It takes a Village to foster reading

Lilliput Libraries are a Dunedin phenomenon but the concept has spread to Canterbury, thanks to a BDS staff member and her local Presbyterian church.

Annie Boardman, who works part-time at BDS despatching book parcels to book groups, spearheaded the establishment of two swap-a-book containers at sites owned by The Village church in Christchurch. The tiny 'libraries' - one in Bryndwr and one soon to open in Papanui -  are stocked with donated books that can be exchanged by readers from the community. 

"We officially opened [the Bryndwr library] in November with a wee celebration with the children who attend our Kids Club," says Annie.  "We had a book worm cake."

Lilliput Libraries are the brainchild of Ruth Arnison. More than 140 of the libraries have been set up in suburbs in the wider Dunedin area. They are designed to encourage reading and are caretakered by individuals or groups. Books on offer cater for adults and children.

Unfortunately there was a glitch soon after the Bryndwr Lilliput Library was opened but it is now fully operational.

"We had an excellent 24 hours of borrowing before the library was vandalised," she says. "We now have a much more robust, reinforced library and, we hope, an indestructible plinth for it to rest on."

Annie is delighted with the first week of ‘business’, during which 63 children’s books and 17 adult books were borrowed.

BDS has helped support this initiative through donations of cancelled books from the Scheme.

"I acknowledge and thank you very much for the wonderful supply of books you have given us," she says.

The Papanui-based Lilliput Library is decorated and nearly ready to go; it awaits its concrete plinth, to avoid a repeat of what happened in Bryndwr. 

To see photos of The Village library on the official Lilliput Library website, see


Two young readers check out the contents of the Bryndwr Lilliput library.

The book worm cake made specially for the library's opening.


The Book Discussion 
Scheme is a member of the Federation of Workers Educational Associations in Aotearoa New Zealand
BDS is a member of the Federation of Workers Educational Associations