How Great Ideas Grow

It all started with one book and one garbage collector.

I bet it started when a garbage collector saw a book that was in great shape and was destined for the landfill. “I’ll just take this home and read it,” he probably thought. And just like that, something that was designated as garbage was rescued from that undignified fate.

It could have ended there, but it didn’t. A few garbage collectors, in Ankara, Turkey, decided they’d make a little library of their rescued books, for use by employees and their families. This little library would double as a break room. A simple, yet elegant solution for book lovers, as well as for books not ready to die.

But then word got out, and people started donating their unwanted books. The garbage collectors now house the library/break room in a former brick factory. It has 25,000 books. And now it’s open to the public.

It could have ended there, too, but it didn’t. According to this article, “Workers have converted a garbage truck into a small mobile library to bring books they collected to nearby schools and other district libraries.”

Now, isn’t that brilliant? Literacy takes flight. Tons of books are rescued from the landfill. The community has another resource. And it all started with one book and one garbage collector.

It may just be a little free library that got out of control, but its impact is immeasurable to the people of that community. This makes me very, very happy.

Read any good books lately? Try mine!


Author: The View from a Drawbridge

I have been a bridgetender since 2001, and gives me plenty of time to think and observe the world.

6 thoughts on “How Great Ideas Grow”

  1. Me too.
    The common room in my building has a couple of bookcases that are pretty full, but it doesn’t look like anyone’s touched anything there for a couple of years. I don’t have an idea about what to do. I do have nice memories of the one in the bus station in Everett, from which you were only supposed to take 1 at a time, but if you were bringing a whole bunch, you could carefully look around and then sneak off with 2 or 3. Net gain, is how I figured it.
    One time when I arrived, it was stark empty, but I didn’t have anything to leave. I haven’t been back there in months due to the pandemic.
    A little one just sprouted up in front of our closed-for-months library. It had nothing I wanted, but I am still glad to see it. Books rule.

    1. They definitely do! And one of the core complaints of little free libraries like mine is that book resellers will sometimes clean us out for their own profit, thus taking them out of the hands of the very people we are trying to help. I bet that’s what happened at your place. Frustrating. That, or someone felt that it was a pandemic risk, back when people where more freaked out about touch transmission.

  2. This was before the pandemic, and much of the material usually found there was in several different languages, if that would make any diff. And I suspect that anyone hoping to make big bucks off reselling books found in such a place would be disappointed. I have found that books are only good to trade in for credit if they are in good shape and either current or rare, which the books in that place weren’t. But who knows.

    1. There’s an app now. They scan the bar codes to see what that title is selling for on Amazon. Which is why I ALWAYS mark through the bar codes, and the ISBN. A few libraries have crazy patrons who clean them out because they think these libraries are unfair competition to public libraries, but that’s insane. The public libraries, for the most part, love these libraries and anything that promotes reading.

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