Taking a stroll along the road is a common pastime for many locals in Orpington, but what makes it even more exciting is the bookshelf that stands on the side of the pavement, illuminating itself at night, and attracting people of all age groups to participate in a community-based free library. 

From intriguing novels to books for early readers, this bookshelf is guaranteed to entertain readers of all abilities. Unlike normal libraries, there are no library cards or due dates for return. This inspiring bookshelf has only one rule: ‘Take a book, leave a book.’ Anyone can use it, and it’s completely free! 

It was initiated by the Poydovski family, local residents of the area. Dimitre Poydovski hand-crafted this bookshelf in November, and ever since then it has been embraced by the members of the community who are thoroughly enjoying this delightful idea. 

Yuti Kumar, 14, a user of the library, shared her experience: “I really like the bookshelf because it’s just such a generous and thoughtful action towards the community. It inspires me personally to read everyday and inevitably it will do the same to other youth, which is truly an astounding and remarkable feat. I can’t thank the person who built this enough.” 

I asked the Poydovski family, what made them want to do this? Radka Poydovski replied,  

“We love books as a family - all of us read.  

Some time ago we saw a similar little free library on a street in Twickenham where we were visiting a friend. We thought that was a brilliant idea to share books with the community and perhaps invite other people to share theirs. 

Since we started the initiative with some of our own children and adult books, it has proven immensely popular, to our delight. Lots of people bring and borrow books. Most of those who have spoken to us are delighted to have come across our free library. We hope we inspire more people in the neighbourhood to participate and even start their own.” 

Indeed, it is a very kind and positive idea to bring the community together, especially during the times that we are in. Perhaps you could be the next person to start a free library!