At the weekend, we took delivery of this small wooden house that’s going to be installed by our front gate.
No, it’s not a scale model of what £100,000 will get you on the Walthamstow property market these days. It’s actually a library. A Little Free Library to be precise.
The idea is people will walk by, see the library and borrow a book, return it later or maybe swap it with one they’ve already read. Our flat is slap bang between two schools so we’re hoping children will do the same. We might even come out and stamp the books for them.
Isn’t it brilliant?
Nick, the lovely man who built and delivered our library, saw his first Little Free Library in Georgia, America and thought it would be a wonderful idea to bring to the UK. According to the official US website, the first one opened in Wisconsin. When ours is up and running, we’ll register it on the world map of Little Free Libraries.
There are one or two dotted around London but Walthamstow will be the first place to host a dedicated community of libraries. They’ll be on show from May 31, in time for the E17 Art Trail. Running until June 15, this is when local artists exhibit their work in a variety of Walthamstow venues.
We’re one of 12 locations (a mixture of residential homes, cafes and community spaces) to be chosen. The libraries are being decorated by local artists but ours is being done inhouse as my other half (and creator of the cartoons on this website) Tim Reedy will be doing the honours.
I can’t wait.
There has been criticism that Little Free Libraries will compete with real libraries, which are already struggling to stay afloat with cuts. It’s a valid point.
I’m a big supporter of libraries and in my role as an English teacher in adult education I work with them closely. However, I do know that not everyone goes to the library and if walking past our little hut encourages someone to pick a book to read, then I’m all for it. I would have loved to have had a Little Free Library on my way to school.
So, do come and use our library. It’s on Brettenham Road in Walthamstow, just by Lloyd Park. Feel free to donate any unwanted books but please don’t do what someone else did and leave a bag of paperbacks out in the rain. Put them on our doorstep, which is covered and dry.
See you at the library.
SEO shizzle: journalist, teacher, writer. I haven’t used these much but look at all those hyperlinks!