“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 https://littlefreelibrary.org/