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Christmas Book Donations - The Benjamin Andrew Footpath Library 19 Dec 2014

By: Danielle Binks

Christmas is looming and the year is almost over. Bibliophiles (the easiest people to buy for!) are probably salivating at the prospect of all those paperbacks, hardbacks and eBook readers they put on their wish lists. And in preparation for all those worded treats, quite a few people will start to look at their bulging bookshelves and think it’s time for a bookish spring-clean.

There will be double-up titles. Heavyweight paperbacks that you now have in eBook format (because you don’t want to haul a 900+ page book on the train with you!). Some gifted books from well-meaning friends that you never intend to read. Other books that you did read but never intend to re-read ever, ever again. And so on and so forth …

You might be thinking a few titles can be passed on to friends and family. Or put up in an online book-swap for something worth your while. Or maybe you’re even thinking of gifting them to the Salvo’s (who seem to have an over-abundance of ‘Twilight’ books these days).

Well those are all good ideas and fine homes for your dear old books. But let me offer one more suggestion – The Benjamin Andrew Footpath Library.

Founded in 2003, the non-profit charity looks to give reading resources to homeless and marginalised people. It all started when soup kitchen volunteer, Sarah Garnett, saw a man reading a book while he waited for the food van to arrive. She started bringing him a few books every week, and thus the Footpath Library was born. The library is currently based in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and will be opening in Perth early in 2012.

The Library has a few stipulations about what sorts of books they’ll accept, and it goes without saying that they should be in excellent condition.

Book Donation Guidelines
The Footpath Library accepts high-quality books in the following genres:

  • Women’s, men’s and children’s fiction

  • Non-fiction, including dictionaries, simple cookbooks, parenting, and self help

  • National Geographic, Australian Geographic, motorcycle and car magazines.

Please note, out of respect for our customers we do not accept:

  • True crime

  • Travel/wine/restaurant guides

  • Get-rich-quick/investment/ financial guides

  • Coffee table books

  • Home decorating, gardening, sewing, craft, fashion

  • Sport (unless biographies)

  • Any books with suicide, depression, or drug themes

  • Computer manuals

  • Text books of any description

  • Magazines, except National Geographic, Australian Geographic, motorbike and car

  • Encyclopaedias

  • Street directories

  • Religious material

  • Used crossword/puzzle books.

I love this organization – they’re a group of book-loving volunteers who are challenging misconceptions about the city’s homeless population. This is a really wonderful charity for Australian bibliophiles to get behind this Christmas. And it’s not just books they accept – the Library also appreciates donations of bookcases, knitted goods and monetary offerings.

A few books that Spinifex is donating to the Footpath Library


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