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Prisoners help break out books for Waikato district communities

LIttle libraries build for rural Waikato district communities by Spring Hill prisoners
Prisoners at Spring Hill Corrections Facility, Hampton Downs, have built and decorated 30 ‘little libraries’ to bring books and a focus for social interchange to small communities across Waikato district’s far-flung rural areas.

Holding 20-30 books that can be borrowed and exchanged, each little library will be installed and kept stocked by local residents to enhance a local gathering place, to break out books in communities without public libraries, and boost residents’ enjoyment of their towns and villages.

The ‘little libraries’ project is part of a publicly-acclaimed Council ‘Placemaking programme’ designed to help communities to reclaim their public spaces with seating, planting, art installations and other projects and activities that bring people together. 
Waikato District Council General Manager Customer Support Sue O’Gorman says, “This has been a wonderful chance for the Council and Spring Hill Corrections Facility to work together for the good of our district.  Our little libraries project has won popular support in our outlying rural communities and will bring pleasure into many lives.”

Assistant Prison Director Christine Faull says: “We welcome opportunities that allow prisoners to develop their skills and to contribute back to their community.  Interesting local projects such as this help set prisoners on a path to reintegrating with the community after their release.”

Communities looking forward to installing and setting up their little libraries include Aka Aka, Kariotahi, Otaua, Port Waikato, Glen Murray, Te Akau, Waingaro, Glen Massey, Pukekawa, Onewhero, Waerenga, Hukanui, Mangatawhiri, Mangatangi, Maramarua, Rangiriri, Te Kauwhata, Glen Afton, Pukemiro, Te Kowhai,  Whatawhata, Puketaha, Tauwhare, Eureka, Matangi, Tamahere, Te Uku and Waitetuna.

Information about Placemaking, the philosophy behind it and the advantages it brings to the community can be found on the Waikato District Council website (search for ‘Placemaking’ on the site), or by contacting the Waikato District Council Community Placemaking team Betty Connolly ( and Lianne Van Den Bemd ( 

Photo (left to right): Little libraries built by prisoners at Spring Hill Corrections Facility were presented to Waikato District Councillors and staff at the prison yesterday. Pictured (front from left): Councillors Stephanie Henderson, Bronwen Main, and Rob McGuire with (back from left) Waikato District Council General Manager Customer Support Sue O’Gorman and the Council’s Placemaking team, Community Development Adviser, Lianne Van Den Bemd, and Policy Planner Community Development, Betty Connolly, and with (back from right) Assistant Prison Director, Christine Faull, Industries Manager Sean Smith, and Instructor Andrew McBean.