Leave a book, take a book, share a book
Little libraries are popping up all over Greater Manchester. It’s a great way to share books in the community, reading and reusing books instead of throwing them in the bin.
The Lowther Road Free Little Library in Prestwich was started by Gemma in Spring 2019 and keeps on growing. The inspirational little library is not only a great way to share books, but it really has become part of the local community. The library is a collection point for the Humans Manchester foodbank and supports the Beacon Service, Bury’s social prescribing team by contributing to the Beacon Box each month with book reviews.
Speaking about what inspired her to start the free little library, Gemma says: “I’m an avid reader, I have had a love of books as sources of information, inspiration, and entertainment since a very young age. As such I’ve accumulated a lot of books over the years! I had visited Free Little Libraries in other towns and villages, and seen lots online, there were even a couple in Prestwich When I first moved here. I loved the idea of sending books back out into the world to be enjoyed by others, and I loved the idea of just stumbling across a little cupboard of books – especially for kids – there’s just something so unexpected and magical about it.”
“Starting a free little library was something I’d talked about for years really, but it seemed so logistically complicated, but in the end, I knew I had to part with some of my books and I decided to just go for it.”
Gemma started with a simple plastic box which she brought indoors in the evening. This quickly progressed to two boxes, and a shelf, then another box. Pretty soon Gemma knew she’d have to get something more permanent!
“We sourced all of our resources from free sites locally, first our house shaped shelves, then someone offered to make us doors for it, then finally a lady offered us her two-tier rabbit hutch which has been fantastic to house the children’s books. And all our donations are dropped off by people in the local community. What started with a box of my own books has grown massively and books often take up space in our shed when we get large donations from people.”
If you would like to start your own little library, Gemma’s advice is “Just go for it! There’ll always be a million reasons not to do it, but the joy we get from our little library is worth it. I’ve helped 3 people start up little libraries of their own.”
Gemma’s tops tips and advice.
- There is a lot more physical and mental work involved than I had expected!
- Make sure the library is on your property (not obstructing the pavement etc).
- Make your cupboard weatherproof.
- Decide if you’ll take large donations and plan where you’ll keep them; and
- Get ready to get to know your neighbours and passers-by really well!
Lowther Road Free Little Library is a whole family project, Gemma says; “We all benefit in so many ways; we get to meet people, we get to read books we may not otherwise find, we get to share books we’ve enjoyed with others, and it’s a great way for us to show our kids how important local community is, and how we can all contribute to that.”
“Far and away my biggest joy of our little library is being able to give access to so many books. We get such quality donations and such lovely comments from people who use the library, from tiny tots up to adults, there really is something for everyone and never any obligation to return the books or leave one in its place.”
Gemma’s advice; “Our social media pages have generated a lot of interest and I’ve got to know our regular visitors really well. But it absolutely isn’t a must, and it’s an extra bit of admin you could skip entirely; your library would be just as successful.”
https://twitter.com/RoadLowther @RoadLowther #littlelibrary #lowtherlibrary
More inspiration can be found here: https://littlefreelibrary.org/