Stop the presses! For a good read

2015-08-11 06:01
A free weekly book display in Albertyn Road aims to create a culture of reading.

nicole mccain

A free weekly book display in Albertyn Road aims to create a culture of reading. PHOTO: nicole mccain

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“Free books, Tuesday afternoons.”

The sign on Albertyn Road has been drawing avid readers for almost four years, who every week gather to browse through books set up on a wall in the busy street.

Love stories and adventure novels, especially by Wilbur Smith, always find a home, surpassed only by Bibles and dictionaries.

The books have all been saved from pulping and are lined up in the hopes of finding a new home with one of the many pedestrians passing on their way to or from the train station.

And find a new home they do, with almost 20 boxes of books unpacked each week.

Priscilla Seconna found herself a few treasures among the books, saying her daughter’s friends often stop there after school. She decided to stop when driving past.

“It’s good to encourage reading. I often buy second-hand books because new books are expensive, or borrow from the library. There’s something for everyone,” she says.

Rachel Fenner usually stops to browse on her way from the train station.

“I’ve found quite a few books here over the years,” she says. “This is a really awesome project. I always look out for books on health foods or herbs, but there is a bit of everything.”

But it’s not just pedestrians who love browsing, says Sue Beattie, who sets up the free book “shelf”.

“Once a truck driver stopped in the street and jumped out to get some books. Even though he was causing a traffic jam, he told me he needed the books because ‘we truck drivers often have to wait a long time’,” she says.

Children’s books are kept separate for younger browsers.

“Every child should have a shelf of books that are their own,” Beattie says. “This is about promoting a reading culture. It’s not a charity project, it’s a reading project.”

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