Libraries and bookshops across the country have been closed for months now, due to lockdown restrictions during the current Coronavirus (Corvid-19) pandemic. In response, many people have been installing book boxes, community bookshelves and little libraries outside their homes as an act of kindness to their neighbours. These installations offer free books to local people who may not be able to access books as they would have before the pandemic, in particular for those who cannot afford new books and would usually use libraries to access literature.
Ellen Jones, an award-winning journalist, campaigner, speaker, writer and community organiser, is one of many people who put a book box outside her home to offer free reading for her neighbours. After borrowing books from the box, one of Ellen’s neighbours extended the hand of kindness and donated to an LGBTQIA+ charity.
In her campaign work, Ellen Jones speaks and writes on LGBTQ+ rights, mental health, autism & gender. So, unsurprisingly, LGBTQIA+ books featured heavily in Ellen Jones’ book box. After using the box, a neighbour, whom Ellen had never met or spoken to before, left her a note.
Put a box of books outside my flat and just got this note that my neighbour (whom I have never met) has made a donation to @stonewalluk after seeing the LGBTQ+ books in the collection and has invited me round for coffee after this is all over. 🌈🌈🌈🌈 pic.twitter.com/1l7jdKcqg2
— Ellen Jones (@ellen__jones) May 12, 2020
The note from the neighbour thanked Ellen for her gift of books on female empowerment, LGBT+, body positivity and women. The note invited Ellen Jones for a coffee and a chat when the current Coronavirus pandemic is finally over. What’s more, it also informed Ellen that the neighbour had decided to pay the generosity forward and donate £10 to Stonewall UK, “a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights charity in the United Kingdom, named after the 1969 Stonewall riots in New York City’s Greenwich Village.”
While the world is turned on its head, acts of kindness such as these are what keep us going and can keep us connected. If you have a similar, literary-themed, story of kindness, friendship or compassion during the pandemic, why not let us know?