Last week Gisborne became one library richer. This sweet little cupboard with glass doors and rows of shelving sitting on the side of Murphy Road may not be immediately recognizable as a library, but library it is. It is Wainui’s Little Free Library to be precise.
More than 90,000 Little Free Libraries can be found in 91 different countries around the world. Touted as the world’s largest book-sharing movement, the intent is to build community, spark creativity and inspire readers. Hayley Trashe’s reasons for getting one up and running in her own neighbourhood of Wainui run true to form.
As someone who has always enjoyed having “a toe dipped into some community group or another” the idea of a community library fit rather well with Hayley’s current personal mission to spend less down time in front of TV or phone, and more time reading books.
“I like reading but I haven’t necessarily been a big reader. Last year I set myself a reading challenge of 12 books a year with the App Good Reads. By October I’d read my quota so this year I set my goal at 18 for the year. Unfortunately since I have started studying reading for pleasure has taken a back seat. ”
She is hoping that [Wainui’s Little Free Library] will encourage her to read more by coming across titles she might not necessarily have sought out herself and hopes that it will also do the same for others.
“Books are expensive and while good books get passed around friends, I like the idea of increasing accessibility to those good books”. Hayley also likes the idea of a visit to Wainui’s Little Free Library becoming another thing you might add into your repertoire on a trip out to the beach if you live in town, (especially if you’ve forgotten your book!) She emphasises that the library is not just for people who live in Wainui and sees it as a great resource for backpackers and travellers too.
Hayley came up with the idea for a community library at the end of June. Since then she has registered with the Little Free Library organisation and consulted with the Wainui community via the community’s Facebook page to gauge interest and get ideas for a suitable location. The structure itself was built from scratch by her lovely husband Whyte over the course of a few weekends from recycled materials.
Installed on Sunday August 4, a microwave cookbook had appeared by Monday morning. Hayley added one book of her own and by that afternoon, there were 20 books sitting pretty in their temporary home.
Hayley says it has been a relatively easy exercise and would love to see more of these community resources dotted around town. Earlier on a road trip around the upper North Island I found countless pātaka kai, or community pantries and free clothes piles dotted around the place.
It’s not hard to understand why. They are spaces that encourage and enable us to be our own best selves both to each other and our planet, all the while providing an opportunity to stumble across each other and engage in a good old fashioned conversation - in this case very likely over a book.
Look for Wainui’s Little Free Library on Facebook and for an even more enjoyable experience go have a browse in real life! It’s situated outside 8 Murphy Road. If you have a book you’ve finished with and think someone else might enjoy, take that too! Story Sarah Cleave Photograph Tom Teutenberg