Dunbogan couple share their love of books

Laurie and Elizabeth with their Dunbogan Street Library.

LAURIE and Elizabeth Wickings first stumbled across street libraries when traveling through the small towns and villages of Europe.

Impressed by the concept, the pair returned from their travels determined to create a street library in Dunbogan, so neighbours could share in their love of books.

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Laurie quickly set to work, building a small street library box which housed about nineteen books.

“However, when the floods came through in March 2021, the book collection and wooden library which housed the books was washed away,” Laurie told News Of The Area (NOTA).

“Then the cleanup began and we had so many people offering us help with hot meals, taking our washing away and returning it cleaned and ironed.

“I thought to myself: ‘What could I do in return to thank everyone long term for all of their generosity and kindness?’.

“That’s when I decided to build a new street library to replace the one that was ruined in the floods.”

Laurie told NOTA the new Dunbogan Street Library holds around 100 books.

“It is so popular that on most days there is an average of ten visitors dropping by,” he said.

“The visitors come from Port Macquarie in the north and Harrington in the south.”

Laurie is “very pleased” the Street Library has become so popular, especially after all the effort that went into building the boxes.

With an eye on the future, the Dunbogan Street Library is also open to suggestions.

Recently there has been increased requests for more “girly books or romance novels,” Laurie told NOTA.

The Library was once home to a children’s section, however it was removed as it was not getting used.

All the books in the Street Library are donations.

Unfortunately, Laurie and Elizabeth now need to place stickers on donated books to prevent them being sold on.

“The stickers are to inform everyone that the books in the River Street Book Library have been donated and they are there for everyone to read and are not to be sold on,” Wickings told NOTA.

Generally, Library users will donate a book when they select one to take home.

However, if anyone has a bulk book donation to make they can leave them in a bag near the front door.

Elizabeth has always been an avid reader but it took Laurie a little longer to fall in love with the written word.

“It was five years after our marriage before Laurie started reading,” Elizabeth told News Of The Area, “but he is making up for it now.”


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