Roadside book boxes popular

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Hazel Graham (left) and daughter Bianca Fell restock their book box.

Little roadside libraries called book boxes have been popping up around Mid Canterbury keeping book lovers supplied with free books.

Avid reader Hazel Graham believes her book box on Archibald Street was the first in Ashburton.

She had her partner Brian construct the box four years ago after travelling around the South Island and noticing the boxes full of books.

“We were driving down South and I went past one, I said want to go back and see what it is’, and I saw it was a book box outside this house, I had books with me so I thought oh wow I can swap one! and I thought what a fricking good idea.”

Hazel installed her book box outside her house filling it with her own books.

Hazel’s daughter Bianca said it took off really fast, with people swapping books as soon as the box went up.

She said they would advertise for more books on occasion.

“We’ve kept it as adult books, there are enough kids books around the town, it ticks over nicely, the reviews we have had are great, people absolutely love it,” she said.

Hazel loves to check what new gems have been put in the box and will often read a book before putting it back in the box.

She said the most popular books are crime, “and Mills & Boon seem to disappear, but we need more books for guys, I’d like more male reading.”

People who are walking past don’t always have a book on them for a swap, but usually come back with a replacement book or return the book once they have read it.

“There are people who walk past exercising who do bring a book with them because they are going past the box,” Hazel said.

-By Daniel Tobin