One of the Little Free Libraries in Leeds will be shut after constant vandalism to the books

Volunteers who maintain a Little Free Library in east Leeds have decided to close the service after constant vandalism by local yobs.

Friday, 12th April 2019, 12:38 pm
Updated Friday, 12th April 2019, 12:39 pm

The Little Free Library on Southwood Crescent in Swarcliffe, near York Road, is one of around 30 now in place across Leeds. Anyone can use the facility to borrow or donate books.

In January volunteer Brenda Lockridge, who set up the library and keeps it stocked, was shocked to find that vandals have destroyed books and thrown them across the street nearby. She decided that the books would be removed overnight to prevent further damage.

The Little Free Library in Swarcliffe will close

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Following a spate of similar incidents, she has now decided to permanently remove the library, as the vandalism had begun to take place during the daytime. She believes a group of youths who congregate around a parade of shops nearby are responsible.

"I think we're just in a bad place for it, there's a gang of youths who hang round the shops every night causing bother, and they walk past our house. The police know about it but nothing seems to get done.

"This is the third time now and it's so disheartening when you try to do something good. Maybe if the gangs of youths are dealt with, we'll put it up again."

It's not the only Little Free Library in Leeds to have been targeted by vandals.

One in West Ardsley has now been fitted with a lockable protective case made by a local volunteer after similar incidents of books being removed, damaged and even burned by youths.

The first Little Free Library was set up in Headingley in 2017 after founder Carry Franklin was inspired by a similar scheme she'd seen in London. Since then more have opened in areas including Bramley, West Ardsley, Farsley, Chapeltown, Roundhay, Holt Park and Woodhouse, and there are now nearly 30 across the city. She has received funding from the council's Leeds Inspired grant pot.