Garbage collectors in Ankara, Turkey, have come up with an amazing way to use discarded books they found on their routes-- rather than hauling them away with the rest of the city’s trash, they built a free library.
CNN reported earlier this year that this most unusual library of salvaged literature had around 6000 titles. The collection grew gradually as the books were set aside for employees and their families to borrow, but eventually, news of their collection expanded beyond the sanitation department. Instead of leaving books on the curb, residents started donating their unwanted books directly to the cause. Soon the idea arose of opening a full library for the public to enjoy.
With support from the local government, the library opened in the Çankaya district of Ankara in September of 2017. Located in an abandoned brick factory on the sanitation department’s property, it features literature for children, science books, French and English volumes, among many others . The space also includes a lounge where visitors can read their books.
The experiment has proven so successful and the library is so well-stocked that local schools, prisons, and educational programs can now borrow from its now 9,000-book inventory.
The garbage collectors behind the projects have come up with yet another amazing idea-- that of a unique bookmobile that will tour schools in suburban districts to instill the passion for reading in children. A garbage collection vehicle was converted into the bookmobile, and it will begin its trips in late November to remote schools in the Ankara Province, according to Borneo Bulletin.
The Çankaya municipality hopes that this scheme will inspire the children in Turkey, more interested in computer games than reading, to find delight in the magical world of books.
“We are planning to visit all districts of Ankara one by one in the coming months. Some schools have already informed us that they would be very eager to receive us,” Emirali Urtekin, director of the "factory library," told Xinhua.
While Turkey does have its own public library system, run by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the Ministry of Education, Turkey’s Daily Sabah reported in 2017 that there was just one public library for every 70,000 people in Turkey, well below the European Union (EU) level.
The bookmobile is currently packed with 2,000 collected and donated children’s books expected to raise their curiosity and interest. Nearly 1,000 more will be added in a couple of months after being sorted out by categories.