Saturday, October 15, 2011

This Is Very Cool

Every once in a while I come across a little news article that really takes the freezer burn off my heart. This is such an article, and it talks about a new movement in Germany.

Take a book, leave a book. In the birthplace of the printing press, public bookshelves are popping up across the nation on street corners, city squares and suburban supermarkets.

In these free-for-all libraries, people can grab whatever they want to read, and leave behind anything they want for others. There's no need to register, no due date, and you can take or give as many as you want. ...

The public book shelves, which are usually financed by donations and cared for by local volunteer groups, have popped up independently of each other in many cities across Germany including Berlin, Hannover and Bonn, and also in suburbs and villages.

Each shelf holds around 200 books and it takes about six weeks for a complete turnover, with all the old titles replaced by new ones, he said.

The program has been so successful that other countries have requested information on the process. While the Germans are still fine tuning, they have been willing to share that information to increase reading habits. And book sellers are beginning to notice that the availability of free books hasn't cut into their business at all. In fact, several have reported an uptick as the reading public is, well, reading more.

Would such a program work in the US? I don't see why not. Yes, we have free public libraries, but many of them are either closing or cutting back the hours and days they are open because of state and local budget crunches. Most of them are located inconveniently far from those who because of their own budget crunches can't take advantage of them. Having these small book shelves in different areas takes an edge off those problems.

It's a nifty idea, one that I hope succeeds all over the planet.

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OpenID phoenixwoman said...

Yes, that's a nice one, Diane.

Here's another Aye vote.


7:00 AM  
Blogger PurpleGirl said...

The non-profit Co-op where I live has a Library. Residents donate books and residents can take them. It is not necessary to return a book. I help out with watching it when it is open. While I wish more people would use our little library, it's nice to have it.

There was an ice cream parlor in Brooklyn that had shelves from which people could take a book or leave one. That was nice too.

7:34 PM  

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