Take a book, return a book

Tanya Meyer and her brother, Jacques, display the little library. Photo supplied.

Tanya Meyer, matriculant of Northcliff High School and first-year student at Stellenbosch University, aspired to build trust in the community of Emmarentia and surrounds by setting up the Little Free Library.

Marketing manager for City Parks, Jenny Moodley, has praised Meyer and said, “It is an amazing initiative and we are excited to support it. We would like to see the initiative being rolled out in more parks in Johannesburg.”

The concept entails a small wooden hut, on the grounds of the Johannesburg Botanical Garden, that displays books for the public to pick up, as long as they put a book back in its place. The system works entirely on good faith in the community and since last August has been a success.

Here is what one visitor to the gardens said about the library:

A visitor to the Emmarentia Dam spotted the Free Little Library.

A visitor to the Johannesburg Botanical Garden spotted the Free Little Library.

Since the library is still inspiring others, like Moodley, Meyer would like to see more Little Free Libraries around Joburg. Below are a few guidelines from Meyer to help others build a Little Free Library. The two key aspects are location and structure.

Location is important because it determines the amount of people that see the library as well as whether the books reach the right type of person. The crux of a Little Free Library is to erect a structure in a communal place with a constant flow of people. “For this reason, I decided on Johannesburg Botanical Garden. I also chose a place which was slightly protected in that fencing surrounds the park during nighttime, car guards are close-by during the day and trees above offer a rain-barrier,” Meyer added.

Secondly, your Little Free Library structure is the determining factor as to whether the library will succeed. It needs to be waterproof, sturdy, elevated and intriguing. Meyer used a second-hand fish tank and built a wooden roof structure for the library, which allowed the library to be visible from all angles.

Finally, if you would like to register your library to be put up on the Little Free Library Global Map, go to www.littlefreelibrary.org for the rest of the process. “The Rotary Club of Northcliff sponsored my registration and I am sure your local Rotary Club would be willing to do the same,” Meyer explained.

Details: Tanya Meyer, [email protected]

Related stories:

Linden Library gets imaginative 

GALLERY: Lion roar in the library 


Amy Ingram

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