By Mike Dinsdale
A Whangārei woman's efforts to brighten up her neighbourhood and provide a free reading spot for the community have been frustrated by the theft of a bench set up beside her Little Free Library.
Brigid Sinclair set up her colourful Little Free Library outside her Morningside Rd home at the start of this month. Sinclair, who has painted her Morningside Rd home into a colourful celebration, painted up a donated fridge to become a bright, and waterproof, "Little Free Library".
She then put out a call for somebody to donate an old bench to put beside it so community members, particularly the frail and elderly, could enjoy a nice read in the sun.
Sinclair was humbled when she made the request on Facebook and a woman donated a new black-metal bench from Bunnings.
So in keeping with the literary theme she painted a quote on it in white paint - "If the finish line feels too far away, don't look at it. Just look down at your feet and take your next, best step" and "Little Free Library seat for sitting, reading and resting.''
Sinclair said the seat had gone down well with the public, with many using it, but then between 8pm on Sunday and 6.30am yesterday somebody stole it.
''I put it there for the good of the whole community, to give something back, and the community liked it. Just at the weekend there were a couple of older ladies there using it to sort out their books [for the library] and for a nice sit-down,'' she said.
''I was already starting to landscape around it.''
Sinclair was loath to have to secure the seat if she got it back, but accepted that may have to happen.
''I set up the Pataka Kai [further up Morningside Rd] and one night all the veges in there were thrown across the road. That was a really sad thing to see, and made me think 'what's the point?' We shouldn't have to lock everything up to stop people stealing things.''
Sinclair said if anybody had the bench they could simply put it back, no questions asked.