Town replete with Lilliput Libraries

Spreading the word . . . Owaka Swap Shop manager Annette Patterson has put up four Lilliput Libraries in the town, including this one outside the Bake House Takeaway on 8 Wakawa Rd. PHOTO: JACK CONROY

The Lilliput Library phenomenon has reached as far south as the Catlins.
While Dunedin and cities further north have plenty of the little libraries, until now there have been few in the lower part of the South Island, Milton boasting two and Balclutha having just one.
But over the past few months, four of the fencepost book boxes have popped up around the small township of Owaka, each with colourful designs.
Owaka resident Annette Patterson and her husband Murray Patterson are the guardians of the libraries, and organised their installation.
Mrs Patterson runs the Owaka Swap Shop, a community facility where items can be exchanged for vouchers which can be redeemed in the shop for other goods.
It was started by staff at the Catlins Area School about eight years ago.
“People bring in all kinds of things, but we do get a lot of books,” Mrs Patterson said.
She thought the excess books the swap shop had in stock could be put to better use in Lilliput Libraries.
“We started in October.’’
She checked the boxes each day to make sure they were up to scratch, tidying the books and making sure the choice on offer struck a good balance.
“We try to remove anything that is overly political or religious,” she said.
The libraries were open for anybody to borrow a book and return it later, or replace it with another book.
“It’s lovely in a little place like this.
‘‘It’s also good for the tourists, who might stop in town for a bite to eat and want something to read while they’re here.”