“Little Free Libraries” have been installed in five community green spaces by Reigate & Banstead Borough Council, to help make literature available to residents as they go about their everyday lives.
The colourful miniature libraries are the size of dolls’ houses, and hold about 20 books each. The boxes feature in:
- Memorial Park, Redhill
- Lady Neville Park, Banstead
- Earlswood Lakes
- Priory Park, Reigate
- New Pond Farm Allotment, Reigate
The council aims to encourage residents to borrow and exchange books from the libraries, share a love of reading with one another, and spark conversations about literature. It’s also hoped that people will be encouraged to stay longer in the parks, helping to support positive health and wellbeing.
All five libraries hold a variety of books suitable for all ages, from board books for young children to adult literature across various genres. The council will also celebrate a variety of fun literary themes and anniversaries during the year.
Cllr Alex Horwood, executive member for greenspaces, said:
“This is a wonderful initiative and great addition to our green spaces. These new and creative installations add a welcome community feel to our parks and community areas across the borough, and serve as an additional platform to access books and encourage further reading for residents of all ages.”
The books themselves have been donated by borough residents and Redhill-based charity Stripey Stork, and can be borrowed and exchanged for different titles, keeping up the choice of books as the reading communities grow.
The current locations of the Little Free Libraries are close to cafes to ensure footfall and enable monitoring. The council’s greenspaces team will look at the potential to introduce them elsewhere in the borough in the future.
Each of the boxes has been designed, created and painted by local crafts people: Paul Ritchie, Clare Ritchie, Kirstin Wood and Daniel Balcombe. The Surrey Care Trust will oversee the painting of the New Pond Farm library as part of its Gateway Community Allotment project.
The concept behind the libraries is the work of a non-profit organisation, the Little Free Library, which started in America. There are now more than 75,000 Little Free Libraries in 88 countries.