'LITTLE Free Libraries' are popping up across Bradford to give young children greater access to books.

Back in 2009, the first Little Free Library was erected in Wisconsin in the United States by Todd Boll, who created it as a tribute to his mother. She was a teacher who loved reading.

He made a small wooden house and put it on a post at the end of his drive with a sign that said ‘Free Books’ for families and children to take books to read.

Twelve years on, Todd’s book sharing idea has gone global, with more than 100,000 Little Free Libraries registered in over 108 countries.

A further eight are being placed all across the Better Start Bradford areas of Bowling and Barkerend, Bradford Moor and Little Horton by Better Place, a Better Start Bradford project.

The first Little Free Library in Bradford launched in November at the Mayfield Pocket Park at the Mayfield Centre in BD5.

A further seven are being installed at Bowling Park, Peel Park, Bradford Moor Park, Attock Park, Ventnor Street in BD3, plus Laisterdyke Library and Folkestone Street, Barkerend, over the next few months.

Free book gifting project, Better Start Imagine will fill the boxes with a selection of books aimed at 0-3s.

The books are there to be taken, swapped, replaced, shared or simply to be read there and then as the libraries have purposely been located near play areas, benches and seating areas.

The libraries have their own unique design and theme, and have been beautifully painted by artists Helen Corney and Hannah Lawson.

It's hoped the Little Free Libraries will encourage families with little ones to explore reading further and to visit their local libraries.

Leanne Souster, Better Start Imagine co-ordinator, said: “I am really excited to be working alongside the Better Place team on this scheme. Hopefully children will get excited if they see the same book they have at home and the opportunity to explore others that are in there.

“It will also be great for parents and carers to share the books outside with their little ones. There is nothing nicer than seeing families sharing books so what a great opportunity for them to do it outside.”

Adele Adams, Project Manager, Better Place added: “The Little Free Libraries is a wonderful initiative that brings greater access to books for very young children.

"By being placed in areas already improved by our Better Place project, families and their little readers can also use the surrounding features and sculptures to act out moments in the books or make their own stories up – books really do open doors into exciting new worlds.”