Avalon Community Library has come a long way since its humble beginnings in a demountable building with a handful of donated books.

Until the early 1980s, book lovers in the northern part of the peninsula had to travel to Mona Vale to borrow the latest best-sellers.

The library at Avalon Beach is now one of four Northern Beaches community libraries, run by a dedicated team of volunteers and loved by locals.

According to Library Association President Meg Dunn, in those early days, the books came from donations from other libraries, publishers, and members of the public.

Volunteers had to write out overdue book notices by hand and doorknock local ‘defaulters’ in person, Ms Dunn explains to Radio Northern Beaches presenter David Stewart-Hunter.

Nowadays, Avalon Community Library is funded by Northern Beaches Council, and, as Ms Dunn says, “we wouldn’t be what we are today without that funding and their support.”

Although COVID-19 took its toll on operating hours and volunteer numbers, the library has recently attracted around twenty new recruits, who will need computer skills as well as customer service and research skills.

Avalon Community Library will celebrate its 40th anniversary next year. Listen to the full interview below with Meg Dunn and discover how ‘the challenge is always to stay relevant’.

Avalon Community Library is located upstairs at The Avalon Recreation Centre, 59A Old Barrenjoey Road, Avalon Beach.

This is the tenth episode of The Avalon Story, an intriguing series celebrating the centenary of the founding of Avalon Beach.

Broadcast on Saturdays at 9.00am on Radio Northern Beaches (88.7/90.3FM), presenters Wendy Frew and David Stewart-Hunter chat to local luminaries about their memories of growing up in Avalon, any community work they have done, or the businesses they have established. Listen on demand at https://www.mixcloud.com/TheAvalonStory/.

Image: Wendy Frew

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