A New Guest Book, Donated By Obi


Our previous guest book went walkabout. I imagine someone needed a blank book and pen for school or something.

I’ve been meaning to replace it for a while. But not having a spare book in the house, it’s just never happened.

Yesterday, when I went to tidy the library, I found that Obi, a regular contributor of books and artworks, had left a new notebook in the art box, along with some felt tip pens, and some inspiring words. Really awesome of you, Obi!

A massive thanks to Obi for the generosity!

I’ve modified the book somewhat. I realise that a guest book has to LOOK like something that mustn’t be removed. If it’s just another book in a library, then what’s stopping someone from just taking it, like any other book?

So… I threaded a cable tie through the spine, and tied a bright red rope to the cable tie loop. I tied and taped a pen to the same rope. And I’ve tied the other end of the rope to the library door.


I also wrote “Guest Book” crudely in hot glue on the front cover, using a glue gun as my pen.

I think the semiotics are instantly clear. This book says, “I’m not to be removed.” At least, I HOPE that’s clear.


Some girls returning a book, looking for a new one to borrow


I was checking in on the library this afternoon. Two girls approached just as I was closing the door.

They were returning a book, and looking for a different one. Awesome!

The library is doing really nicely. People are putting books and DVDs in. There have been loads of children’s books recently.

Best of all, books are being returned.

There’s also steady activity in the visitor’s book. People are writing in it.

Thanks to the neighbourhood for making this thing work. You guys rock! Keep putting whatever books you can spare into the library.

In our small way, we’re doing some nation building. Congrats!



3 Scientifically Proven Ways to Optimize Your Brain | Inc.com


This article in Inc magazine is worth a read of you run meetings, and hope to get meaningful interaction from your attendees.

Some of the useful insights here are…

1. Use neuroscience to start a meeting with doodling.
2. Ask attendees to share their vision of success.
3. Engage in structured activities in the meeting. This creates boundaries.
4. People need to feel comfortable, unthreatened, to create an actual sense of safety.

Of course, I’m fascinated by the fact that research has been done which shows that doodling in a meeting actually promotes understanding and cohesion.

If you’re interested in getting doodling into your own meetings, I’m your dude. Er… Doodler. Gimme a Whatsapp or Telegram on +27 74 104 6386, and we’ll draw some conclusions together.


Artworks added to the library now


Very cool new development in the library… A spontaneous art exchange program has sprung into being.


Also, several books that had been borrowed have been returned. The two that stand out in my mind are RUNNING A ONE PERSON BUSINESS and MAMMALS. There are probably more.

Tells me that the honour system is actually working. Fills me with joy.

Here’s a look at the shelves as of this afternoon.

Top shelf…


Middle shelf…


Bottom shelf…



How to add a guest book to the library


After the pen-contributor initiated paper notes in this library, I decided to add a guest book.

I remembered buying a waterproof “Rite in the Rain” journal some time ago from Amazon. And it’s been lying around on a shelf waiting for a decent occupation. What could be a better use for it than as a communication tool in a streetside library?


I had some magnetic strip in my garage. I cut three pieces, and epoxied them to the back cover of the book.

I also located a bulldog clip and a pencil.

The result…


The door of this library is solid steel. So the book clings snugly in place.

About five hours after I put it into the library, I found this note…


It’s a request for two movies, or books relating to those movies… CAMP ROCK and LOLA… from two people. They’re probably high school or university students.

So I’ve spread the request on our neighbourhood Whatsapp/Telegram list, and someone has already volunteered to put CAMP ROCK into the library.

I’m thinking that a guest book is a really important part of the feeling of community in a project like this. If you create your own library, I would recommend that you introduce the notebook from the very beginning.

It gives people a chance to be “non anonymous”. I suspect it allows people to feel good about taking a book on a trust system.

Without the guest book, I think there’s a lot of guilt and uncertainty in taking a book. It might feel a bit like stealing. Or some vague transgression.

Having the means to write a message down… whether exercised or not… breaks the anonymity, the strangeness, the outsiderness.