Borrowing a book and catching your train in 20 seconds: it's now possible at Europe's first train station library. More than 5000 people have already visited the Haarlem Station library, which opened its doors just over a month ago.
The library, which has the backing of Dutch Railways and the provinces of North and South Holland, is located in the old signal box on the station's central platform. The 150 square metre building has a collection of 1500 magazines and books, ranging from literature to comics. The library is open during the morning and evening rush hour, five days a week.
The train station library is not only for travellers in hurry. Commuters who've missed their train or whose train has been delayed can enjoy a cup of coffee or tea, check their e-mail on one of the library's PCs, or read a book, magazine or newspaper in a quite oasis in this busy station.
If the concept is successful, ProBiblio, which supports public libraries in North and South Holland, plans to open libraries at other stations in the Netherlands. Belgium is planning to do the same, and the French railways have also expressed an interest.