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A Better Place for Books

We all know how to recycle. It has been implemented over the last few decades and I believe, fully embraced in the last few years. Nowadays, there’s a bin for almost every category of trash. Composts, paper, glass, plastics. You name it, it can be recycled. Even the simple teabag could be separated into three categories. Paper, aluminium and food scraps.

All of this awareness and organisation is wonderful. The councils that implement these policies and the community that embrace them are to be lauded. Perhaps, however, an even more sustainable way to recycle products is available to us, and one that serves an even greater purpose.

I recently heard of a library for homeless people, The Footpath Library.  An ingenious idea!  Recycling perfectly good books, not just to the paper heap, but to an appreciative audience. I love that it helps assimilate the marginalised into society. It would surely help them with a sense of belonging and improving their literacy skills. There is always the element of trust involved with libraries, and perhaps that could be beneficial to some also.

I have a bookshelf that has sat there for years as another lump of furniture to clean, gathering dust on books that I have read and re-read or will frankly never read! I have decided to put that whole lump of wasted materials to much better use.

If donating books to a homeless library it is wise to not include the following out of respect to the customers –

  • True crime
  • Travel/wine/restaurant guides
  • Get-rich-quick/investment/ financial guides
  • Coffee table books
  • Home decorating, gardening, sewing, craft, fashion
  • Sport (unless biographies)
  • Any books with suicide, depression, or drug themes
  • Computer manuals
  • Text books of any description
  • Magazines, except National Geographic, Australian Geographic, motorbike and car
  • Encyclopaedias
  • Street directories
  • Religious material
  • Used crossword/puzzle books.

Please go to your local council for details of charities similar to The Footpath Library.

In Australia, you can donate to the following –

St Vincent De Paul
To make a donation, please deposit items in front of a donation bin or contact your local centre to arrange a pick up.
The Smith Family
To donate clothing and materials (incl. books) to The Smith Family, please call 1300 737 166 or put them in your nearest Smith Family clothing bin (if the bin is full please do not leave goods on the ground).
The Salvation Army Deliver your clothing or goods to a Salvos Store or Family Store near you. (Family Stores are run independently by local Salvation Army churches).
Local schools
Schools in your local area may be interested in book donations for fetes and other fund raising events.


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