Books, literacy and power

Books ready to be donated.

You may remember a little while ago I was wondering how to set up a free book swap type library in my area. I soon abandoned the idea as being one that likely would be unpopular, or unworkable, because of the proximity of the local library and independent bookstore. So I got to googling for organisations I could donate books to instead. I’ve started to compile a list as a page at the top of this blog so feel free to contribute your own suggestions.

I ended up donating the books I had (and more from colleagues at work, my friend Dayzee and my partner’s family who wanted to contribute) to The Footpath Library. The Footpath Library delivers books to shelters, refuges and hostels for homeless people, as well as those living rough on the streets. When I told my partner about my plans his response was “but homeless people don’t need books, they need food and blankets”. Which is a fair comment. Surely reading isn’t the most pressing need for those who’ve struck hard times? So I contacted The Footpath Library to ask the question and its founder Sarah Garnet was kind enough to oblige.
She said:
Homeless people are just like you and me, they need food for their minds not just for their bellies. Books provide an escape, a resource, education and leisure and when you have nothing else, they can be your saviour.

Added bonus: nice tidy book shelves.

That will probably stay with me forever. Ms Garnet said the library also needed cash donations to buy bookshelves for hostels.

“In Perth in particular where the branch is new, we will rely on money donated to buy suitable shelving,” she said.

At this stage the organisation is developing of list of organisations and centres that would like to receive books.  That will increase with time and the need for volunteers will also increase.

If you’re able to donate books the library expects them to be of excellent, near new quality and has certain restrictions in place you can see on its website. It needs to build a supply of basic cook books, popular mechanics and car magazines (which are very popular) and books for very young children.

There is also portals to donate money and time on the website here.

About Rachel Watts

I am a writer from Perth, Western Australia. My speculative fiction novella Survival will be released in early 2018. View all posts by Rachel Watts

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