Like so many boomers Christine Bettesworth left paid work just over a year ago seeking a more balanced lifestyle. She wanted to work in her large country garden near Whangarei, feel the joy of earth and exercise - and the tranquility gardening so often gives.
But as part of her life balance, she felt she also needed something to allow her mind to grow and at the same time earn her a small income. The result: www.mybookyourbook.co.nz
which provides a way of swapping paperback books (mainly fiction and biography). Christine, a librarian for most of her working life, set up the site hoping it would give her the mental stimulation she needed. Other benefits she saw were having control over her own time and being able to spend more time with her three adult children and one grandchild.
As a librarian she noticed that she and her colleagues spent a lot of time online searching for information and looking for useful sites.
"While access to information is highly developed on the web, there has been less change in access to fiction" she says.
"All the larger public libraries have their catalogues online and members can reserve books from home, but they have to physically go into the library building to collect them. Her solution was to have the books posted to homes - which is where her website comes in.
"While I was surfing I came across a site which had just been set up and seemed to be getting a great reception in the UK. I thought that a similar scheme should work here" she says.
She emailed the founder Peter Baillie and met him in London while visiting her daughter. As a result she now has a licence to run the book swap site in New Zealand - and it's just gone live.
Mybookyourbook is a book exchange or co-operative library which enables members to exchange paperbacks (mainly novels and biography). The books are listed in an online catalogue where viewers can make a selection. Christine explains:
"You send a stamped, self-addressed envelope to the book-holder who posts the book to you. You hold that book on your mybookyourbooks bookshelf so that it is available to anyone else who requests it".
Christine believes recycling books this way fits well with the current social trends which see people beginning to look at how we live and what we consume. It depends on members co-operating with one another and supplying books promptly, so it also has a social component. One other advantage is that it provides access to books for those who have transport problems, to rural dwellers or people who are just busy.
Books are provided by the members, so the more people that join and contribute, the better the selection of books will be. Membership is free to everyone joining in June.