Features Leytonstone

Sustainability for all

Ros Bedlow from Transition Leytonstone explains why she set up the Library for Change

Credit: Mirko Bozzato via Pixabay

If you live in Leytonstone you may be familiar with Stone Mini Market, the refill and ethical grocery shop, and the craft beer and wine shop next door to it. Most customers are aware that behind the two shops there is a community area run by a community interest company called the Inconvenient Store.

One of the rooms, behind the beer shop at 721 High Road, Leytonstone, contains the Library for Change, Transition Leytonstone’s
lending library.

Transition Leytonstone, as the name suggests, is all about change. We are one of many communities across the world working to create a future that is better for the earth, and fairer for all people. It is a positive approach, focusing on what we can do locally, and on enjoying ourselves working together.

The library, containing about 470 books and a small collection of DVDs, is a store of information on a wide range of topics connected with sustainability. There are books on practical matters such as gardening with nature, foraging, repair and re-use and natural crafts, as well as more academic books on climate change, ecology and alternative economics.

There is an expanding children’s section, and another of eco-poetry, and a small but growing section of books by local authors. Transition Leytonstone started the library because we feel it’s really important for people to have access to information about sustainable action and change-making so they can incorporate positive changes into their own lives.

We started off as small as you can imagine; in our earliest days Library for Change was a bookcase in my living room! I had a couple of hundred books about sustainability, which has been my passion for a long time, and I wanted to share them with others.

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Not surprisingly, people were reluctant to visit a library in a stranger’s private house, so when Adrienne and Okan offered us the space in the Inconvenient Store, we jumped at it and in November 2022, Library for Change was born. At least once a month, the Library for Change runs a series of book related events. So far these have included talks, creative writing workshops and an eco-poetry open mic evening.

In January, for example, we held a book launch for a local poet, and a nature connection workshop. Kerrie, a regular library user, told me how the library had given her hope in the fight for a sustainable earth. She said: “I have borrowed many books and DVDs from the Library for Change, that have both inspired and educated me. It feels nice to know that you are in a community that shares similar concerns to you about the future of our beautiful planet and its inhabitants.”

Meanwhile, Lily told me how she uses the library “while stocking up on dried goods” at Stone Mini Market. Highlighting the library’s mission of sustainability education as being its main pull-factor, she said: “I’ve borrowed lots of books, from ideas for outdoor activities with my son, to cookbooks, to inspiring books on social change. There’s something about it not being too big, being right in front of me (rather than getting lost with choices online), and knowing it has been compiled with sustainability and ethical thinking at its core, that means I really enjoy using it.”

Membership of the library is growing, with over 80 people now signed up. Once you’ve joined, you can borrow books any time the shop
is open. Please spread the word!

You can join by scanning the QR code on the poster in the library, or visit their website

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