The Library Without Any Books!

Welcome to Story Quest, a weekly podcast where we bring your stories to life!

In this episode we bring Olivia’s story – The Library Without Any Books – to life.

If you have a story idea, you could be like Olivia and have it turned into a Story Quest. All you have to do is send us your story idea here. We know you have the best imaginations and together we can create the most brilliant stories!

That’s just what Olivia did. You can watch the story she suggested come to life below, plus she tells us all about the inspiration behind the story at the end.

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Read along to The Library Without Any Books!

You can read along to the story while you listen. Just follow the text below. Don’t worry if you find a word tricky – you can pause the video whenever to give yourself more time.

I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Come closer…Ready?…Okay: Magic is real

It’s actually all around us. Up on the top shelf, around the corner, under the bed, there’s magic to be discovered everywhere you look.

And there’s one place that’s more magical than any other? Got any guesses? A witch’s bedroom? A magician’s kitchen? A wizard’s bathroom? Nope, none of them! (Although they are fairly magical as magical things go). But no…chances are you’ve been lucky enough to visit one of these places before. 

They look like ordinary buildings…they could be big, they could be small, but wall to wall they’re packed with dragons, and unicorns, and knights in shining armour and aliens and superheroes and princesses and, and, anything! Anybody can see them; all you have to do is…turn the page…got it yet? 

Magic is real and the most magical places in the world are libraries! That’s actually a scientific fact, just ask…science.

This is a story about a library. An unusual library without any books.

“Where are the books?” huffed Sophie, the exasperated librarian in charge of Sir Humphrey Dumpster’s library.

“Every evening when I shut the library, the books are full of shelves, and every morning when I open up they are EMPTY! It doesn’t make any sense, it’s driving me crazy!”

“That reminds me of the time I swallowed my steering wheel,” cracked Roger, the caretaker at Sir Humphrey Dumpster’s, in his gentle west country accent.

“Hilarious,” groaned his wife Delphine, rolling her eyes so obviously they nearly rolled out of their sockets!

Delphine was a retired police detective and was invited to the library by Roger to see if she could assist in solving the mystery of the missing books. After all, libraries lose a substantial amount of their magic when they aren’t filled with books.

“So you’re certain the shelves were filled with books when you locked up last night?” Delphine asked Sophie as she took out a dusty notepad and pencil from her back pocket.

“I’ve never been more certain of anything in my life! We wouldn’t be a very good library with no books…a library with no books is just a building!”

“Hmm okay, well that is strange” Remarked Delphine, scribbling down some notes. “And you must have CCTV, right?”

“Oh yes we do!” interrupted Roger. “Well I set it up myself.” He proclaimed with his chest puffed out in pride.

“Great, well that should solve the mystery then.” Chuckled Delphine, closing and putting away her notepad. She couldn’t believe that Sophie and Roger hadn’t thought to check the CCTV, that’s like mystery solving 101.

The trio marched past the miserably barren shelves towards the back of the library and into a tiny room.

Roger flicked a few switches which whizzed and whirred until their faces were illuminated by the footage of last night’s events.

Sure enough, when Sophie left the library and locked the doors behind her at 5:57pm, the shelves were full of stories.

“Let’s fast forward to the morning,” suggest Delphine.

“Righty Oh” replied Roger as his sausage like index finger pressed the fast forward button on the CCTV unit. The footage looked still as the time in the bottom left sped through the seconds…minutes…hours…until. *white noise*

3:33am. The screen flashed white.

“That’s odd,” said Roger.

“Ugh” huffed Sophie.

“You mustn’t have set it up properly, Roger.” Chimed Delphine. “Can’t say I’m surprised considering the bookshelf you made me for Christmas at home. Makes the Leaning Tower of Pisa look straight!”

“I thought you liked that…” mumbled a disheartened Roger as the CCTV jumped back into life.

The time, 3:34am.

The shelves, empty.

The trio stood there, stunned.

“What on earth?” muttered Delphine…

“I KNEW IT!” shouted Sophie, “I knew I wasn’t going bonkers.”

Roger just shrugged. He realised that they were no closer to solving the puzzle of the library without any books.

“Well,” said Delphine, “I think it’s obvious what we do next isn’t it?”

“Shut?” suggested Roger.

“Cry?” sobbed Sophie.

“No, and…no.” Replied Delphine, handing Sophie a tissue to dry her eyes.

“We’ll spend the night here at the library and catch who, or whatever, is responsible for taking the books.”

“Are you sure that’s safe?” Asked Roger, “I’m sure Sophie won’t want to-“

But before he could finish his sentence, a steely-looking Sophie wiped away the last of her tears and proclaimed: “I’m in.”

“You better pop home and grab the air beds,” Delphine gestured to Roger. “We’re having a stake-out.”

The crew ordered a takeaway pizza and chatted before deciding to sleep at 9pm – a very late night for Roger who is usually sound asleep by 7:30! They’d each set an alarm for 3:30am so that they could watch what happened to the missing books.

The alarms beeped and buzzed and Delphine bolted upright awake. She felt a rush she hadn’t felt since she single-handedly stopped a gang of notorious criminals stealing the Crown Jewels. “It’s go-time.”

Roger watched the seconds etch towards 3:33am…tick, tick…QUIET RUSTLING.


The nightwatch team were expecting explosions, fireworks, abseiling ninjas, or something a bit more impressive than what sounded like a hamster rolling around in some straw.

Then, what appeared to be a small green figure came into view from behind a shelf.

“Hey you!” Shouted Delphine, “Stop right there.”

The small green figure did stop, but Delphine wasn’t entirely sure that was because it understood what she was saying…

“Do you understand us?” asked Sophie.

“Err, yes…I suppose I do,” replied the little green figure. 

Roger was confused why the green figure wasn’t more threatening, Sophie was confused that there was what looked like a literal alien in her beloved library, and Delphine was loving every second.

“Are you what’s been stealing our books? In fact, what are you?” asked Delphine.

The green figure sighed, and explained: “To answer your first question, I suppose from your point of view I am who has been ‘stealing’ your books. But I object to the use of the word stealing, I was going to return them. Promise. And what am I? Wow. That’s a deep question – but I won’t get all existential on you. My name’s Regis and I’m, well to you, an alien. But you see, to me, you’re aliens. But I come from a planet called Lavania.”

Again, Roger looked confused, Sophie looked confused, and Delphine was excited.

“Well, welcome to Earth I suppose!” shouted Delphine, “But can I ask why are you stealing our books?”

Regis the Lavanian replied: “That’s a valid question, although I still object to stealing. But that’s besides the point. My species do things incredibly quickly compared to your species. I can travel from my planet to here and back in the equivalent of 15 of your Earth seconds. So think how quickly I can read books? I have quite literally run out of books on Lavania and our surrounding planets that I have taken to your Earth books to scratch my literary itches. And I have to say, some of them are rather good.”

“Well, I appreciate your love of reading, I really do,” started Sophie. “But you have to realise you’re leaving our library completely empty every night – what are the humans who want to read supposed to do?”

“Ah, I didn’t quite consider that,” replied Regis, who was perhaps the most unthreatening alien to ever ‘invade’ the planet.

“I have an idea,” suggested Delphine. “How about, you can keep coming to borrow our Earth books, providing you replace them with books and stories from Lavania and the surrounding planets? That way you get to experience new books and so do we and our members.”

“Well, I don’t have a problem with that.” Said Regis.

And that, was that.

Every night Regis would come and swap the human books with his stash from outer space and each day unsuspecting humans would take home stories written by actual aliens!

Who knows, next time you’re at the library the book you pick up will be out of this world! Either way, it’s guaranteed to be magical.

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