‘Little Libraries’ at Windmill Hill Primary School in Chapeltown, Sheffield, aims to instil love of reading

A Sheffield primary school has started a book-sharing programme that not only benefits the students at the school, but also children in the local community.

Thursday, 4th November 2021, 11:26 pm

Windmill Hill Primary School in Chapeltown set up 'Little Libraries' that were made out of waterproof boxes where a child can take a book they'd like to read from the box. The children, however, are not required to donate a book at the same time they take one.

The project has received positive feedback from the community, as the school hopes to instil a love of reading in the younger generation.

Alison Pape, the school's teacher, said the school has set up two library boxes, one outside the school on Ash View and one in the Community Gardens in Chapeltown.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Little Library at Windmill Hill Primary school in Chapeltown. Left to right: Lydia, Oliver B, Oliver K, and Millie. Picture Scott Merrylees

The boxes, she said, are not limited to school-goers but everybody, including those who go to different schools, home learners, pre-school children, and adults.

She said: "I saw one of these little libraries when I was on holiday and I thought that was a great idea.

"We wanted to make ours specifically for children, though, so the little libraries are a way for children and the wider community, not just those at Windmill Hill.

Some of the little library designers, Francesca, Joey, Daisy and Emily.

"The library is a waterproof box designed and decorated by our pupils at school. The idea is for the children to come along and take a book out and they can keep that book or bring it back like a normal library.

"Or if they have got books at home that they have finished reading, they can put them in this box and other children can take them out and read them."

Over 380,000 children in the UK did not have books at home

She stated that the book sharing service was created in response to the Literacy Trust's finding that over 380,000 UK children did not have any books at home in 2019.

The little library outside Windmill Hill Primary School was designed and decorated by pupils.

Ms Pape added: "I think it's a really good way to put books in children's hands because that's how many children don't actually have books at home.

"In a way, we also promote sharing and recycling, like reusing things and passing them on.

"The children have been really enthusiastic about it and some friends whose children don't go to the school have praised the programme...which is fantastic."

She said members of the public are welcome to donate books to the little boxes, but the books need to be primarily geared towards children.

"Anybody can use it but we made it very clear that this is for kids and we don’t really want grown up books in there.

"The little boxes are not in the school ground...so we want them to not just be for our school, but for our wider community,” she said.

This is not the first time the school initiated a reading-related project.

In October, the school's newest pupils in the reception year shared their love of reading with the community through a programme called "Slybrarians".

The early years foundation stage children took part in the project by becoming 'Slybrarians' where they each took a brand new book home to read and were challenged to pass the book on for another child to enjoy.

They also put the book back in its protective cover and leave it somewhere in the community for other children to find.