A unique community book sharing scheme in Buncrana has seen the creation of outdoor mini libraries at five locations around the town.
The Free Wee Library Project currently has two mini libraries at Swan Park, two on the beach walk between Ned’s Point and Porthaw beach and one at the Children’s Playpark at the Shore Front.
Each library was built by volunteers with some financial support from local businesses and they are all stocked with adult and children’s books for people to read and take for free. The libraries can each hold 40-50 books and they function on an ‘honesty policy’, so if you take a book, all that is asked is that you return one. promoting the reuse of books, as well as literacy. You can browse, or borrow, or keep a book, for free! Each library turns over its collection several times a month and the books have all been given by members of the public from their own collections.
The Buncrana Wee Library Project was officially launched by local writer, Frank McGuinness and it is based on successful book sharing schemes which exist throughout the USA and in many countries around the world.
Geraldine Timlin who runs the project had the idea of establishing the The Free Wee Library Project after seeing a similar scheme in America. She says the project is beneficial in so many ways.
“My idea was to create the free book sharing, my background being in fine art and community art has involved a lot of projects with groups. I came up with the FWL after seeing a similar scheme in the USA. The project is so beneficial on many levels, reading, writing, exercise, ‘more green time than screen time’. It also is wholly dependent on the community involvement and their sense of ownership of it. Everyone can access it, from toddlers to teens to pensioners, that is the beauty of it - it is inclusive of all ages and backgrounds and has no closing time! Open 24 hours/7 days per wk/365 days per year!
The Buncrana Free Wee Library Project was launched to coincide with ‘Feel Good Fortnight’ an initiative that Insight Inishowen runs. It centres around 2 weeks of positivity in the community, encouraging individuals and groups to come up with ideas to better the community. Past things have included random acts of kindness, mindfulness and yoga classes,’Take it to the Street Tea Party, Giant Lego Tent, mural painting, and an Enchanted Picnic in Swan Park.
The success of the project is wholly dependent on community support and volunteer stewards keep an eye on the libraries to ensure that they continue to be available for use by the community.
Plans to develop the Wee Library Project in 2014 include the launch of a poetry competition in both Irish and English for adults and children with the winners will get an edition of their poem in bookmark format for distribution throughout the libraries.
A short story competition is also planned and there will be Reading in the Park events for children during the summer months which will include include storytelling, arts and crafts.
It is also intended to expand the project throughout Inishowen and then into the rest of Donegal and across Ireland.
RTE’s Nationwide team will also be doing a feature on the Wee Libraries in the next few weeks.
To find out more about the project check out its facebook page https://www.facebook.com/freeweelibraryproject