The idea of throwing away perfectly good books didn’t sit well with a group of sanitation workers in the Turkish capital of Ankara. That’s why they’ve created a library full of books that people intended to throw away.
When the trash workers in the district of Çankaya started noticing all the discarded books, they started taking them for their own families. But as the collection grew, they got the idea to turn it into a public library that now has over 6,000 titles.
“We started to discuss the idea of creating a library from these books,” explains Çankaya Mayor Alper Tasdelen. “When everyone supported it, this project happened.”
Tasdelen says there’s been a demand from people in the community for books. With the volume of books that would have otherwise gone to the scrap yard, creating a library from discarded books made sense.
Fortunately, the sanitation department headquarters included an old brick factory with long corridors, making it the perfect spot to put a public library.
Even though all the books in the library have come from the trash, there is a diverse collection, including everything from classic fiction to books used for scientific research. There is even an expansive collection of children’s books and comic books, which has helped attract young kids to the library.
In addition to the books themselves, there is a lounge area for readers that also includes a chess board. The inside walls of the building also feature posters and art work that have also been found in the trash.
The library has become so popular that the local government hired a full-time employee to manage the library and handle all the loan requests being received from both schools and prisons.
“Before, I wished that I had a library in my house,” says Serhat Baytemur, one of the sanitation workers who helps collect books from the trash. “Now we have a library here.”