Ankara garbage collectors open library with discarded books

Sanitation workers in Turkey’s capital city Ankara have opened a public library with books once destined for landfills, CNN has reported.

After the workers had gathered a few thousand discarded books, the mayor of Ankara’s Çankaya district, Alper Taşdelen, provided a permanent space for the library.

A vacant brick factory now houses more than 6,000 books, serving the public with titles ranging from fiction to scientific, CNN said. A separate section for kids, and books in English and French are also available.

The municipality hired a full-time librarian, and started loaning books on a two-week basis, CNN said.

“Village schoolteachers from all over Turkey are requesting books,” CNN quoted Taşdelen as saying.

After the word spread, people started donating books directly, Taşdelen said.

The collection grew so large the library now loans the salvaged books to schools, educational programs, and even prisons.

“Before, I wished that I had a library in my house. Now we have a library here,” Serhat Baytemur, a 32-year-old garbage collector, said.