Books are one of the most lasting and persistent forms of media in the world around us. They preserve history, literature, culture, and they offer up easy access to unique forms of expression.
However, books do often get thrown away as their knowledge is no longer desired or needed. This means that thousands of books each and every day pass through the country's garbage systems around the world.
One group of trash collectors in the Turkish capital of Ankara are hoping to change that. They have teamed up together to open a public library made up of books that they've collected and saved on their journey to landfills. They're working to preserve history and knowledge all under the idea that one man's trash is another's treasure.
The garbage workers took months to gather forgotten books from dumpsters and bins across the city, slowly amassing quite the collection – obviously, enough for a library.
The worker's efforts have been valiant and garnered a great deal of attention from the locals. Some even donating books to help boost the library's collection.
At first, the library was only for employees and families, but now the collection has grown quite large and interest has spread, the library opened to the public in September of 2018.
"We started to discuss the idea of creating a library from these books. And when everyone supported it, this project happened," said Çankaya Mayor Alper Tasdelen.
The project really was one of community support. The library currently has over 6,000 individual books ranging across all genres. They even have a kids section and a comic book section for readers more interested in some lighter reading.
As for where this forgotten book library is housed, the workers found a vacant brick factory at the sanitation department headquarters for the city. After going through all of the proper channels to gain permission to house the library there, the library was born.
With a brick facade and many long corridors, it actually worked out to be the perfect building to convert into a library.
For anyone interested in renting books from the library, they are loaned out on a two-week basis.
“Village schoolteachers from all over Turkey are requesting books,” Mayor Tasdelen said. "The library has also created new job opportunities as it requires full-time staff to run and support it."
The good news keeps coming for the valiant effort behind the library as now it's collections are so large that they are loaning a number of books to schools and prisons across the country. It's serving as an incredible free resource for the community.
Not only is the building now a hub for reading and research, but it's also become a gathering place for the community. Due to the size of the building, there is enough room for a lounge area for cyclists and locals to swing by for a cup of tea.