A concept I had never come across until fairly recently. I was walking around in Voorburg and came across a ‘Boekhoek’. It almost looks like a little house and inside is a bookshelf with books.
It seemed strange to me, as there was a door that was not locked, it was not sealed. There was nothing to stop you from opening the door and taking all the books home with you. It wasn’t until I went home and did some further research, discovering that this is actually the point; they want you to take the books, and then return them or add to it. This is a project to tackle cuts to libraries in the Netherlands.
Small communities are placing these around in an attempt to engage the local residents to carry on using their library, no matter the size. In order for this project to work there is a certain level of trust required, that others will take books and return them.
An intriguing idea, an idea that I am sure if implemented in communities across the UK would engage, and possibly encourage others to participate in highlighting the need for libraries.
I was mainly brought up in small villages, and the nearest library required a 20 minute drive in the car, so visits were not frequent when I was little. However if there was such a thing as a ‘Boehoek’ around the corner I honestly think that my mum would have taken me, or just gone to select a book herself.
This brings me to the current #bookfairies campaign. A campaign that has been in the public eye thanks to Emma Watson. The idea behind the Book Fairies is that anyone, anywhere can become a book fairy. All you have to do is be willing to share books, leaving them in locations for unsuspecting book lovers to find, pick up and enjoy.
Despite further cuts and closures I am encouraged that libraries will live on, and adapt as we enter further into technology. I fully expect to see something like ‘Boekhoek’ appearing in the UK, and I hope I see one near me.