Al fresco summer reading in Barcelona

At the first whiff of summer in this city, everyone heads to the park or the beach. Hibernating away with a book is definitely seen as a winter pursuit.

Luckily, whoever runs Barcelona’s public libraries has decided that if Muhammad won’t come to the mountain, then the mountain will damn well up sticks and go to Muhammad. There are two major initiatives this year to bring library services to their sun-seeking users, both of which are pretty damn cool.

The first is the biblioplatja, or ‘beach-library’. It’s a temporary local library branch, located right on the beach! As you can see from this promotional video, most of the users are deeply-toasted elderly people. My favourite is the tech-savvy woman who complains that there is no internet connection:

There is one biblioplatja on Barceloneta beach, running until the end of September, and another in Bac de Roda, open until the end of August. They’re even open on Sundays!

The second scheme is organized by the Biblioteca Nacional de Catalunya, Catalonia’s copyright library. It’s called Llejim al jardí, ‘let’s read in the garden,’ and it allows Barcelonans the unique opportunity to take books outside the confines of the libary walls and enjoy them in the garden of the Antic Hospital de la Santa Creu (the gothic hospital in the Raval where Gaudí died). You’re even encouraged to enjoy drinks and nibbles as part of the experience.

I’m going to take it as read  (excuse the pun), that ancient manuscripts from the collection are not eligible for garden-reading. Just imagine the librarian’s face if you returned a first edition of Tirant lo Blanc splattered with crumbs and tinto de verano. That would not go down well.

Llejim al jardí runs weekdays 10.00 – 19.30 until the end of August.