HISTORY OF THE ANNERLEY COMMUNITY BOOKSHOP AND NEIGHBOURHOOD CENTRE INC.
Our story begins in 2000 when Anglicare Refugee and Migrant Services (ARMS) opened a combined bookshop and literacy centre to provide a source of cheap books, encourage book ownership, and to provide language and literacy classes for refugees and migrants from Non-English Speaking Backgrounds. The bookshop was furnished and stocked by donations from the Anglican parishes and the shop and literacy classes were run by a Community Worker from ARMS and by volunteers.
In 2003 ARMS received funding for the language and literacy programs and decided to close the bookshop. At that point the very committed Bookshop Manager gathered people from the local community to form an interim management committee, with Harry Farmer becoming the first President. This group of people worked through the process of establishing the bookshop as an Incorporated Association with a constitution and an elected committee to oversee its operations. The bookshop commenced trading from temporary premises in June 2003 with $20 in the till! They traded their way into solvency, assisted by the manager working in an unpaid capacity for several months. During this time the manager and committee searched for new premises, finally committing to re-lease the original site of the Annerley Book and Literacy Centre. Thanks to a successful grant application the Association totally refurbished the original Bookshop premises, upgraded the shop’s interior and transformed theNeighbourhood Centre into a usable meeting space well-used by a number of local groups. The Annerley Community Bookshop and Neighbourhood Centre Inc was officially opened by Councillor Helen Abrahams in May 2004. Not only had it survived as a ‘labour of love’ for all involved, but in that year it also won the Quest Newspapers Small Business Achievers Award, a truly remarkable achievement in light of the difficulties the organisation had endured.
In August 2004 the Association celebrated its inaugural AGM with Dr Kathy Munro elected as President. Soon afterwards Paul Hodges succeeded Larry Stanshall as Bookshop Manager and has made an enormous contribution, working tirelessly with volunteers and committee members to create a functioning and viable community enterprise that continues to grow and change. Between 2004 and 2007, under Dr Munro the committee focused on ways of building the financial viability of the Bookshop and carried out projects and partnerships including:
- Annerley Junction Precinct Project funded by Brisbane City Council to form an Annerley Traders Group.
- Partnership with QUT’s School of Advertising, Marketing and Public Relations and the School of Built Environment to develop and put on display for public comment proposals for the development of Annerley Junction to be put forward as funding proposals under the Suburban Centre Improvement Projects in 2008.
- Partnering with Eddies Van which provides food and assistance to homeless people in Brisbane to provide second-hand books for people who have no access to public libraries.
- Development of an ongoing program of Donations to Correctional Centre Libraries in SE Qld.
In February 2007 the Bookshop relocated to its current premises at 478 Ipswich Rd Annerley, unfortunately losing the Neighbourhood Centre space in the process, however our gain in that year was when former Mayor of Brisbane Sallyanne Atkinson agreed to be our Patron. The Association has successfully put its stock onto a database to be able to respond to customer enquiries and established an online presence. In the same year Naomi Frampton took over the role of President and has continued to pursue the Association’s vision and aims through initiatives such as:
- Collaboration with organisations such as Open Minds to engage with people wanting to volunteer.
- Donations of good quality children’s books and new indigenous children’s books to the ‘My Mum’s Voice’ program to support Mums inside maintaining relationships with their kids.
We have also hosted Book Clubs, helped to promote local authors, hosted and supported fundraising Booksales for other community groups, established a fortnightly Listening to Literature, program, to encourage people with visual impairment to meet and share stories read aloud and provides meeting space for local groups such as a knitting circle the Junction Yarn Jammers and the Annerley District Historical Group.
Thanks to the ongoing commitment of volunteers, the Manager and management committee the shop reached its 10th anniversary as an incorporated, independent not-for-profit bookshop in 2013 and looks forward to continuing its role as an important part of the Annerley Community.