Would you be able to tell me a bit about yourself and your wonderful Street Library project?
I am a children’s author and emerging illustrator. I am the author of The Sock Thief which was included in The Creative Kids Tales Story Collection Vol. 1 in 2017, and An Angel to Watch Over Them (short-listed) in the Three Dummies in a Dinghy and Other Stories of Life anthology in 2018. Raymund and the Fear Monster is my debut picture book and will be released in 2019. I’m also a Books in Homes role model.
I have always been an avid reader of books from all genres, but I especially enjoy sci-fi and fantasy. I also have dyslexia. One of my favourite things to do is run writing workshops in schools, share my story and how I discovered the love of reading and writing.
In early June 2018, as I was heading home after a pleasant afternoon walk, I heard a shout, ‘Hey! You’re the author that came to our school.’ It was a boy from a writing workshop visiting a neighbour’s son. We ended up talking about writing, stories and books, and the two boys walked me home to see ‘what an author’s house looked like’. One of the boy’s older sister joined us, and I read books to them, and they chose a book each to borrow.
I realised that a Street Library would be perfect in my neighbourhood. So, I bought and painted a small cupboard, and set up the Just for Kids Street Library. It snowballed from there.
Another lady and I applied for a grant for the council pack of ten street libraries through the Latrobe Health Assembly and got it. Then I looked for hosts. I found several.
Did you design all 10 street libraries?
I ended up painting and decorating three libraries: two children’s libraries, and my own teen library. We had the launch party for the libraries in the project on the 24th March, 2019.
Where are they all located?
They are located throughout Latrobe Valley, Victoria.
What has been the community’s response?
The community has been really supportive. There were already at least three registered street libraries before mine, as well as a couple of unregistered. Now there are many more people becoming interested. The Men’s Sheds in the Valley are also willing to make Street Libraries and sell them to the people wanting to become hosts. I also recently had the opportunity to chat about the Street Libraries on Gippsland FM. Listen to the interview
What does Street Library mean to you?
Many children and teens don’t read for various reasons. Some may have just never found a book they like and want to finish. I hope that having a library just for children and one for teens in my neighbourhood, will help them find books they like and instil a love of reading. Many of these young people, for all sorts of reasons, don’t usually go to the local council library. The wonderful bonus of a Street Library is that if the person loves the book, they can keep it. If they don’t, they bring it back so someone else can borrow it. Street Libraries really do create community and a love of reading.