Local library for children, by children

A UNIQUE community project is seeing students at Moonah Primary School nurture their creativity and writing skills.

Together with local not-for-profit organisation the Story Island Project, the school recently launched its very own street library, much to the delight of local book lovers.

At the launch, students were treated to a special performance by local actor Matthew Stolp who played a quirky, endearing librarian personality “Mrs Peterson”, sharing stories about a range of libraries across the world.

The street library concept is part of a worldwide movement where communities exchange books via small libraries located in public settings, including parks, playgrounds and on nature strips.

It aims to bring communities closer together by celebrating books and reading.

The Story Island Project added a twist to the concept by creating a street library featuring books made by young people, for young people.

With the help of funding through the Premier’s Discretionary Fund, the organisation ran a series of creative storytelling workshops with grade one and two students that enabled them to make their own origami books for the library.

The funding also allowed the purchase of materials to make the street library, which was built by a group of grade five students under the supervision of teacher assistant Andrew McMullen.

Story Island Project co-founder Kate Gross said the street library was specially stocked with books made by children.

“We love the concept of bringing the street library to the school setting,” she said.

“It’s all about increasing the visibility of literature by young people, for young people.

“We want them to understand that their stories matter and that their voices are important.”

Fellow co-founder Emily Bullock said opportunities like this were vital in building young people’s confidence and self-esteem.

“They feel proud when they see their work publicly displayed and it also gives them permission to express themselves and be creative,” she said.

Ms Gross said the project was a “real success.”

“One student, who is often reluctant to write, ended up making two books because he enjoyed the process so much,” she said.

The Moonah Primary street library is located at the front of the school.

The school community is invited to browse its collection and make donations of books, especially those made by young people.

Caption: Moonah Primary School students Oliver and Willow try out the new street library.