Prisoners at Spring Hill Corrections Facility have built and decorated over 40 ‘little libraries’ for book lovers in towns and villages across the Waikato.

One of the little libraries.The little libraries provide rural communities that don’t have easy access to public libraries with the opportunity to borrow and exchange books. The project is part of the Waikato District Council’s Placemaking programme designed to bring local communities together by reclaiming public spaces.

Each little library is uniquely decorated in a colourful design and can hold 20 to 30 books. They are installed in prominent places within communities and will be kept stocked by residents.

For example, one library will be placed outside the Tuakau Museum to honour Sir Edmond Hilary who grew up in the town. Images on the library depict various elements of his life, including his passion for beekeeping and the tractor he modified and took on his expedition to the South Pole.

Working on the Tuakau little library.

One prisoner who has been creating little libraries for over a year said he really enjoyed being part of the project and welcomed using his artistic skills to do something positive for the Waikato community.

Creative projects like this enable prisoners to develop new skills which can help reduce their likelihood of re-offending on release.

Communities who will receive a little library include Aka Aka, Kariotahi, Otaua, Port Waikato, Glen Murray, Te Akau, Waingaro, Glen Massey, Pukekawa, Onewhero, Waerenga, Hukanui, Mangatawhiri, Mangatangi, Maramarua, Rangiriri, Te Kauwhata, Glen Afton, Pukemiro, Te Kowhai,  Whatawhata, Puketaha, Tauwhare, Eureka, Matangi, Tamahere, Te Uku and Waitetuna.