A peek inside the Oxfordshire warehouse finding homes for four million second-hand books

Watch: Four million books line the warehouse that is looking to spread the power of reading to families and give a new lease of life to second-hand books, as ITV News Meridian's Kara Digby reports

An enormous warehouse in Oxfordshire is finding homes for four million second-hand books, while helping charities spread the power of reading to families.

The Awesome Books warehouse in Wallingford is filled with row upon row of towering shelves holding around four million second hand books ready to be sold.

Taskeen Ahmed, the CEO said: "Back in 2002 my brother and I were visiting some charity shops and we saw books being thrown away and we were heartbroken.

"Books to us, my brother and I, we're book lovers, and they are such powerful things.

"So we said to ourselves 'we've got to find something better to do with books that people no longer want to read'.

"Even in a country like the UK actually child literacy could be so much better. Making sure these books are finding a new home, getting re-read, getting used, I think is so critical and so powerful."

Books are processed and sorted. Credit: ITV Meridian

Around 300,000 books arrive at the warehouse every day for processing, which is either excess charity shop stock or books chucked away at recycling centres.

The business also has a charitable side and every month around 100,000 books are donated to charity. They go towards supporting initiatives in countries like Ghana, India and Pakistan. However they are also supporting charities in the UK.

Among them is grassroots charity The Children's Book Project, which has been donated 20,000 books this term.

Row after row is full of books. Credit: ITV Meridian

The charity's founder, Liberty Venn said: "They've been gifted to families via 94 primary schools across London, Oxford and the West Country with a view to those schools putting on book-gifting festivals so that every child can come along and take a book home to keep.

"We'll work with schools where we know there are quite a few families that aren't in a position to access books of their own - whether that is due to the cost of living crisis or for other reasons - so putting books into homes where there are sometimes no books at all."

When asked if someone if someone organised the books alphabetically, Taskeen said: "That's a really good question and someone always asks that!

"When we first started we tried to organise them by genre - I'm talking 20 years ago when we had just a few hundred books.

"After a couple of days this got fairly tiresome with the sheer amount of books that we were getting. So actually now - they're purely arranged by size."

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