Hythe Library has reopened following extensive work to replace its heating system and now boasts an additional 130 books donated by three residents.
Aimée Margott, Lianne Sandford and Laura Taylor felt moved to do something practical to address issues of inequality and discrimination. They decided the power of books was one way to help and set up the Hythe Books for Change project in July 2020.
Aimee said: “We feel it is so important for children to see themselves reflected in the books they read. Many parents and teachers expressed a wish to have access to books that have positive images and stories which included characters from a range of diverse cultures and backgrounds.
“We wanted to find books that included characters with disabilities or special needs, children from single parent, gay or blended families, books where boys were able to express their emotions and which included strong and assertive girls as role models.”
Lianne said: “It is so important that children are given access to a rich diet of diverse and inclusive books and we felt we could support our local public library service in doing so by adding to their stock in the children’s library.
“We really hope local parents, grandparents, teachers, carers and children will find something to enjoy among the books we have selected and donated to Hythe Library.
Laura said: “Reading is a powerful tool in broadening our perspectives, raising self-esteem, challenging our assumptions, and helping to develop empathy, understanding, tolerance and enriching our inner lives. As the saying goes – ‘Open a book and open your mind’.”
The trio handed over the books in a special event at the library attended by KCC libraries’ staff and Cabinet Member for Community and Regulatory Services, Mike Hill.
He said: “The gesture by these three ladies is much appreciated and the books will enhance the range available at Hythe Library.
“I am also pleased to see the improvements works completed. The new heating system was much-needed and will make visiting the building a much more pleasurable experience during colder weather.”.
Aimee, Lianne and Laura have also been fundraising to donate a range of similar books to local schools via a crowdfunding page, a raffle and another application to the town council for funding. They launched a fundraising drive by setting up a Just Giving page with the aim of raising £2,000 – enough to give each school at least 50 books.
For further information about the project, the team can be contacted at email@example.com or check out @HytheBooksforChange on Facebook and Instagram and @HytheBooks on Twitter.
They thanked Hythe Town Council and Cllr Doug Wade for supporting the project by awarding a ward grant, The Book Den in Hythe High Street for sourcing the books. and KCC library staff for hosting a launch event for their donation and displaying the books, which are now on display in the children’s section.
The library in Stade Street is open from 9.30 – 5pm Monday to Friday, and 9.30 – 4pm on Saturdays.