Library Opens in Turkey With Books Collected by Sanitation Workers

Screen capture. YouTube

Thousands of books destined for the landfill have been rescued by garbage collectors and are now available to the public.

Have you been secretly (or not) grousing over the last year or so about how awful people are? If so, this story is for you! Because it's the best story and for anyone in need of a "faith in humanity restored" moment, here you go.

A group of sanitation workers in the Çankaya district of Ankara, Turkey began collecting books that were set out in the trash. Slowly they amassed a collection of books that became a library for the workers and their families. When word got out, locals began donating books as well.

Now with over 6,000 books, from literature and nonfiction to children’s books and scientific research and more, the library has been opened to the public. The collection is so abundant that books are loaned out to schools, educational programs, and prisons.


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The idea of books ending up in the landfill is disheartening; the idea of people wanting books and not having access is equally disheartening. The solution is so obvious; but it’s the vision and work to make it happen that makes this such a great story.

"On one hand, there were those who were leaving these books on the streets. On the other hand others were looking for these books," Çankaya Mayor Alper Tasdelen told CNN. “And when everyone supported it, this project happened.”

Now, "village schoolteachers from all over Turkey are requesting books," Tasdelen says.


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The collection is wonderfully housed in a previously unused sanitation department building that has a full-time employee hired by the city to manage the thriving library. It looks wonderful – furnished with shelves and art salvaged from the trash as well – and also serves as a community hub. CNN reports:

"The library is often filled with children of municipal employees and students from nearby schools. There is also a lounge area for readers and chess boards for visitors. The library is especially popular with cyclists who bike in the nearby valley and break for a quick read and cup of tea."

And if all of this weren’t enough, there are now plans to turn a garbage truck into a mobile library. One person's trash is clearly another person's treasure; and these sanitation department workers – and the government that is enabling them – are the resourceful heroes the world needs right now. More of this, please!

Via Oddity Central