PLA began life in early 2020, when I found myself at home with little work to do due to the lockdown measures in place. The first thought from my colleagues and myself during this time was the well-being of our regular, and mostly vulnerable patrons. 

The lockdown highlighted the absolute crucial part libraries play in people’s lives- but being such a holistic service, it is hard to pin point what exactly public libraries do for people- most people are aware they can borrow books and access the internet at their local library- but it offers so.much.more. 

It was here the idea for raising awareness of what is available through public libraries, and who it is available for (hint- everyone). I’ve always had a passion for art and design, and after years of creating promotional material for my library the idea of designing apparel was a natural next step for me.

Drawing inspiration from my working-class background and public library architect in the UK, Public Library Apparel’s designs have a retro feel that is a nod to the golden years of public libraries and vintage book cover art. Together with designs that showcase different elements of public library services, we pledge 20% of profits every month to public libraries in the UK. You can nominate your local library in our nominate form.

I am so excited to see a tangible difference to the libraries we donate to- it’s no secret public services have been cut back to the bone the last decade under austerity measures, and the knock on effect of other services being scrapped all together has meant public libraries are trying to fill the void. The most vulnerable members of our society use public libraries for a number of reasons so its vital funding and awareness grows.

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