Library Initiatives Around The World
Have you ever spotted a little swap and shop library on a walk? From mobile libraries to books hidden in giant mushrooms, we’ve found some great reading initiatives from around the world.
The Mobile Library, Stockholm
Since 2016, the mobile library in Stockholm City has been popping up all over the city to meet people in unexpected places to find new visitors, particularly among children and young adults. The drive aims to target people in the suburbs and areas that may find it challenging to access their town/city libraries.
During the last 3 years, The Stockholm City Library has used a mobile unit for activities outside the library. It has larger objects and activities for the children’s bookmobile, a medium-sized electric van, and smaller format pop-up library shelves for adults.
The smaller mobile units come with seating, like hammocks, for everyone to use whilst reading their books so that they can make time for reading in a comfortable place.
The Book Stop Project, Philippines
The Book Stop project is a pop-up public library that explores how libraries need to evolve to bring in modern-day users and promote reading to the next generation.
The project maps out various public spaces throughout the cities that get the highest amount of foot traffic. It is essentially a redistribution point for old and unwanted books. The site’s mobility allows it to be placed in the more deprived areas i.e. those without library facilities, meaning it will be reaching a broader demographic of people.
The Book Stop Project also acts as a prototype research project for gathering data on the demand for public libraries in various neighbourhoods. The information collected is given to planners and policymakers to determine where libraries can make the most impact and which communities can use them the most.
Kyoto Botanical Gardens, Japan
You might think you’ve fallen straight into a Lewis Caroll book if you saw these in your local park. These mushrooms are not something out of Alice in Wonderland though, but they are a wonder to be admired at Kyoto Botanical Gardens in Japan. Each mushroom opens to reveal packed shelves full of reading material for all ages. These bookshelves have been designed so that they keep both the reader and the books safe and dry throughout the year.
The Book Fairies
Not a fairy tale nor work of fiction, Book Fairies do exist! A global movement to give back to the people has been slowly picking up steam since March 2017, in which people hide books with notes for passers-by to pick up, take home and enjoy.
They currently have almost 9,000 people sharing books in over 100 countries. How does it work? People can volunteer to become part of this generous movement by simply purchasing some Book Fairy Stickers and placing them on the front inside cover of the books they would like to leave for unsuspecting members of the public. The campaign has been such a roaring success that even celebrities such as Bonnie Wright, Emma Watson and even The Duchess of Cambridge have been getting involved! So keep your eyes peeled for a Book Fairy near you!
The Book-Bike of Tucson, Arizona
As well as reading material, The Bookbike of Tuscon gives out free library books, library cards, reading glasses and bike maps. They provide people with information about the library itself, as well as their literacy programs and cycling events. On a monthly basis, the Bookbike goes out on regular trips, and sometimes makes special trips to big events such as the Tuscon Festival of Books, Cyclovia and The Parade of Lights.
The Little Free Libraries, Minnesota
Little Free Library (LFL) is a nonprofit organization based in St. Paul, Minnesota. Their mission is to be ‘a catalyst for building community, inspiring readers and expanding book access for all through a global network of volunteer-led programs.’ – littlefreelibrary.org
They achieve this by offering extended access to reading by providing 24/7 book access. This requires fostering new equipment and volunteers to establish LFL in their communities and granting the LFL to high-need areas by contacting key community partners such as schools, public libraries, civic organizations and businesses to aid them in their mission to make reading accessible to all.
Their success stories are backed up by statistics, with over 92% of people saying their neighbourhoods feels like a friendlier place because of a Little Free Library, and 72% of volunteer stewards have met more neighbourhoods because of their Little Free Library.
These are just a selection of the reading initiatives that are happening around the world. So next time you are out and about, make sure to keep your eyes open for a hidden book or a mobile library near you.
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