Little Libraries

Little libraries in New Zealand can be as small as a few metres squared or as little as the pile of books to be read beside the bed.

One of the sweetest small libraries I’ve seen is Puhoi Town Library, north of Auckland. The building was originally an office for the Roads Board but became a library in 1923. However in April 1924 a flood washed away most of the books and the library wasn’t re-established for over 50 years.

The library has a unique claim to fame in that it featured in Stephen King’s 1992 movie ‘Tommyknockers’ as the Christian Science Reading Room. Today you may find a table of books for sale outside …..

Puhoi Town Library

Puhoi Town Library

Kawhia War Memorial Library has a cenotaph in front and was initially run by the wives of soldiers, it is now operated by the Otorohanga Council.

Kawhia War Memorial Library

Kawhia War Memorial Library

A short ferry ride across the water from Whitianga is the Ferry Landing Public Library.

Ferry Landing Public Library

Ferry Landing Public Library

The colonial style Kimbolton Public Library was established in 1927. The cottage is one of the first homes built in Kimbolton and was in private ownership until the title was gifted to the Kiwitea County Council Library Committee sometime after 1936.

Kimbolton Public Library

Kimbolton Public Library

Pukehiki Public Library sits on Otago Peninsula and while it no longer operates as a library, it is a cute photo opportunity. If you’re interested in small libraries, see the book Small Libraries of New Zealand by Margaret Jenner.

Pukehiki Public Library

Pukehiki Public Library

Little libraries – old fridges are being turned into little libraries in Auckland by not-for-profit ‘The Book Stop‘. The first fridge library opened its doors at 31 Scout Avenue in Mt Roskill.

I don’t have a photo of the Auckland fridge library, but Gap Filler started the Think Differently Book Exchange in a fridge in Christchurch in 2011, it will celebrate 10 years of free books in 2021.

Think Differently Book Exchange, Christchurch

Think Differently Book Exchange, Christchurch

Cambridge shares the fridge reuse and recycle approach to little libraries and there is a book exchange inside a red telephone box outside Simply Divine Kitchen on Empire Street.

Cambridge Book Exchange

Cambridge Book Exchange

The Book Box opened in Gordonton next to the superette in 2016. A message on the side of the box says – The Book Box runs on generosity. Do help yourself to a book – and please pop one back sometime. Enjoy!

Gordonton Book Box

Gordonton Book Box

Little libraries are plentiful in the Waikato thanks to the Placemaking programme and prisoners at the Springhill Corrections Facility. You can find the locations of the 40+ little libraries here.

On Rawhiti Street in New Plymouth a little free library awaits books and borrowers.

Little free library on Rawhiti Street

Little free library on Rawhiti Street

In Palmerston North a letterbox doubles as a library in Kelvin Grove and the Rose Gardens at The Esplanade is home to Joyce’s Little Free Library, a library created in memory of Joyce Scott. Joyce’s library is part of the global Little Free Library movement.

Letterbox/book library in Palmerston North

Letterbox/book library in Palmerston North

If you drive from Picton to Nelson via Queen Charlotte Drive there is a little library and community fruit stall outside Linkwater School.

Linkwater Little Library

Linkwater Little Library

The Vines Village at 193 Rapaura Road in Blenheim has a sunshine orange book fridge with a matching sign encouraging visitors to borrow a book.

Book fridge at The Vines Village

Book fridge at The Vines Village

Another library part of the Little Free Library movement is Sylvia’s library on the corner of Tasman and Halifax Streets in Nelson. The library was created in memory of Sylvia and as a way to spread kindness in the community.

Sylvia's Little Free Library in Nelson

Sylvia’s Little Free Library in Nelson

One of the littlest little libraries I’ve seen is The Escapist Library at 24 Hereford Street in Christchurch. (Note: the photo was taken some time ago so the library may no longer be there).

The Escapist Library, Christchurch

The Escapist Library, Christchurch

Why not combine a little library with a food stall – in Punakaiki it’s about books and eggs ….

Books and eggs in Punakaiki

Books and eggs in Punakaiki

Dunedin is the land of the Lilliput Library, there are 252 little libraries and counting! What a fantastic community initiative – guardians look after the libraries and people are encouraged to “take a book now, leave a book later.” The Lilliput Library map.

I haven’t had the pleasure of visiting a Lilliput Library but I’ll finish with a photo of a nifty initiative by Auckland Central Library that put free books on wheels in 2016 as part of the #spokeandword campaign.

Spokeandword in Auckland - free books on wheels

Spokeandword in Auckland – free books on wheels

PS. If you’d like to build your own little library and are looking for some inspiration see Little Free Libraries and Tiny Sheds by Philip Schmidt.

PPS. As a reader who loves libraries big and small I am thrilled to have my own book coming out in October – It’s In The Post! Awesome letterboxes from around New Zealand may be in a big or little library near you. Or, if you’d like to win a copy, I’ll do a giveaway via the blog in the next few weeks.

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