Almost a week has passed since the free book stand initiative began in some of downtown’s most crowded streets, Alfy Pedestrian Boulevard and Emad El-Din street. Yet, their popularity increases with each passing day as people passionately embrace the books.
“Take one book and leave another” reads the sign atop wooden stand on Alfy street. The small library aims to encourage people to read more and exchange books, a goal that has already seen success in the few days since its establishment.
Since the initiative’s inauguration, it has become a normal sight to see people taking a book, silently sit and read it, only to return it before leaving. Meanwhile, others exchange books they already have with ones ones on the shelves as they pass by.
Moreover, the stands successfully created an open dialogue between the reading crowds. Some of the people who quietly read soon start discussing the content of what they just read with each other.
The initiative was established by Nader Riad, one of Egypt’s best-known businessmen. Two book stands were established in those particular crowded streets in order to target as many people as possible.
More than 80 books sit in each mini-library. The books vary from literature, novels, sociology, and philosophy. The initiative is planned to extend to more of Egypt’s streets and districts.
Despite social media users’ predictions that the books will be stolen once stands are established, the initiative was met with acceptance on the ground, and people’s embracement of the initiative is the main feeling currently spreading.