Vienna’s Open Bookshelves, also known as “Offene Bücherschränke” in German, are public book-sharing initiatives found in various neighborhoods and public spaces throughout the city. These bookshelves are essentially small, open-air bookcases or bookstands placed in parks, squares, and other public areas. The concept behind Vienna’s Open Bookshelves is to promote a culture of sharing and reading within the community.
While the first bookshelf has been installed since February of 2010 at Westbahnstraße corner Zieglergasse, we have forgotten to feature them. The second photo of this post was taken some years back – during my daughter’s violin tuning which was probably in 2015.
Here’s how they typically work:
- Free Book Exchange: The bookshelves are stocked with a variety of books, including novels, non-fiction, children’s books, and more. Anyone is welcome to take a book from the shelf to read and enjoy, completely free of charge.
- Donation-Based: While taking a book is encouraged and free, individuals are also encouraged to donate books they no longer need or want. This keeps the bookshelves stocked with a rotating selection of reading material.
- Community Involvement: Vienna’s Open Bookshelves are often maintained and organized by local residents or community organizations. They take responsibility for restocking the shelves and ensuring that the books are in good condition.
- Promotion of Literacy and Community: These bookshelves promote literacy, a sense of community, and the idea of sharing resources. They provide easy access to reading material for people of all ages and backgrounds, making literature more accessible to everyone.
We take photos of them when we encounter them, but haven’t really taken or shared books yet. (Yes, we forget.)
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