Sanitation workers in Ankara, Turkey, do more than collect garbage and pitch it in the landfill. They’ve become freelance librarians of a sort, rescuing more than 6,000 books discarded along their routes.
At first, these treasures saved from the trash were for their own reading pleasure, but the collection grew so large that Ankara officials agreed to convert a former factory into a lending library, with books ranging from classic literature to comic books. The city has also hired a full-time employee to manage the library. “Village schoolteachers from all over Turkey are requesting books," said a government official.
Ankara's most unique library:
- The makeshift library has also become a community gathering spot, with a barber shop, a cafeteria, and administrative offices. Some of the furniture and office equipment have also been recycled from the trash.
- The library's books have been sorted into 17 categories, and the collection also includes books donated by local residents. There are even plans for a bookmobile to take reading material around to nearby schools.
- Turkey does have its own public library system, but there is just one facility for every 70,000 residents.