Street Libraries is a great way of sharing and borrowing books in your local community. Winners of the Canada Bay Grant Program, St Patrick Mortlake has created a wonderful library that draws the students, parents and neighours to their lucky Street Library. Kristy a Family educator shares her words of wisdom with us.

Tell us a bit about yourself, your school and the community you live in.

My name is Kirsty, I am the Family Educator at St Patrick’s School in Mortlake. When I say Family Educator, my job is not to educate people on how to raise their family, but more of an Educator who is here to provide a faith filled, community environment within our school so that everyone feels like they are welcomed and that they belong. Our school is only 3 years young, it is a global school with a village feel.

What made you start a Street Library at your primary school?

Reading is the quintessential basis for learning, but it must be enjoyable. Reading takes us on adventures and escapades, teaches us things we didn’t know we even wanted to learn, it is the greatest magic there is because in a books anything can happen. However, as is common in most homes and schools, we are busy. Sometimes it is hard to find that time to venture to the local community library to explore and borrow, so, we decided to start a Street Library. This way it is available to both our school community and the wider community without the limitation of a closed sign. It is always open, it is always available,

What challenges and obstacles did you face getting the Street Library installed?

We had very few obstacles having the Street Library installed. The biggest challenge was trying to decide on how we were going to paint it!

Did you have any help getting it going? How did people help?

I called on our school community to help. One of the classes painted it, one of the dad’s installed it and the Paris filled it. It certainly has been a whole community initiative from the start.

Why did you paint your Street Library the way you did?

The class used basic primary colours to paint the street library because when you mix the primary colours together you can make any colour you want, just like with reading, you can put any words together to make and story you want.

What sort of books are in your Street Library?

In our library we always have a range of books, they turn over about every 2 or 3 weeks. We have had everything from novels, religious and educational text books, picture books, early readers, first chapter books and activity books. Quite often we will hide little cards in there or painted rocks for people to find and take home.

Do you think your Street Library has encouraged literacy in your school?

We have a string literacy program in our school, the library has certainly gone a long way to supporting our program and offering a diverse range of literature the students and their families.

Tell us a story about your Street Library that you think would encourage other primary schools Principle/Teachers to start one

The loveliest story that I have heard come from our street library is that of one of our young students. On walking back to her car with her parents her mother told her that they were off to visit her grandmother who had recently been admitted to hospital. Immediately, she ran to the street library and chose a book to read to her, not just because she thought it might cheer her grandmother up, but because she was so proud of herself and her ability to know read she wanted to share it.

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