A project which brings a library to foodbank users in the Cotswolds has been awarded £5,000.

North Cotswold Library Cluster were named winners of the David Vaisey Prize 2019 for their initiative, The Little Library, which provides books to users of the North Cotswolds Foodbanks.

The Little Library was announced as the winner of the competition, which recognises innovative projects in Gloucestershire libraries, at an event at The Times and The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival this weekend.

The initiative provides free books to users of the foodbanks in wooden libraries, which are the size of dolls’ houses, packed with new books, and made by the community volunteer group, Men in Sheds.

Little libraries are now present at the foodbanks in Moreton, Stow, Bourton and Chipping Camden.

Books are available – to return or keep – with additional information about the library and all it has to offer.

The award ceremony was attended by library staff and volunteers from across Gloucestershire as well as David Vaisey CBE, and his family.

Chair of judges, author Rachel Joyce, announced the winning project, saying: “We were all hugely impressed with this project.

Even on paper it’s dynamic, with North Cotswolds writing in their submission: 'As the foodbanks feed the stomachs of their users, we are looking for a way to feed the mind and soul through reading and access to books'.

“This is a highly collaborative project. It is pulling in lots of different parts of the community and there is clearly a real need for it. We loved the fact that it sets such high standards for itself.

"The wooden libraries are beautiful, all the books are brand new - implying the greatest respect for food bank users. It’s highly imaginative as a concept, and in practice it clearly works.”

Sue John of North Cotswold Libraries was one of the team who received the award on Sunday.

She said: “I’d like to thank all the volunteers at the foodbanks who have also supported this. We would love to put more books out there, and I would love to see this go across Gloucestershire and beyond.”

A team of judges, writers Rachel Joyce, Caroline Sanderson, Jamila Gavin, as well as literature advocates Trevor Lee and Julian Hasler, visited the nine long-listed library projects this summer.