If you hadn’t already heard of the longstanding Books on the Underground movement in London then there’s a good chance you will have after Emma Watson used the guerrilla library to spread news about her latest book for the feminist book club. And now that movement has inspired Book on the Rail in Melbourne Australia, another guerrilla library started by two women who regularly use the Melbourne Metro.
Ali Berg and Michelle Kalus were inspired when they heard of the Books on the Undergound movement, so much so they began deliberately leaving books on Melbourne’s Metro system. Now the organisation has grown so big they have a team of helpers who leave books on trains.
Initially the pair conducted the whole service under their own steam paying for books and the stickers that go on the cover to explain the service out of their own pocket. But after being inundated with feedback from members of the public who loved the service, it’s now supported by an army of “Book ninjas”.
Anyone can get involved, and this means the service is now going Australia wide, you simply buy the Books on the Rail stickers from the website, stick them on the cover of a book and leave it on an empty train carriage for someone else to find and enjoy.
— Books on the Rail (@booksontherail) December 10, 2016
And now publishers are getting on board too with companies such as Penguin, Pan MacMillan and others regularly sending the duo boxes of books to give away.
It’s a fantastic project and the different versions of it around the world have shown just how well it resonates with the public. If you’re in Australia you can get your stickers at the Books on the Rail website and join in the fun!