An Arbroath bookworm has joined up with other literature lovers from across the country in an effort to replace a library and bookshop which were destroyed by fighting in Gaza.
Kelly Bennett is calling on friends, family and members of the community to donate their own books, which will be used to rebuild the premises in the Palestinian territory.
The shop, which is owned Samir Mansour, was badly damaged during the recent conflict, resulting in the loss of thousands of books.
Kelly and others like her are now trying to help rebuild the library through fundraising and book collecting.
The 41-year-old said: “I think that everyone in their life has picked up a book and had it mean something to them.
“It’s comfort, it’s an escape to somewhere else.
“I feel like, no matter what the book, it can take you a totally different world, and I don’t want these people to go without that.
“For me, books are massively important and I know that, in the past, Samir’s shop has also functioned as a community centre and safe place for people.
“We can write to MPs and protest but this feels like a much more practical way of helping, I’m really doing something material here.”
Every book helps
The social sciences and education student says that she is not picky about the specific type of books donated and is just looking for as wide a range as possible.
She said: “In an ideal world we would be able to get brand-new copies of Arabic books, but obviously those aren’t too common.
“Apart from that, we’re really just looking for whatever we can get our hands on.
“Of course, it is an Muslim population, so there will be certain themes and things that might not be wanted, but I’m happy to do the sorting.
“Kids’ books, novels, even educational textbooks and things like that, we’re happy to take all of it.
“Anything that you’d expect to see if you went to a book shop.”
Reaching out to everyone…
Kelly’s efforts are part of a national push to get books to Gaza, with others from across Scotland and the rest of the UK taking part.
She said: “Right now I’m just reaching out to everyone in my network – friends, family, even people I haven’t spoken to in a long time.
“I was also hoping that maybe schools who are cleaning out their libraries before summer might be able to help us.
“I’ve already had a few big boxes donated, which is amazing.”
Book donations can be made by calling Kelly on 07538 716472.