New Chapter for East Village

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Posted: 26.Jan.2015

Little Free Libraries launches at the former Athletes’ Village

Bookworms living at East Village will soon be able to access free reading material, with the arrival of Little Free Libraries in the neighbourhood. On Thursday 18th December, the former Athletes’ Village installed two mini libraries that will provide residents of all ages with free access to a varied selection of books. The libraries have been designed by local artists, with the aim to showcase the best that east London has to offer in terms of artistic talent and cultural assets.

Created with full community engagement in mind, the Little Free Libraries will be accessible for everyone, from children and young people to adults with English as their second language. Everybody is encouraged to take a book at their leisure, return one or donate as many as they wish. What’s more, members of the community can get involved by volunteering to steward the libraries and therefore ensure that residents make the most out of them.

The installations are part of an initiative from the Little Free Library Project, a charitable organization that promotes reading, art and community engagement in the UK. Nick Cheshire, director of the Little Free Library Project expressed his enthusiasm for the project, commenting ‘"East Village is one of London's newest communities. We are very excited to be installing two Little Free Libraries, which we hope will become community meeting places where people can share books, conversations and get to know one another."

Not only do the libraries offer a wide variety of free books for residents, but they also promote art appreciation and community engagement. Each Little Free Library has a unique artistic design and is hand-built by a local artist, providing an opportunity for passers by to enjoy the inspiring, one-off designs.

The chosen artists, illustrator Evelyn Rowland and jewellery designer Bianca Loh are both East London residents, and were selected for both their talent and enthusiasm for the area. Evelyn Rowland’s sheep-themed library began life as a Christmas card design over 20 years ago and this project is an opportunity for her to bring her illustrations to life whilst Bianca Loh’s design includes illustrations of athletes and of figures talking and sharing books.

Neil Young, Chief Executive of Get Living London, expressed his enthusiasm for the project and the designs, saying ‘The arrival of the Little Free Libraries reflects our commitment to encouraging a strong community spirit at East Village. These are a great addition to the neighbourhood, and showcase the importance of reading and sharing knowledge by making this accessible to all residents."

The install of the Little Free Libraries at East Village is part of an ongoing commitment to bring art and culture to the local neighbourhood. The libraries will be joining recent installations that include a forest of 14 giant ‘Frozen Trees’ from Portuguese designers LIKE Architects, as well as two miniature bus sculptures to celebrate TFL’s Year of the Bus. 

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