There is nothing more a bookworm loves doing after reading than sharing books with others.
That is why Oswin Street now boasts the second street library in Parkes after self-acknowledged bibliophile Tracy Dawson decided to create a treasure of literary happiness under the Norfolk pine in her garden.
“I have so many books and I like the idea of recycling them in this way instead of just dumping them at an op shop.”
For Tracey, who is also the librarian at Parkes High School, spreading the message of the importance of reading is a life’s mission. “Reading is not just important when you’re at school, but also for your career.”
“Reading not only improves spelling, grammar and writing, but also helps to stimulate your imagination and critical thinking. These qualities are very important in how we use technology in solving problems these days.”
Tracy is also an avid recycler and used an old internet server box from school to create a beautiful home, called Ollie Os- win, for the books in her front yard where it’s accessible from the street to neighbours to share the joys of reading.
The idea is that books come and go at all hours, no-one needs to check them in or out. People can simply reach in and take what interests them, and when they are done, they can return them, or pass them on to friends.
Since Tracy has put her treasure box up in August, she has noticed books coming and going. “I change the books around too and take out the ones that have been there for a while.”
She bought children’s books from Vinnies to add to the collection as the children next door took a fancy to the library, and started leaving little notes in the books.
She said it would be great to get books in other languages too as Parkes’ population is becoming more multi-cultural.
Tracy registered Ollie Oswin with Street Library Australia joining a network of more than 1,600 street libraries across the country. All the libraries are plotted on a map for easy reference and allow visitors to find them.
“It’s really cool that there is a second street
library in Parkes,” said Daniel Greef, who installed the very first one at the Presbyterian Church in February this year. “There is clearly a need for it in the community and having more than one encourages people to get around town, and should generate a greater variety of books for people to read.”
He said his library was still going well with books changing regularly. “The community seem to be really supportive of it.”
That is exactly the aim of street libraries: to encourage community engagement and literacy.
“The more you read, the more things you will know… The more you learn, the more places you will go…” – Dr Seuss