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Little library: Book-sharing box outside home gets people reading

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Book box: Cathal (8) and Emily (11) Phelan, from Callan, Co Kilkenny, sample the Little Free Library in the town that was set up by local man Barry Somers.
Photo: Dylan Vaughan

Book box: Cathal (8) and Emily (11) Phelan, from Callan, Co Kilkenny, sample the Little Free Library in the town that was set up by local man Barry Somers. Photo: Dylan Vaughan

Dylan Vaughan

Book box: Cathal (8) and Emily (11) Phelan, from Callan, Co Kilkenny, sample the Little Free Library in the town that was set up by local man Barry Somers. Photo: Dylan Vaughan

The nation's libraries are on lockdown, but some readers are boxing clever.

Readers are delighting in The Little Free Library, a community book-sharing box located outside homes or community facilities.

An international not-for-profit movement, with 100,000 book boxes worldwide, it is still in its infancy here with just nine nationwide - two in Callan, Co Kilkenny.

Barry Somers and his wife Grace, who researched the initiative, said they first heard about the idea on a holiday in Canada.

"Outside a cousin's house was a library in the design of the main house. I thought it was a nifty idea," he said.

"They are really popular in Canada and America, with five or six in the town we were visiting. They are located in parks and all sorts of places."

Mr Somers found there were only two here, in Dublin and Meath, so set one up outside their home in Bolton Woods, Callan, as "a social experiment".

"Originally it was quite small, I didn't factor in that kids' books tend to be much bigger. So I built a bigger one and I put the small one outside my parents' house," he added. Mr Somers has set up a Facebook page where people can find out more.

Irish Independent