Public Library Apparel: a quick interview with Lottie Begg

I had an email out of the blue from Lottie Begg, who is starting a Kickstarter to start “Public Library Apparel”, producing public library related clothing and raise funds for the sector. Intrigued, I got in touch to ask a few questions …

Why are you interested in public libraries?

For me, public libraries are the epitome of a healthy society, offering all individuals a physical and digital place to educate, entertain and empower themselves. Working in a library, I have found the service provided is now holistic to a person’s well-being, filling in gaps from other services that are now defunded or underfunded to a point they can no longer support the individuals they intended to help. The current lock down and Covid-19 crisis has emphasised this, and it is why I passionately believe libraries need more funding and better promotion in the UK.

Lottie Begg

Who is Public Library apparel?

Public Library Apparel is currently a one woman-job and 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.

Have you had any experience in Kickstarter before?

This is my first Kickstarter campaign. The idea of crowd funding only occurred after the initial idea was developed. With the aim being to raise awareness and funds for public libraries I believe it would resonate with regular Kickstarter users and would provide a great platform to promote the brand.

What would make it a success in your eyes?

Success for me would be to reach our aims of raising awareness and funds for public libraries in the UK. With the backing of our Kickstarter, it would mean we would be able to achieve this.

Why 1984?

Very few books have resonated with current world wide issues so much as 1984, with its themes of power and information it resonates with libraries’ core values of empowerment for all through information, learning and knowledge.

Who’s behind the look of the website?

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.

Kickstarter goals/rewards.

Our aim is to raise £2,400 to cover production of our first collection. For our Kickstarter rewards, backers can get their hands on our t-shirt designs, bookmarks, and an exclusive tote bag design. All backers will receive a downloadable phone wallpaper and a discount code to use on future orders through our online store.

How do libraries nominate themselves?

Anyone can nominate a public library in the UK through our online form available through our website. Each month we will select a library and donate 20% of profits to them.

How can you be contacted?