Community street library proving a hit with avid readers in Chisholm

February 6, 2024

A Chisholm-based community street library is doing its part to reverse Australia’s declining reading rates while also building important social connections.

One in four (25 per cent) adult Australians told the 2021 National Reading Survey they didn’t read or listen to a single book during the year – significantly up from 8 per cent recorded in a separate survey in 2017 .

The Chisholm street library, which commenced in a local neighbourhood café in AVID Property Group’s (AVID) Waterford community during the COVID-19 lockdown in early 2020, has now amassed more than 30 books and welcomes readers from across the wider Chisholm region.

AVID Property Group this week bolstered the exchange’s book shelves with a donation of children’s titles to encourage a love of reading in the region’s younger citizens.

“To mark Book Week (20-26 August), we have shopped the Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) 2022 Book of the Year Awards shortlist to ensure we’re celebrating Australian authors and including reads for the younger book lovers in the region,’’ said AVID New South Wales Project Director Nathan Huon.

Mr Huon said the exchange – which was installed outside The Kitchen at Waterford café – had helped build community spirit during a difficult time by encouraging residents to share books without having to physically be in each other’s presence.

“The initiative has gone from strength to strength with adults and children from the wider Chisholm community now sharing their favourite reads with other community members through the exchange,” he said.

‘’AVID is proud to support such a positive initiative through the annual donation of new books that we hope become worn and dog-eared over time from passing through the hands of so many avid community readers.’’

Waterford residents Bianca Draffin and Daniel Dwyer said their children were big fans of the street library.

“My girls love going to the community street library on a weekend,’’ Bianca said.

“We have a milkshake and coffee while reading the many books that are available.”

Daniel agreed. “Our family walk up to the community street library and my son borrows a book for the week. It’s such a great idea.’’

Jumping on board the dreaming with eyes open Book Week theme, young participants of the street library can expect to see reads from authors including Shirley Marr, Katrina Nannestead and Gary Lonesborough.

“Over the past year we’ve contributed books for all ages and genres, including picture books for children, popular reads for teenagers, and fiction and non-fiction books for adults,” Mr Huon said.

“The community street library works on a system of trust – residents are encouraged to donate books they no longer want and swap them for others they’d like to borrow,’’ he said.

“On the walk to the street library located at The Kitchen at Waterford, people are able check in on their neighbours, have a chat outside and give each other a smile and a wave, which fosters social connections whilst also supporting the benefits of reading.”

To borrow one of CBCA’s Book Week reads or add a great book to the collection, residents of the region can visit the outdoor library at any time, located on the deck outside The Kitchen at Waterford at 2 Settlers Boulevard, Chisholm.

Selection of books donated include:

  1. A glass house of stars – Shirley Marr
  2. Rabbit, Soldier, Angel, Thief – Katrina Nannestead
  3. The boy from the mish – Gary Lonesborough
  4. How to repaint a life – Steven Henrick
  5. The boy who tried to shrink his name – Sandra parappukkaran
  6. For Love – Christna Neri
  7. Book of curious birds – Jennifer Cossins
  8. Illustrated encyclopaedia of peculiar pairs in nature – Sami Bayly
  9. Stellaphant – James Foley
  10. The boy and the elephant – Freya Blackwood
  11. Winston and the indoor cat – Leila Rudge
  12. Walk of whales – Nick Bland


[1] National Reading Survey – Australia Reads

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