Spreading the word in the Fens

By Kotryna Visockyte

A woman from a Fenland village has launched a “walking library”, hiding books in various outdoor locations for people to find and read.

Asta Siskiene started the Walsoken Walking Library last year with her two daughters in their village, which is just outside Wisbech. “We bought bags, cleaned the books to make them covid-19 secure, put books in the bags, and scattred them through the village,” she said. “The project was born from love for books and desire to help others.”

Currently, with a help of volunteers, books can be found in more than 20 locations, including Upwell and March. Some have even reached Scotland. It is estimated there are around 5,000 books out in circulation today.

Siskiene said: “We have received huge support from the community, library, local schools, and similar projects.”
Walsoken Walking Library also runs regular events and competitions with prizes for children.

The project does not seem to be coming to an end any time soon. “We have many ideas, many plans. We want to donate mini-libraries to villages,” said Siskiene.

“But everything depends on demand, further generosity of the community and the persistence of volunteers.”

Every piece of literature left has instructions attached, which include: one book per bag, fully sealing the bag before leaving the book outside for somebody else to read, and changing the bag if needed. Users are also encouraged to volunteer for the project.