Along the road of self-discovery, and finding out what makes me shine brightly in the world, I dreamt of creating a small community project that involved books.
I knew my intentions were good, and my instinct was telling me to go for it. It wasn’t a huge project after all, but I was a little unsure how it would be received, and whether it would even work.
The little bit of self-doubt I had, had been enough for me to hold back for a while. But it soon became apparent that I had been focusing on all the possible negative outcomes, even questioning my own intentions. That old thing of self-sabotage was getting in the way of me turning my idea into reality. Ultimately I needed to trust myself, place my trust in the community, and let them decide.
And so Mr Pickle’s Free Library was created!
I created a free community book exchange, where local residents could bring a book and take a book. With the help of my son we filled a simple plastic storage container with books we had read, loved and enjoyed and placed it outside our house. Notifying the local community through social media, word soon got round. The library is now a feature of our home and our neighbourhood. It is available to everyone 7 days a week, from dawn until dusk.
The idea was born simply out of my passion for books, and the importance of children having free access to books. For the past few years I had been in the business of selling children’s books, and by doing so had access to some wonderful reading schemes, non-fiction and activity books for my son. I witnessed first-hand how surrounding him with books, spending time reading aloud together and sharing stories helped him on his journey to learn to read. He has now become a book-worm himself, of which I am very proud.
With recent cut-backs in funding for local libraries, it was also becoming increasingly more difficult to get to our local library, and I thought others may be experiencing a similar problem.
Now people come and browse whilst out walking their dog, and children come and look whilst on a bike ride with their friends. It is accessible to all; there are books for all ages, even grown-ups now.
The idea of sharing books to encourage a sense of community and belonging was simply something I wanted to do, an act of kindness I suppose. Looking back I had made assumptions about whether it would even be used, or worse vandalised or stolen.
I am now incredibly proud that such a simple act has been so well received by those in our local community, with regular donations and interest when I publicise it on social media.
In the longer term my intention is to register our free library with the Little Free Library Organisation, a non-profit community that now has over 50,000 free libraries registered in more than 70 countries around the world.
My plan is also to create a special home for it that will hopefully catch the attention and inspire more to come and take a look, and maybe take a book!
If you are inspired to take on a project similar to this, our library cost nothing to set up. It was simply a box of pre-loved books placed on the doorstep.
This project has taught me many things, but most of all it has taught me to trust. Trust myself, trust my intentions and trust others.
Sometimes you just need to “Let go of the need to control the outcome. Trust the process. Trust your intuition. Trust yourself.” (Unknown)
If you would like to keep up to date with what’s happening with the library, why not follow my blog.
So what’s next?
It has been such an exciting time for me recently, writing this blog has taken me in a new direction & I am now writing for female entrepreneurs about their businesses. I can’t wait to share with you what I have been up to.
If you can’t wait, and would like help to get your voice out there, and to share your story, feel free to get in touch about my Bespoke Blogging .
See you soon