40,000 books looking for keen readers

Bob Watherston, from Kurow, tries to organise the extensive Kurow book collection. Photo by Andrew Ashton.
Bob Watherston, from Kurow, tries to organise the extensive Kurow book collection. Photo by Andrew Ashton.
Plans to expand the Kurow Museum could result in 40,000 second-hand books being provided to prisoners in New Zealand prisons and people in underprivileged areas around the world.

The Waitaki Valley Community Society hopes to expand the Kurow museum and create a new children's activity area by buying the neighbouring land and Kurow Curios and Book Shop next door, but community society member Bob Watherston said before that could happen, the society needed to find homes for the estimated 40,000 books at the store.

Mr Watherston said the books would go on sale at the Kurow Festival Market Day on December 29, but it was unlikely they would all be sold.

''We have got to get rid of them, so we are looking at donating them to charities. We are looking at giving them away to the ... prison service and the Red Cross.

''We are also looking at overseas [places] like East Timor, where they could be useful.''

''A good sprinkling'' of the books were at least 100 years old, and some could be ''very valuable''.

Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean said she had been helping to find a use for the books, and added that she would be contacting the New Zealand Ambassador to East Timor.

''When I was up in East Timor three months ago, as an election observer, they said they would welcome books there, particularly English language books, for their libraries.''

Mr Watherston said it was hoped that once the books had found a new home, work could start on expanding the museum in the new year.

''We would like to allow the museum to expand so it can display old farm implements in an outdoor display.

''We propose to create an attractive walkway round to a landscaped children's play area.''

andrew.ashton@odt.co.nz