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Ankara, garbage collectors open library with discarded books

14 November Nov 2018 1124 14 November 2018
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Dustmen of the Turkish capital have rescued books left on the streets and in rubbish bins, creating a big library, open to the public, which collects more than 6000 books

In Ankara, a group of dustmen has founded a library collecting books that would otherwise be thrown away. Some years ago, garbage collectors of the area of Çankaya, Ankara, seeing the great quantity of books abandoned on the streets or tossed in the trash, instead of throwing them away, decided to pick them up on their own initiative: they brought them home and started classifying them.

While the news of this unusual collection of books spread, the inhabitants of the area decided to help them by donating other books. This way the project of the library began to take shape.

«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.

The library is located in an old brick factory at the Ankara's sanitation department headquarters. Its long corridors are the ideal space for bookcases.

«We actually helped books that had lost their value after being thrown into the garbage, to regain their value», Sema Keskaya, head of human resources of the municipality of Çankaya, said.

The access to the library was initially reserved to Ankara’s garbage collectors and their families. Later, given the great success, it has been opened to the public, in September 2017.

The collection comprises over 6000 titles, also in English and in French, divided into 17 categories, going from literature to literary essays, to books for children.

Before, I wished that I had a library in my house. Now we have a library here

Serhat Baytemur, garbage collector and co-founder of the library

The collection of books grew so vast that the library now lends books also to schools and prisons. Open 24 hours a day, it has become a hub with a reading room, a chess room, a cafeteria, and it has also become a meeting place for cyclists who bike nearby.

Serhat Baytemur, garbage collector and one of the founders of the library, has commented: «Before, I wished that I had a library in my house. Now we have a library here».

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