The happy tale of the book corner
Andrew Gee explains why he set up a community bookshelf in Fishponds
When your children have all fled the nest and you’re left with just the cats and a dog there’s a natural inclination to ‘de-clutter’. In our case, this probably means ‘let’s clear some space to make room for more stuff’!
Deciding where to start was a dilemma- a choice between the attic, garage, playroom and wardrobes was made more difficult by a reluctance to get rid of anything with the slightest association with our children’s lives - but a solution was quickly found as we edged our way along corridors with shelves and bookcases crammed with a public library’s worth of anything from books full of sensory experiences for three months upwards to the predictable collection of family encylopedias that nobody every looks at - and everything in between.
We’d had several ‘clear-outs’ over the years and had boxes of books stashed away in the garage and attic so a few more wouldn’t hurt.
One shelf at a time, with frequent oohs , aahs and ‘‘do you remember reading this one?’’ we slowly built piles on the floor of those destined to go. Those that survived the cull were lovingly re-arranged on the shelf and given a loving dust down.
At the end of the week we had reduced the numbers so drastically that we were able to completely remove a wall of shelving and reveal a wall in desperate need of redecoration. Sometimes, we just can’t help making work for ourselves.
We’re lucky to live in a corner house in Thingwall Park and had recently incorporated a community noticeboard into our garden wall re-design. It’s become very well used and liked so when we heard that our local youth club at All Saints Church were in need of funds we hit on the idea of trying to help them out by setting up ‘The BookShelf’. Visitors are encouraged to leave a small donation when they take a book and to return and recycle when they have finished reading them. That way, the book keeps on giving until the pages are worn out. Most of our books were soon gone so we let everyone know this is a place to bring along any that they might no longer want to keep. The response has been amazing and we now have a regular supply arriving on the doorstep and turning our little corner into a hive of activity.
Of course, they’re only put out when we’re not expecting rain and we’re hoping to carry on throughout the summer generating much needed funds for good causes. We recently handed over £100 to the youth club who’ll be putting it to good use providing a great experience to local youngsters. We hope to be able to give similar amounts to a variety of causes and very much welcome any donations of unwanted books (especially childrens’) to make this possible.
And, because Fishponds is quite nice, please come and visit - you’re sure to find something to your taste.