Little wooden boxes have been springing up around Whitley Bay.
Students from Whitley Bay High School have been introducing a neighbourhood network of Little Free Libraries as a way of promoting reading and creating a greater sense of community.
The youngsters aged 13 to 17 have teamed up with volunteers from Whitley Bay Big Local to launch the initiative and have already managed to secure six strategically-placed wooden libraries.
Little Free Libraries provide an opportunity for people to share books within their community.
The students successfully applied for a Small Sparks grant to get the idea off the ground, designed and decorated the wooden boxes themselves and liaised with community groups and businesses to secure locations around Whitley Bay.
So far, Little Free Libraries can be found at The Northumbria School of English; Coffee Central at Whitley Bay Metro Station; by the storyteller’s chair at The Station Master’s Garden; outside the Café Kabin in Whitley Bay Park; within the outdoor learning area at Marine Park First School and outside the town’s central library.
Kathryn Bradbeer, one of the students, said: “The idea is quite simple, people can simply take a book from one of the boxes and swap it with one of their own if they can, although that is not essential.
“The adopted owners have agreed to take responsibility for keeping the boxes stocked and the books safe but it really is as simple as that.”
“The Little Libraries have been really successful within school so we are pretty confident they will work just as well in and around the town and we hope that more people will create their own little libraries for people to enjoy.”
She added: “It has been great to be involved in such an innovative project and work with so many different people. It’s good to know that something you have worked on will have a direct, positive impact in the town and help different parts of the community to come together.”
Sue Miller, volunteer board member at Whitley Bay Big Local, said: “I’m so excited by what they have created.
“The Little Free Libraries are a shining example of the positive contribution that young people can make to their community.
“The students involved have shown real commitment to making this work; not only have they led on the project but they have provided real support to the other businesses and organisations who have wanted to get involved too.
“It has been great to see so many people get involved. Visiting French students to the Northumbria School of English helped to build some of the boxes, whilst children from the first school have helped to decorate them.
“I really hope more people will join us and create their own Little Free Library either outside their shop, their house or their business and hope we see more and more of these colourful little boxes spring up around Whitley Bay.”
For more information about creating your own Little Free Library visit www.littlefreelibraries.co.uk