I was charmed when I came across this little street library outside the old Presbyterian Church Hall in Wentworth Street, Blackheath. The first time I saw it there were even prayer books inside. I was touched, because the church itself (next door) is struggling with a dwindling congregation. I remember a newspaper report in the Gazette stating that on one Sunday there were only seven people in attendance , and three of those were from Mount Victoria!

Just look how the design of the library matches the roofline of the hall. It was made by the local Men’s Shed, as were others around town.

The Street Library in Wentworth Street Blackheath.
Prayer books in the little street library by the church hall.

When I walked past a week or so later there were some sweet additions. Gifts had been placed inside, and there was a cheerful bunch of tulips attached to the adjacent fence post. What a delightful sense of community in difficult times.

I happened to have my associate Editor Des with me at the time, and he desperately wanted to add a treasure of his own. By the way, the purple prayer books had gone.

The street Library suddenly included little treasures.


Hmm, what could Des add? Back at home he found a little pot he thought someone might like. It was surplus to his requirements. Then he had another idea…he could fill it with money and give the person who took it out a lovely surprise.

A pot of silver for the street library from Editor Des.

Of course gold would have been better, but to be fair he doesn’t earn much….that’s because he is employed by me. 😂

Des places his treasure on the shelf.

Now to see if his gift appeals to anyone. He wanted to go back and check ten minutes later, but I persuaded him to wait at least a day. Oh bear of little patience! 😎💛

Our local library has been closed such lot over the last couple of years. The problem is Covid of course, followed by the La Nina weather cycle causing water damage to the building. The street library has been a lifeline for me, especially as my own books have been in storage.

There is an upside to a street library. It has pushed me into reading books I would never have considered, such as Hilary Clinton’s Hard Choices, covering her four year stint as Secretary of State. Published in 2014, Clinton’s observations on China, Russia, women’s issues, and climate change have an increasing relevance.

And then there is the half metre thick, highly original Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, by Susanna Clarke. I only picked this up yesterday and it should keep me going over the next sub-variant lock-down. 😨.

I thought I should reciprocate with something appropriate My book on walking the Thames Path is a gentle armchair read. I hope it will circulate and be enjoyed at a time when many of us are still unable to travel, and when we need some distraction in an increasingly unstable world.


Yesterday I picked up two books. One is a novella called Dr Slaughter, by travel writer Paul Theroux. Oh my word …..it’s an adventure all right! 😎

The second is September, by Rosamunde Pilcher, which has lots of very old four-leaf clovers pressed within the pages. I will leave them there when I replace it, and hopefully pass the luck on.

Lots of luck from the street library.

FOOTNOTE – OK, Dr Slaughter is back now, plus I added an Alistair Maclean novel. Yes, it’s a foreign edition, I was trying to improve my French. By the way, Dr Slaughter had a few ‘nights without end’. 😛

Does your area have a street library? Blackheath has at least half a dozen.

By the way, you can buy and put up your own little library. I’m a bit far off the beaten track for one to be worthwhile, but click here for the details.

  1. Lovely little story. Thanks.

  2. Love those community libraries. My son arrived in Blackheath yesterday for a weeks holiday. I’ll tell him to look out for the library 🤗

    • Pauline

      Wonderful Perry. I hope he enjoys his time in our little town.

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