Public bookcases in Vienna
“You can take books and/or give them” – one can read on the side of simple bookcases on squares throughout the city. It’s as easy as that. And it’s one of the great blesses for Vienna’s inhabitants to have this choice.
Bookcases or Bookcrossing?
Bookcrossing means leaving a book in a public place to be picked up and read by others. Bookcrossing.com is a free online book club which was founded to „make the whole world a library.“ As enticing this idea might sound to bookworms willing to swap a good read, it is mainly pure luck to stumble upon one of the books, as bookcrossing has no “home base”.
A public bookcase is a cabinet which may be freely and anonymously used by passers-by to exchange books without any formalities. Also a public bookcase may be seen as a piece of communal art, as the first installations clearly were. Very early examples are the creations of performance artist duo Clegg & Guttmann in Graz 1991.
German cities such as Hannover and Bonn were among the first hosts of public book installations. In Vienna, the first public bookcase was opened as a private initiative in 2010. On a closer look, there are open bookcases all over; Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Hungary.
The concept explained
The advantages of public bookcases are so manifold and obvious; it seems strange that not more of these have been installed by now…. More on the concept and Viennese public bookcases over at TedxVienna.