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Liverpool’s BIG Little Library is giving away festive freebies in its 6th annual Christmas Book Flood

3 months ago

By Janet Tansley

Liverpool’s BIG Little Library is giving away festive freebies in its 6th annual Christmas Book Flood

The BIG Little Library by Gateacre School is getting ready for its sixth annual Christmas Book Flood tomorrow, with hundreds of brand-new books to give away for free.

There’ll be hardbacks and paperbacks for all ages and from all genres available in the six-hour festive fun event in Belle Vale Shopping Centre where the BIG Little Library is based.

Lisa Mitchell, community coordinator for Gateacre School, says:

“I can guarantee whatever type of book you want, we’ve got it, whether you’re looking for a book for yourself or as a Christmas gift for someone in your family.”

“This is such a popular event, and it’s just lovely.

“Every time we’ve done it, we’ve had a queue outside before we open, and it gives you such a wonderful feeling watching people come and go and get books.”

Gateacre School pupils will be on hand to help out – some even dressing up as elves to get into the seasonal spirit – and it won’t be just the books that people will take home.

“We’ve also got chocolate to give away to people too,” smiles Lisa, “courtesy of Morrisons in Belle Vale!”

BIG Little Library got the idea for the Christmas Book Flood from an Icelandic tradition called Jolabokaflod, where people give each other a book and a piece of chocolate on Christmas Eve.

While, for the rest of the year, the BIG Little Library gives away pre-loved books, tomorrow it’s got a store full of spanking brand-new ones.

Lisa says:

“They have all been donated to us by small independent book companies and charities like News from Nowhere on Bold Street, Liverpool Learning Partnership, The Liverpool Literary Agency (which promotes local authors), Read for Good, the National Literary Trust, Dead Ink Books on Smithdown Road, and Arts Groupie.

“And it’s just magical.

“We hope that it will help ease the monetary pressure of Christmas, with people able to get presents for children or grandchildren; and that it will also start a tradition with families and friends to give and receive books at Christmas, and spread the love of reading for pleasure.”

BIG Little Library began as a school project nine years ago when it took over a shop unit in Belle Vale Shopping Centre for three months to develop a community store where people could donate books they’d read or no longer wanted, and/or take away other books for free.

By the end of the three months they had given away 10,500 books.

Such was its popularity and success it was decided to re-open in another unit a year later and, although it has moved shops, it has remained there ever since.

Lisa said:

“We have now given away more than 200,000 books, we have one couple who sends them to their daughter who’s a primary teacher down south to read to her class, others who take them for grandchildren, and people who take them to friends they might be visiting in hospitals or care homes.

“We have a shop full of pre-loved books, all in good condition, and so if people come tomorrow and all the new books have already gone, they won’t leave empty-handed.”

Once again this year, BIG Little Library has also created Advent boxes containing 24 individually-wrapped books which are going out to primary schools across the city, so pupils will get to open one book parcel on a day, just like an Advent Calendar. 

And they’ve created 12 Days of Christmas boxes of pre-loved books in a range of themes, like crime or romance.

Lisa says:

“It all helps to get people excited about reading this Christmas and beyond.

“I love the fact that people appreciate what we do, everyone is always so pleasant and polite and there’s a really good atmosphere here.

“The Christmas Book Flood is a popular day – and it lets people who haven’t already heard about us know that we’re here.”

The Book Flood will be at the BIG Little Library in Belle Vale Shopping Centre on Saturday, November 25 from 10am to 4pm. 

Find all the latest Liverpool news here.

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