Friday, 26 June 2015

Books in the playground

Books open us up to a world of imagination, but before a child chooses to pick up, open and read a book, they need to be inspired to do so. If books are fuel for the imagination, then the places where the books reside must inspire us too.

As part of a new national project we're installing unique and engaging Little Free Libraries in schools, more specifically in the school playgrounds, where children play. The scheme encourages children to take books as well as share their favourite stories with one another too.

Children at Priory Infants School at the launch of their Little Free Library

Each Little Free Library is decorated with an engaging artistic design, in many cases based on ideas suggested by children during school workshops.
Illustrator and author Polly Dunbar with students at Priory Infants School
We work with a wide range of professional artists and illustrators, who not only decorate our Little Free Libraries, but also come into schools with us to conduct art workshops. We also host community events outside school aimed at encouraging children's interest in art. Below, an aspiring artist at a recent event at Higham Hill Hub in North East London. Artist Kiko Honda-Powell created mini LFL templates for budding designers to create their own Little Free Libraries.

"I've designed a Little Library!"
Teachers and literacy leads at the schools we have worked with tell us that they are keen to use every possible resource available to promote reading in their schools and at home. By supplementing school libraries with Little Free Libraries, children have even more access to books and in less conventional settings.

"Having Little Free Libraries at School, where children can choose a book to keep and perhaps return one with a recommendation, will make a huge difference." said Deputy Head Ben Cooper from Heathmere Primary School in South West London.

We also work with partners such as publishers and other charities such as Give a Book to access high quality books to stock our Little Free Libraries.

Illustrator and author Gary Northfield with children at Heathmere Primary School
In a recent report Save the Children outlined four key drivers to help ensure children are able to read well:
  1. Celebrating the enjoyment of reading in communities;
  2. Supporting children to develop good early language skills before starting school;
  3. Providing the right support to primary schools; and
  4. Supporting mothers and fathers to help their children's reading.
Little Free Libraries, as part of an overall strategy, are able to support the achievement of each of these four goals, providing an excellent tool to teachers, parents and communities to help promote a love of reading.

Our Books in the Playground project offers teachers and educators an additional tool to help promote reading in school, while our community projects are installing Little Free Libraries in front gardens, parks and other community spaces where children and their parents can access free books all day, everyday.

For more information about this project or about our other community projects please email us at

Happy reading!

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