New Home for Abandoned Books: A Library in Ankara

Would  you believe if I told you that some ordinary garbage collectors opened a public library from books they found abandoned? The garbage collectors in the Turkish capital, Ankara teach us that no matter who you are, you can take a positive step for your own people and land. Hence after diligently collecting books they used to find in trash, a group of workers gave those books a home in a new library in Ankara. 

The library resides in what used to be a vacant brick factory! It is located in the Cankaya district of Ankara. With its long corridors and huge space, the discarded books have found an ideal space.

Since last year the library today has more than 6,000 books.

The collection of books took place over a few good months. Soon more people learnt and started donating their own. For starters, the books were for the employees. The collection began to grow quite a bit which eventually led to the idea of a public library.

Cankaya’s Mayor Alper Tasdelen says the idea of opening a public library was welcomed by everyone in the community. Previously the local government had overlooked the need for a library in the area.

 The library has now taken proper shape. Municipal employees’ children visit it regularly. There is a lounge area for the readers. Many cyclists stop by for a tea and some reading. 

The books are both fiction and non fiction. There is also a kid’s section. An entire section for scientific research as well. There are books both in English and French.

It is strange how some people just didn’t want the books, while the others gave them a good home. The library is now in the position to loan books to schools and even prisons!

As I write about this impressive work by ordinary sanitation workers, I’m reminded of the Wall of the Kindness initiative (originated in Iran) that also started here in Lahore and Karachi. Are people still leaving things by those walls? Or has it died down with time and we have forgotten about compassion in our busy lives?

We always seem to blame our government for innumerable things not happening in our country. Without any doubt it is the responsibility of the government to work for the citizens’ better life. However we too need to act as active citizens of our towns and cities. Passive attitudes and nearly no civic sense is something we don’t even think about in our daily busy lives. You know why? Because we are too busy improving our own lives and status. We are not thinking as a community.

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