By Dr. Marciene Mattleman
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Commuters are free to take books with them on the bus, borrow them, return them or not, and add any from their own shelves. Such is a literacy project in Israeli cities – bookshelves at bus stops. No dues, no late fees.
Started as a six-week pilot at six bus stops in the town of Haifa, the idea was quickly welcomed by bus-riders and even has become subject-centered. Stops closest to a University have an exchange of science references; Russian speaking residents developed a Russian language library.
Built by two installation artists from Technion Institute for people with long bus rides, the creators also see these urban libraries as a way of people connecting, of recycling reading material, donating excess books and perhaps a marketing platform for unknown writers.
The success of such self-sustaining public libraries has created a model and there are invitations to implement them in Washington and New York. Learn more at Israel21c.org.