Aussie Street Library, Pearl Beach …Thursday Doors.

“Be an opener of doors” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

Welcome back to Thursday Doors. This week, we’ve jumped into the red Alfa, traversed the steep hill and hairpin bends down to Pearl Beach, just so we could check out Jill’s Library. This is Pearl Beach’s incredible incantation of the humble street library or book exchange. Without a shadow of a doubt, this brightly painted library full of pre-loved books, is just waiting for desperadoes like myself to pop along.

More than functional, Jill’s Library is also a work of art featuring some of the area’s local characters…a kookaburra, magpies and rainbow lorrikeets and sprays of wattle. I don’t know much about how it came about. Simply that it was painted by Pim and named after Jill. That’s all.

I know I’m supposed to be writing about doors here. However, you barely notice the door on this picturesque box. Rather, it’s little more than a framed piece of glass, designed to keep the books clean and dry. However, for ardent bibliophiles like myself who are peering through the door in search of treasure, the door is a window of possibility. What’s beyond the glass?

Temptation…That’s what it is. Although our place is bursting at the seams with books with buttons flying and fabric tearing under their monumental force, I still want more. Indeed, like Monty Python’s Mr Creosote who couldn’t stop stuffing his face, I can’t stop bringing more and more books home. I can’t say no.

Indeed, this was no exception. I shamelessly raided the library, taking home Kristina Olsson’s spell-binding Australian novel, Shell. However, in my defense, I’ve almost finished it. I couldn’t put it down.  Shell tells the gripping story of shell-9781925685329_lgPearl Keogh, a journalist who is protesting against Australia’s involvement in the Vietnam war. Then there’s Axel Lindquist, a glass artist from Sweden, who is working on the site of the emerging Sydney Opera House creating a glass sculpture inspired by Utzon’s design. Of course, there’s romance. However, that’s almost secondary to this world of living, breathing history. Olsson’s prose is incredibly poetic and philosophical, which I absolutely love. Indeed, it feels like Shell was written just for me. Indeed, it’s opened a door into another world just as surely as that very famous wardrobe door, which took Lucy into Narnia.

It usually takes me a few weeks to get through a book. So, the fact I’ve almost finished Shell in a couple of days speaks volumes.  Indeed, I’ve have been enjoying snuggling up in bed with my book and my electric blanket on. While the Winter sun filters through the curtains behind me, I could almost feel like I’m sunbaking down at the beach, except a cold snap surrounds me. Most homes around here don’t have central heating. We brave the Winter months and invest in air-con for the Summer.

Anyway, getting back to the Street Library…Despite its apparent simplicity, Jill’s Library captures the essence of Pearl Beach, a relaxed creative and cultural community of locals and weekenders who live alongside the lorrikeets, magpies and colourful Rainbow Lorrikeets.  It’s the sort of place people go to exit stress and embrace sun, sand, surf and a good read. Indeed, a good book is even better shared and discussed over coffee and cake.







Thought I’d better share a photo of the real deal also taken at Pearl Beach the other day. While that kookaburra is looking pretty innocent and minding his own business, I’ve had a local kookaburra snatch a hot sanger (sausage) off the BBQ here. So, they’re actually pretty audacious.

Well, I hope you’ve enjoyed that broader story of Jill’s Library, Pearl Beach.

This has been another contribution to Thursday Doors hosted by Norm 2.0 Please pop over and join us.

Best wishes,


25 thoughts on “Aussie Street Library, Pearl Beach …Thursday Doors.

  1. roughwighting

    I walk a lot and most love the towns that have ‘street libraries’ on random corners. In fact, I’d like to place one in front of my house! 🙂 With a woodpecker painting, since we get dozens of them eating up our suet here (and knocking on our window). 🙂

  2. Akhila

    This is a revolutionary concept…I haven’t seen any such here in India (I Donno, if any are there).. a trust ridden concept..really awesome..thanks for sharing this…

  3. Rowena Post author

    These started appearing around here a couple of years ago. The idea is that you take a book and leave a book, although if there’s a good stock of books in there, I don’t think it needs to be strictly adhered to, because you want to keep the books turning over. I currently have a stash of about 100 books on my couch awaiting drop off. I’m thinking I’ll probably need to spread the load around.

  4. Akhila

    Thanks for sharing the fact I was a bit googling on the same now…really an interesting it purely driven on people’s trust, like taken ones need to be returned too, right?

  5. Rowena Post author

    It’s funny for me to think that woodpeckers actually exist after watching Woody Woodpecker as a kid. To the best of my knowledge, we don’t have woodpeckers here in Australia but one would be the perfect mascot for a street library.
    I also love walking and exploring. I am busting to do more overseas travel but am fueling my travel bug with short walking trips atm.
    Best wishes,

  6. roughwighting

    Woodpeckers have really fun personalities (which helps to understand why Woody the Woodpecker was created). We have a huge woodpecker in our area also, called a Flicker. This guy literally stares at us through the window when the suet is gone. Like “hey, guys, let’s replenish this – NOW.” And we do! He is unafraid of us, probably because of his size. But he’s not mean to other birds (like Blue Jays can be). Okay, sorry, I can go on and on. 🙂 Enjoy your walks!

  7. Rowena Post author

    You had one decked out as the Tardis down the road didn’t you, Monika? We’ve found some great books in there. Now, I just need to work out how to dispose of the 100 or so books on our couch. It’s difficult for me to part with even one or two books but the bulk of these are kids books we’re done with.
    Best wishes,

  8. Pingback: Jill’s Library, Pearl Beach …Thursday Doors. | Proverbs 3:5 NIV Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;

  9. Tails Around the Ranch

    Yes, it’s just around the corner from my house. Every year the main library has a sale on books no longer needed in their collection. Maybe you could offer the outdated ones to a library or school in your area? Have a lovely weekend. Cheers.

  10. Rowena Post author

    Thanks, Joanne. You wouldn’t believe it. I have been enjoying reading this book so much that I’d looked at the list of her other titles and was going to move onto something else and found one of her other books at the book exchange outside Church yesterday morning. I couldn’t believe my luck!

  11. Rowena Post author

    Everything moves very slowly in this place, Monika. I managed to drop a few bags of to the bookshelf outside Church yesterday and got the rest in the boot last night. Still need to push harder, but it’s so difficult having to look at each single book and trying to decide if I’m really going to read it.
    Hope you had a great weekend.
    Best wishes,

  12. Joanne Sisco

    I tend to do the same thing – start devouring other books written by a newly discovered author I enjoy. That’s great luck to find one in a book exchange exactly when you wanted it 🙂

  13. Librarylady

    Hi Rowena, I love your little library! I just wrote about these, and was surprised to discover there’s a website where you can register your library and have it on a map of tiny libraries around the world. It’s called Books are fun.

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