Aimed at making reading accessible for everybody, an association for free books lets users take away books without paying for them.
Stepping inside the shop at C/ Cantàbria 72, in the La Verneda i La Pau neighbourhood, is not so much a case of entering a conventional bookshop, but rather an association where books are free. Anyone coming here is welcome to browse the bookshelves and take away any book they wish, free of charge and with no obligation to return it.
The Associació Llibres Lliures de Catalunya [Catalan Free Book Association] started out in 2013 with the aim of making reading more accessible for everyone. “Culture shouldn’t be bought or sold. Culture should pass from one hand to another. People who have an interest in reading should have access to it at no cost”, explains David Mallord, one of the volunteers at the association. “Libraries play a great role in the task, but there are people who want to hang on to a book much longer, such as students who need books and can’t pay for them. We need to fill that gap”, notes Mallord.
The Associació Llibres Lliures de Catalunya has some twenty volunteer workers who, in shifts, attend to the needs of the public and catalogue books received from users, most of which come from donations due to a lack of space at home. The association doesn’t receive any grants and is exclusively funded by donations which users can leave in a piggy bank on the counter. All donations are gratefully received, as this is the only way to keep running a bookshop where the only currency is goodwill.