Tiny library a little 'hub' in Taieri

Outram's first free Lilliput Library has recently been set up in Hoylake St. Photo by Christine O'Connor.
Outram's first free Lilliput Library has recently been set up in Hoylake St. Photo by Christine O'Connor.
Outram's first Lilliput Library, and four others which have recently sprung up in Mosgiel, are not just providing free books but are also helping strengthen and enrich the community.

That is the view of Dunedin Lilliput Library organiser and poet Ruth Arnison and Mosgiel Taieri Community Board chairwoman Sarah Nitis.

The Lilliput initiative is being co-ordinated through the Poems in the Waiting Room charity, and Dunedin now has 78 of the distinctive little libraries.

These enable people of all ages to read books they might otherwise not have had the chance to read.

Mrs Arnison said readers had also been meeting other people they might otherwise have not met, as they took out or returned the books.

Feedback she had received from other Lilliput Libraries indicated that a lot of discussion and increased social connections had resulted.

Each little free library was ''like a little community hub''.

''People turn up and they're talking to each other.

''It's a place for people to meet and it's a place for people to walk to. It's a destination.

''Sometimes, places like Outram are a wee bit isolated and it's a chance for the community to put back and access books, and it's a chance to work together.''

Having a ''destination'' encouraged people to take a little more healthy exercise.

Outram is not among the many areas visited by the Dunedin City Libraries book bus.

Mrs Nitis said the new free libraries were a ''great initiative''.

And the move was positive for Outram, which had limited civic resources.

The Mosgiel Taieri board was keen to build up social cohesion and resources, and the Outram Lilliput library and the four others in Mosgiel would help, she said.

The Outram Lilliput was built by the Taieri Blokes' Shed and painted by Julia, from Art Space.

Lilliput Libraries operate on a trust and exchange system. People donate books and a local ''guardian'' volunteers to have the library on their fence line, keep an eye on it and ensure it is full.

Any member of the public is welcome to take - and keep - a book, although Ms Arnison encouraged people to give back to the libraries when they could.

john.gibb@odt.co.nz

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