By Ruth Arnison
So you’re stuck in the doctor’s waiting room surrounded by sick crying babies, tired children and clock watching adults and you desperately want to be out of there? There’s a high chance there’ll be one of our Poems in the Waiting Room poetry cards sitting begging to be read, just pick it up and take yourself off into another world! And if there’s none in sight ask the receptionist if they wouldn’t mind stocking them - they’re free.
For the last 8 years our seasonal poetry cards (160,000 of them) and braille poetry booklets have been a source of interest, entertainment and delight to readers at 367 rest homes, 509 medical centres, 8 prisons, and 5 hospices. Our 33rd edition is with the printer now, a sure sign that Summer is on its way!
Our 2015 Poems in the Waiting Room Lilliput Library project spilled over into 2016. I guess I underestimated the interest of Dunedinites - after all we are a UNESCO City of Literature. PitWR originally planned to fund 10 Lilliput Libraries but we extended that to 100 and now maybe more.... We have 60 scattered around Dunedin, with another 30 being painted, and a long long waiting list. Luckily the Taieri Blokes Shed guys and the Otago Corrections Facility inmates came to our rescue. They’ve been building our Lilliputs for free so we pay for the materials only. Local artists, school art groups, university students, community and disability art groups have all donated their time and talents to paint the Libraries before they go off to their forever homes.
The libraries are more than just book suppliers. An elderly man told me the Lilliputs were a destination when he walked his dog. Guardians say people often start chatting at the libraries and discover they’ve lived in the same street for years.
This is so cool! Sophie (aged 3) and I walked past this morning and grabbed a book about a dog for her to read in the pram on our way around the block. She was so excited! and dont worry, we'll be back with another book on our next walk!
Many thanks from Barrie at Broad Bay, just love the little libraries - I am on my third book from Broad Bay and I have one from Mac Bay. I read mainly biographies and travel.
Calton Hill Lilliput - Me and Jimmy love having this in our street, it makes it feel more like a community. Great asset to the hood.
Love our lilliput library visits. We found a picture book and it has become my 3 1/2 year old kid's favourite book. And with his speech delay, it just so happened to fit in with everything his speech therapist has said about sounds to do with his vehicle interest.
As each library is placed on site our Google Map is updated. Check it out here. Donations to support the construction of more Lilliput Libraries can be made via the Lilliput Libraries Givealittle site.
Sheryl McCammon, a PitWR trustee and friend, and I dreamed up another PitWR project over winter - Poems on Steps (POSTs). Once we had all the approvals and consent forms signed it was Spring, so with Resene supplying all our paint we got to work on our first set of steps in Dunedin. Actually 'we', is a very loose term! Sheryl did all the painting and I just chatted to passers-by, kept the parking meter fed, and read stories to Sheryl as she worked. Hence our logo portrays Sheryl painting and me reading!
If you like playing with words then you might like to enter PitWR’s current poetry competition – entries close on February 28. There are three monetary prizes plus every entry will be considered for inclusion in future poetry cards. Further information may be found on the blog waitingroompoems.wordpress.com