When the Swedish library left its door ajar by mistake, the day turned into a reflection of trust and responsibility amongst the Gothenburg townspeople.
It seems almost impossible to believe that in a world that’s wrought with all kinds of distrust and hurt, there are still sparks of kindness and principles. A beautiful Swedish story about the Gothenburg City Library has restored faith in humankind. On November 4, All Saints Day, the people of the Swedish town of Gothenburg did a 'saintly' act of borrowing 246 books from the public library that was supposed to be closed that day and returning each one of them.
Anna Carin Elf, a worker at the City Library of Gothenburg, shared with radio station P4 Gothenburg that when she arrived on Saturday at her workplace, it was an unusual day because the library was supposed to be closed. To her surprise, she saw several visitors at the library even though it was supposed to be closed that day. The library staff had missed locking the door that day and so visitors went ahead and welcomed themselves. She shared, “They were surprised. They thought it was a bit empty.” She further added that the people in the library “behaved as usual.” “Many were sitting reading newspapers, some families were in the children’s section and others were searching for books on the computer,” she said.
The visitors were noticed by Elf, as she was walking by her workplace on the holiday. She realized the library door was left ajar and called up her manager and colleagues. They soon announced to the visitors that the library would be closing and everyone calmly obeyed and departed after putting back their books. However, on the supposedly closed day, 446 people visited the library, 246 books were borrowed and each one of them was returned, reflecting great civic responsibility and trust amongst the townspeople.
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Among those who visited the library on its closed day were Arvid Jadenius and his wife, who shared their experience with the local publication Göteborgs-Posten. They visited the library with their 2-year-old son who rushed with excitement towards the children’s section. However, they soon realized that the section was closed for cleaning. The couple were unaware of the library’s closing and didn’t notice that the usual library staff was absent. Arvid said, “We understood that it was just as usual, we did not think that there was no staff there. There were quite a lot of people inside the library.” They headed out and a while later, checked the library’s Instagram page where a post announced that the library would remain closed that day on account of All Saints’ Day. He further added, “I thought it was strange. It was open.” When he saw the announcement he had a eureka moment, “Then I stopped and thought aha, that's why.”
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The city library shared an Instagram post thanking the people of Gothenburg for their sheer respect towards the library and its books. They shared in the caption, “Not even a library empty of librarians prevents you from visiting us! Last Saturday, we should really have been closed but someone seems to have forgotten to lock the door and several hundred visitors read newspapers, looked for books in the children's department and borrowed books. Everyone treated our library lovingly - just the way it should be. Thanks for Saturday, Gothenburg!” Looks like Gothenburg has taken the opposite route than Gotham City and shown that it’s true, passionate readers consider the library as part of their family. Nothing is ever going to stop them from visiting, respecting and returning the books they feel the library deserves back!