Mystery behind library notes revealed

NICOLE BENNIK
Last updated 15:30 27/06/2012

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The identity of a mysterious  origami messenger has been revealed, weeks after the folded paper birds began appearing on Palmerston North City Library's shelves.

Leaving inspirational messages in origami birds is 21-year-old photography student Josh Eastwood's way of getting people to think deeper about life.

"I want to inspire people, to learn, to see, to read, and to find joy, pleasure and excitement in the mystery of life and the world around us,'' Mr Eastwood said.

"I think at the end of the day that's what libraries do. 

"It's about the knowledge and the passion to learn and be excited by stories and science, literature and art.''

The notes began appearing at the beginning of May, and his identity remained secret for four weeks. 

He was discovered by library custodian Laureen Ruwhiu who found a note written on similar squares of paper sitting next to Mr Eastwood as he studied.

With his identity now known, Mr Eastwood continues to leave notes around the library and is sharing his photography by placing images inside books.

"It's all very personal but through this project and public art I'm trying to interact with the public,'' he said.

"To get a communication and dialogue going between us. 

"It's amazing what you can learn from just talking to people, it inspires me and pushes me to be more creative.

"I'd be really happy at the end of the day if it simply made people smile, or that they even took the time to read it, absorbed the facts and then just regurgitated it later in a conversation.''

Folding paper helped him cope with difficult times in his life, a solace he wants to share with others. Mr Eastwood hopes to share his philosophies with other library users and encourage people to think more deeply  about life.

Messages included: "You are one day closer to the end of your life  think about it and make it count''.

"Did you know only 5 per cent of what you see is directly in focus and is sharp?''

And trivia such as "On average, for every kiss, 278 families of micro bacteria are transferred. Don't be scared  kissing boosts the immune system.''

Though   the notes are seemingly randomly placed   Mr Eastwood left each note next to books significant to him, and in areas where he thought they might get a strong response.

"Some of them went unnoticed for weeks; even though I thought they looked pretty obvious,'' he said.

Leaving messages is not a rare occurrence in the library. 

For years, users have left their mark, leaving tidy symbols, initials and messages inside books they have borrowed.

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City Library general manager Anthony Lewis said he was delighted with Mr Eastwood's unique way of expressing himself. 

"Josh's method of engaging with both the library and other patrons strikes me as a rather unique way of engaging in a conversation with his fellow human beings; we can pass it by or reflect on the thoughts, with a smile  isn't that what human engagement is about?''

- Manawatu Standard

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