4 European Cities That Love Book Sharing

Image by linmtheu (via flickr)

Image by linmtheu (via flickr)

When it comes to maintaining the reading culture in a city, almost every major city relies on public libraries and bookstores. However, public book sharing is a trend that has started to take the urban reading scene one step further in different cities of the world.

It is also worth mentioning that some of the cities were quicker to take on the trend and have had public book sharing for a while now. Nevertheless, the concept itself is still developing as it takes over more cities or more book sharing locations pop up in those cities that already have experience in the trend.

Below you can find some of the cities that have proudly given public book sharing a prominent role to make book-lovers’ lives easier and to give people the chance to enjoy reading without any costs.

To begin with, the concept of public book sharing is very simple. It basically encourages people to take any book they like from the selection and add one of their own books (one they do not need anymore) to it.

In most of cases, you don’t have to put another book back once you’ve made your choice. The exchange of books is usually voluntary. Nevertheless, in order to keep this concept alive, it is highly preferred you add a book to the collection so that the circle of exchanging books can keep going. What is also exciting about putting a book back is that you never know in whose hands or in what part of the world your book will eventually end up. If you’re curious, you could jot down your contact info in it and see if the next reader will let you know where they’re taking the book!

As for the location of public book sharing places, they can be anywhere, ranging from a huge building that resembles the most ordinary library, to a tiny bookshelf in a park.

1. Bücherschränke (Frankfurt) 

Image by Francesco Cantoro

In general, quite a few public book sharing spots can be found in Frankfurt. But what makes this one special is the fact that you can find English books here, which is not something very common in all the other locations. So feel free to take one book from one of the shelves and take it with you to read and do not forget to leave your input towards enriching the collection of books on the shelves as well.

2. Ruilboekenkast (Amsterdam)

Image by Stephen van den Hoek

This place is one of the spots in Amsterdam that probably not many locals will know about since it is indeed hidden on a porch. The selection is not very big as there are just a few tiny shelves. However, despite the fact that most of the books are in Dutch they are all very unique ones that you would probably not find in other bookstores.

3. De Leeszaal (Rotterdam)

Image by Natasha Rijkhoff

Image by Natasha Rijkhoff

De Leeszaal in Rotterdam is truly about creating a strong community and bonding with others. Not only can you take a book with you here but you can also read it there while enjoying a cup of coffee and using their Wi-Fi. So in other words, this spot is a public library where you do not have to take the books back. In addition, it also organizes some cultural and educational events from time to time which can be interesting to check out.

4. Offener Bücherschrank (Vienna)

Image by Julia Heiligenbrunner

Image by Julia Heiligenbrunner

Vienna is definitely not taking a back-seat when it comes to the trend of public book sharing. The city already offers 3 public bookshelves and one of those is Offener Bücherschrank. Here you can find books in different languages such as German, English, Arabic or Chinese. So if you’ve got a book that’s been on your shelves for years and you don’t know what to do about it, now you know where to go in Vienna.

The trend is still spreading and, relatively new; there are still a lot of cities that haven’t incorporated this concept in their urban life. However, having seen the benefits it has brought to the communities in different cities we do hope that in a few years public bookshelves will be found in most major cities and no book will be considered useless, lying on a shelf for ages.

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Last Changed Date: 2016-05-19 11:45:13 +0200 (Thu, 19 May 2016)