The installation of a roadside community book exchange on Elidon Road has brought a fresh sense of community spirit to the Munruben neighbourhood.

The idea for a community bookshelf was put forward by Munruben resident Julie Whitlock, an avid book reader who was inspired by similar book exchanges she had seen while travelling.

With Logan West frequently entering on-and-off lockdowns, Mrs Whitlock hoped a community bookshelf would help boost residents’ mental health by giving them a reason to leave the house.

“You can drive, you can walk, or walk the dog,” she said.

The book exchange quickly became very popular, with people dropping off books, seedlings, and board games for their neighbours to take.

“As it turns out we’ve had a lot of great feedback from people in the community, and from the children who are going to get their books every day,” she said.

“It’s growing a lot bigger than I thought.”

Mrs Whitlock posted her idea for the book exchange on the Munruben Forest Community Facebook page, where it was noticed by Division Nine councilor Scott Bannon.

Mr Bannon brought the idea to New Earth Timber owner Anthony Aitken, a self-taught woodworker who agreed to construct the bookshelf for free.

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The bookshelf, which took about 40 hours to build, was made using salvaged timber from the area, including plywood, silky oak, bloodwood, forest red gym, Australian red cedar.

The door handles were made from branches from Elidon Park where the bookshelf resides.

“It was a labour of love for the community,” Mr Aitkin said.

“Hopefully it will be well loved.”

Councilor Scott Bannon said the shelf would be the first of many to arrive in Division Nine.

“Each one will be totally different,” he said.

Mrs Whitlock created the Munruben Community Book Exchange page on Facebook for people to submit requests, provide updates on recent donations, chat and share reviews from stories passed through the bookshelf.

A few smaller community book exchange locations are scattered throughout Logan West, including:

Registered community book boxes are listed on the Street Library website at streetlibrary.org.au/.

Mr Bannon said there was a potential for other suburbs in Logan West to adopt the concept if residents were interested in having one.

“All the councilors are pretty proactive,” he said.

“There’s nothing stopping another councilor or another community member doing what myself, Julie and Ant did.”

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The community book exchange was a collaborative effort made possible by Anthony Aitken, Julie Whitlock and Scott Bannon.

 

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