Dapto's Street Library is the smallest in the Illawarra

Hayley Cowie, Samantha Cowie, Boston Harper and Jovi Harper.
Hayley Cowie, Samantha Cowie, Boston Harper and Jovi Harper.

In the brave new world where technology is king, a set of Dapto parents have hit the streets to get their kids to read more books.

Fortunately for neighbours Dan and Kelly Harper and David and Sarah Cowie, their own children were only too happy to lend a hand in setting up Dapto’s first street library.

Located on Mount Brown Road, not far from Mount Brown Primary School, the library is there to promote literacy and community.

Kelly Harper said anyone was welcome to stop and browse, take a book or leave a book for others to share.

Mrs Harper decided to set up the the library when she noticed it was becoming a bit of a ‘’online phenomenon’’ in the USA (little free libraries - littlefreelibrary.org).

‘’I was very interested in the idea but it was too expensive to order the library to be sent over,’’ she said.

‘’That's when I discovered the Australian version of streetlibrary.org.au who also make and post the libraries ready made.

‘’When I mentioned the idea to my neighbours they were also very excited by it and wanted to be involved so we worked together to set it up, paint it and stock it.

‘’The kids also love checking it and seeing books come and go.’’

The street library is one of many in NSW and is part of a larger initiative to get communities together by reading books.

The streetlibrary.org.au website says Street Libraries ‘’are a beautiful home for books, planted in your front yard. They are accessible from the street, and are an invitation to share the joys of reading with your neighbours’’.

That’s exactly what the Harper and Cowie families hope will happen.

‘’We hope to achieve making books easily accessible for anyone in the neighbourhood,’’ Mrs Harper said.

‘’We thought it was a fun idea for kids walking to and from school to be able to check out what's new, grab a book on their way past and/or share any books they no longer need with others.

‘’I think it also teaches our kids some responsibility for helping to look after the library and teaches them the joy of doing something for others without expecting anything in return.’’

The Street Library is aimed at kids but all in the community are encouraged to use it.

‘’We hope to start stocking more varied books for all ages. We also hope others enjoy finding new books and help to maintain the stock of books available,’’ Mrs Harper said.