'It makes me sad' - Owner's dismay as mini library wrecked by vandals

Jacky Offord with friends at the launch of her Little Free Library in Norwich in 2018

Jacky Offord with friends at the launch of her Little Free Library in Norwich in 2018 - Credit: Jacky Offord

A librarian who turned her 35-year career into a kind gesture for her neighbours has spoken of her dismay after the miniature library her husband built was smashed by vandals.

Jacky Offord, who worked in the library service for more than 30 years, launched the Little Free Library in the front garden of her St Clements Hill home in 2018. 

The concept is simple: she has a cabinet filled with books in her garden which neighbours are then free to borrow, take or add to. 

A sign outside Jacky Offord's house reacting to the damage of her Little Free Library

A sign outside Jacky Offord's house reacting to the damage of her Little Free Library - Credit: Archant

The gesture has become popular among her community and while it took a hiatus during lockdown, it is now back in action.

However, Mrs Offord, 62, was upset to learn this week that the cabinet had been damaged, she suspects, by vandals.


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She said: "It just makes me really sad to think somebody would do that, when all I'm trying to do is something nice for my neighbours.

"Books have always been a big part of my life- I was a librarian for 35 years and volunteer at the Amnesty International book shop on Unthank Road.

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"It started as just a way to keep occupied after I finished work but I just kept doing it."

The damage happened between 4pm and 6pm on Tuesday afternoon and Mrs Offord is now keen to know what had happened.

She added: "Somebody suggested it may have blown over, but we keen it secured to our wall so it looks to me like somebody has kicked it over.

"The legs are now broken and my husband is having to mend it, but it is just sad that something like this would happen to a community project."

She said she wouldn't be reporting the matter to the police but that it was still disappointing.

She said: "These things happen, but it is still a shame."

Mrs Offord took inspiration for the project from Little Free Library is a non-profit organisation founded in Hudson, Wisconsin, in the United States, which has a mission of promoting literacy and expanding book access.

It sees her offer a wide variety of books, from fiction to children's literature.


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