Reigate & Banstead Borough Council has installed ‘Little Free Libraries’ into five community green spaces to help make literature available to residents as they go about their everyday lives.
The colourful miniature libraries, the size of dolls’ houses, hold about 20 books each. They feature in five locations across the borough: Redhill Memorial Park; Lady Neville Park, Banstead; Earlswood Lakes; New Pond Farm Allotment, Reigate; and Priory Park, Reigate.
Their purpose is to encourage residents to borrow and exchange books from the libraries, share a love of reading with one another, and spark conversations about literature. The new libraries will also encourage people to stay longer in the park, 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 all genres, including crime thrillers and works by Shakespeare. The Council will also celebrate a variety of fun literary themes and anniversaries across the year.
Conservative Councillor 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 currently occupying the new little libraries have been donated by borough residents and Redhill-based charity Stripey Stork. These can all 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 cafés to ensure footfall and enable monitoring. The Greenspaces team are considering the potential to introduce them in other locations across the borough in the future.
Each of the libraries 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.