WHEN 50 books were stolen from her doorstep mum-of-two Kristina Cole was ready to give up her library service.

But thanks to the parish council and a disused phone box the Little Lydiard Library is back and better than ever.

Kristina originally put the books out on her Chestnut Springs doorstep with rules posted on signs, but since the theft she relocated her library to a red phone box opposite the Sun Inn on The Street.

The 35-year-old said: “We just started off with the little boxes outside my house but because of all the attention it got when the boxes were stolen, I’d kind of given up.

“But we had so much support to start it up again so I restarted outside my door but the Lydiard Millicent Parish Council got in touch and asked if I wanted to run it from the phone box instead as it’s a much more central location.

“I just can’t believe how popular it’s been.”

Kristina is an avid book-lover herself and is keen to make sure everyone in the area has access to reading material.

She added: “I love reading, I think it’s a really important thing that we should encourage children to do.

“And there’s lots of elderly people in the area who can’t get to mainstream libraries, and I had lots of books around. I just thought if I put them outside and people walk by and want to borrow them then that’s great.

“That’s how it started off and then people started donating books and it’s working really nicely.

“I thought it would be a nice thing to do and it’s been popular right from the start.”

The Little Lydiard Library works exactly like every other library – except nobody has to obtain a membership.

Anyone is welcome to drop by and pick up a book, regardless of where they live, and Kristina is not worried if some don’t make it back.

“If people take books and don’t bring it back then I’ve got enough to keep it going,” she explained.

“It’s the risk you take but I think there’s enough good people for that not to happen.”

There are no opening or closing hours and donations can be left. But Kristina stressed she has plenty of adult books to go around and literature aimed at children would be preferable.

“It’s not locked, it’s free and open," she said. "I go and check every few days to make sure what’s in there.

“There’s a box in there for donations and I check all the books over. It’s free for anyone to use whenever.”

Looking to the future, Kristina added she would love to move to a bigger location and she is even hoping to open up a Puzzle Lydiard Library if she can find a spot.