Pay a visit to Leeds’ first Little Free Library

The first Leeds Little Free Library in Headingley has been so successful the organiser, Carry Franklin, 46, is now about to open seven more across the city. It's a little cabinet on the side of a street where people can borrow or leave books, at no cost.
20th October 2017.
Picture Jonathan Gawthorpe
The first Leeds Little Free Library in Headingley has been so successful the organiser, Carry Franklin, 46, is now about to open seven more across the city. It's a little cabinet on the side of a street where people can borrow or leave books, at no cost. 20th October 2017. Picture Jonathan Gawthorpe
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Tucked away in a corner of Leeds is a small, colourful kiosk packed with stories of adventure, romance, magic and more.

The city’s first ‘Little Free Library’ is by the side of a road in Headingley.

The first Leeds Little Free Library in Headingley has been so successful the organiser, Carry Franklin, 46, is now about to open seven more across the city. It's a little cabinet on the side of a street where people can borrow or leave books, at no cost.
20th October 2017.
Picture Jonathan Gawthorpe

The first Leeds Little Free Library in Headingley has been so successful the organiser, Carry Franklin, 46, is now about to open seven more across the city. It's a little cabinet on the side of a street where people can borrow or leave books, at no cost. 20th October 2017. Picture Jonathan Gawthorpe

People can borrow or leave books - or write a message in the kiosk’s very own guest book.

The charming venture is proving so successful that more are now planned across the city.

Founder Carry Franklin, 46, said she hopes to make Leeds the city of the Little Free Library after the “incredible” response to her first led to seven more in the offing.

Having originally spotted a little library in London, Carry brought the concept to Leeds four months ago and with the help of a joiner friend, set one up on Alma Road, near her house.

The first Leeds Little Free Library in Headingley has been so successful the organiser, Carry Franklin, 46, is now about to open seven more across the city. It's a little cabinet on the side of a street where people can borrow or leave books, at no cost.
20th October 2017.
Picture Jonathan Gawthorpe

The first Leeds Little Free Library in Headingley has been so successful the organiser, Carry Franklin, 46, is now about to open seven more across the city. It's a little cabinet on the side of a street where people can borrow or leave books, at no cost. 20th October 2017. Picture Jonathan Gawthorpe

Starting with just 20 books, it is now packed to capacity with an ever-changing library of 40-odd books which she says is never depleted, used every day and houses a comments book which includes praise such as: “I love this library. It’s restored my faith in humanity.”

Carry, who is a primary school art teacher and freelance artist, said: “People have just loved it so much. I think it’s kind of tapped into something.

“Every time I leave the house there are different books in there and someone is standing outside it. It’s constant.

“I think people like the freedom of it. The fact that it’s there and is free and you can leave a book or take one. There’s a real mix of books - high-brow, low-brow. I try and make sure there are lots of children’s books in there.

The first Leeds Little Free Library in Headingley has been so successful the organiser, Carry Franklin, 46, is now about to open seven more across the city. It's a little cabinet on the side of a street where people can borrow or leave books, at no cost.
20th October 2017.
Picture Jonathan Gawthorpe

The first Leeds Little Free Library in Headingley has been so successful the organiser, Carry Franklin, 46, is now about to open seven more across the city. It's a little cabinet on the side of a street where people can borrow or leave books, at no cost. 20th October 2017. Picture Jonathan Gawthorpe

“It creates invisible threads throughout the community - joining people together without them talking.”

Carry has gone on to gain funding through Leeds City Council’s Leeds Inspired scheme which, together with match funding from the community, is helping to launch three more Little Free Libraries at the end of this month.

One will be on Landseer Avenue in Bramley, another outside Farsley Farfield Primary School in Farsley, and another in West Ardsley.

A further four will open by the end of this year, with two more in Headingley, one in Chapeltown opposite Potternewton Park and another at the back of Ladywood Road in Roundhay.

The first Leeds Little Free Library in Headingley has been so successful the organiser, Carry Franklin, 46, is now about to open seven more across the city. It's a little cabinet on the side of a street where people can borrow or leave books, at no cost.
20th October 2017.
Picture Jonathan Gawthorpe

The first Leeds Little Free Library in Headingley has been so successful the organiser, Carry Franklin, 46, is now about to open seven more across the city. It's a little cabinet on the side of a street where people can borrow or leave books, at no cost. 20th October 2017. Picture Jonathan Gawthorpe

Carry said: “It’s very exciting. The aim is that Leeds becomes the city of the Little Free Library. I’m really hoping it will spread so that books are a feature of Leeds - to make it something to stand out about our city.”

She added: “There’s an element of the digital age taking over and people becoming less familiar with reading. For me, reading was the most important thing in my childhood. It gave me a whole world that was my very own that I could access. I think there’s something about reading that’s very different to doing things online and digitally. Reading allows you to be absolutely absorbed in something in the long-term.”

For more information or to sponsor or set up a new library, visit Leeds Little Free Library on Facebook or follow @LeedsLittleFreeLibrary on Instagram.

The first Leeds Little Free Library in Headingley has been so successful the organiser, Carry Franklin, 46, is now about to open seven more across the city. It's a little cabinet on the side of a street where people can borrow or leave books, at no cost.
20th October 2017.
Picture Jonathan Gawthorpe

The first Leeds Little Free Library in Headingley has been so successful the organiser, Carry Franklin, 46, is now about to open seven more across the city. It's a little cabinet on the side of a street where people can borrow or leave books, at no cost. 20th October 2017. Picture Jonathan Gawthorpe

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