Belmont boy finds rare 1878 Captain Cook book in fridge library

Leon Humphrey, 15, is a regular user of the fridge library, and was surprised to find such a rare book in it.
ROBERT KITCHIN/FAIRFAX NZ

Leon Humphrey, 15, is a regular user of the fridge library, and was surprised to find such a rare book in it.

Leon Humphrey went to the fridge, and got a big surprise.

The 15-year-old from Lower Hutt was not looking for a glass of milk but a book. What he found was an 1878 edition of Captain James Cook's Voyages Around the World.

Leon is a regular user of the Little Local Library in Hill Rd, Belmont.

The book, dated 1879, is a collection of Captain Cook's travels, called Voyages Around The World.
ROBERT KITCHIN/FAIRFAX NZ

The book, dated 1879, is a collection of Captain Cook's travels, called Voyages Around The World.

Opened in 2012, it is not your regular library. It consists of two fridges, with signs encouraging people to help themselves to the books inside.

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Leon was surprised to find such a rare book in such an unlikely place. "Someone obviously did not know what it was and put it in there," he said.

Belmont's library opened in one fridge, before a second "branch library" was added.
NICHOLAS BOYACK/ FAIRFAX NZ

Belmont's library opened in one fridge, before a second "branch library" was added.

Des Schollum, from the House Of Books, said he could find only two copies for sale worldwide. One is in New Zealand, with a pricetag of $86.

Although the book was "very rare", Schollum said, it was not particularly valuable. Its condition would play a big role in determining what it might fetch.

Leon, a student at Naenae College, told Wellington Library about his find, and was told staff there would like to see it.

Belmont's Little Local Library opened in 2012, and has proved hugely popular.
NICHOLAS BOYACK/ FAIRFAX NZ

Belmont's Little Local Library opened in 2012, and has proved hugely popular.

He is a keen supporter of the fridge library.

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"It is an easy place to get books. You can put books in and take books out, and you get to read books you would not otherwise see."

Lynette Vigrass, of the Hill Rd Community Group, keeps an eye on the library. She said Belmont started with one fridge, but opened a "branch library" in a second one later.

She was aware of people who travelled from outside the area to grab a book.

The only problem occurred when some kids set one of the fridges on fire, she said. But a local quickly put in a replacement.

"From time to time I sift through and find books that are clearly not going to interest anyone and throw them in the recycle bin.

"Apart from the fire, the whole thing has been a really positive and uplifting experience."

 - Stuff

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