The Belgian railway company SNCB is adding free little libraries to its stations.
The “book boxes,” as they’re called, allow passengers to grab a book for their journey and return it later, either to the same box or another.
“Most travellers consider their train journey as time for themselves, a moment where they can relax: one in five travellers say they take this time to read a book,” SNCB said in a press release announcing the initiative.
“With these book boxes available at stations, passengers are invited to borrow a book, read it at their leisure – particularly during one or more train journeys – and then return it to the same book box, or to another box, for example at the station where their journey took them.”
Passengers are also invited to put their books in the box to share with other travellers.
Book boxes have already been installed in Arlon and Libramont stations in the province of Luxembourg.
SNCB says these boxes “facilitate access to culture.”
The initiative is part of their “La vie en gare!” programme, and the design of the book box was developed by a team of third-year students from the design school of the Saint-Luc school in Liège who won a competition following a call for votes on social media.
The concept they came up with puts the emphasis on recycling by reusing old train parts in an effort to promote sustainability.
The boxes are managed in collaboration with certain municipal libraries and volunteer sponsors from among the SNCB’s employees.