Jul 17, 2011: Think Differently Book Exchange – Cnr Kilmore & Barabdoes St (#7)

Think Differently Book Exchange
Sunday 17 July 2011 – ???

Imagine you’ve never heard of Gap Filler. You’re walking down Barbadoes Street towards Beat Street Cafe or the Herb Centre. You’re waiting at the Kilmore intersection for the lights to change. You turn around. There’s a big fridge on the vacant site behind you. The lights haven’t changed yet. You look again. It’s not rubbish, the fridge. It’s been placed there quite deliberately. There are even paving stones leading up to it from the footpath. It’s beckoning you. So, you feel a bit silly, but you walk down the path. When you get to the fridge, you see it’s full of books. And not just any books, but great & amazing books that changed people’s lives! This is the Think Differently Book Exchange. A little note inside the fridge invites you to take a book, or come back later and leave one. Open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for months…!

Idea suggested by Sarah Gallagher. Special thanks also to Marianne Hargreaves for the great bench!


Happy Birthday Book Exchange!

Our Think Differently book exchange turned one on Tuesday, 17 July 2012. A few people came along for some cake and a book on a sunny winter morning. The fridge has really exceeded all our expectations. It has been so well used and adopted by the local community. In its first year it was pushed over 3 times which has meant it now has a stake at the back of it to make this more difficult AND perspex doors rather than glass. All the books have been nicked twice. VHS tapes, place-mats, jigsaws, crockery and DVDs are some of the non-books that have turned up in the fridge from time to time. Thank you to all the volunteers who care for our dear old fridge.


Gap Filler Project Report – The Think Differently Community Book Exchange

Location: Cnr Kilmore and Barbadoes Streets, city

Dates: July 17 -  ???

GF Time: approx 16- 20 hours plus ongoing maintenance/visits

Sponsored materials: vinyl (Sign Displays), gravel (City Care), gifted bench (individual), pavers (Urban Paving), paint (Dulux)

Costs: $120 for: fridge, food for opening event, 1x gifted book from Gap Filler,

Volunteers: 5

Media: various blogs, The Press, Sunday Star Times, The Listener (x 2), French radio media, footage taken for When A City Falls (earthquake documentary by Gerard Smyth), TVNZ 7, NHK Japanese media.

The idea for this book exchange was suggested by Sarah Gallagher, a librarian who had seen a project of a similar nature done in the UK. This project was originally intended for the Simply Catering Gap site on Salisbury Street, but was delayed as a result of the February 22 quake. As a result, a new site was found and the idea was adapted by Ryan Reynolds. Ryan gave the Think Differently constraint to the book exchange and wished to explore the theatrical possibilities of placing a large refrigerator on a vacant site.  Rather than place signs telling the viewer what this site was about, he wished to create the space in such as way as to draw people in, which led to the use of the yellow pavers as stepping stones.

The opening event was exceedingly well attended with around 150 people bringing books to get the fridge going. A number of people did not bring books that made them think differently and certainly now, 3 weeks after its inception, the calibre of the books has dropped with there being a great deal of romantic fiction in the fridge, which is disappointing but not unexpected.

A small group of volunteers who live in the area check on the fridge each day and the local café (Herb Centre) is also keeping an eye on it.

The media coverage of this project has been excellent and it certainly appears to have been well received by the local community and the arts community. Many people used the fridge in the local area and it seems that people come from the suburbs to use and view it.

Coralie, 7.8.11

There have been a few issues with the fridge in the last few weeks. It was pushed over and one panel of glass broken in October. Nearly all of the books were stolen from the fridge twice. It has made us questions whether we should keep it on the site or remove it. The fast response from the community informing Gap Filler about the vandalism was very encouraging. It made me realise how important the fridge has become for some people and just how many people use it. I have noticed quite a lot of elderly people making use of it of late too and it always gets photographed by tourists staying at the Fowley Towers Backpackers next door!

Coralie, 12.12.11


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