Start a Neighbourhood Library Box
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Start a Neighbourhood Library Box 

A book exchange is a wonderful resource and a brilliant way to strengthen your community. Encourage your neighbours to add their own books, and be sure to follow the golden rule-  if you take a book, return a book!

What You Need

A weather resistant library box


Make It Happen!

Read: How To Approach Your Neighbours

Read: Getting Cocooners Involved

Read: COVID-19 Tips

Read: Getting Funding

Read: Locations

Read: Spread The Word

We’ve put together some tips to help you make this happen in your neighbourhood, read them all here!

What To Do


Build your own library box

You can build your own little library using anything from sets of shelves to old cupboards. It’s a great project for the whole family! Consider approaching members of your local Mens Shed as they may have existing materials for taking on this project.

Remember, your library will need to be weather resistant. Adding a door to the library box to protect books is essential!

Get children involved in decorating the box and make it something fun and exciting for your whole community to be a part of.


Find the perfect spot for your library

Whether you are based in an estate, an apartment building or somewhere more rural- finding an easily accessible spot for your library is important. Anywhere from outside your own house to your local green-space will do, but be sure to have permission from local higher-ups if you choose to set up in a public space like a park or on a street corner, as you may be asked to move your library.


Stock your shelves

You can’t have a library without books! So when it comes to stocking the library, look no further than your own home. We all have those books that have sat gathering dust, so give them a new lease of life on the shelves of your community library.

Invite your neighbours to add their own pre-loved books to the library and soon you’re sure to have a lovely little collection to choose from.


Set some rules

There is one key rule when it comes to running a community library- if you take a book, return a book.

If you want the library to exist as it’s own self-sustaining project, be sure to leave a small list of rules with your library so everyone understands the project. Make it clear that as a library project, you’re encouraging people to restock the shelves with their own books or to bring back books when they have finished them.


Safety in sanitisation

Sanitisation is essential to running a community library in the midst of COVID-19. Make sure your library is sanitary by leaving some sanitising spray, hand sanitiser or wipes in your library. Encourage people to clean books when they bring them home and to clean their hands before adding new books to the library.

Covid Safety Tips

  • Maintain social distancing of 2 metres
  • Wear a mask
  • Keep your library clean and sanitised
  • Wear gloves


Sinead talks to to Annick, who set up her own community library in Wicklow.

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