Shhhh! The little library that’s had the community reading during lockdown reveal its success

A bookworms dream – the library cove

By Jessica Smith

Two Westcotes book fanatics have turned a new page to create miniature outdoor libraries, bringing reading to our front doors in lockdown with ‘Fosse Road Little Library’ and other literature projects.

Joëlle Bradly, 41, decided to embark on the library project last April, with the help of friend Dave Towers, 56, who said: “We were a month into the first lockdown, and it was all very new, very strange and incredibly quiet everywhere. The mutual aid groups were up and running and we were looking for something that could combat the boredom (particularly for people enduring lockdown in isolation), help with a sense of community and be socially distanced all at the same time.”

Referencing the engagement from the community they’ve received, Dave added: “One person showed their thanks for the library, telling me it ‘kept them alive’ during the lockdown, exploring different authors and genres. They thanked me from the bottom of their heart – that was pretty special!”

Quickly the library took on a life of its own, with a Facebook following of over 400 people, an Instagram of 700 followers and frequent community engagement – they even have a small ‘committee’ of little librarians with a Resident Poet and Arts Director!

LittleSkool, a further project which gives online lessons and workshops from Leicester locals, has around 2K views so far, and following suit in Fosse Road’s success, two more little libraries have been set up in Braunstone, Leicester.

“Getting stuck in a book is a brilliant distraction from lockdown. And the eclectic tastes of Westcotes donators means there is usually something for everyone – it’s run by the community for the community.

“It became a bit of a thing last year when we had multiple copies of Lace 1 and 2 donated. We were known for our erotic fiction section for quite a while!” said bookworm Joëlle, who said big things are coming for this little library.

“We have lots of theme days coming up like World Poetry Day on March 21, and April 26 is the Little Library’s first birthday!” she added.

The library is non-profit, but encourage donations to Woodgate foodbank, and book donations can be taken at the little library on Fosse Road, and its sister branches in Braunstone. Follow the library on Instagram and Facebook to see more of the story so far: @fosse_road_little_library on Instagram, Fosse Rd Little Library on Facebook.