di Nur Aktepe, volunteer for an European Solidarity Corps, – Agenzia Nazionale Giovani – ANG, project in Palermo for 6 months.
While walking down the street behind the Italian post office in Via Roma, Serendipitously I came across a street library, I met the owner of the library who is Pietro Tramonte. He told me the story and functioning of the library. Then, I had the chance to visit him and have a short interview. Before I go to interview, I want to take a book for the library and Ciss President Sergio Cipolla gave me his own book to donate ‘‘Mare Nero’’. Thank you so much for his gentle behavior and now I would like to share with you my short chat with Pietro.
Can you tell us about of this street library?
Good Morning I’m Pietro, the boss of this library but it is not my library, all people are the owners of the library. In fact, my idea is that the library should not be a property, each people can come here to read without buying and all the time in this library it is possible to exchange the books.
How many books are there in this library?
At this moment, there are 70.000 books in this library, these books were collected within six years.
How do you protect and organize so many books?
I’m generally alone, sometimes volunteers come here for ten minutes, maybe half-hour but this is not for forever. The system works very well now, you can find the books in alphabetical order according to the surname of the authors and each book is separated according to its subject. I can say my protector is God, because of all these books are always in the street and nobody stole them yet. I exchange the books and when visitors want to take a book, they can donate another book or donate some money, so there is no payment.
How can anyone borrow or donate a book here?
For example, you gave me ‘’Mare Nero ‘’. If someone wants to borrow this book, he/she might asks “How much is this book?”. In that case, my answer will be: “I am not selling this book; this was donated to me for free. But I have a big bank, actually a little big bank. (He showed a little box on the table) Visitors determine the price of each book and donates as much money as they want.
Can we find books written in every language and every field here?
Visitors can find books written in all languages of the world here. For examples Chinese, Russian, Arabic, Spanish, Deutsch, English, French. Besides, they can find books written every field. For example, history, cuisine, sport, mafia.
How many people visit the library each day, do you have regular guests?
This library has regular guests and maybe 100 visitors coming here each day.
Do you have a plan for the future of the library?
To talk about the future, I don’t have a big plan for the future. The future is not my property, I believe that the future is in the hands of God. I work and live for today, you can plan anything for the future, but I think it is important that this can be realizable.
Final thing I want to say, I request to those who will read this interview to “like” the page of our library on Facebook, if possible. (Biblioteca Privata Itinerante “Pietro Tramonte”)