Have you seen the Little Free Libraries (LFL) popping up around London? They’re small huts decorated by local artists, found in residential areas (parks and people’s gardens, generally), all containing books for you to take. And add to, if you like.
Nick Cheshire, director of the project in the UK (the idea originally started in the US), told us, “we saw a little free library in the USA (in Athens, Georgia) last year and thought it was a fantastic initiative. I contacted the founder and director of the Little Free Library in the USA and explained that we wanted to launch a UK charity to further the concept. He thought this was a great idea and gave us his endorsement.”
The little free libraries are built in a workshop near Brighton and hold about 30 books each, or around 50 children’s books — “while our charity promotes reading for everyone, there is a special emphasis on children and young people,” says Nick. Funding comes from local non-profits and Kickstarters, and are then looked after by communities.
Felicity Hall will host a LFL in the future. Why? “Simply because we love books, and we love Leytonstone. Leytonstone has a good library with a large children’s section but it is separated from this part of Leytonstone by the A12, so we are hoping that the LFL will help remind people how wonderful it is to have a library service (in spite of the cuts), and that having access to the Little Free Library will encourage them to use the Public Library if they don’t already.”
There are currently 12 LFLs in Walthamstow, and ones in Finsbury Park, as well as by Victoria and in Clissold actual parks; keep your eyes peeled for LFLs appearing soon in Acton, Woolwich, Wanstead, Camden, Mitcham and the aforementioned Leytonstone. Remember, all you need to do is take a book, return a book or donate a book.