Sunday, June 26, 2011

The People of the Book

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I blogged about Israel's National Library before, with its stained glass windows (some of the largest ever made) that show Isaiah's vision of eternal peace (here and here).
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But this morning the library was the scene of something totally different:
a giveaway of 30,000 books, free!
The photo above I took a half hour before the books were brought out, but hundreds of people were already standing around the tables outside, securing their places.
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I didn't have strong enough elbows or long enough arms to get first choice at the books.

When the poor library workers couldn't get through to the tables, they put boxes on the ground.
The crowd pounced on each new box.
Sort of like a feeding frenzy.
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The non-fiction books were either extras or material that the library could not use, books that had been donated to the library over the years.
Most were in English, with some in Russian, German, French, and Hebrew.
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The Jewish National and University Library website says this "donation to the public" will go on for four days or until all the books are gone.
More of the story at the Jerusalem Post.
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Among the throng were mothers with babies strapped to them, men in wheelchairs, religious and secular, students and older folks.
"The People of the Book."
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7 comments:

Petrea Burchard said...

I can imagine the commotion. I love books! My friends and I love them, too; we hold onto our used books and have a book exchange every once in a while, then donate the rest to a women's shelter.

Your first photo makes it look like you had a privileged, inside view.

VP said...

This is so strange and wonderful! I'd like to be there!

Dina said...

Petrea, the inside view is because I escaped from the crowd to inside the quiet library. Got some good pics of exhibitions too, blog fodder for many days to come.

VP, yes, I think watching the whole scene could teach us a lot about Israelis.

Eki said...

Oh I wish I was there! Free books!
Are any of the books written in English?

Dina said...

Eki, Most were in English, with some in Russian, German, French, and Hebrew.

Sara at Come Away With Me said...

Oh my, oh my....what a sight for a booklover's eyes. 30,000 books! That seems like a huge amount....

Kay said...

Wow! Isn't it wonderful to know that books are still so loved and wanted?