You’ve packed the refreshments, the sun cream, the towels, your phone and all the other bits and bobs that make for a glorious day at the beach.
But then you discover that you forgot to include the book you were engrossed in, and start gnashing you teeth.
But all is not lost, for Benidorm has two libraries on the Levante and Poniente beaches that offer books, magazines and newspapers in several languages, including English, and the service is free. Below is a photo of one.
Since their introduction, the libraries have provided reading matter to millions of holidaymakers. In addition CDs and DVDs are on offer, and people also gather at them to play chess.
The libraries only close for one month in the winter in order for the beaches to be cleaned. This requires the structures to be dismantled.
The project came about with the aim of bringing together the concept of beach fun, reading and more broadly, culture in general. It is about bringing books closer to readers, no matter where they are and without their nationality being an obstacle.
The Levante beach library is 352 square metres and has seats for 125 readers. In addition, there are chess tables, which can be used to play, even if opponents do not speak the same language.
There are around two thousand documents in Valencian and Spanish, but also in English, German, French and Dutch.
The Poniente beach library is 125 square metres, has 50 chairs and 750 books.
How did they come about?
A 2016 report in El País (in Spanish) reported that the marriage of sea, sun, sand and literature in Spain originated in Torrevieja in 2005, and was the idea of entrepreneur Francisco Javier Gómiz. He provided the necessary capital to build several biblioplayas and packed them with more than 5,000 second-hand books.
The idea quickly caught on in other Spanish resorts, and by 2016 twenty-six had appeared on beaches and public swimming pools, thanks to funding provided by local authorities.
The concept was seized upon by other countries, and, according to this report, beach libraries are now to be found in places ranging from France to Israel.
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