Think Differently Book Exchange

July 2011 – Current

Sunday afternoon live music at the Pallet Pavilion. Photo courtesy of Glen Jansen

Project Description

The Think Differently Book Exchange is a public book exchange located inside a recycled fridge on Barbadoes St. It has been running since Sunday 17 July 2011.

This project is a 24 hour a day, 7 days a week, public book exchange, with the ‘Think Differently’ moniker intended to attract books which readers/exchangers have found life-changing and challenging. Built into an unassuming recycled fridge on an empty section on Barbadoes St, the exchange has proven to be a popular resource for both locals and tourists.

The idea for this book exchange was suggested by Sarah Gallagher, a librarian who had seen a project of a similar nature done in the UK. Ryan Reynolds adapted the concept, suggesting the ‘Think Differently’ constraint and wishing to explore the theatrical possibilities of placing a large refrigerator on a vacant site. Rather than place signs telling the viewer what this site was about, Ryan hoped to create a space which drew people in, leading to the use of yellow pavers as stepping stones for example.

The Book Exchange has shown its resilience through a number of setbacks. It was pushed over and one panel of glass broken in October, 2011, and suffered two further push-overs in its first year. The fridge was adapted with a stake at its back to stabilise it, and the glass doors were replaced with perspex. Nearly all of the books were stolen from the fridge twice, but the exchange continued with new books replacing the stolen ones. The local community responded to all acts of violence and theft quickly, showing how important the fridge has become, and continues to be.

Thanks to all the volunteers and readers who have made this project possible!