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Community library thrives in Beckenham Character Area

Wednesday, December 4, 2019   Posted in: Signatory Notice Board By: Administrator With tags: Community, recreation, services

Christchurch City Council Newsline: 3rd December 2019

A pop up kids’ community library set up in one of Christchurch’s special suburban Character Areas is being well-used by the community.

The Fisher family are based in Beckenham Loop, and love living in one of the city’s 15 District Plan Character Area Overlays as the neighbourhood has a sense of place and personality. They decided last year to set up the kids’ library after seeing one in Australia to add to the community feel.

Kids can pop past the Fishers’ house and choose a book to take home or sit and read on a bench the family have specially built for them.

“We got the idea for a community library when living in Adelaide, where there was one in the local park. It’s been really well used since we set it up outside out front fence,” Miriam Fisher says.

“I’ll often look out the window and see someone there and give them a wave.”

There has only been one instance of vandalism since it was put in and it was quickly dealt with by a Good Samaritan from the neighbourhood.

“I saw there was some graffiti on it one morning as I was heading out and by the time I returned to try and clean it there was already a man in his good business shirt out cleaning it off. The community have really embraced the library; although we put the initial books in it we haven’t had to add any since it started.”

When the family bought the house it had a large fence, which they have reduced in height after returning from living in Australia to create a better connection in the neighbourhood. Keeping fences low to allow views of homes is one of the guidelines set out in the Character Area rules.

“Lowering the fence has made me more engaged with the people I share the neighbourhood with. Low fences make people feel less isolated, more integrated and part of the community.”

The family even used timber from the lowered fence to build the library and bench seat.

Find out more information about Christchurch’s 15 Character Areas.