Our First Simple Life Book Boxes

“Reading is a life skill but also a wonderful means of relaxation and ‘time out’, information gathering, discussion and debate. Losing oneself in a good book, finding and following a new recipe, debating the content of a book with a friend, sharing a story with a child, reading together, developing vocabulary, are just some of the many benefits of books! So what do we do with our books when finished? Sharing and swapping with others is a wonderful way of accessing more great reads, clearing space on the bookcase and meeting people. The launch of our Simple Life Book Guardians and boxes is a chance to facilitate and achieve such opportunities. With further initiatives for Book Groups, visiting authors, and story-times, this project can grow with our guardians and in our communities. Add to this the sustainable and personal creation of the boxes, and we have a great ‘story’! 

“Our first 10 boxes arrived in Manchester this week, with 4 installed to mark the launch. Excitement and social media sharing added to the buzz. The boxes have a great story in themselves, built in Scotland by a creative, inspiring and talented joiner/apprentice team. The design and manufacturing of the boxes was a joint venture with HM Raitt and sons Ltd. The project was undertaken by one of their apprentice joiners Rodrigo Cafferty who is in his second year of study. He possesses a natural ability with tools and a positive can do attitude which is demonstrated by his commitment of leaving home everyday at 5.45am to cycle to work.

“The connectivity between trees, timber and books is clear and tangible, and the act of holding a book, turning the page, and having beautiful wooden furniture is very human experience. The materials used in the construction of our book boxes was three-fold, repurposed from a hardwood chest of drawers, salvaged from Indonesian fishing boats, with original c1900s wood panelling from an Edinburgh book store, historically an old bank. The final element is reclaimed 1980 Swedish hard wood flooring. The boxes are mounted on a base plate constructed out of repurposed metal from a decommissioned road gritter. These are manufactured in conjunction with Cuthbertson engineering who have been in operation from 1936. They are known in Scotland for the invention and construction of the first snow plough. Again the design and fabrication will be undertaken by the apprenticeship team, an important goal in this project. With surplus Perspex for the doors, and hinges and nails salvaged from old windows, our boxes are a real story in repurposing materials.

“Like a good book, there is a great story and history behind the boxes, with a wealth of partnership interaction, creativity and determination to act in a responsible and sustainable way. Skills have been developed and nurtured, a love of reading encouraged, communities drawn together, and a resulting reduced carbon footprint through care and vision. Yes it takes time, and yes it costs a little more, but the impact for people and the planet cannot be disputed, and is the balance we have to make. It is simply a matter of choice for positive impact that feels right, and a legacy and story worth writing!”

Niamh Waldron, ESG Director

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