Minister for Local Government Jeanette Powell has today launched Australia's and the Southern Hemisphere's first outdoor library at the Tungamah Hotel on behalf of the Goulburn Valley Regional Library Corporation (GVRLC).
Outdoor libraries are small weather-proof birdhouse-like structures for books that will be erected throughout communities in the Goulburn Valley and from which the public can borrow books.
There will be no need for librarians, nor a requirement to be a member of a library in this unique honour system for borrowing library books.
Minister Powell commended the GVRLC on their innovative approach to extending the possibility of borrowing books to communities that may have trouble accessing a local library.
"Taking reading to the community could be the motto of this thoughtful initiative in the National Year of Reading 2012 and I warmly congratulate the individuals who have made this project a reality," Mrs Powell said.
"Bringing the pleasure of reading a good book to people who find it difficult to access our public libraries is an admirable objective.
"In particular I'd like to congratulate Jessie McCallum Moira Shire Council Cr and Chair of GVRLC, Mr Charles Gentner CEO of GVRLC, Ms Anne Tomietto the Project Coordinator who was instrumental in establishing this project and Peter Chisnell Tungamah publican and first official custodian of an outdoor library.
"I also congratulate the Yarrawonga Mulwala Men's Shed group who built the first outdoor library and artist Gary Kennedy who decorated it.
"I understand a network of birdhouse book repositories is planned for community centres, nursing homes and small communities throughout the Goulburn Valley and that other local councils are considering establishing an outdoor library network.
"I will watch this project with great interest, anything that increases community access to books, reading and life-long learning is welcome," Mrs Powell said.