Footpath Libraries

I just came across a project that is amazing – libraries for the homeless.

This project was founded in 2003 Sarah Garnett and ‘grew out of sorrow, a simple observation, and the desire to make a difference,’ and inspired by her friend Benjamin Andrew. 

The vision of this project is that ‘homeless people’ are  ‘contributing members of society’  and have the  ‘right to the benefits and pleasure of reading.’

The project has stocked 80 hostel libraries and has a mobile service in Sydney.

You can donate books, money, knitted goods or time to do things like sort  and pack the books to go out to hostels. 

It’s important  to read the guidelines before you donate.  The project specifically seeks these genres Women’s, men’s and children’s fiction, Non-fiction, including dictionaries, simple cookbooks, parenting, and self help, car and motoring magazines, however they don’t want books with ‘suicide, depression and drug themes.’

Some of the patrons for the project are: Peter Fitzsimons, Nick Earls and Chris Sara.

For more information go HERE


Books from our Backyard

Kindly taken by Charmaine Clancy, me with the After Yasi book.

It was amazing to be at the Poinciana Lounge, when it was  full to the brim of Queensland books, authors, family, friends and literary supporters; double the amount of last year too.

A big thankyou to Queensland Writers Centre for creating a catalogue of Queensland books which goes out to libraries and others to promote Queensland authors and books.

Books from our Backyard  shares the variety of Queensland books, with crime, history, speculative fiction,  children, and young adult fiction, romance, memoir and life stories.

I met  Pia Dowling  who showed me her books on Organic Gardening, and growing and brewing your own coffee and tea.

Then I chatted with Kylie Asmyus about her book set in Townsville, not too far from where I used to live.

Sandy Driessen from Sandpit Stories said hello as did Julie Fison.

I caught up with authors Karen Tyrell, Charmaine Clancy,  and  for the first time in years the amazing Talitha Kalago.  We were onbooks-from-our-backyard a panel together at the Tropical writer’s festival years ago.

There were some industry people and members of the Queensland Writers Centre who were very welcoming and friendly.  It was good to put faces to names commonly seen in emails or online and receive helpful information and invitations to critique groups and workshops for writers.

You can see the books in display for the next twelve months at the state library Queensland.

Nick Earles, a highly accomplished Queensland author,  gave an address encouraging everyone to purchase and promote the purchase of books by Queenslanders.  Even purchasing just one book a year by a Queenslander could have an enormous difference on the production and sharing of literature created by the writers of Queensland.

He expressed his hope that many more people would be enabled to be career writers through such initiatives.

Books from our Backyard   is out in print and pdf and you’ll see it in libraries near you.  I was happy to see Pam Galeano and Lyn Marshall’s books featured as well.



Travelling Light – The day of the great book cull…



We are selecting what to take to Brisbane.  We want to learn to travel lighter.  So although we love books, we are taking only our favourite and most useful books, and our most beautiful ones.

It is the day of the great book cull.

When I was growing up I owned about ten books, and the rest were borrowed from the library.   I borrowed about ten a week. I wonder what made me start collecting so many to keep physically.

There are books from university courses, favourite subjects, library throw out sales, kids books galore, and then the series books the children worked their way through and bought when on special.  So much accumulation.

Books mark anniversaries, birthdays, special occassions, prize givings and more.  

Some are ancient, out of date text books, like my Abnormal Psychology book from University days.

Other books going out are the learn to read books of the children and some of their early picture books, we want only small selections of to keeps of most precious ones they still read and reread.

It is not always difficult to select the throw aways as mould, the damp and wasps have attacked some of the books, and they are no longer pleasant to read.  Other books we know we can easily access on line, and there’s just no need to have them.

As my son says. ‘you don’t need to own  a book to have it in your head or easily find it to read’ and this is very true.  I carry the memory of so many books in my head and heart – and now it’s just time to let go, give away and surrender.