A community ‘library’ was set on fire at 2am just six days after it launched.
The Ledger Little Library, a repurposed DVD cabinet which can hold up to 100 books at a time, opened its doors to the public on Tuesday, August 28.
Just six days later, in the early hours of Monday, September 3, Clare Carter and her colleague Matt Singleton were passing the library when they noticed smoke pouring from inside.
She said: “My colleague pulled the books out that were alight to save the library so the damage was minimal. Had we have been a couple of minutes later it would have been ruined.”
Matt and Clare’s quick thinking saved the library, which had seen dozens of visitors in just six days.
Debbie Banks said: “That’s really upset me. Was so lovely seeing pictures yesterday of the children picking their books.”
The library was built by Outwood resident Susan Thomas, who wanted to create somewhere for parents and grandparents to swap books.
She repurposed an old cabinet to create the library and secured it to the fence, close to Outwood Working Men’s Club on Ledger Lane.
Speaking before the fire, Susan said: “I don’t mind if people see a book they want or if they want to borrow it or drop one off.
“It’s very much anything really, I’ve kind of had the kids’ books on the bottom and there’s novels and cookery books and self-help books, a bit of everything really.”
It is believed the fire was started deliberately, as flammable cotton wool pads had been placed between the pages of one of the books.
Since the fire, residents have suggested dozens of ways to protect the library, including installing a CCTV system, placing it inside a building or constructing a steel casing.
Mrs Thomas said: “I have suggested to my husband that he could stay on guard duty all night but I’m not sure he is so keen.
“Let’s not waste our energy with angry posts and suggestions of what could be done to the perpetrators.
“Let’s use this energy to keep it going and keep it open for kids and grown ups of all ages. Please remember that there are literally hundreds of you guys who want this library in place.”