Free books

These shelves with books can be found in some (very few) train stations in Tokyo. You are supposed to take a book, read it and return it. Nobody registers who takes which book. In the Spanish version of this post some people talk about how this system was introduced in some stations in Spain but all books disappeared after a while.

I’ve seen this only once, but I did not take a picture! Fortunately Roy and Danny did.

Libros
Picture by Dannychoo

Libros
Picture by Q-Taro

10 Replies to “Free books”

  1. I used to live near Rokucho station in Adachi-ku in Tokyo, and on rainy days they used to leave out a bunch of umbrellas (presumably from their vast lost-and-found collection) with a sign that said “please take one and bring it back later” so that people who didn’t have an umbrella could get home dry. It was only a small thing, but it really helped and the community spirit of it really impressed me.

  2. This really is a good example of how Japan is different from other countries. Like you mentioned about Spain, if this was in the United States, the all the books would disappear in a day or two never to be seen again.

    I love America but there are many unfortunate things about it such so many unethical or unresponsible people who take advantage of things or people. Therefore we can never have something like this.

  3. This not only promotes literacy but is a cool thing to do.

    Also do they do this because libraries are hard to access? Or is this just something to help the train goers pass the time while they wait?

  4. Hey, the first photo.. I think it’s Nezu, right? I work there and every morning I see some old salarymen taking some books there 😉
    By the way, in Italy too something like that would end up like in Spain, no book in less than a week 🙂

  5. I think the books on the shelves must be donations. Rather than bundling up old books for recycling, might as well donate them to the train-station library for others to enjoy. I donate old books to the public library.

  6. They do have this in Britain, but at bus stops on park and ride sites (where the riders of the bus leave their car for the day, so they are likely to come back to the same place). Amazingly it does seem to “work”, but only because the scum who will run off with anything that isn’t bolted down that infest Britain can’t read.

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