Liverpool’s BIG Little Library is giving away 1,500 new books in its Christmas Book Flood
2 weeks ago
The BIG Little Library by Gateacre School is going to be giving away around 1,500 brand-new books as part of its annual Christmas ‘Book Flood’ event.
BIG Little Library got the idea from an Icelandic tradition called Jolabokaflod, where people give each other a book and a piece of chocolate on Christmas Eve.
The BIG Little Library, which is based in Belle Vale Shopping Centre, adopted the tradition and this will be its fifth Book Flood.
Local authors, publishers, Liverpool book shops like News from Nowhere and organisations such as The Learning Partnership and Book Trust donate hardbacks and paperbacks which can be chosen free.
Most of the books are children’s, and they cover all ages from picturebooks for toddlers to teen and young adult novels.
Lisa Mitchell, community co-ordinator at Gateacre School, says the event always attracts a big crowd – especially as there’s the added bonus of not just a book, but chocolate too.
“For the rest of the year, the BIG Little Library gives away pre-loved books, but on this one day it’s all brand-new ones,” she says.
“Normally, because our shop has been quite small in the past, we’ve been given a second shop for our Book Flood day. But because our new shop is much bigger, we’re going to take a lot of tables from school to put in there, we’ll pile them with the new books and that will separate them off from our other current stock.
“As soon as those tables start to clear, we’ll take them away and people can still go and get secondhand ones, so nobody will leave empty-handed even if we don’t have any new ones left when they arrive.
“Customers will be able to get the best of both worlds, and through the yearwe’ve been keeping aside Christmas books as they’re donated, so now we’ve also been able to put out hundreds of Christmas-themed books.”
Lisa says volunteers dress up in Christmas jumpers for the Book Flood, there’s festive music playing and it’s always a lovely atmosphere for families.
“We go in to set it up the night before, and then on the day we get parents and grandparents coming in to pick a book for their kids and grandkids, but we also get them bringing the little ones in with them so they can choose one themselves. So it’s like an extra stocking filler and it’s lovely to be able to say, ‘it’s free’.
“Because of the nature of where they’re coming from there’ll be lots of duplicates so it’s not just a question of there being one copy of a particular book, there might be 10 to give away. I know for example we’ve got loads of the little pound readers that were launched for World Book Day this year, so there are plenty to go round.”
In fact, there are so many donations that the BIG Little Library has created Advent boxes containing 24 individually-wrapped books which are going out to more than 40 primary schools across the city. Pupils will get to open one book parcel on a day, just like an Advent Calendar.
And there’ll be an added festive bonus for anyone going along to the Book Flood at the Belle Vale shop, thanks to a surprise resident who was there when the BIG Little Library moved in.
“One of the random things that was left in there was a giant-sized elf,” says Lisa. “He’s been stored in the back so now’s his chance to come out and we’re going to be getting kids taking Elfie Selfies with him and their new book!”