Author Adele Parks has opened Guildford’s first Little Free Library.
Operating in over 70 countries, the not-for-profit organisation Little Free Library is an internationally-run free book exchange. Open to anyone wishing to "take a book or bring a book", it aims to foster a love of reading within the community.
Guildford’s own Little Free Library opened on the public footbath at the back of One London Square, Cross Lanes Guildford, at the start of this week (18th June). The initiative was funded and organised by Charles Russell Speechlys and designed and built by Godalming-based charity, Skillway, which teaches practical workshop skills to disadvantaged or disengaged young people in the local community.
Hachette UK, one of Parks’ publishers, provided a range of book covers which have been used to decorate the bookcase, including the cover of Parks’ most recent novel, The Image of You (Headline). Hachette also donated a range of fiction, non-fiction and children’s books for the exchange's opening.
Becky Lawton, senior associate at Charles Russell Speechlys, who organised the initiative along with her colleague Hannah Bleach, said Little Free Library aimed to "inspire a love of reading" and "spark creativity by encouraging book exchanges in local neighbourhoods".
"We hope the library is enjoyed by people of all ages in our local community," Lawton said.
The first registered Little Free Library in Guildford joins a community of 60,000 similar initiatives around the world.
Parks, who is also patron of Guildford Book Festival and ambassador for the Reading Agency’s Read Ahead programme, told The Bookseller: "I’m often banging on about the fact I consider reading to be a basic human right and the importance of community, grass root charities and libraries. So when Charles Russell Speechlys decided they wanted to build Guildford’s first Free Little Library, they thought I might be the right person to officially open it. I was thrilled to be involved."
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