The riddle of the missing library

A ‘Little Library’ – a box of books put outside a house for passers-by to take a free book or leave one for someone else – has been stolen from a Wanstead street.

Journalist Victoria Richards built the box with her children last year and bolted it to the wall outside her house in Belgrave Road. Over the next few months, neighbours and people living nearby took books that she had put there, and replaced them with others of their own. “We never had to refill it,” she said, “it took care of itself.”

But on Tuesday she discovered someone had taken the whole thing – box included.

“It might seem silly but we REALLY loved it. We rushed out every morning to see what had been put in. It was chosen with love by the two little ones. We sanded it and painted it and stencilled it – we even gave it a lovely shiny brass door knob,” she said. “It was bolted to the wall so someone must have given it quite a wrench to remove it.”

Friends and neighbours on the Lakehouse Estate are rallying round with talk of getting a replacement, she says.

Victoria fixing the box to the wall in 2020

10 Comments on "The riddle of the missing library"


    1. What a lovely box and what a great thing to do for the neighbourhood. What a shame that someone would take it … very mean. I am sure your neighbours will miss it very much! As some one who has always had her nose in a book I feel the loss …


  1. I would call LBR to make sure that they have not removed it for obstructing the path…. You never know (!) & can not rely on their letting you know that they did it!


  2. That’s just so sad, awful. Working in a charity shop, I realised people who steal will steal from anywhere – we had quite a lot of thieving of goods that had been donated to raise money for charity. A really sorry state for a person to be in as far as I am concerned!


  3. What a brilliant and beautiful idea the little library is – this theft won’t make it a beautiful idea that was, will! Will likely inspire others to build their own.
    The theft is sad but it’ll likely bring greater good, forgiving the shortcomings of others rewards us all in the long run.
    I hope you build another, I’ll do the same!


  4. Sian and David from Woodlands Avenue are very sad and we will help in any way we can to replace the Little Library , every time we walked past it made us very happy xx


  5. Welcome to the yob culture.
    Victoria, sadly I think you’re being a little too optimistic in your poster.
    Your fine original effort was outstanding…..I have books if you rebuild.


  6. Absolutely disgraceful behaviour. Hope he /she is caught .
    I have some books to donate if you start up again .
    A wonderful community endeavour .


  7. Keep us informed if this venture restarts. I will go over there with books from time to time.
    Cannot start to understand who would do this.


  8. These little libraries have been life savers during lockdown . The thieves will have no luck . Am so sorry to hear about this low life behaviour . I hope people locally rally around you .

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