Durbanville book exchange beats library lockdown blues

The library in Lyn Bauer's Durbanville home.

A Durbanville woman has opened her home to book lovers during lockdown.

Lyn Bauer started a book exchange from her entrance hall in May after hearing lockdown had closed libraries.

“I’m not a reader, but have three pensioners living with my husband and me. They were exchanging books and always looking for something to read. I then came up with the idea of being able to help them and like-minded people.”

Bookworms must contact her before they visit her Sonstraal Heights home, and only one person is allowed inside at a time. They must wear a mask and they are given hand sanitiser at the door.

“I haven’t really advertised too much as I am battling to find bookshelves at a reasonable price and wanted all the books to be neat and easily accessible. I then came up with the idea of making crates out of pallets. Someone kindly donated some pallets and a young man made up the crates for me. It’s been a costly project, and I’m running out of space again. Once more I’m needing more pallets and someone to make up the crates for me. I hate asking but appreciate any donations.”

Ms Bauer said the service was open to all, and operating times were flexible because there was always somebody at home.

“The person brings the amount of books they would like to exchange and then changes them for the same amount from the library. I try to keep them all in alphabetical order. Once they enter my home, whoever opens the door for them then stays in the main house so that the person does not feel like we are hanging over them, and they then let themselves out once they have got the books they want. It is all very secure, and my family or I are always within earshot of what is going on.” 

A preacher’s wife, Ms Bauer said she loved helping the community, the poor and the needy. 

“My favorite motto in life is, ‘What goes around, comes around’. I am trying to bless others as I have been blessed.” 

Margie Edwards used the book exchange recently, taking 15 of her own books. “I was warmly welcomed with all the Covid requirements in place and left to make a selection. It was difficult going away with only five books, but that’s what I decided to do, as I want to reduce my collection. This is such a generous and novel idea to help the community and still keep us reading, but donations for shelving are needed.”

Contact Ms Bauer at