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Books in Bars launches in Liverpool to bring cocktail (or coffee) lovers their next favourite read

3 years ago

By The Guide Liverpool

Books in Bars launches in Liverpool to bring cocktail (or coffee) lovers their next favourite read

When you head to the bar, chances are you’ll ask for a pint of lager or a glass of dry white, but a new book swap event in Liverpool means you might be able to add a classic Dickens or the latest Lucy Foley thriller to your order.

Books in Bars is being held at the Royal Institution in Colquitt Street on October 11, and it offers the chance to share a great read – and grab another.

Zoe Delaney, who came up with Books in Bars, says: “The idea is simple.

“You come along at 11am with some books you’re happy to part with and enjoy a drink or a coffee as the donations are organised.”

Once they are, she adds: “You’re free to browse and, hopefully, find a few new books to take home and adorn the space on your shelves, now free from your donations.”

The idea came about after Zoe organised a similar event in her apartment building during lockdown.

She says: “I hoard so many books and find it hard to part with them, even if I’ve not read them in years and have no plans to ever flick through them again.

“During lockdown, I set up a little library in my flat building and it gave me so much joy coming home from work each day and seeing some of my unloved books taken, and new ones left. Someone posted an image on LinkedIn of the makeshift library and it had such a good response.”

The journalist and marketing manager muted the idea of a Liverpool Book Swap on Instagram and, within minutes, had ‘tons of messages’ from people keen to offload some of their old books and find some new reads.

Royal Institution

“I got in touch with the Royal Institution who kindly offered me space for free and set about creating Books in Bars. While this kind of event might be more suited to a library or community centre, bars are actually the perfect venue – a social event can be made of it and, as many Indie bars and restaurants are closing, it’s a great way to help local businesses on days that are usually a bit quieter.

“All books are welcome.” But Zoe stresses: “This will only work if everyone plays fair and brings books that someone might actually want to read!”

Any books that don’t find a home after the event will be donated to Books Beyond Bars, which sends books and other educational materials, free of charge, to incarcerated LGBTQIA+ people across the UK.

The scheme was inspired by a sister project in the US, LGBT Books to Prisoners, which has so far sent book parcels to more than 8,000 people in jails across the America.

It aims to put some control back into the hands of incarcerated people by giving them access to resources so they can learn and grow, and let them know that there is a supportive community on the outside that cares about their wellbeing.

Royal Institution Bar

“It’s only a small charity and it makes sense to send books their way, that will make a huge difference to people’s lives, rather than the local charity shop which is always inundated with donations,” adds Zoe.

She says Covid-19 safety procedures will be in place for the October event and asks anyone attending to be respectful and practice social distancing, and to take a mask.

A second swap event is already being planned in Birkenhead.


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