World's first airport library at Schiphol Amsterdam

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Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport is set to open the world’s first permanent airport library. Starting this summer, travellers can pass their time reading, watching films or listening to music whilst waiting for their flights.

The project is being set-up by the ProBiblio Dutch public library organisation with money from the ministry of education, culture and science. According to project leader Dick van Tol, the collection will be very diverse. “It will be a multimedia venture and will include different aspects of Dutch culture. There won't just be books, but also films and music.”

As the airport library is a place where people will pass time and then leave on their flights, visitors will not be allowed to take books, DVDs or other items away. There will, however, be a separate ‘download room’. A new device will allow visitors to not only watch films, but also to download them to mobile phones. “So you can watch them again on the plane or when you're at home,” explains Mr Van Tol.

The Airport Library, as it has been dubbed, will be located beyond passport control and only accessible to people with a ticket for a flight. Most of the collection will be in English, but there will also be Dutch material. “For example,” Mr Van Tol points out, “many photo books are in both Dutch and in English.”

He emphasises that the ash cloud from the volcanic eruption in Iceland - which brought air traffic at Schiphol to a halt twice over past weeks - did not influence the decision to open the library. The preparations have been on the go for over three years. The Airport Library is due to open at the beginning of July.