Lewisham Way micro-library wins PM award

The Cabinet Office writes:

The creator of London’s smallest library which is housed in a disused red telephone box has been named a Point of Light on World Book Day by Prime Minister David Cameron.

Sebastian Handley, 46, launched the Lewisham Micro Library 15 months ago on the corner of Lewisham Way and Tyrwhitt Road in Brockley. It is London’s smallest library and is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and has proved a huge success in his local community with hundreds of visitors.

Sebastian is the latest recipient of a Point of Light award, which recognises outstanding individual volunteers, people who are making a change in their community and inspiring others.

Each day, someone, somewhere in the country is selected to receive the award to celebrate their remarkable achievements.

When BT started offering the iconic red K2 British phone boxes through their ‘Adopt a Kiosk’ scheme, Sebastian decided to buy one for just £1 on behalf of the Brockley Society. The old BT telephone boxes are Grade II listed ’buildings’ and were designed by Sir Gilbert Scott, the designer of Battersea Power Station and Tate Modern in the 1920s. Using £500 of his own money, Sebastian added extra lights in the ceiling, laid carpet on the floor and opened it up to the public.

The Lewisham Micro Library launched in November 2013 and operates as a community book exchange- a free resource where people who take a book are encouraged to give another back to the library. The library has seven shelves altogether, housing over 200 books from fiction and reference books to a whole shelf dedicated to children’s books, and is looked after by two librarians. The library has been so successful that Sebastian aims to create another micro library near Farringdon.

Sebastian is the 237th winner of a Point of Light award which has been developed in partnership with the hugely successful Points of Light programme in the USA and was first established by President George H. W. Bush. Over 5,000 US Points of Light have been awarded and both President George H. W. Bush and President Barack Obama have publicly supported the partnership with Points of Light UK which honours shining examples of volunteering across the country.

Prime Minister David Cameron said:

“Sebastian’s innovative idea has become an incredible resource for all ages in his community. I’m delighted to recognise Sebastian with a Point of Light on World Book Day.”

Sebastian said:

'It’s lovely to be recognised like this, but the Lewisham Micro-Library wouldn't have been such a success without the help of Clare Cowen and Dijana and Danijel Pavlic. All I did was the initial setting up - the real achievement was the myriad of tiny contributions by ordinary passers-by who stopped to talk and share, who gave without any motive other than to enrich everybody else. The Lewisham Micro Library stands as a quiet and functional little monument to the fact that generally people are decent'.

24 comments:

Tyrwhitt Michael said...

Great effort!

headhunter said...

It's a lovely quirky thing to have around but I'm so surprised it hasn't been vandalised or set alight or something....

Brockley Nick said...

"The Lewisham Micro Library stands as a quiet and functional little monument to the fact that generally people are decent'"
That's the whole point. It's proof that your assumptions are wrong.

Mewe Mechese said...

What a brilliant idea. Well done to all concerned.

Max Calò said...

Well done! Yes, people are generally decent, still I wonder if it would work in every neighbourhood.

Anon said...

And in another sign of gentrification today a pheasant was spotted wandering around a garden in the Hither Green area of Lewisham...surely that tops a weasel riding on a woodpecker.

Kirstie Alsop said Hither Green is no longer up and coming it has arrived and the eagle has landed.

Monkeyboy said...

that damn pheasant has been all over. spotted in brockley as well, same one or a HERD or pheasants?

MsSticky said...

Bit late to the party! Burton Overy in Leicestershire has had one for much longer.

Crofty said...

People are generally decent ... just not the ones in local and national government whose policies have closed down the real libraries. David Cameron has a bit of a nerve bigging this up.

Tamsin said...

I am so, so pleased that this has got some of the recognition it deserves. It lovely, and the care and craft-skill that went into fitting the shelves is of real quality. So not only did he have a great idea - he took pains to make sure it was executed really well. Congratulations to all concerned.

terrencetrentderby said...

Truly the Spirit of Greater Brockley is shown here by no one urinating in it yet, that or all the students and scumbags have been priced out of the area.

AliAfro said...

We are all prone to having a moan so well done to this fella for actually doing something positive.

Headhunter said...

I am delighted... Just surprised. I suppose that says something about my view of (Lewisham?) humanity?!

Headhunter said...

I suppose it's not a very private place to have a pee (or a moment or arson) - on a main road with people passing by...

Headhunter said...

HERD??!! Such a city boy... According to britishbirdlovers.co.uk you may choose from 1 of the following:

pheasants - a bouquet of pheasants
pheasants - a covey of pheasants
pheasants - a nide of pheasants

Headhunter said...

Talking of woodpeckers, I often hear them in the gardens out behind my place on Manor Ave in spring when they're hollowing out new nests... Not see one with a weasel onboard yet though...

Max Calò said...

Or even a cassarole.

Kate said...

pheasants have been resident in Lewisham for years - particularly in Mountsfield Park

Ladygogogoch said...

Sorry to be bearer of bad news but it was vandalised a couple of weeks back with fire, however thankfully due to the quick response of the local community that noticed this small act of vandalism, it was in tip top shape again in less than 24 hours!
Was expecting to see some sort of post regarding the incident on here but it never materialised.

Headhunter said...

I KNEW it... Prejudices restored....

Max Calò said...

Did they leave when Colin Moynihan lost his Lewisham East seat to Labour?

Brockley Nick said...

Well congratulations, you have confirmed Headhunters dark prejudices. I hope you're proud! ;)


The story didn't materialise because I didn't hear about it. If you have news, please share it. I am not God, however much it might appear that way.

Anne said...

There's always one! It was Labour's toxic legacy that necessitated the cuts in the first place.

Tamsin said...

Really like this little mini-exchange. If I didn't post as a guest I would be "up-voting" all your posts. Shall we let loose an unkindness of ravens on Monkeyboy or a murder of crows? Fly my pretties!

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