170-year-old rustic law books up for grabs at the Taranaki District Law Society

The Taranaki District Law Society needs to clear its library, so it is offering books to the public for a donation.  Money raised will go to charity - much to the delight of lawyers Megan Gundesen and Jo Woodcock.

SIMON O’CONNOR / Tips

The Taranaki District Law Society needs to clear its library, so it is offering books to the public for a donation. The money raised will go to a charity – much to the delight of lawyers Megan Gundesen and Jo Woodcock.

Leather-bound books dating back over 170 years were once what lawyers relied on. Now they can be yours for a donation.

The Taranaki District Law Society is due to clear its library, which is overflowing with thousands of books, and opens its doors to the public on Saturday to pick them up before they end up in the trash.

While some books date back to the 1840s and are filled with historic cases and crimes, much of the information lawyers need today can be found online.

“Some of them haven’t been open for 50 years,” said company chairman Jo Woodcock.

The couple believe the Taranaki community might want the books for home decorating and hope the rustic editions will be purchased.

SIMON O’CONNOR / Tips

The couple believe the Taranaki community might want the books for home decorating and hope the rustic editions will be purchased.

READ MORE:
* Buy local: Unique collection of children’s books from a seaside bookstore
* Online bookstore helping to share positive representations of LGBTQIA + people

Woodcock and Megan Gundesen, who is a board member of the company, imagine that there may be people who want the books to decorate their home or to hold a piece of history.

While members of society are sad to have to let the books go, they have to move and downsize, and museums have shown no interest in publishing.

The library is like stepping back in time as it is very rarely used by lawyers as they can find all the information online.

SIMON O’CONNOR / Tips

The library is like stepping back in time as it is very rarely used by lawyers as they can find all the information online.

“I feel pretty emotional about it,” Gundesen said. “This is where it all started. This is the start of the legal system.

In addition to trying to repatriate the books, rather than throwing them in the landfill, the company decided to collect donations from people to raise funds for Horses Helping Humans Taranaki, Hōiho Hāpai Hapori.

“They do a lot of work with young people and vulnerable people in the community,” said Woodcock.

The library, which is located at the rear of the Atkinson Building near the New Plymouth District Court, will be open Saturday from 8:30 am to 11:30 am.

“Don’t be shy, we prefer these to go to someone who is going to do something positive with them,” said Woodcock.

Nancy I. Romero