Earlier in the year, I was staying over at Nick’s old house in Walthamstow. It was a bright, sunny weekend, just perfect for a little local adventure.
| Stop one on our Little Free Libraries E17 tour was Cleveland Park Avenue.
It’s purple with bears, hares, and pears. View on Instagram.
I’d recently been sent a box full of copies of Jandy Nelson’s The Sky is Everywhere, as part of Walker Books’ campaign to spread The Sky is Everywhere, well, everywhere, and Nick had some books he had decided not to keep (as well as one copy of The Girl Who Tweeted Wolf). So, we decided to explore the local area and visit the Little Free Libraries to leave some of our books and hopefully find some to take away. I posted a video about this a couple of weeks later, but I always planned to write it up for this blog as well, so here goes.
|Stop two, Eastfield Road. View on Instagram.
|The book I picked up at Eastfield Road.
Little Free Libraries are a concept that’s been brought over from the US in recent years – tiny huts containing bookshelves, designed to stand in front gardens and school playgrounds, or inside cafés and pubs. They’re intended to encourage people to read more and to participate in their local community.
|Cairo Road, stop three. I love the purple, naturally. View on Instagram.
I believe the Walthamstow LFLs were the first in the UK, but Little Free Libraries UK have now brought the idea and the boxes to people in other parts of the country, including Swindon, Birmingham, Bath, and Essex.
|Howard Road’s foxy Little Free Library. View on Instagram.
|I wandered lonely as a cloud…to another Little Free Library,
this time in Aubrey Road. View on Instagram.
Of course they are by no means a replacement for public libraries, but I like to think of them as a gateway drug. Many Little Free Libraries are outside and therefore open 24/7, unlike most public libraries. They’re also very pretty and enticing. People will pass them on their way to and from work and be intrigued. They can pick up a book in a spare couple of minutes.
|A double-decker Little Free Library at Garner Road. View on Instagram.
|A close up after I’d made my donation. View on Instagram.
If someone catches the reading bug, they’ll be reading far more books than the Little Free Library can provide, or want to find more books in specific genres, and that will draw them towards their local public library. I hope so, anyway.
|This is Brettenham Road, where Nick left a copy of The Girl Who Tweeted Wolf. View on Instagram.
|I picked up The Rosie Effect for my sister, who had recently finished
reading The Rosie Project. She’s a former reluctant reader who is
currently working her way through an impressive amount of books!
View on Instagram.
|Brettenham Road also features a friendly cat!
View on Instagram.
If people start to feel included in their local community, thanks to LFLs, that can also draw them towards their local public library to take part in activities and events.
|Our final stop – Ruby Road. View on Instagram.
|UKYA alert! View on Instagram.
I had a great time visiting these Little Free Libraries – they’re all so beautifully designed, and it was really nice to walk around parts of Walthamstow that we hadn’t been to before.
When I went back home I felt a bit jealous of the people of Walthamstow and their LFLs – though Beckenham has a wonderful public library that I have loved for as long as I can remember.
I wasn’t to stay jealous for long…but that’s another blog post! Have you read any of the books I found? Is there a Little Free Library near you? Would you like to have one in your front garden? I’d need to acquire a house with a front garden and the salary to be able to afford one first, but I can dream…
If you want to watch my video of the Little Free Library tour, here it is: