Monday, March 2, 2015

The Open Library

One of the very first things I found to love about living in Germany was the "Offene Bibliothek" that is literally 200 feet from our apartment. Now, you're probably wondering what on earth I'm talking about, so I shall explain. Right outside our patio is the cross section of the road we live on and another road (a platz), complete with a circular drive with a grassy middle area that is raised. If you walk outside and take a right onto the road that is perpendicular to ours, you will immediately stumble upon this:

Upon first glance, it looks like nothing more than a crazy graffiti-laden cabinet on the side of the road and walkway. BUT WAIT! Upon closer inspection (and opening the cabinet doors), you would see:

Wah-la! Books galore! Books of every genre. It is an open library (Offene Bibliothek) for people to enjoy at their leisure! The premise is simple: You take the books you'd like to read and return them when you're finished. You can also add to the collection by donating books. It's pretty amazing! I remember my first thought and spoken response after seeing this the day I arrived. It was something like, "Woah, don't people steal the books or destroy the cabinet or do mean things and vandalize this?" That's not very elegantly stated, I know. I was really thinking that something like this, with no lock and operating solely on the honor system, wouldn't last long in most cities in the U.S. *Sheepish face*
And I'm certain that sort of thing does happen to some of the Offene Bilbiotheks here, but this one remains in good shape. The cabinet doors don't even latch all of the way. People do post pictures and ads and add graffiti to the outside of the cabinet, but the inside has never been damaged.

I do so wish the books weren't all in Deutsch. Once in a while I find one in English and I do a happy dance and yell WOOPEE! and take it home to devour. Or something like that...;)
I love this open library system!


  1. That is awesome!! And yes, it is sad that it wouldn't last long in the U.S. :(

  2. I know! I wish I could read them all! And yes so sad! :(


Share your thoughts! Please be kind and respectful of the comments and opinions of others.