Read it? Love it? Swap It! Harrogate International Festivals has launched a mini-library scheme in the town to encourage reading and raise awareness of its flagship literary festivals.

Two mini-libraries, located outside the Festival office on Cheltenham Parade and at Raworths, the title sponsor’s offices on Station Parade, have been erected on the approach to the Raworths Harrogate Literature Festival.

Books can be accessed 24 hours a day, with the idea people can take and replace books.

Taking place at The Crown Hotel, Harrogate, from 18 to 21 October 2018’s the Raworths Harrogate Literature Festival features a stellar line-up of household names from the worlds of comedy, history and literature. Authors include Nick Hewer, Alan Johnson, David Starkey, Oz Clarke, Dr Jane Hawking, Robin Ince and John Simpson. There’ll also be a recording of the BBC Radio 4 show, Round Britain Quiz at the Festival.

The mini-libraries build on the Harrogate International Festival’s legacy of promoting reading and literacy. It already supports mini-libraries on board Transdev’s Number 36 buses to encourage reading in the wider community. As part of its outreach work, the Festival also hosts an annual Big Read in libraries across the North, bringing bestselling authors to some of the most hard to reach audiences, and delivers the Big Write for schoolchildren across the district.

Zoe Robinson, Raworths Managing Partner, said: “Raworths has sponsored the literary festival for seven years and we are proud to help support Harrogate’s growing reputation as a book lover’s destination. A vibrant cultural scene brings obvious benefits to visitors and residents alike, and the mini-libraries are a great way to reach new audiences, and generate a buzz around the Festival.”

Harrogate was claimed the UK’s most bookish town in the national press this year thanks to its reputation for delivering world-class literary festivals.

Sharon Canavar, CEO of Harrogate International Festivals, said: “The new mini-libraries build on our campaign and passion around literacy and reading to create a fun way to access free books in new, unusual and accessible places. As well as encouraging readers to try something new, and inspire them to come and see authors speaking at the Festival, we hope this initiative will be a springboard to encourage people to support and value libraries in our community. Books can be a gateway, to inspire and engage, as well as bring people together.”

Photo credit: Mike Whorley Photography