Regular readers of Material Whirl will know that I'm partial to a good book.
The ultimate role model in my eyes is the four-year old Matilda Wormwood who devoured books and used her brain to succeed in the face of adversity (despicable parents, Mrs Trunchbull). I absolutely love delicious words served on paper and any kind of bookshop. I am also part of a regular Wine Club, sorry I mean Book Club, and if I am not blogging about glorious fashion or gadding about around London town, you will most certainly find me tucked away somewhere reading a good book.
So I was very eager to learn about a project called Little Free Libraries E17 [LFL] which is coming soon to Walthamstow, London.
The idea was conceived in America but its popularity is picking up pace across the globe and coming to the Stow thanks to husband and wife team Nick and Rebecca Cheshire. After living in the US last year they thought it would be a good idea to set up a network of LFLs in E17, their previous home for many years, and share the benefits.
The concept is simple but compelling; a LFL is a little community book sharing station. Each library will be stocked with books for passersby to take away and read - it is as straightforward as that. The favour can then be redeemed as users are invited to add their own books for others to read. I love this notion; after all most book clubs will testify that the best books are those recommended by others, that surprise find, perhaps one you've overlooked assuming it is not your cup of tea and then you discover you love it.
Aesthetically they look lovely; resembling neat little house shaped boxes. What I find particularly charming is that Nick's carpenter father provided guidance and craftsmanship to make them look especially smart. Rebecca and Nick have built 12 libraries and with each LFL able to hold around 25 books, there will be 250 - 300 books set up in the network ready to share.
Each LFL will soon be decorated largely by local artists - including the muralist Emma Scutt, the cartoonist Tim Reedy and contemporary artist Julie Caves - and Emma Russell and Hannah Adamaszek, an accomplished artist who was involved in the fantastic Mural on the Marsh project last year.
LFLs undoubtedly possess good looks and great books, but there is substance as well as style. They are a great, simple way to promote literacy for young people as well as inspiring community engagement - which sounds like a cracking idea to me.
Where you can find these little charmers I hear you ask?
LFLs will be popping up at the following places:
- Several residential front gardens across Walthamstow, including Coppermill Lane, Garner Road, Brettenham Road, Ruby Road, Aubrey Road, Cleveland Park Avenue, Howard Road and near Walthamstow Marshes
- The Village Pub, 31 Orford Road
- Arts and Crusts Café, 19 Victoria Road
- Eat or Heat Community Lounge
- William Morris Bar, 807 - 811 Forest Road
- St Gabriel's Church, Havant Road
- 56 St James Café (where an extra tiny Little Free Library has been built and will be filled with children's books and decorated with a kids theme)
Luckily for Walthamstow residents and visitors, LFLs will hang around after the Trail concludes until sadly it is time to say goodbye on 15 June 2014.
So avid readers, Stow residents and visitors and anyone who fancies taking up free membership of a LFL (library card not necessary), keep your eyes peeled from 31 May 2014 as part of the E17 Art Trail.
Take a book, return a book. Engage with your local community. Make someone's day.