Aussie charity delivers pre-loved books to remote Indigenous communities

Aussie charity delivers pre-loved books to remote Indigenous communities

By Lucy Jones  June 25th, 2021

Giving books a valuable second life.


Libraries regularly get rid of books that aren't being borrowed to clear space on their shelves for new arrivals. A Sydney Morning Herald article published in 2013 alleged that libraries in Australia dispose of around 5 million books every year, with the majority of these going to landfill.

Meanwhile, people living in some of Australia's most remote communities can't get access to books. According to the ABC, only one third of remote communities have access to a library. Many schools in these regions also don't have the funds to purchase books for their students.

Australian charity Books n Boots is rescuing used books from landfill and donating them to remote Indigenous communities. The charity was set up by Aussie couple John Harding and Tara Newen after they learned schools in the Torres Straight Islands didn't have access to picture books.

"I saw a post [online] from a woman who put out a request for people to donate books," John told ABC Everyday.

"The schools don't get any money for picture books."

The couple reached out to libraries and asked then to donate used books when they are doing clean-outs. One local library now donates 1,200 books every year. John and Tara also collect used books from homes and schools and redistribute them to communities in need.

"Sharing a story is one of the oldest aspects of Aboriginal culture," John said.

"Even if it's in the form of a Dr Seuss book, you're strengthening the bond between families and showing the kids words on a page."

The project hopes to improve literacy rates in Indigenous communities by ensuring remote areas have access to books. So far, the charity has donated over 6,000 used books to communities in Shepparton, Cherbourg, Murwillumbah, Toomelah and the Tiwi Islands.

Positive Environment News has been compiled using publicly available information. Planet Ark does not take responsibility for the accuracy of the original information and encourages readers to check the references before using this information for their own purposes.


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Lucy Jones

Lucy started her career working as a writer and editor in print and digital publishing. She went on to create content for Australia's leading sustainable fashion platform while completing her Master of Cultural Studies. Lucy spends her downtime at the beach, crocheting and hanging out with her cat Larry. She believes words can change the world and is stoked to help Planet Ark spread the message of positive environmental change.

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