Visitors to Ironmonger Row Baths, EC1, are joining users of all the borough's leisure centres in swapping their favourite reads. In addition, children and young people at the Cornwallis Adventure Playground, N19, can find adventure not just on the play equipment but also in the pages of stories by some of today’s top writers. Visitors to the pool and playgrounds can simply pick up a book from the collection on offer and drop off an old book in return if they choose. Further collections are soon to be set up at Timbuktu Adventure Playground, N19, and Cape Play and Youth Project, N8. The new collections are provided as part of the 'Islington Reads' initiative which aims to get everyone in the borough reading and using their local library more. Unveiling the new book collections with local children at Cornwallis Adventure Playground were Tollington ward councillors Richard Watts and Flora Williamson, who funded the project from the Local Initiatives Fund (LIF). Cllr Richard Watts said: "Getting children into the habit of reading books from a young age helps them to develop essential skills that can be taken from the classroom to the work place.
"But it’s not just kids that benefit, all our residents old and young alike can take part, so we’re really pleased to have been able to open this new reading initiative at Cornwallis."
"In total we have three reading initiatives in the North of the Borough that we hope will help get our residents reading more."
A successful link-up between the borough's leisure provider GLL and Islington Council's Library and Heritage Service has already resulted in 3,000 books being swapped by residents, for free.
Councillor Janet Burgess, Islington Council's executive member for health and wellbeing said:
"Books swaps are an excellent way to keep the reading habit and get the latest novels for free.
"And as visitors to our leisure centres are picking up a book after they swim or gym its another way to get our library service into the community."
Leisure centre visitors are also actively encouraged to join and use their local library.
Low income families, young people and the elderly are benefitting from free book swaps.
Matt Perren, GLL Project Manager said:
"GLL welcome the Book Swap at Ironmonger Row Baths, completing a full Borough approach across all Leisure Centres in Islington."
Ironmonger Row Baths joins existing book swaps at Archway, Caledonian Road, Finsbury, Highbury and Sobell leisure centres, along with the Islington Tennis Centre.
More about the scheme can be found at: www.islington.gov.uk/bookswaps