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A Guide to Edinburgh's Little Free Libraries

Edinburgh, UK


Hello, friends! Some of you will be familiar with "Little Free Libraries" but for those of you who aren't, it’s a wonderful book sharing movement and the concept is simple "Take a Book. Leave a Book". These little libraries are dotted all around the world and come in many shapes and sizes. They can range from charming upcycled wooden boxes with recycled glass doors to impressively crafted little works of art. It's such a delight to see the thought and care that's gone into creating something for the local community and, to me, that's what makes "hunting" them out so much fun. Not to mention, the wonderful and unexpected books that await you inside. 


Over the past few years, much to my delight, I've watched Edinburgh embrace the concept with new little libraries are popping up all around the Capital. Since moving back to Edinburgh recently, my love for little libraries has only heightened as I realised my new neighbourhood has at least four little libraries that I was previously unaware of. So, I've set myself the task to visit all of Edinburgh's Little Free Libraries and document them here. I plan to update the blog as I discover new ones or tick off some from my list (you'll find this at the bottom of this post). So, if you know of a little library I haven’t mentioned, please let me know in the comments. One more thing before we begin, if you plan on visiting one of the Little Free Libraries on this list, please don’t forget to bring a book to swap with you!   

 

PS I’ve also added the ‘Charter numbers’ to the ones which are registered with Little Free Library so you can find their exact location on a map. I'm also considering creating a Google Map for them to show the exact locations.

 

A Guide to Edinburgh's Little Free Libraries

 

1. Teviotdale Place (Stockbridge Colonies)
The rest of the blog will be in no particular order (although, I have tried to group them into neighbourhoods) but I thought it would be fitting to start with Edinburgh's first Little Free Library. As far as I know, the Little Library was commissioned by Book Artist Rachel Hazell who was inspired by a converted phone box she came across in Somerset and decided to install a beautiful wooden library, with the help of Edinburgh Tool Library, in Stockbridge’s extremely picturesque Colonies. You'll find this little gem in the front garden of a Colony house on Teviotdale Place. 

Charter #36444 

 

2. 61 Comely Bank Road (Comely Bank)  

A short walk along Stockbridge's high street will bring you to Comely Bank where you'll find another little library in a front garden on Comely Bank Road. This little library sits is shaped like a little house and lovingly decorated with palm trees, a row of colourful houses, and birds - it's one of my favourites, in appearance. Keeping the library company is a wide range of quirky upcycled and recycled art such as a glass bottle mural and plastic bottle flowers. On my last visit, the little library was filled to the brim with books! 

 

 

3. 50 Eildon Street (Inverleith)
One of Edinburgh’s more hidden little libraries sits on Eildon Street – a popular route for those joining up with the Cycle Path or Water of Leith Walkway from Inverleith. In fact, I’d walked this route on several occasions and never noticed it! Unlike many of the libraries on this list, Eildon Street is horizontal in shape. The simple yet stylish library has been painted grey and gives the illusion that it’s been built into the hedge.  

 

 

4. Starbank Park (Trinity & Newhaven)
Next up, our tour of Edinburgh's Little Free Libraries takes us to Starbank Park. The park is spectacular in its own right and a must-visit during cherry blossom season but it's also home to two delightful little libraries. The first little library is tucked away in the west corner of the garden. It's painted white with an apex roof and specifically for children's books. The other is in the east end of the garden and is extra special as it's in the shape of a Doctor Who Tardis! 

 

 

5. 37 Scotland Street (New Town)
Any fans of Alexander McCall Smith’s 44 Scotland Street series? Well, I think it’s really fun that Scotland Street is home to a very elegant Little Free Library. The library is attached to black cast iron railings, surrounded by greenery, painted a soft grey and even has a succulent garden on its roof - it really is a picture perfect scene. 

 

6. 17 Dundas Street (New Town) 

Another New Town Little Free Library is just a short walk from Scotland Street on Dundas Street. The cheery, red little library was installed by Dickins Edinburgh (a lovely short term rental business) for their guests and anyone who would like to swap a book. 

Charter #94372 

 

7. 7 Hillside Street (Hillside)
A short walk from Montgomery Park, Hillside's little library sits on the the corner of Montgomery Street and Hill Street. With its dark colour and chrome handle, the library is one of the more modern looking libraries on the list. It's also fairly large and was crammed full of books on my last visit.



8. 200 Morrison Street (West End)
I was thrilled when I discovered a little library outside The Eco Larder as there’s definitely a shortage of little libraries in the area. The large green wooden box with the words “Community Library” scrawled on the front is hard to miss!

 

9. Dalry Place (Dalry Colonies) 
Located near Haymarket, the Dalry Colonies comprise of eight charming streets branching off from Dalry Place. You'll find the Dalry Colonies little library built into one of the hedges that line Dalry Place. The lovely thing about its location is there are several benches nearby if you fancy sitting with your new book for a while. 

Charter #56525

 

10. Leith Walk Police Box (Leith) 

Leith is home to several little libraries and the first you're likely to come across is on Leith Walk, beside the Leith Walk Police Box. I'm particularly fond of this one as after longing to come across a Book Fairies book for years, I finally found one here! Once again, we have the Edinburgh Tool Library to thank for installing this charming, wooden library.  

 

11. 1 Rosevale Place (near Leith Links)
Another Leith library to look out for is hidden within the Leith Links Colonies (there seems to be a recurring theme of Colony Libraries)! Named the “Little Colonies Library”, the wooden library is a narrow rectangular shape with glass doors and was built using upcycled materials during lockdown. 

Charter #101516 

 

12. St Mary’s Leith Primary School (near Leith Links)
Leith Links is home to another little library, however, this is one of the saddest Little Free Libraries I’ve come across. You’ll see from the photo that it’s made of wood, painted a lovely dark green colour with an apex roof, unfortunately, it’s had a bit of a rough time and is missing a door with a very poor selection of books when I visited.  

 


13. 7 Chandler Crescent (near Leith Links) 
In contrast, tucked away in a modern housing development near Leith Links, Chandler Crescent Little Free Library is very well stocked! The only similarity is, sadly, it’s also missing its door. It’s such a sweet library and while most Little Libraries are attached to a wall, this one is attached to a wooden pole in a large planter.  

Instagram: @leithlittlefreelibrary

Charter #102308

 

14. The Meadows (near University of Edinburgh Library)
Well, let me tell you, I searched for this Little Free Library on two separate occassions and one of the days I walked around the Meadows twice before I found it! Turns out, it’s really not that difficult to find as it’s right next to the University of Edinburgh’s library and at the heart of the Meadows Community Garden. The library is attached to the Community Garden’s colourful sign and is wooden with glass doors so you can have a peek at its books without opening it. Interestingly, I found a copy of “Isle of Chaos” by Sophie & Chris Brousseau before it was actually available to buy!

 

15. The Ripple (Restalrig)
You’ll find Restalrig’s one and only Little Free Library (as far as I know, let me know if you know of another!) outside The Ripple, a charity which strives to tackle poverty and inequality by working in the local community. The box is a cheery yellow with light wood accents and is another one constructed by the Edinburgh Tool Library. On my visit, most of the books in the Little Library were children’s books.

 

 

16. Viewcraig Street (Dumbiedykes)
One of Edinburgh's latest Little Free Libaries is in Dumbiedykes. We have the Edinburgh Tool Library and Dumbiedykes Matters to thank for this sweet little library. When I visit it was well stocked with books like 'Normal People' by Sally Rooney and a few Carola Dunn mysteries. 

 


 Edinburgh Little Free Libraries I’ve heard of but yet to visit:
  • Blackford Hill - 17 Macdowell Road (Charter #10441)
  • Balerno - Phone Box Share Box
  • Dalry Cemetery
  • Forrester - Forrester Grove Park (Charter #122917)
  • Kirkliston - 31 Templar Crescent (Charter #116475 & IG - @templar_little_free_library) 
  • Pilton - East Pilton Farm Wynd (Charter #117924)
  • Polworth - Harrison Park 
  • Portobello - St Mark’s Churchyard 
  • Portobello - Tribe Porty, 19 Windsor Place 
  • Roslin - 6 Minstrel Court

* Royal Botanic Gardens - I have visited in the past but couldn’t find it on my last visit. 



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