Sometimes, an observing visitor might come across what looks like a bookshelf from somebody’s living room transported onto the streets and public squares of Cologne: a metal shelf on a concrete base with sliding glass doors on both sides. Inside, one finds a variety of books – ranging from cooking books over coffee table picture books to dog-eared cheap thrillers in German or English. And these are indeed bookshelves, but for everyone: this is a so-called Bücherschrank. Whoever wants to get rid of unwanted books can place them here for others to take. There are 25 all over Cologne, the majority set up by the city’s civic trust.
My favourite one is the one on Gereonsdriesch, which often has many English books and also a great variety of classics – maybe influenced by the many institutions and offices around here. Its location in the small park opposite the St. Gereon church also makes it a great spot just to grab a book and sit down to read when the weather is nice. Oh, and it is also just around the corner from the station.