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Free Little Library launched in Newbury

Mother-of-two prompted to set up book-swap scheme following council library cuts

Chris Ord


01635 886639

Free Little Library launched in Newbury

“A child that reads becomes an adult that thinks.”

These are the words that prompted a Newbury mother to set up a Little Free Library for the local community.

Following the closure of many libraries, including Wash Common, owing to council cuts, Yvie Magee decided to set up the book-swap scheme at the end of her road.

Last Saturday, Mrs Magee welcomed 60 people to the opening of the scheme, which saw Reading-based author Ruth Galloway read one of her children’s books, while cakes were provided by the Costa branch at Newbury Retail Park.

The small handmade cabinet located on the corner of Stirrup Close and Equine Way (just off Pinchington Close) houses around 80 books for both adults and children.

People are able to access the collection at any time of day or night, to take a book and leave one of their own in its place.

And, since the opening, the mother-of-two said she has been thrilled with the way the community has embraced the new literary location.

She said: “Falcon Wood Design made the amazing little library itself, Barlows Wood Yard donated the post, C&E groundworks came and dug the hole for free to put the post in and so many local people donated books to get it started.

“It really has been a collaborative effort. I’m overjoyed with how it’s gone.

“People have been coming along to have a look and taking books, and I’ve had people asking how to set one up, so already people in Newbury are thinking ‘let’s make this a thing’.”

The 36-year-old started the scheme after driving to Wash Common Library only to find it had been closed because of the sweeping council cuts, which saw seven of the nine West Berkshire libraries affected, with almost half of library staff made redundant.

“It’s just so sad,” she said. “I have been passionate about reading ever since I was young and I now enjoy reading with my two children, and my daughter, Rose, is very excited about the new library outside.

“I really hope this will be the start of a new trend in Newbury – let’s get reading.”

For details on setting up a Little Free Library, visit

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Article comments

  • WashCommonLibraryFriend

    23/11/2017 - 17:05

    A wonderful idea and we wish it every success. The Friends of Wash Common Library are actively exploring ways of re-opening Wash Common Library as an independently run, community library. We already have pledges of money, the support of our local councillors, a website and a Facebook page. A leaflet will shortly be delivered to as many homes in Wash Common as we can manage, explaining how you can help and how to get in touch, or you can email us straight away at Come and support us at our Coffee Morning in the Town Hall this Saturday November 25th 10am - 12 noon.


    • CDole

      23/11/2017 - 21:09

      A fantastic idea and I wish you well with your venture. The only nagging doubt I have is that if schemes such as this are successful, then the politicians will use it as an excuse to close ALL the libraries. They will if they can.


  • Racegoer

    23/11/2017 - 14:02

    A great idea. I have seen these mini book swap schemes in other places and the work well - without vandalism. More of these around the town would be good news as we all have books we've read and are reluctant to through out. This way they can be swapped or passed on.


  • NewburyJohn


    23/11/2017 - 12:12

    Thats all well and good until a degenerate chav comes and steals all the books which is ironic since they can't read