.



I work for a local council – how can we help spread the word?

Street libraries support councils’ strategic priorities including community, cultural, creative, equity, place-making, street activation, safety, sustainability, walkability and active transport objectives.

Many councils across Australia are supporting street libraries in their local area including the City of Sydney, Randwick, Inner West, Hornsby, Waverley, Canada Bay, Parramatta, Ryde, Port Macquarie-Hastings, Strathfield and Barunga

There are many ways your council can support street libraries in your area:

  1. Run a workshop for your staff to build libraries to give away to community groups
  2. Establish a street library page on your website informing the local community about street libraries
  3. Create a street library donation program to provide free street libraries to community groups and others in your area
  4. Include a link on your webpage to Street Library Australia’s existing street library donation program
  5. Buy and install street libraries in your parks, squares, child care centres, libraries, child care centres etc
  6. Work with local artists, school children etc to paint street libraries
  7. Provide grants for us to build and ship street libraries to your communities.
  8. Run a competition for local residents, schools, community groups etc to win some street libraries
  9. Issue a media release about your council’s support for street libraries
  10. Adopt a street library policy with objectives, targets and actions
  11. Update your councils’ strategic plans to identify your council’s policy, targets and actions etc
  12. Allocate funding for a street library program in your council’s next annual update to its 10-year capital works plan and long term financial plan
  13. Register street libraries installed in your area on Street Library Australia’s website

Please contact us if you’d like to discuss how your council can support street libraries in your local area.

Are there any liability issues with starting a Street Library?

As long as you have permission from the property owner and install your Street Library securely and out of the way of foot traffic, you are not likely to have any issues. Be sure to keep your Street Library in good condition (fresh paint, clean, accessible) to encourage people to use it and avoid complaints!
Some Street Librarian have decided to take out personal or commercial liability insurance as a safeguard, but most do not. If you are worried, consult a lawyer for a comprehensive answer.

General Information
What is a Street Library?

Street Libraries are, essentially, a box of books, planted in your (or your neighbour’s) front yard. They are accessible from the street, and are essentially an invitation to share the joy of reading.

Street Libraries are a window into the mind of the neighbourhood; books come and go; no-one needs to check them in or out. People can simply reach in and take what interests them; when they are done, they can return them to the Street Library network, or pass them on to friends.

If anyone has a book or two that they think others would enjoy, they can just pop it into any Street Library they happen to be walking past.
They are a symbol of trust and hope – a tiny vestibule of literary happiness

Do I need to register to make a Street Library?


But we’d encourage you to put a ‘point on the map’ so others can find your library.

You can get a high quality outdoor sticker (with your own unique library number on it) from our online shop. There are a few benefits from registering your library that you probably wont appreciate till you’re up and running! Every dollar you spend supports our not for profit mission.

You’ll often find people in your neighbourhood wanting to donate books – putting yourself on the map helps everyone!


Can anyone give or take books from any Street Library? Do I have to return the exact book I take?

Yes, anyone may contribute or take books. The more the merrier! If you take a book (or two) from a Library, you do not need to return that exact book. However, in order to keep the Street Library full of good choices for the whole neighborhood, the next time you swing by the Library bring a few books to share.

Street Library book exchanges function on the honor system; everyone contributes to ensure there are always quality books inside.

This way, we all win!

I’ve heard people have a logbook in their library?

Well, I think some people do – it’s up to the individual librarian.

If you’re a hands on kind of person, who like to know whats going on, then maybe a logbook makes sense. Think of it like a ‘visitor book’ for your library.

People will:

  • Enthuse and say thanks to you in the logbook
  • Leave each other book recommendations
  • Record which books they leave, if they are inclined to do so (“50 Shades of Grey, left by Sister Innocenta of St Marys Church”)

Try it, and see what happens – then share you story with us.

Is Street Library a non-profit organisation?

We sure are. You can find out more about our organisation on our Contact Us page – reach out to us!.

Can I donate to support Street Libraries?

Yes, you can Street Library Incorporated is registered for deductible gift recipient status. Donate Now!

If you’re keen to support us, you can sponsor a library, purchase one or donate some in kind materials to us.

Reach out to us here.

How do Street Libraries help literacy?

It’s simple.

All libraries enhance literacy.
Whether they’re owned by council, on someone’s bookshelf, or on the street being shared by people walking by.
Picking up a book means you practice your reading skills, whether you’re a child, an adult or someone for whom ‘paid’ books are out of bounds.
Many of our users are people who can’t get a library card (no ID), don’t have the money to buy a book, and don’t have a place to keep it.
If they’re reading, they are practising literacy.
Kids who use our libraries are practicing the habit of reading without instruction (from a teacher, or parent) – and without the need to buy a book, or check one out from a library.
If you’d like more information on how libraries help literacy, this is a fascinating paper by UNESCO.
Here’s a snippet.
All over the world libraries are dedicated to providing free and equitable access to information for all, be it in written, electronic or audiovisual form. They play a key role in creating literate environments and promoting literacy by offering relevant and attractive reading material for all ages and all literacy levels and by offering adult and family literacy classes. They embrace the social responsibility to offer services that bridge social, political and economic barriers, and traditionally make a special effort to extend their services to marginalized people. Libraries assist in finding, using and interpreting appropriate information that opens up opportunities for lifelong learning, literacy enhancement, informed citizenship, recreation, creative imagination, individual research, critical thinking, and ultimately, empowerment in an increasingly complex world.
How to find street libraries on the map?

Step 1: Click the magnifying glass in the top left corner to open the search bar.

Step 2: Type the address you’re looking for into the search bar, and click search to find all nearby street libraries. You can also set the range of your search area – so you can find all street libraries within 5km or expand your search radius out to a maximum of 50km!

Step 3: Once you’ve searched an address, the map will zoom in to that general area. Once it’s done that, you just need to click on the blue circle closest to the area that you’re looking for – this will allow you to see smaller areas in more detail

Step 4: After you’ve clicked down into a specific area, you’ll be able to view the exact locations of street libraries, and even see photos of the street libraries in that area! Then you can visit them and start borrowing!

Payments for libraries
Can I pay by bank transfer or cheque for my library?


When you make your order, choose ‘Direct Bank Transfer’ and then either:

  • Make a payment direct to our bank account (you’ll receive the BSB and Account details at the time of sale)
  • Send us a cheque to:

Street Library HQ
House 9
142 Addison Road
Marrickville NSW 2204

We’ll wait till any payment clears before dispatching your library.


I need an invoice for the library I am about to buy!!?

Yes – we will provide one by email when you finalise your purchase.

Those persnickety folks in the Account Department will be happy, and your library will start winging its way towards you.

Vendor Documentation Fee

For orders under $1000 that require a Street Library volunteer to fill in “vendor documentation”, we require a $50 documentation fee which will be added to the cost of your order.

If you’d like to avoid this fee, you can find all relevant information in our invoice and standard order emails.

We apologise for any inconvenience, but 99% of our orders are online, paid for by credit card and do not require documentation of any kind other than what we provide as standard.


Got a question that isn’t answered yet? Contact us