While walking around the city center in Warsaw, you will most probably come across a striking view. Just by the Palace of Culture – Warsaw’s trademark building – in between clumps of trees colorful, paperback-like benches are occupied by bookworms and photographed by tourists.
The books – benches – are there, however, not merely for decorative purposes. The idea behind them is a whole lot loftier.
The initiative, launched by the Zaczytani Foundation, is not only to promote reading among Poles but to encourage them to donate books to hospital libraries as well.
The benches refer to works of numerous Polish writers and poets, such as Jan Brzechwa or Agnieszka Osiecka. Designs of 10 benches in the Warsaw city center were selected out of a contest organized by Zaczytani Foundation.
The paperback benches in Warsaw are not a novelty – a similar phenomenon can be observed in Istanbul or Birmingham. We’ve written about the Turkish book benches some time ago.
The benches decorate not only the capital of Poland. They are occupied by book nerds in Cracow, Wrocław, Gdańsk, and Poznań. Fun fact: one is even located on the 30th floor of the Palace of Culture.
One of the benches (located on the Mokotowska Street in Warsaw) was signed by more than 50 significant Polish artists and celebrities, such as Daniel Olbrychski, Mela Koteluk or Dawid Kwiatkowski. Another refers to the „Game of Thrones” TV series.
By December 2017, all collected books will be donated to 177 hospitals in Poland, 111 new libraries will be introduced and 67 enriched. The books will also be donated to a regional blood center.
Book benches in Poland
Images via Zaczytani Foundation Facebook page.
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