Food for the mind

Coffs Harbour City Library aims to makes sure that every member of the community has access to reading, including the clients of the Uniting Church Soup Kitchen in the city centre.

“We started this initiative in 2012 as part of our ‘National Year of Reading’ activities and it came from an idea suggested by one of our library assistants, Ingrid Alexander,” said Library Manager Enzo Accadia.

“The library values this initiative as it supports lifelong learning, literacy development and a love of reading in a segment of the community that are often marginalised or have limited opportunities.

“Not having a fixed address or appropriate identification can make it difficult to access some services, so making these books available to these people for free, without normal library membership requirements, helps address the disadvantage of their situation.”

Since the initiative began in 2012, library staff have delivered about two boxes of books to the Soup Kitchen every two to three months, with each box containing approximately 20–25 books.

The books are of good quality, taken from library donations that are not needed, such as duplicate copies.

“This is important as we like them to be in good condition, relevant and of interest, and not looked upon as ‘bin material’,” said Enzo.

“Making the people who read these books feel that they are considered as customers of the library is important to us.

“Each time we return with new donations, the previous delivery is gone - all taken by visitors to the soup kitchen.

“The staff at the soup kitchen are very pleased with the service.

“They look forward to our visits and the feedback we get is always positive.”