Public Bookcases Make Every Day World Book Day

Apr 23, 2013

Frankfurt bookshelf Enlarge image Open bookshelves like this one in Frankfurt are attracting a lot of attention from passers by. (© picture alliance / dpa) Parallel worlds among readers: on the one hand there is the trend towards the digital ebook; on the other, a very down-to-earth and tangible book-exchange scene has become established in German cities – with pearls of literature, trashy novels, thrillers and dictionaries available in public bookshelves. These freely accessible mini-libraries are installed in decommissioned phone boxes or old car trailers. But most frequently they really are tall, narrow cabinets – lockable, but never locked. In principle, anyone can choose a book at any time and leave another one in its place. No one checks, but it evidently works.

Michendorf, Brandenburg bookshelf Enlarge image (© picture alliance / ZB) Public bookshelves are not an entirely new idea, but their numbers have been increasing noticeably in recent years. They are usually the work of private initiatives – some in favor of resource sharing, others that want to promote the cultural revitalization of inner cities and residential areas.

In Magdeburg an entire building has been set aside for use as a public bookcase. The “Salbke Bookmark” is a combination of freely accessible bookshelf, event stage and noise-reduction project. It won a major European architecture award – the European Prize for Urban Public Space – in 2010. In Berlin‘s trendy Prenzlauer Berg district there is even a “Forest of Books”: five hollowed-out tree trunks with bookshelves. The German National Commission for UNESCO awarded the project a prize when it opened.

Public Bookcases in Germany

Public bookcases have been popping up all over Germany. They are a testament to the idea of Share Economy. People are encouraged to take books, but also to contribute books for other readers.

Bookshelf in Bonn

Bookshelf in Bonn

Erfurt Bookcase

Erfurt Bookcase

Itzehoe Bookshelf

Itzehoe Bookshelf

Michendorf, Brandenburg bookshelf

Michendorf, Brandenburg bookshelf

Duesseldorf Bookcase

Duesseldorf Bookcase

Woman at bookshelf in Frankfurt

Woman at bookshelf in Frankfurt

Public bookcase Wiesloch

Public bookcase Wiesloch

Hannover Public Bookcase

Hannover Public Bookcase

© www.deutschland.de

World Book Day

public bookshelf

Literature

An open book © Colourbox

Germany is a book country: With around 95,000 titles published or re-published annually, it is one of the world’s leading book nations. The licenses for almost 9,000 German books are sold to foreign companies annually.