Founded by Sarah Garnett in 2003, The Footpath Library grew out of sorrow, a simple observation and the desire to make a difference.


Peter FitzSimons

Peter FitzSimons is a former Wallaby, a best-selling author and a writer for The Sydney Morning Herald. He is the author of over 28 books – his latest is James Cook: The Story Behind the Man Who Mapped The World. Peter also holds the Guinness World Record for the longest interview, a record he shares with Richard Glover.

The Park Bench

Sarah Garnett

The Footpath Library’s Founder and Managing Director is a video producer and support worker and completed a BA major in Anthropology in 2018, after her Footpath Library friends ignited an interest in human diversity. Sarah started The Footpath Library in 2003 and is passionate about encouraging literacy from an early age and making books accessible to everyone who loves reading.

Barbara McKellar

Barbara is an avid reader, a curious traveller and explorer, a dedicated volunteer (literacy tutor, primary ethics teacher, high school mentor), experienced board member and recent retiree. She loves asking questions and having conversations, and the work of the Footpath Library provides great opportunities for conversations and connections with people through books. She is a great believer in the power of books to inspire, enrich and change lives.

Shelley Norton

Shelley is  currently the Director Brand Strategy for PwC Australia among other advisory roles for NFPs. A book lover who is passionate about the power and connection books and reading can bring. Shelley is grateful for the opportunity to be involved in a fabulous organisation that set out to enrich the lives of those experiencing homelessness through the comfort and companionship of books and social connection, helping to give back a sense of dignity and confidence to our readers.

Penny Mapp – Chair

Penny thinks differently and lives her life in a state of wild and permanent curiosity. She thinks this may be because of her art and design background – it helps her question the status quo, interpret situations differently and find creative solutions to the problems thrown her way. She serves on a number of commercial and philanthropic boards, is a natural collaborator and loves connecting amazing people.

Penny believes in the the power of communities, the importance of social connection and the ability of books to open our eyes, which is why she is thrilled to be part of The Footpath Library team.

David Anthony

David is an experienced board director and currently a solicitor with Corrs Chambers Westgarth where he specialises in commercial litigation and arbitration.  He is a passionate advocate for both LGBTI+ diversity and inclusion and the value of books and reading.  David is thrilled to be part of The Footpath Library and to have the opportunity to share the joy of reading with everyone.

Dean Isreb

Dean is an experienced management consultant, helping government and businesses to shape their strategies, understand and improve the customer (and citizen) experience and undergo large-scale transformation. An avid reader, particularly of history and biographies, he has lived experience in the power of books to transform lives. Dean believes that storytelling helps define who we are, who we want to be and enables a shared connection between all of us. When he isn’t working or reading, you’ll find him cycling or running somewhere in the bush.

Victoria Adams

Victoria currently works in corporate finance advisory and investment, addressing the challenge of climate change. Passionate about having a positive impact, Victoria is an avid reader and believes in the ability of books to enhance lives and connections. She is excited to be part of The Footpath Library team.

Part-Time Staff

Sarah Garnett

Managing Director

Sarah Christiner

Perth Branch Manager

Sarah has worked across a plethora of fields, never quite finding a job that fit her jigsaw life right… until The Footpath Library came along! Working with TFL nurtures Sarah’s passion for literature and is meaningful. She is grateful to be offered this chance to join the team and looks forward to making a difference.


Karen Murphy

Programs Manager Sydney

Karen has worked in the Not-For-Profit sector for over 20 years and loves the opportunities this sector provides to combine human connection and a solution focused approach. She is passionate about community development and the key part that a sense of belonging plays in our lives.

Karen also loves the many ways a book can be an escape, a lifeline, a connector or an AHA moment for somebody and loves that the Footpath Library makes this accessible to so many people.

Volunteer Staff

Shannon Morrow- Admin Support

Vincent Coles- Sydney Mobile (CBD) Library Manager


P. M. Newton (NSW)

“My earliest memories involve trips to the library, choosing books, holding whole worlds in my hands, turning the pages and disappearing into those worlds.
I’m proud to be an ambassador for The Footpath Library, a project that takes the library on a trip to the streets and puts the world into the hands of people experiencing homelessness.”

Emily Maguire (NSW)

“Books have given me great pleasure since I was old enough to turn pages, but it’s when things are really tough that I’ve learnt how essential they are. The comfort, wisdom, company and plain old distraction I’ve found in books has saved me over and over. I support The Footpath Library because I need to know that these spirit-boosting, hope-feeding life-savers are always available to those who need them most.”

Nick Earls (QLD)

“In my ideal world, everyone would have ready access to the books they might need or want to enhance their literacy skills and inform and entertain them. We don’t live in my ideal world, but The Footpath Library takes us a slab or two of pavement closer to it.”

Kate Holden (VIC)

“It’s hard when you’re homeless to keep possessions, and to lose my books when it was my turn was one of the greatest losses I felt. I was so miserable and frightened, and needed books to keep my sanity and my courage — and my vision of what a better life might be like. The Footpath Library is such a simple idea — and such a beautiful and enriching one.”

Jen Storer (VIC)

‘I was raised in a book-free household. My parents were loving people but saw no value in books. However, as is their wont books did manage to infiltrate my childhood. I am beyond grateful for those occasions. Books filled me with hope, wonder and a sense of possibility. Books gave me courage, too. They still do so. I’m honoured to be involved with The Footpath Library, to have the chance to share the life-affirming qualities of books.’

David Whish-Wilson (WA)

“I slept rough myself when I was young and broke and out-of-sorts and having taught in the prison system I’m aware how homelessness and disadvantage can be a trigger for incarceration. In both of those situations I’ve seen how books can not only bring about an escape into other worlds, but can also help bring into definition both a sharper sense of ourselves and of the world around us.”

Ken Spillman (WA)

“I see stories and worlds of the imagination as forms of sustenance, building resilience. For years now I’ve supported foundations that promote literacy and storytelling among socially and economically disadvantaged children in poorer nations, and I’m proud to be an Ambassador for The Footpath Library, which provides opportunities to marginalised people in my own country.”