Community building Member Stories

Neighbourhood library saved by neighbours on Nextdoor

Written by Roisin O'Neill

At Nextdoor, we’re lucky enough to hear about the amazing things neighbours do in their neighbourhoods every day. As today is World Book Day, we’re sharing the story of Sue Redmond, who set up a neighbourhood library in her front garden as a way of giving back to her local community.

If you would like to set up a neighbourhood library but don’t know how to try asking your neighbours for help. As Sue found, they’ll love the idea and be willing to help 📚💚

Sue has always been community-minded. She had heard about the Little Free Library movement and decided that she would like to have one in her front garden to build a little community with her neighbours. The library was installed in 2018 and registered on the Little Free Library World Map!

It really came into its own during the first Covid-19 lockdown in 2019. For many of her neighbours, this was their only trip out during the day, so it suddenly became a really important community resource, especially as libraries were closed, like other local amenities. 

“This little library is my way of giving back something small to our community. I’ve seen and met so many people from all different walks of life, single people, families, tourists, old and young neighbours. Over the past 4 years, I think over 5,000 books have passed through this library”. 

One day in October 2022, she came home and noticed all the books had gone from the Little Library. She was devasted and wondered who could do such a thing. She posted a photo of the empty bookshelf on Nextdoor and her exasperation at the situation. Neighbours were in an uproar! A few hours later there were so many reactions to her post with neighbours saying they would help replenish the library. Impressively, within hours, the library was bursting with books again!

“When someone took all the books, I was very upset. The power of the online community on Nextdoor to come together so quickly and make something happen in real life, just a few hours later, was very powerful and touching”. 

Sue said not everyone can afford to buy books or go to their local library within the opening hours; the Little Free Library has no opening hours, and people can simply pass by on their way to work, school or when they are out for a walk and choose or leave a book. It really is a simple act of community that can benefit everyone.

Well done Sue and kudos to her community for looking after their little neighbourhood library!

1 in 4 households in the UK are using Nextdoor, join the conversation in your local neighbourhood here.

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