Here’s a novel idea: create a system of mini-libaries at bus stops in order to encourage reading and green transportation. Think it could never happen? Think again. Two urban artists, one of whom graduated from Israel’s Technion Faculty of Architecture, submitted their brainchild to the mayor of Kfar Saba, a small city north of Tel Aviv, who gave them his blessing. Although there were some initial reservations about how long the books would last, one resident told Ynet News that at the beginning of the first experimental week, the books disappeared. By the end of that week, not only were the books returned, but new ones were added.
Daniel Shushan and Amir Matalon conceived the idea to stock bus-stops with books dealing with all manner of subjects in order to help Kfar Saba residents pass the time while waiting or riding on the bus. After receiving the green light from Mayor Yehuda Ben-Hamo, they outfitted bus stops on either side of Weizman street with cookbooks, poetry books, novels, and other reading material.
Residents are even invited to take the books home in order to finish reading them, and to add different titles of their choosing to the shelves installed.
Mayor Ben-Hamo told Ynet that Kfar Saba residents are deeply rooted in their city, and are interested in culture. He added that,”in order to meet the residents’ needs, we have launched an initiative making books more accessible to our residents and encouraging them to use public transportation as part of the agenda of a healthy and green city.”
While this might seem like a logistical nightmare, the Kfar Saba municipality does not intend to keep records of the books going in and out. Rather, they will rely on the honor system, and trust the residents to do what is best for themselves.
One man, Ossi, told Ynet: “At first we asked ourselves how long it would last,but then we decided to get rid of the negative thoughts because this is a good thing which has proved itself after only one week…”
Going without a car is certainly more inconvenient than being able to drive oneself from place to place, and using public transportation is often more time-consuming, but Kfar Saba has found a way to fill that time with good old-fashioned learning. Whether or not this is a model that can be replicated remains to be seen.
:: Ynet News
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image via Ian Wilson