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Turkish Sanitation Workers Turn Trash Into Library

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure: Turkish sanitation workers create library out of discarded books.

Garbage collectors in Turkey opened a public library composed of discarded books which they collected along their routes in Ankara.

Rather than letting the books go to landfill sites, a group of sanitation workers decided to give them a second life and in doing so created a new community resource which is proving to be popular among locals.

The unique library which is located in Cakaya, Ankara now houses thousands of books and was started when garbage collectors noticed that there were many books which were being tossed in the trash.

After being disheartened by the amount of books in the trash, the workers had a discussion with their boss and began collecting rather than dumping the books.  What began as a collection off about 20 books quickly multiplied as locals heard about the project and began donating.

The library now has over 6,000 books in a wide range of genres, interests, age levels and languages.  Visitors include children, municipal employers, cyclists and students from nearby schools.  Bilingual visitors have an opportunity to brush up on their English and French and those looking to relax can make themselves comfortable in the library’s lounge which also offers chess boards and a calming space.

The library was originally meant for sanitation workers and their families.  The library quickly grew into something bigger and by September last year, it opened to anyone in the community.  The library became so popular that even the local government got involved.

“We started to discuss the idea of creating a library from these books,” Çankaya Mayor Alper Tasdelen, who oversaw the library’s development,  told CNN of the spontaneous plan. “And when everyone supported it, this project happened.”

The library has now become an important part of the community. It has started to lend its resources to schools and other educational programs as well as prisons.

“Village school teachers from all over Turkey are requesting books,” Tasdelen said. The library has seen so much business, in fact, that Ankara’s city government hired a full-time employee charged with managing the collection and the increasing requests for book loans.


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