When we say library, what is the first thought that comes to mind?
Probably a place that has walls full of books, where you need to keep the noise down when you visit.
But, more recently, many other types of wonderful community libraries have been springing up all around Australia.
Have you heard of local seed libraries? the very practical tool libraries? or toy libraries to ease the financial burden of buying more kids toys?
All of these, and others, are helping communities to grow together - because these libraries are providing a great service to their local communities.
5 TYPES OF COMMUNITY LIBRARIES
DISCOVER YOUR LOCAL SEED LIBRARY
A while ago, our family were given some specially saved tomato seeds as a delightful gift from a very good friend of my Mum.
These tomatoes had been grown through generations of their family and we tended to them carefully.
You've probably heard from people who just love home-grown tomatoes… and they are right! These tomatoes were sweet and delicious with the taste of ‘real’ tomatoes. Just wonderful. 🍅
And yes, we saved some of the seed for our next crop - and some to share.
Seed saving is so important because it allows us to have access to the widest range of old traditional open-pollinated seed. Through the generous sharing of seeds in your community you also have access to vegies, flowers and plants that grow well in your local area.
By saving and sharing seeds, we’re are continuing the line of great tasting tomatoes, hearty pumpkins and sweet tasty berries.
A huge benefit is that the next generation can enjoy the delights of hardy, time-tested vegies, fruit, flowers, herbs too.
Have you ever heard of your local seed bank? Here’s some clues to help you find one.
Local seed banks work a bit like a book exchange - often they are little 'libraries' around the suburbs - where you can borrow a couple of packs of seeds to plant in your garden. 🌼
Then, when the plant has flowered and set seed, you return a few packets for others to do the same thing.
In some states they are even supported by standard (book) libraries, who can help you find one.
And community food exchanges are now popping up everywhere - and they often have seeds to share. Look on your local area Facebook page to see if there is one in your area.
It's such a lovely community idea - why not find one locally and join in! 😊
TOOL LIBRARY - HELPING YOU GET THE WORK DONE!
Are you planning to do some renos? 🔨 Save money by visiting a tool library and borrowing - for a short time – whatever you need for the job.
Tool libraries are an excellent way of encouraging sustainable use, and for saving locals money, by sharing tools.
Did you know that:
😮 The average drill is used for only 13 minutes in its lifetime (I was very surprised at this one!)
⭐ After using a library of things, borrowers are 60% more likely to repair or recycle other items to help others
😮 Power tools are a form of e-waste — which is usually more difficult to recycle – making borrowing from a tool library a practical and sustainable choice.
Normally run by volunteers, these tool libraries can be found all around Australia.
Usually there is an affordable annual membership fee for use of these very handy tools, and you can often book ahead if you need them for a particular date.
They provide a range of garden tools, power tools, hand tools and more.
And if you thinking ‘I haven’t used that drill for years…’ maybe you could consider donating it to your local tool library to help others in your community. 💚
STILL GOING STRONG - TOY LIBRARIES
Have you ever felt the frustration of buying a special toy for your child and then seeing them lose interest within weeks – or even sooner?
Or you may have been slightly annoyed at the growing pile of, now unloved, plastic toys that look destined for landfill? 🚚🏀
Did you know there is a better way?
Take the unwanted toys to your local Toy Library and enjoy collecting some fun, ‘new’ toys with your kids - to keep for the next few weeks.
Both issues solved in one go! This is a great example of community coming together - and the ‘circular economy’ of toys – both happening in a very positive way for kids and parents alike. ♻
Did you know that local Toy Libraries have been around for almost 50 years in Australia? One of the oldest is in Perth and it started in 1975.
You can save thousands of dollars a year, keep your kids happy with a wider variety of toys and meet with other families for a chat – all at your local Toy Library. (The libraries are usually run by volunteers and a have a small annual charge for their use.)
In the current, more financially challenging, times for many, it sounds like a winning idea to me – I hope it keeps going forward for generations to come.
LOVE TO GROW PLANTS? VISIT A PLANT LIBRARY
When communities work together, ‘plant’ libraries flourish - like the offerings in them.
If you’re someone who likes to share your garden with others and interested in discovering some new plants – this could be the library for you!
They are places to meet other happy gardeners, but the libraries are not always out the front of the property, facing to the footpath. Sometimes there’s a welcoming sign and you can walk up the pathway to the library area.
Check your local social media sites to find out where your nearest plant library is located and when you can access it.
Of course, you’ll be welcomed if you take some of your own plants or cuttings to share as well.
For gardeners, this may be the best library you’ll visit!
AND FINALLY, THE BIG ONE... THE LIBRARY OF “THINGS”
Have you ever heard of a ‘library of things’?
As their name suggests, ‘libraries of things’ cover a wide variety of items that aren’t used every day - but are very handy to have access to when you need them!
They offer everything from tools, lawn mowers, camping gear, party equipment, kitchen appliances, sports gear, to kids games and lots more – depending on which library you visit.
A Sydney ‘library of things’ lists the following as the most borrowed items:
💛 High Pressure Water Washer
💛 Room dehumidifier
💛 Food dehydrator
💛 Paper shredder
💛 Bread maker
💛 Ice cream maker
This great idea could mean no more having to store bulky items like these at home – which is a great idea for de-cluttering your home as well.
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As far as I'm aware, all of these community libraries are run by volunteers and/or inspired locals.
So, if you have excess items that you no longer need, please consider donating them to the appropriate local community library.
And why not give back a couple of hours to your local ‘library’ if you have the time.
I’m sure it would be very much appreciated. And you may just meet some lovely people along the way.
Isn’t that what community is about? 😊
This blog will be here to re-visit, share and (I hope) inspire for the future.
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