Advertisement
Activism

Public Library Apparel is making a fashion statement for libraries

Lottie Begg has turned her love of libraries into a fashion brand during lockdown in a bid to draw attention to their plight and raise vital funds

At The Big Issue, we love literacy and libraries – now you can show off your own passion thanks to a library assistant’s lockdown labour of love to launch a fashion brand.

Lottie Begg, a senior library assistant at the Lord Louis Library in Newport, Isle of Wight, has been hard at work creating Public Library Apparel since the building closed its doors due the Covid-19 pandemic.

Initially her bid for a creative outlet turned an idea to sell the stylish, book-inspired t-shirts at her library to raise vital funds for the service.

But now her plans have evolved to help libraries all over the UK with 20 per cent of the profits from each garment sold going to a library of the customer’s choice.

Lottie is now plotting a Kickstarter campaign to kick off in September in a bid to raise £2,500 to cover printing, postage and promotion of the new brand.

Advertisement
Advertisement

She said: “Our aim is to raise awareness and funds for public libraries and if that gets done then great. I hope it gets people talking about libraries in a positive way. We’ve had our funds slashed, everything’s stretched – it’s a bit like the NHS in that we love it but there is so much complaint about it. I just want to make people more aware of everything that is there for them to use.”

Lottie has been theming some of her collections around classic books, starting with Nineteen Eighty Four. She created a mood board to inspire her own interpretation of George Orwell’s novel and chose the book because of how its themes interplay with what libraries offer to communities. “In the book, information is repressed and manipulated and the library is there to help you get the quality information you need. It’s all about empowerment through information,” she added.

The library where Lottie has worked for three years is still not fully open following the easing of lockdown measures and is currently operating an order and collect service.

And that has had a profound on the Newport community who rely on the library, inspiring Lottie to step up the project.

“It’s the central library for the island and coming through the doors we see a real mix of people in the community we serve. We have quite affluent people but we’ve also got a lot of poverty,” she told The Big Issue. “We just don’t have enough resources to help. We’ve got a lot of frustrated people coming to us, there are people who have not had internet since lockdown and they rely on the library. It’s so many things that you don’t even think about: applying for parking permits, getting information about charities and applying for jobs or benefits.

“I want to raise awareness because I still don’t think people know how much the library does for the community and with other services being cancelled we are trying to fill holes where there is lack of training, lack of time, lack of staff and lack of money. It would be good if people realised we are there for them.”

Images: Public Library Apparel

Advertisement

Bigger Issues need bigger solutions

Big Issue Group is creating new solutions through enterprise to unlock opportunities for the 14.5 million people living in poverty to earn, learn and thrive. Big Issue Group brings together our media and investment initiatives as well as a diverse and pioneering range of new solutions, all of which aim to dismantle poverty by creating opportunity. Learn how you can change lives today.

Recommended for you

Read All
Everything you needed to know about volunteering to get stuck in
Volunteering

Everything you needed to know about volunteering to get stuck in

All the protests and strikes taking place this weekend as anger grows over the economic crisis
Protest

All the protests and strikes taking place this weekend as anger grows over the economic crisis

Volunteering on Christmas Day: How you can get involved
Activism

Volunteering on Christmas Day: How you can get involved

Meet the former gambling addicts fighting to get betting ads kicked out of football
Gambling

Meet the former gambling addicts fighting to get betting ads kicked out of football

Most Popular

Read All
How much will the Queen's funeral cost?
1.

How much will the Queen's funeral cost?

The internet's best reactions as Kwasi Kwarteng cuts taxes and lifts the cap on bankers' bonuses
2.

The internet's best reactions as Kwasi Kwarteng cuts taxes and lifts the cap on bankers' bonuses

From benefit claimants to bankers: Here’s what the mini-budget means for your pay packet
3.

From benefit claimants to bankers: Here’s what the mini-budget means for your pay packet

5 ways anti-homeless architecture is used to exclude people from public spaces
4.

5 ways anti-homeless architecture is used to exclude people from public spaces

To mark our new Arctic Monkeys exclusive interview, we’ve picked out some of our best band and musician interviews from the past, featuring Arctic Monkeys (2018), When Jarvis met Bowie, The Specials, Debbie Harry and more. Sign up to our mailing list to receive your free digital copy.