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Nature themed Little Free Library launched at Lochshore Park Hub

Posted on 15 Feb 2024

North Ayrshire Libraries has teamed up with Friends of Lochshore to create a new Book Nook for the community.

Nestled indoors, next to the café, at Lochshore Park Hub between Beith and Glengarnock, it was launched on Wednesday (February, 14) at the community hub’s monthly Story Tots session.

Named, the Little Free Library, the Book Nook features nature-themed books for all ages.

A welcoming focal point, it forms part of a wider community project called ‘Out and About’ in the Garnock Valley where library services and partners have been working on behalf of communities to support families to get out and about in their local area, discovering some of the amazing spaces on their doorsteps – all at no cost.   

This is the third Book Nook of North Ayrshire’s Little Free Libraries’ initiative – with others located at the Harbour Arts Centre and at the Townhouse/Portal in Irvine.

At the new community space, parents and carers are encouraged to share a nature-themed story with their children during their visit and use the books there to help identify flowers, fauna and a host of creepy crawlies that can be found on the walks around Lochshore.

Already a popular venue with local sports clubs, schools, and young families, Lochshore Hub's new Little Free Library is all about encouraging visitors of all ages to pick up and donate books out-with conventional library locations while learning more about what’s on offer at Lochshore Park.

It is also another climate-focused addition to the busy regeneration project at Lochshore Park with a key aim of raising awareness of the environment and biodiversity.

Other elements of the redevelopment at Lochshore include the newly-created 5km leisure route and walking path, the surrounding woodland plantation of over 12-hectares, and the construction of a Natural Play Area currently underway.

Councillor Alan Hill, Cabinet Member for Communities and Islands said: “It is great to learn that our latest Little Free Library at Lochshore Park is proving a hit with young visitors there.

“Thank you to everyone who has helped us to bring the project to life and special thanks to The Friends of Lochshore Park who have used their expertise to meticulously hand carve the decorative owl and branch bookends. The lovely reading nook really does look right at home, it’s as if it’s always been here.”

“This is another brilliant example of how libraries can work together with communities, partners and local volunteers to widen their offering and provide exciting opportunities for experiencing the wonders of reading in new and exciting places. The project is also about inclusion and social-connection too, as people can come together to learn about nature and enrich their experiences at Lochshore.

“And, if you’re a young parent or carer who is not quite brave enough to get out into the elements at this time of year, Lochshore Café and the adjacent Little Free Library offer the perfect places to come for a coffee and some storytelling in some beautiful surroundings. So why not pop in and experience them for yourself too?”

For more on what is happening at your local library, follow NAC Libraries on Facebook or @NACLibraries on Twitter.

Follow Friends of Lochshore on Facebook for more events and activities happening over at Lochshore Park - drop them a DM if you want to find out about the volunteering and conservation opportunities available with them too.

Stay tuned for further project updates at: https://www.facebook.com/LochshorePark

*Lochshore Park’s Café opening times are Monday – Friday 9.30am until 3.30pm.

The £4.2million Kilbirnie facility also boasts a community room (with a meeting capacity of 60) with a comfortable and flexible space to host meetings, training, workshops and small events. There's a self-contained kitchen area, table and chairs and space to cater events, onsite parking and a family/dog-friendly community café operated by North Ayrshire Council. For more information, email: communityresources@north-ayrshire.gov.uk

Borrowing the books: Books from the latest Little Free Library also have a special QR code linking to North Ayrshire Libraries in order find out about other books on offer. Therefore, if you wish to borrow a book you can do so, then either return them back to Lochshore or drop into your local North Ayrshire Library.

Fun for Under 5’s: The Libraries Outreach team will continue monthly Story Tots/Forest Fun sessions to encourage more young children and families to get involved and be inspired to experience the nature of the walking trail at Lochshore Park – stay tuned to social media for further details on these.