How did The Footpath Library start?

After the death of a young friend, Benjamin Andrew, in 2003, Sarah Garnett decided to make herself useful by working as a volunteer. She started helping serve meals to people experiencing homelessness in Sydney’s CBD.

One evening, Sarah noticed a man sitting under a streetlight reading a novel while waiting for the food van. She started bringing him a few books and it was through this connection that The Footpath Library began.

What does The Footpath Library do?

The Footpath Library gives excellent quality books to people experiencing homelessness in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth. You can read more about our services on the About pages.

How can I help?

To find out how to help, visit the How you can help page it contains the most up-to-date information.

Where is The Footpath Library located?

The Footpath Library operates mobile services in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth.

Does The Footpath Library donate anything in addition to books?

Yes! The Footpath Library also donates new knitted goods (i.e. scarves, gloves and beanies) and new socks to our friends in winter.  Please note we do not accept any secondhand clothing.

Can I give money to The Footpath Library?

Yes! You can donate via cheque or credit card here.

Who are The Footpath Library’s clients?

The Footpath Library’s clients are people who do not have access to good quality books.

What’s the Park Bench?

The Park Bench is the name we give to our Board. You can find out about them on the Who We Are page.

How can I contact you for more information?

Head to the Contact page for all our contact details.

Definition of Homelessness

People experiencing homelessness are those who:
– ‘sleep rough’ on the streets and in parks
– move between temporary shelter that may include couch surfing, emergency accommodation, refuges and hostels; or
– live in private boarding houses, without their own bathroom or kitchen and without security of tenure.

The Hidden Homeless
According to the 2011 ABS Census of Population and Housing 94% of people who are experiencing homelessness are not on the streets.

Homelessness Australia identifies four key groups of people who are often overlooked and undercounted when it comes to finding people experiencing homelessness:

– Women and children who become homeless because of domestic and family violence
– The old and young staying with other households
– People in housing crisis
– Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People

Read more on homelessness