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Ipswich’s newest street library has unusual reading room

Toilets have often been called ‘reading rooms’ and the Marburg community has a great sense of humour.

A sprawling street library and somewhat unusual reading room have popped up out the front of the green shed in the centre of town.

A tin outhouse has been built to serve as reading room and is already proving popular with the locals.

It should be noted however, that it is not a functioning toilet.

When the Children’s Book Council of Australia (Qld branch) called for expressions of interest for one lucky member across the state to be the recipient of a street library donated by Street Library Australia, Ipswich Libraries was quick to jump to action.

The submission, based on the street library being located in the township of Marburg, was successful with the street library being delivered directly into the hands of the Marburg Residents Association.

Cr Russell Milligan and Cr Kate Kunzelmann at the Marburg street library

Councillor Russell Milligan said that this initiative was a great way to bring books to rural areas as Ipswich’s population booms.

“The Marburg Residents Association have shown real enthusiasm for having this street library in their community,” Cr Milligan said.

“Not only did they embrace the idea but they built on it to put their own unique country stamp on it by adding additional libraries and reading room.”

Councillor Kate Kunzelmann said it was a wonderful innovation to be able to use the service provided by the community for the community.

“I congratulate the local residents and artists who have spent a lot of voluntary time to put this street library together,” Cr Kunzelmann said.

“This is a grass roots initiative free from bureaucracy and for people who love books it’s a great way to be able to access them.

“The street library has been placed in the centre of town in the park where families and groups regularly gather under historic tall trees.

“There are no check out or returns, people can simply drop books into the street library when they are walking past or reach in and take what interests them.

“Once you finish reading the book you can either return it to the street library or pass it on to a friend.”

The Marburg Residents Association jumped on board after the street library was received and decided to make two more to compliment the first.

One box is dedicated to children’s books, a second for non-fiction and a third for fiction titles.

Children’s Book Council of Australia (Qld Branch) representative Jenny Stubb (left) was one of the first to check out the new street library with Marburg Residents Association secretary Wendye Gratton

Marburg Residents Association secretary Wendye Gratton said the idea for the interesting reading room came from her husband Barry.

“He thought it would be a bit of fun to make a reading room alongside the street library to encourage people to stop by and have a read,” Mrs Gratton said.

“The idea of the dunny was because in the olden days, you might take your newspaper or something to read and be there for a while.

“Our son Rob made it from scratch according to Barry’s design and the corrugated iron was donated from Les Birnie’s Scotland Yard Antiques shop.

“We also had another resident lay pavers and two local artists, Michelle Howarth and Tanya Weier did the artwork.”

Mrs Gratton said it’s already becoming a bit of a tourist destination with people stopping to be photographed reading in the outhouse reading room and posting to social media.

“It’s a bit quirky and different from a traditional library and reading room,” Mrs Gratton said.

Read also:

>>> How Ipswich Central Library is making history

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