Monday, 30 June 2014

Leyton's Little Free Library arrives with it's artist

Artist Kiko Honda-Powell took delivery of the Leyton Little Free Library today. She has plans to decorate the LFL with a theme inspired by nature. Sorry we can't give away more than that! However, you won't have to wait too long too see the finished article when it is installed in Leyton in mid July.

Kiko has worked with us before. She added her striking designs to the Little Free Library we created for London charity Eat or Heat, see below.

Kiko studied architectural and interior design in Osaka, Japan. She now lives in London with her husband and two children.

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

A Little Free Library for Frederick Bremer School

We're very pleased to announce that we will be building a unique Little Free Library in partnership with the fantastic students at Frederick Bremer School in Walthamstow, North East London.
We've teamed up with the outstanding students and teachers at Frederick Bremer School to design a Little Free Library just for kids, to share their books with one another on campus.

We visited the school recently to talk to year 7 students about their favourite books, the love of reading and our Little Free Library Project. We were so impressed with the literary knowledge of the kids we met. When asked how many Shakespeare plays they could name, we had to give up counting when they passed 10!

We showed the kids one of our Little Free Libraries and asked them if they liked the idea of sharing books with each other. Suffice to say the answer was a resounding YES! As a consequence we have agreed to build a very special Little Free Library designed by the Frederick Bremer School students, with support from their wonderful English and Art teachers.

Above, some of our Little Free Libraries before they are decorated and below after our amazing artists have added their eye-catching designs.

On 8 July we will be attending the 'Reading is Fundamental' launch event at Frederick Bremer School where we'll be talking more about the project and the tremendous value reading books can have. We love books!

Over the summer holidays our magic workshop in Sussex will build a unique Little Free Library for the school, which will then be decorated with designs inspired by the students. Before the beginning of the new school term, the finished library will be installed in the foyer of the school for students, parents and visitors to see. It will then be available for all of the school's students to share their books with one another.

We've also launched a fundraising campaign on Kickstarter to help fund the project. We're a non-profit organisation that builds and installs Little Free Libraries in the UK to promote reading, literacy and art. Please support if you can - thanks! 

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Promoting reading, literacy and art in the UK

The largest network of Little Free Libraries in the UK

Little Free Library Project UK has built and installed the largest network of Little Free Libraries in the UK and there are many more on the way. Here are just a few of the striking designs that we've created.

"We work with a wonderful range of talented artists to create our eye-catching Little Free Libraries." says Nick Cheshire, Director of Operations. "We want to stop people in their tracks and entice them to take a book." says Cheshire.

The organisation's aims are to promote reading, literacy and art in the UK. The LFLs are aimed at encouraging people of all ages to pick up a book, but the colourful designs are particularly appealing to younger readers.

Little Free Library Project will be installing new little libraries in areas including Acton, Finsbury Park, Woolwich, Leyton, Wanstead and Mitcham this summer with plans to add further locations in the Midlands later this year.

The Little Free Libraries are hosted in residential gardens, cafes and community spaces where everyone in the communities in which they are located can access free books anytime. If you would like to find out more about hosting a Little Free Library or becoming a Little Free Library artist, please get in touch by contacting the the organisation here.

You can also find out more on their website.

Saturday, 14 June 2014

How kids in East London helped create a Little Free Library

My name is Kate Westbrook and I run a start up company called The Climbing Frame which develops and runs creative projects with children in East London. I saw the Little Free Library Project (LFL Project) online and thought it would be lovely if the kids that I work with at The Climbing Frame could take part in some way.

I contacted Nick Cheshire, the Project Manager for the organisation and he thought it was a great idea to involve children in the design of a Little Free Library.

Working with a group of 5-9 year olds at The Mill on Coppermill Lane in Walthamstow, we decided to take our inspiration from lots of lovely fresh fruit and made bright graphic collages with coloured paper. There were grapes, strawberries, apples, pears, grapefruits, oranges, bananas and even a big spiky pineapple! During our making session, the kids were free to eat the fruity still life subjects - the strawberries disappeared particularly quickly!

I then took photos of their wonderful designs and painted them onto a special Little Free Library that the LFL Project had built for us. The kids' designs were so vibrant and graphic, they looked brilliant plastered all over the Little Library. One of the things that made this Little Library so special was that it was built especially for children and specifically smaller than all the other Little Libraries. In fact, I was told that it is the smallest Little Free Library ever made.

The Little Free Library is now installed in a special children's area at a family friendly pub in Walthamstow called the William Morris Bar. They have a special club just for kids called the Morris Minors and teach language classes to children at weekends as well as hosting the world's littlest Little Free Library full of inspiring kids books.

By Kate Westbrook, Founder of the Climbing Frame and Art teacher.

Friday, 13 June 2014

The Little Free Libraries with an important message

Life has not been the same since my other half and I became hosts of a Little Free Library in Walthamstow, East London. It sounds dramatic but never before have I felt the urge to nip out the front door, dressing gown-clad at 6.30am, to check the overnight activity within the house shaped box perched on our front gate. I met more neighbours in the first 72 hours of it being installed than I had in the seven years I’ve lived here.

Colourful "Cartoon Cathouse" by illustrator Tim Reedy

Sometimes I peer out the window to watch the faces of children light up as they spot it (ours is a cartoon cathouse painted by my partner Tim Reedy so it’s a kid-magnet). Lovely upbeat comments from adults waft through our open windows. I feel incredibly proud, if not a little smug to have got one of these libraries. Our cat, who tends to spend most of his time out in the front now, soaking up the adoration from passing children is also getting a little too big for his boots.

But there is a serious message too. These wonderful, fun Little Free Libraries encourage everyone to pick up a book. No questions asked, no money paid, no reasons needed. They walk by and if they see a book they fancy, they take it. They’re reading. And that’s wonderful.

I teach literacy to adults in my borough of Waltham Forest. I know for a fact that literacy is a problem in my backyard, just as it is in yours. According to the National Literacy Trust, one in six people suffers with reading and writing. This means their literacy is below the level expected of an 11-year-old.

There is a lot of focus on children’s literacy and of course that is important. However, when someone leaves compulsory education, they can flounder; hiding their problems from others by asking their partners to fill out forms and such like. Often those people can spend years, decades, if not all their lives, not being able to read and write effectively.

Some of my students sacrifice their evenings to study with me because they find their reading skills are being superseded by their children’s. Others are there because they are being passed over for jobs and they want to improve their career prospects. Many are embarrassed about their literacy skills. They lack confidence and can be morbidly quiet. Literacy is not just reading and writing, but speaking and listening too. I see that just as their reading and writing improves, so do their verbal skills.

These people are busy. Most have jobs or children or both. When we start the course and I ask if they read books, they tell me they don’t have time. Some lack the confidence of tackling a book aimed at adults with their long words and thick pages. That’s why they prefer to read to their children, and when their kids can read better than them, they’re at a loss.

We do work with the public libraries and in no way do these Little Free Libraries supplant the wonderful work they do. Yet it’s a fact of life that many of my students don’t visit the libraries or if they do, it’s with their kids, to find books for them.

So if one person picks a book out of a Little Free Library that they happen to walk past, then that is a brilliant, positive thing. In my class, once we have visited the main library together, we have regular discussions about what we’re reading. Not everyone is. But some are and they talk with passion about the plot or how dreadful the storyline is and it’s brilliant to hear.

So, yes, these Little Free Libraries are a fun addition to the neighbourhood. They are a colourful talking point and have encouraged people to pass their cherished books on. But there’s an important community benefit here too.

Kate Bohdanowicz, Little Free Library host and adult literacy teacher
London E17

For more details on London's Little Free Library Project visit