Exclusive invitation to reading in Iasi: Why do locals find books on benches?

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Iasi city (eastern Romania) is conducting the most unusual project within the race for the 2021 European Capital of Culture title. Numerous books have been left on benches in the city’s park or downtown, inviting locals to read. The project has been under way for a month now and will last by September.

During leisure time, the residents but also tourists can skim or read excerpts from a book providing they let it on the bench for other potential readers. As a matter of fact such an advice is written on the cover of the book: “The book on the bench. You read, you give, leave it on the bench”.

According to the project’s initiators quoted by ziaruldeiasi.ro, the project aims at reviving Romanians’ passion for reading, an activity that seems abandoned by most of them.carte banca

“The obvious purpose is to make people abandon the modern communication tools and get back to the book, which is the live cultural bread,” explained Eugen Benea, one of the initiators. The second initiator, his wife, Ioana Alexandra Benea added up: “As it is a wonderful idea, people’s reactions are usually various. They are firstly surprised, don’t know how to react when they see a book on the bench, but subsequently they start reading.”

Such books are placed anywhere across the city, on benches in parks, on alleys, in crowded locations. All books come from personal donations, but initiators are also helped by two bookshops, which can provide them with enough volumes to place at least one book on the bench on the daily basis.

Anyone can join the project by donating a book and placing it on a bench in his/her residence city.

So, read the book and then pass it around. It’s a chain action!

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