By now you have probably seen the article[s] about the Ankara rubbish men who began collecting books for a library for themselves. I find that re-reading the story does not make it any less interesting. In fact, it would seem I have something in common with these Turkish men; we like the idea of having lots of books at our disposal, and we can’t bear getting rid of books by just chucking them away.
What’s fascinating is how many they were able to pick up for their collection/library. The books can’t have been in too bad a condition or so desperately boring that no one would want to read them.
I know very little about Turkey, so one of my potentially prejudiced views would be that they are so poor that they are happy with any old book found. But then, there were clearly many people throwing books away. And the library they built seems to have been sanctioned by the mayor in their municipality. And surely there wouldn’t be teachers clamouring to borrow books for their schools if they weren’t worth reading? Although teachers needing to ask for formerly thrown-away books suggests there are few funds for books by other routes.
I look at my own books, which I attempt to dispose of as sensibly as I can. How nice it would be if the Ankara men could inspire others in my neighbourhood to do the same. A kind of larger version of the Little Libraries you might have outside your house.
But then, we have libraries in Scotland. For how much longer, I don’t know. At that point maybe my cast-offs will be more welcome. I look at my books every day, thinking that someone not too far away would really like ‘this book’ and my main problem is finding that someone.
Maybe a small shed on my drive? You know, halfway between a Little Library and actually inviting people into my house. I’m still too unsociable to be able to do that.
While I’m vacillating, doing nothing, I’m in awe of these people in Turkey who seem to actively like the books they’ve found.