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Our Community Library

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Tricia Natoli

Before I began to write about “my” street library I thought this might be a story about my life-long love of reading, anything from cereal boxes to encyclopaedias. Much to my surprise, as I started to write, I realised this story is about my community, the unknown people who use the library, what they think and feel and say about it. I am not the central character at all, though I do derive great satisfaction from providing the service, and benefit from reading some of the wonderful books that come my way.

Newly retired, now living in regional Victoria, and having read about the growing movement of Street Libraries, I knew I wanted to have one. What a great way to share a love of reading, and to connect with people. I also knew I wanted to have a large one, with a glass door. I had no idea what I was embarking upon…

One fine day in March 2018 my ever-forbearing husband, the dog and I were in the Daylesford Recycle Shop. What a fantastic place, full of exciting “finds” to distract you from the business at hand! So I quickly became distracted… Suddenly there was a shout: “Look what I’ve found”. I raced over to see the EFH standing in front of a large-ish fridge with a glass door, the sort that usually stocks soft drinks or cakes and delicacies. The very thing! Slightly to his right is a pile of iron objects. The one catching our eyes must have been the roof of an aviary or something similar, exactly the right size to go on top of the fridge, now immediately called the Library. We were up and running.

The Little Library movement in the US began in 1998 when Todd Bol installed a library inside a miniature model of a schoolhouse on his front lawn in Wisconsin, as a tribute to his mother, a former teacher and bookworm. As word of the movement spread, these libraries began to pop up here. In 2017 Nic Lowe set up the Street Library Australia organisation in Sydney, and now they can be found in every state and territory.

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