Sunday, 28 July 2013

Beach library in Albena: now bookworms can have holidays too

EVS volunteers chosing a book.

As I write this I am lying on the beach, skin still damp after a nice swim in the Black Sea. It's summer time, let's face it. Next month, in August, probably half of Bulgaria's population will be going on holidays.

But enough about my hard life now. What I wanted to share is that I have discovered a beach library - a real library with real books located in the open, right behind sunbeds and beach umbrellas in Bulgaria's white-sanded Albena resort, some 30 kilometres away from the 'summer capital' of Varna.

If we believe the enthusiastic promotional materials, Albena's beach library is first one of such kind in the whole EU.
The setup is simple: one long, curvy shelf, stocked from both sides with books and magazines in several European languages, including English, German, Bulgarian, Romanian, French, Spanish, and Russian. There is also a small section called 'other languages' so if you happen to be a speaker of a less represented language you may still be able to find something to dig into.

I have seen plenty of recent fiction to choose from, as well as random books about health, travel and money; gardening, birdwatching and sex; arts albums, self-help guides, and digital photography manuals. There are stories for children as well as encyclopedic-looking volumes of classic French literature.  

View from the resort side. The sea is just behind the books.

The collection is always changing. You can borrow all books for free (only the name of your hotel is asked for reference) - and even keep them if you don't manage to finish them before your holiday ends. In return, readers are offered to donate their own unneeded books to the library.    

Both the library's stand itself and most of its resources still looked fresh at the time of my visit; the baseball-caps-and-shorts-wearing librarians happy and sporty. It is the library's first season of life, and, I believe, it has good hopes for the future. The sharing and reusing ideas are always welcome; and I have witnessed some interested readers. 

The Albena beach library is open between 8.30 AM - 5 PM every day. Unlike to most of other libraries you may go to this one dressed only in a bikini. 

The librarians' office.

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