'We are trying to get them installed all over Leeds'

The latest Little Free Library was unveiled in Leeds before the team behind the "labour of  love" project revealed  they want to see one in every community across the city.

Thursday, 12th March 2020, 6:00 am

The new mini library outside St James the Great Church in Pudsey is the 63rd to open in Leeds and is part of the lasting legacy of art teacher and children's theatre actor Carry Franklin, who brought Little Free Libraries to the city.

Carry, who died from breast cancer in June 2019 aged 47, saw a Little Free Library in London and thought it was a brilliant idea so put one up outside her home in Headingley.

Carry asked craftsman Dave Ayres to design and make one and she painted it.

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Father Nicholas Clews, Vicar of Thornbury and Woodhall and Waterloo pictured with the Leeds Little Free Library at St James the Great Church, Galloway Court, Galloway Lane, Pudsey. He is pictured with Coun Peter Carlill, (Lab Calverley and Farsley); Jane Clifford, administrator Leeds Little Free Library and cabinet maker Dave Ayres. Photo: Steve Riding

People put books in, or take one out, and they act as a book exchange, and a piece of public art.

Demand has grown and now there are 63 across Leeds.

The Leeds Little Free Libraries are made by Dave Ayres of Handmade in Headingley and painted by cartoonist Jacky Fleming of Otley and a dedicated team of guest artists.

Jane Clifford of Hyde Park has taken over the administration of the project.

The late Carry Franklin pictured in October 2017 at the first Leeds Little Free Library in Headingley. Picture Jonathan Gawthorpe

Guest artist Helen Corney of Hebden Bridge painted the latest box, which features seashells - scallop shells are the traditional emblem of Saint James.

Jacky Fleming said: "The Little Free Libraries act as little social hubs in each community - but in no way are we under any illusion that they compensate for the closure of public libraries.

"They do however seem to generate hope, as people can see they are a labour of love, and we try to paint each one to bring some joy into our public spaces.

"Carry has left a wonderful legacy. Children love using them, adults love them too.

Father Nicholas Clews, Vicar of Thornbury and Woodhall and Waterloo, pictured with the Leeds Little Free Library at St James the Great Church, Galloway Court, Galloway Lane, Pudsey. He is pictured with Coun Peter Carlill, (Lab Calverley and Farsley); Jane Clifford, administrator Leeds Little Free Library and cabinet maker Dave Ayres. Photo: Steve Riding

"We are trying to get them installed all over Leeds, especially in areas where people are least expecting one."

Dave Ayres said: "The initial project set out by Carry was simple. Spread the love of books. Spread the love of art. Spread the love of community.

"Our team works constantly to maintain this vision."

Father Nicholas Clews, vicar of Thornbury and Woodhall and Waterloo, said: ‘We are delighted to host the latest Little Free Library.

"It is such a wonderful and useful idea and a work of art as well.

"The church is well used by the community and we hope that people passing by will feel free to take books out and add new ones."

The new box was funded by Coun Peter Carlill (Lab/Calverley and Farsley) using cash from Leeds City Council's Members Improvements in the Community and the Environment fund.