Gdansk, Poland – Have you ever arrived at the beach, relishing in the prospect of spending a whole day sunbathing and relaxing by the sea before realizing you forgot your favourite book at home?
Well, if that’s the case, worry not… at least if you’re holidaying in Gdansk.
The coastal city in the north of Poland announced it had re-introduced its “Library on the Beach” (Biblioteka na Plaży) program this summer in a bid to encourage people to read more, even when enjoying some time off on holiday.
Now in its sixth running year, the “Library on the Beach” scheme is organized by the Municipal Public Library in Gdansk, in cooperation with the Gdansk Sports Center.
Bookcases have been installed on several seaside beaches, containing over 700 titles that anyone can borrow to enjoy a good read between two swims.
To appeal to the wider audience as possible, the offer includes everything from fiction, thrillers, romances to fantasy, science-fiction and children’s books. A number of foreign-language books, including in English, German and Russian, have also been put on display for tourists visiting Gdansk from abroad.
“Thanks to this, even if we didn’t not take our book to the beach, we can take it from the bookcase set on the beach”, spokesman Przemysław Czaja said.
The initiative aims to encourage people to read more as the number of readers has been plummeting in Poland in recent years.
In March, a study by the Polish National Library found that little more than one third (37%) of Poles read at least one book in 2018, one of the lowest rates in the region – compared, for instance, to nearly 80% of the population in neighbouring Czech Republic.
The same study also pointed out that 10% of the Polish population had read seven or more books per year since 2004.