A street library has been launched at 146 Fairwater Boulevard, Blacktown – breathing new life into a love for books and community.
Called the ‘146 Fairwater Boulevard Free Fun Library’, it is the brainchild of local resident Guneeta Khanna and is Blacktown’s first street library.
“While we are lucky to have local libraries in most suburbs in Australia, young people are finding less and less time to visit them,” Guneeta observed, talking about people’s changing relationship with books since her arrival in Australia back in 2000.
“Reading is still such an integral part of today’s world,” she told Indian Link. “However, with a regular Joe’s life being so busy, online reading has become the norm. There is a certain joy in resting a book on one’s knee, flicking through the pages and placing a bookmark within them. As a teacher myself, this is something I regularly encourage in the classroom.”
Guneeta, author of All You Need To Know About Tarot (2001), has always herself held a keen love for reading – ignited by her father and grandfather. It is a love that slipped onto the back burner in recent years, she admitted, amidst being a working mum and life’s ever-increasing commitments. However, a recent holiday cruise with her husband Kapil Khanna re-ignited the cherished pastime – ultimately leading to the launch of this thoughtful new community-focussed venture.
The 146 Fairwater Boulevard Free Fun Library operates as an ‘open sourced’ platform: leave a book and take another one. Anyone is welcome to donate books and expand the resource base of the library.
The community library was officially inaugurated in early March by Blacktown City Councillor Moninder Singh. Addressing the gathering at the event, he said, “We appreciate and thank Guneeta Khanna for her initiative to share books with her neighbours and the wider community. We at Blacktown Council hope that Guneeta will share the know-how of setting up and running a street library.”
He laid emphasis on the need for more people to pioneer similar projects. “This endeavour to provide free access to books is unique and will encourage the masses to engage – both with books and with each other.”
Blacktown City Council has pledged to donate books to the library.
Local community members showed their support by being present at the event, donating books and borrowing a few that caught their fancy. Seven-year-old Vivaan Aggarwal read aloud from one of the library’s books.
Local businesses pitched in as well. Jai from Print Concierge and his wife Kerry sponsored two large banners. Everyone at the event was treated to a delectable bite of ballushahi, kindly sponsored by Pure Desi sweet
An enthusiastic resident Om Dhungel commented, “I have always believed in books. They have shaped and changed my life for the better. Having ready access to books will encourage people to take up reading. It will also help create friendships amongst the members of the community.”
The famous author Jorge Luis Borges famously fantasized that Paradise would be one large library. While many surely look forward to seeing this for themselves, in the meantime, there are tiny pockets of Paradise here on earth. ‘146 Fairwater Boulevard Free Fun Library’ is one such pocket and one cannot help but cheer Guneeta Khanna along as she sows seeds to foster a love of books and stronger bonds within the community.
For further information on the library or for guidance on starting a street library, email firstname.lastname@example.org
READ ALSO: Tamil books at your local library