Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Wrapped up in books

I love reading. I love books. I love reading books. Ssh don't tell my Kindle, or NewMan who bought me the Kindle and is naively determined to reduce the space that books take up in my life. (Three words, darling; never gonna happen.)

Having been a liberal library lover since I could walk and a frantic rummager for second hand books in charity shops for nearly as long, Books for Free sounded too good to be true. Yet it's very, very real and furthermore is a really, really good project to have here in the Bush.

Following its opening in April this year, national project Books for Free's Shepherd's Bush home is doing well. I popped in for a nosey the other day and found a relaxed, friendly atmosphere with children playing in one corner (I overheard one child say the most beautiful thing; "Mummy, can we stay here and read all day?") and marvellously mis-match shelving units bursting with books organised into different categories; fiction, crime, biographies, sport etc. 

The project basically works like this; you want to offload some already read and loved books which are taking up valuable storage space in your home? Take them to Books for Free where they will be lovingly placed on a shelf. Or it works like this; you want something new to read but haven't got enough pennies for a new book and don't have a library card sorted? Pop down to Books for Free where they encourage you to take any book of your choice away with you. I should add that they currently limit the number of books to be taken away per person, per trip to just three, but that's enough to keep you busy and if you then want to take another three another time (and maybe return the ones you already read)? Well that's the whole point I guess! It's like a library without fines or obligated silence. (I wish to state here that as brilliant as this project is, it takes nothing away from the importance of libraries!)

Books for Free is a Healthy Planet initiative. Healthy Planet is a fast growing charity committed to reducing the amount of waste and landfill space in a number of ways, like Books for Free but also by offering people and companies the opportunity to sponsor a plot of land. Though Healthy Planet and Books for Free are active all over the UK, it is worthy of a special mention that Healthy Planet is a locally based charity (in Hammersmith).

They currently share the unused shop premises on the first floor of West 12 shopping centre with Furnish, another local charity who reuse and recycle furniture and home ware by collecting and giving donations to those in need.  Furnish is run by the very successful and long-standing Shepherd's Bush Housing Group and in their West 12 home you can buy second their second hand furniture (I saw sofas, tables, dining sets, coffee tables and lots of lovely vintage!) for reasonable prices. The proceeds of which go to support their ultimate aim which again is reducing the amount of waste in our landfills. 

The store is staffed mainly by volunteers so again another fine example of lovely local people doing their bit. I hope you can maybe go down to Books for Free and benefit from the project yourself. Let me know what you pick up! 

When I was there I spotted three books which tempted me, though I only took one home with me. Guess which one it was? 

A special mention should go out to West 12 shopping centre who, I understand, subsidise the shop's rent. I also know that unlike other massive shopping centres with West in the name West 12 have been incredibly supportive of this year's Bush Festival too. (Woah. I nearly got a bit controversial then!)

And finally, I am using this booky theme to send you over to my other blog, As the Bird flies (where I blog about non-Bush related things), as I've just started a book review feature that I hope to continue.

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