Library for homeless people in Leeds is launched

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A lecturer has launched a library for homeless people in Leeds.

John Arnison, a lecturer in photography at the Leeds college of Art, had heard about a similar venture working well in London, run by Quakers, and discovered there was nothing like it in Leeds.

Now he stands every Saturday morning from 8am-9.30am outside the Big Issue office, at York Street, LS9, where he hands out books, with help from Mark Wells, a fellow Quaker.

And he needs help from the public with an urgent plea for any unwanted books.

He said: “When people are homeless they cannot join a library as they don’t have a permanent address. It is just one of the many things which stops you taking part in life when you don’t have an address.

“I have asked people living on the streets and those without a home what kind of books they would like and requests include gory horror, racy books and books about World War 2.”

Mr Arnison, of Crossgates, is also involved with the Leeds Homeless Memorial Partnership, which remembers homeless people who have died.

But he added: “Obviously some kinds of books like home improvements, or gardening tips, may not be appropriate reading material for people who are homeless, so please bear that in mind when donating.”

Information leaflets are given out with books about help with adult literacy and dyslexia as many people on the streets struggle with literacy.

Unwanted books can be dropped off for the homeless library at the customer services information centre, at the Leeds Trinity Shopping Centre, on the first floor, opposite H&M.

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16 October 2017.  Picture Bruce Rollinson

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