Community Book Share Boxes

Learning through doing

A group of students on the BA (Hons) Education course at the Plymouth Institute of Education were inspired into action by a guest speaker on Dr Heather Knight’s Inclusion and Therapeutic Intervention module in 2020. Gin Farrow-Jones, facilitator of the Street-to-Scale project, sparked the students’ interest in community engagement by sharing the benefits of experiential learning and taking theory into practice to generate change.

The students (Melanie Ford, Kate Randall and Liz Staples) applied for a grant from Street To Scale in association with the Plymouth Octopus Project to support their idea and worked closely with members of the public, including Diane from The Village Hub in Stoke, Helen Peacham and Katherine Nickels.

<p>
CBS community bookshare project

<br></p>
<p>
CBS community bookshare project

<br></p>
<p>CBS painted<br></p>

The project aimed to create community book share boxes to be placed in strategic places in communities. The project’s ethos was to provide local communities with a tool to start conversations, share books and enjoy turning the last page of a fantastic novel.

The students spent a few months in 2020 and 2021 gathering books, getting the boxes made and coordinating the logistics of placing the boxes safely in the community.

The Community Book Share Boxes launched in February 2021 and today can be found across Plymouth and the surrounding areas.

View a map of the box locations in Google

Making the boxes: sustainability and civil engagement


The students contacted Josiah Aldridge, a carpenter from Timeless Revivals, to make their boxes using 80% recycled materials. The students said:

“Josiah made this process a real pleasure by working with us in such a calm and professional way.”