Turkish Garbage Collectors Open Library Full of Discarded Books

By January 18, 2018 June 11th, 2019 Culture, Libraries, News

Turkish garbage collectors in the country’s capital city of Ankara have opened a public library that is full of books that were originally destined to be put into landfill. The workers began collecting discarded books and opened the new library in the Çankaya district of Ankara. News of the library has spread and now people have begun donating books directly to the library, rather than throwing them away.

As CNN reports, the library was originally created for the use of the employees friends and family but, as it grew in size, the library was officially opened to the public in September of last year. “We started to discuss the idea of creating a library from these books. And when everyone supported it, this project happened,” said Çankaya Mayor Alper Tasdelen, whose local government spearheaded the opening of the library.

The library now has over 6,000 fiction and non-fiction books and includes a children’s section, an area dedicated to scientific research books, and a number of English and French language books for those who are bilingual.

The library building itself used to be a brick factory and is located at the sanitation department HQ. The building featured long corridors and an aged brick facade and transformed perfectly into a library.

Books can be withdrawn for two weeks at a time, with an extension available if required. The library’s collection has now become so vast that it loans many of the books to schools, educational programs, and even prisons.

“Village schoolteachers from all over Turkey are requesting books,” Tasdelen said. The library has also created new job opportunities as it requires full time staff to run and support it.

The library has proven to be a huge hit with the community. Children of the employees often enjoy reading there and local school children visit to study. Local cyclists who pedal through the nearby valley often take a break there and enjoy the lounge area and chess boards.

“Before, I wished that I had a library in my house. Now we have a library here,” Serhat Baytemur, a 32-year-old garbage collector, told state media.



14 Comments

  • Kathy Elliott says:

    Well done. This makes my heart happy.

  • Lynn says:

    This is amazing!

  • Suzy says:

    Beuatiful story. It’s got me thinking…

  • Natalie Kononenko says:

    This is great. Books are to be loved and cherish. Good for the Turks and I am SO pleased that garbage collectors have this much respect for books and for readers.

  • Annette says:

    I am so inspired by the hunger to read and totreasure books of these workers. It is humbling to acknowledge their energy in making such an amazing library. It puts us to shame when we have,in our affluent societies, vastly rich libraries and stores of books that are going unread. Let’s get reading again and encourage our children and their children to rediscover the g
    Gold in the book.

  • Allie says:

    Is there staff to administer the operation?

  • Nancy says:

    What a super project & look how many people are benefiting!! 👍👍👏👏

  • Elyria says:

    That is wonderful! Throwing away books is as bad as throwing away food. 👍

  • Greg Smith says:

    Well done Ankara Garbos!
    Anything, anything at all, that encourages reading, particularly of a wide variety of books, is a good thing.
    One of the great things about this library is that it is sourcing from a wide variety of places. There is nothing better than ‘stumbling’ across some new idea in a book that you would not normally have read.
    Really heartening is that the bosses allowed the premises to be used… and that the Garbos (garbage collectors) so valued reading and books.

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  • Zulu Delta says:

    Incredible story! Maybe this is how the Library at Alexandria was started!

  • Paul says:

    Read – Recycle – Re-educate! An example which should be followed everywhere!

  • Kiama says:

    I am so encouraged to do the same thing. thanks

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