Councillor apologises over littering accusation to parents joining in craze in Milton Keynes

Families joining in the book-hiding craze bringing delight to children across MK have been accused of LITTERING by a parish councillor.

Thousands of people are taking part in the Look for a Book MK scheme, which involves children hiding their favourite books, sealed in plastic, in public places for others to pick up and read.

Malcolm Millen

Malcolm Millen

But, despite the mass approval from children, parents and education experts, Stantonbury parish councillor Malcolm Millen did not seem impressed when the books popped up in his Bancroft ward.

He sent a stern email to one mum who had posted a photo on the Look for a Book MK Facebook page, which has more than 3,800 members.

It read: “I have been advised that you have been putting books in bags around Bancroft. A few residents have contacted me about this being littering.

“As I am sure you are aware we would not like this to do anything to encourage any form of littering and I do agree with residents in my ward. While it may be with good intentions can I ask that you do not continue this on my ward.”

Book hiding

Book hiding

The mum posted the email on Facebook, saying: “What a shame. Some people don’t seem to like the idea of getting kids enthusiastic about reading.”

It prompted a tide of anger against Mr Millen, with parents slamming his email as 'shocking and disappointing'.

A Look for a Book group administrator has urged people to ignore the littering accusation, saying: “We started this and we won’t stop. Carry on hiding because this is nonsense.”

But Mr Millen has now apologised unreservedly through the Citizen, saying he had no idea this was part of the Look for a Book scheme.

The email

The email

“I simply had complaints about littering from residents. The person I emailed never got back to me to explain. Had I known I would never have objected.”

He added: “I am dyslexic myself, so know only too well the importance of children reading. This sound a wonderful scheme and I would be only too happy to offer my help and support for it.

“I apologise unreservedly for any upset I caused. It was a misunderstanding.”

LOOK for a BOOK MK was been set up as a way of encouraging children in MK to read more, and make it exciting.

The concept is to pop a book you have read or no longer want into a clear plastic wallet, along with a little note explaining this, seal it so it is waterproof, and then hide somewhere for another child to find.

Once it has been found, that child can enjoy reading it, and once finished, parents can seal and re-hide for someone else to find.