It’s amazing what you can discover in your own home when you’re stuck there for over 12 months. For me it was a collection of Roald Dahl books from my childhood, hidden away on a high shelf gathering dust. One afternoon, after I’d had my fill of zoom calls, my daily hour of exercise and reorganised my sock drawer for the 5th time, I picked up the pack of books, and selected ‘The Witches’, one of my favourites as a child. I snuggled up on the sofa and lost myself in a world of adventure and excitement, and that was when I fell back in love with reading.
A few months later, Cath introduced me to “Small Sparks”, the idea of taking something you’re passionate about, and sharing it with your local community. She explained that there was £250 to support a small spark of an idea that could grow and be developed into something really special for the community to enjoy. This made me ask myself, what are my passions and how can I share this with my community? The answer to the first question was of course reading. The answer to the second one was not quite so obvious, but after a few hours of exploring ideas – I decided on the idea of a Free Little Community Library.
Free Little Community Libraries come in all different shapes and sizes, and can be found all across the world, but the inspiration for this idea came from Todd H. Bol in the USA who created the first Free Little Library in 2009. Essentially, a free little library is a type of box or cupboard filled with pre-loved books in a community space, where people can pick up, drop off, or swap books. The aim is to make books accessible to everyone in the community, to help save the environment by giving pre-loved books a new home, and to bring people together through their love of reading.
This small spark of an idea grew and grew, with new thoughts of inviting groups and people from the community to get involved by hosting the box for a month, for example the local youth group hosting a Young Adult Novel month or the local care home hosting a Classics month. I love the idea of having themed months, thrillers for Halloween, romance novels for Valentines Day! Plans for future book clubs and coffee clubs arose in my mind, using the Little Community Library as a community notice board to share other local Community events.
I was bursting with bright ideas and my plan was coming together nicely, but before any of that could be put into action, there’s just the small task of actually building the box…
When it comes to DIY I have little to no experience. But luckily, after supplying the measurements for the library and explaining my idea, a local timber merchant has kindly offered his support and has written me a guide on how to actually build the box! (Watch out Nick Knowles, I’ll be a master of DIY before you know it!)
Credit: Leeds Little Library
There are plenty of locations across Ashton that would be ideal for our Little Community Library, but one that really caught my eye was Jubilee park. It’s a really popular, well looked after and accessible location in Ashton, with beautiful flower beds, and plenty of public seating. Dreams of sitting on one of these benches on a sunny day with a good book, chatting to other book lovers made my decision, and after getting the ok from the council, it was agreed!
So now here I am, with a head full of bright ideas, a solid plan of action, and funding from ‘Small Sparks’ to make it a reality. I hope to see you soon, for a good chat in Jubilee park in the sun with a good book in hand.
Do you have a small spark of an idea that you could make a reality with our support? Get in touch at email@example.com.