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Albert-Eden schoolgirls set up library to share their love of books

Published: 23 January 2020

It was a love of books that encouraged Albert-Eden girls Phoebe Newcombe and Maya Woolford, both year 7 students at Balmoral School, to set up the little library – or book swap – in Potters Park.

Phoebe had seen a little library in Gribblehirst Park, as well as similar ideas in other cities, so was keen to set one up a little closer to home for her term-four class project at Balmoral Intermediate. Friend Maya quickly put up her hand to be involved.

With a little help from Phoebe’s dad, Daniel Newcombe, the girls wrote to Albert Eden Local Board to seek permission, which they received.

“It is great to see young people like Phoebe and Maya care about their park and wanting to make it a better place for everyone to visit,” says Margi Watson, Chair of Albert-Eden Local Board.

The girls then found the right cabinet on Trade Me.

“We found one that looked perfect, and I was pretty excited when our $12 bid won the auction,” says Phoebe.

“When Mum emailed the seller and told him what it was for, he said he had made the cabinet for a university project and because our little library was such a great cause, he was happy to donate it to us for free!”

Phoebe and Maya spent a Saturday morning sanding, painting and decorating the cabinet, and helped dig the holes to concrete it in under the watchful eye of Phoebe’s dad, who also replaced the glass panes with safer Perspex.

The girls scoured their own bookshelves for books to get the little library started, as well as asking classmates, friends and family. Mt Albert Library also donated a box of books.

“It’s so awesome that so many people are taking books from the little library,” says Phoebe.

“We just want to make sure that people remember to donate books as well as, so the little library isn’t empty.”


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