From the scrap heap

47 Eric St Bundeena NSW 2230

On the main tourist path to the Coast Track in Bundeena, this is rescued, recycled delight. "Take 1, Leave 1" is the motto.

After a neighbour complained about running out of books during Covid shutdown and unable to go to the council library, I thought we needed our own street library. Our local council allows two rubbish clean-ups a year, and raiding each other’s heaps is a community pastime. This year our own raids had a purpose — to find as much as we could to build our own street library.

In our village we make Boomerang Bags to reduce waste and avoid single-use plastic bags. We have a Boomerang Bag box in the local shop, so people can borrow a cloth bag and return it later. We wanted the same principle for the street library. Reclaim, re-use, recycle.

This street library has been built from street-dumped discards, absolutely everything is scavenged or recycled. The cupboard is hardwood (we avoided MDF or plywood). Missing a door, but we found some perspex. A laundry cupboard provided the screws, hinges and doorknob. A box of discarded treasures produced the butler (wine bottle holder), and his face mask was made from an old torn shirt. Lumps of timber were found which were cut to make legs. One cube of wood was left over, and we found another in the compost heap, partly eaten by wood lice. Leftover paint for a garden bench was used on the legs, and as undercoat for the blocks of wood which were painted to look like books, for the sign. Spare acrylic paints did the decorative work. An old can of clear spray paint sealed the artwork. While searching for a piano hinge (I didn’t find one, but I did find pieces of a grand piano) I found some silk flowers for a final flourish.

Our butler now holds the sign (the worm-eaten bit of wood is now a fake book) and currently also wears a face mask. The cube of wood is now another sign painted to look like three books.

My husband did the build and screwed it to the fence, and was still walking up the driveway when the first customer (a man from out of town) drove up. I hadn’t even put the flowers in place!

I’ve told people in town that this box will only take a small number of books and is not a dumping ground. Books that don’t ‘move’ will be donated. But our community principle of sharing, re-using and paying it forward will hopefully prevail.

Located at:47 Eric St Bundeena NSW 2230

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