Little libraries a big success2 min readReading Time: 2 minutes
Onehunga builder and book lover, Blayde Bullen, had plenty of time on his hands over lockdown, and eight new community libraries are now dotted around the area as a result.
Blayde grew up in Onehunga, going to St Joseph’s School and Marcellin College, and is now raising his own family here. He’s always wanted to give something back to the community and was inspired by a similar initiative overseas.
“I had spare time on my hands and could get materials, as a builder. It was a great way to use my skills to provide a service to the community.
“Visiting the libraries is a great way to explore and keep fit, and exercise your body, and your mind.”
They can be found in Tin Tacks Reserve; outside 20 Trafalgar Street; in Grey Street opposite Jellicoe Park; in Horns Reserve down the bottom of Normans Hill Road; on Church Street next to Saltwater Burger Bar; outside 29 Heretaunga Ave; on Mt Smart Road opposite Arapuni Ave; and on Onehunga Mall, outside the police station.
“We started by putting one up outside our own house as a trial, and now the grass is started to wear down as it’s so well-used and popular.
“We put several books in each new one we built and they quickly became full. All now have a wide variety of things to read for all ages. You may even find a book in there that inspires you to try something a bit different to what your normally read.”
Each library is named after one of the letters in Onehunga, from O-A, and feature colourful stencil designs and a bird-shaped door handle. There is also a unique design feature on each one, including a rainbow roof in Heretaunga Ave library and QR code to scan with your Covid app.
As well as providing books, Blayde also hopes the community libraries can provide a bit of fun and adventure, simply through the journey of discovering them around Onehunga. To add to the fun, he has included a hidden word on each library, which make a sentence when all put together.
The latest libraries join existing ones in Mariri Road; outside St Peter’s church on Onehunga Mall, and outside To Wahi (Your Place) at 37 Oranga Ave.
You can keep track of the little libraries of Auckland on the new AKL Little Libraries Facebook page.
Blayde next to one of his community libraries