Turkish Garbage Collectors Open Library with Books Abandoned as Trash

Garbage collectors have opened a library with books that have been thrown out.
More than 6,000 volumes are in this library founded by garbage collectors. ÇANKAYA MUNICIPALITY CENTER

Library of books thrown out as trash grows into supplier of textbooks for schools and prisons.

Garbage collectors in Turkey have created a massive public library from books consigned to the trash heap.

In a brick-walled factory at the Ankara sanitation department, more than 6,000 volumes now line bookcases, all of them available for free to members of the public.

For months, trash collectors have been saving books left in garbage bins and on the street, instead of sending them along to landfills.

“We started to discuss the idea of creating a library from these books. And when everyone supported it, this project happened,” said Alper Tasdelen, the mayor of Cankaya, where the library is located.

The book repository now has a children’s section with comic books, and a wing of scientific research tomes. Tourists can also find volumes in French and English.

The city’s garbage collectors were troubled by the sheer numbers of books they found deserted and abandoned. Why would someone throw out something that feeds the soul and transforms lives?

“Before, I wished that I had a library in my house,” said 32-year-old garbage man Serhat Baytemur. “Now we have a library here,” he told state media.

The library's inventory has grown so large, books are now shared with schools, prisons and educational programs.

"Village school teachers from all over Turkey are requesting books," the mayor said, CNN reported. The city has also hired a full-time manager for the library.

A lounge has been opened for readers who like to sip tea while perusing volumes. Chess boards are also available.

On any given day, the library is full of youngsters' voices belonging to students and children of municipal employees.