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Posts Tagged ‘turkish’

Photo: CNN
Garbage collectors in Ankara, Turkey, created a library from abandoned books.

This story seems to go with the one about the homeless man in South Africa who sells used books to passersby. The books in the CNN article, however, are not only used — they have been thrown in the trash or abandoned.

Garbage collectors in Ankara thought it was a shame that so many salvageable books should be landfilled when there are people who would appreciate access to them.

Here’s the report from Spencer Feingold and Hande Atay Alamat.

“Garbage collectors in the Turkish capital have opened a public library composed entirely of books once destined for the landfills. The library, located in the Çankaya district of Ankara, was founded after sanitation workers started collecting discarded books.

As word of the collection spread, residents also began donating books directly.

“Initially, the books were only for employees and their families to borrow. But as the collection grew and interest spread throughout the community, the library was eventually opened to the public in September of last year.

” ‘We started to discuss the idea of creating a library from these books. And when everyone supported it, this project happened,’ said Çankaya Mayor Alper Tasdelen, whose local government oversaw the opening of the library.

“Today, the library has over 6,000 books ranging from literature to nonfiction. There is also a popular kid’s section with comic books and an entire section for scientific research. Books in English and French are also available for bilingual visitors.

“The library is housed in a previously vacant brick factory at the sanitation department headquarters. With an aged brick façade and long corridors, the space was ideal for a library. …

” ‘On one hand, there were those who were leaving these books on the streets. On the other hand others were looking for these books,’ Tasdelen said.

“The collection grew so large the library now loans the salvaged books to schools, educational programs, and even prisons.

” ‘Village schoolteachers from all over Turkey are requesting books,’ Tasdelen said. The city government also hired a full-time employee to manage the library. …

“The library is especially popular with cyclists who bike in the nearby valley and break for a quick read and cup of tea.” More here.

You know what I love best about this? It shows how a good idea attracts people of good will as fast as honey attracts flies.

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John sent me a good New Yorker story about “the Arslanköy Women’s Theatre Group, an all-female theatre group, based in rural Turkey, which is writing and performing plays.

“Ümmiye Koçak, who is now in her mid-fifties, was a forty-four-year-old farmworker with a primary-school education when she caught the theatre bug from a school play that a local school principal, Hüseyin Arslanköylü, had staged the previous year,” writes Elif Batuman.

“Ümmiye had never seen a play before, and it seeped into her thoughts. For a long time, she had been puzzling over the situation of village women and the many roles they had to play. In the fields, they worked like men; in villas, they became housekeepers; at home, they were wives and mothers.

“In 2000, with other women from her village, Arslanköy, she formed the Arslanköy Women’s Theatre Group. The group met every night at the school, after the women had worked ten- or twelve-hour days on farms. Their first production, a contemporary Turkish play called ‘Stone Almonds,’ sold out a theatre in the provincial capital of Mersin, and was written up in the national press.” Continued here.

Still more at the New Yorker blog, here.

I’m wondering about the mysterious figure at the left here. Hamlet’s father? But he doesn’t show up after people die, or does he? It was always a somewhat confusing play. As my father used to say, quoting I know not who: “The king dies, the queen dies, Ham dies — I calls it a helluva play!”

Photograph: New Yorker magazine
“Hamlet” performed in a mountain location near Arslanköy at dawn.

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