Good reads: Donate or buy secondhand books in Prague and help the homeless

The Reknihy platform will now be picking up donated tomes from Prague's re-use centers and reselling them to benefit the socially disadvantaged. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 12.08.2021 12:14:00 (updated on 13.08.2021) Reading time: 2 minutes

Prague-based book lovers can now donate their secondhand tomes to collection points throughout the city. Books will be collected by an initiative whose resale of the books will benefit the homeless.

Prague City Hall has announced that re-use centers in Vysočany, Spořilov, and Horní Počernice will now accept books to be collected and resold by the Reknihy platform. The online bookstore plans to sell the books and donate a part of the profits to the Přestupní stanice community space, which creates jobs for the homeless.

Reknihy representatives will regularly collect books from re-use centers and after evaluating their condition, offer them to new owners via their online shop. Tadeáš Kula, founder of Reknihy, says the pick-ups will be made by cyclists. "Thanks to this, the logistics part is much more environmentally friendly," he adds.

Re-use centers have recently sprung up around the Czech capital as places where Praguers can take household items they no longer need but that could still serve someone else. Many accept furniture, toys, bicycles, or pots and pans that can be repurposed. 

Available items can be viewed via an app where donations are first seen by non-profit organizations, the city's furniture bank, the city's social departments, and other institutions that deal with the socially disadvantaged. 

Items that are not used by these non-profits can then be claimed by the public and reserved for pick up free of charge.

Re-use centers are now located in three places: the Pod Šancemi collection yard in Vysočany, the Zakrytá collection yard in Spořilov, and in Horní Počernice, in the Chvalkovická collection yard. Their operation began as part of a pilot project on October 1, 2020.

Deputy Mayor Petr Hlubuček says Re-Use points have been a success in Prague. "So far we operate three, and we want to expand this number. In addition to household equipment, sports equipment, furniture, we will now give a second chance to books as well."

Přestupní stanice ("transfer station" in English) is a social enterprise that operates two brick-and-mortar stores with community spaces in Prague, as well as an e-shop with donated clothes and books. They are staffed by the homeless. Since its establishment in 2017, the Transfer Station has been organizing workshops, lectures, and other cultural and educational programs for the public, which deal especially with social issues related to homelessness.

About 4,000 people live on the streets in Prague, Jiří Wolf, a spokesman for the Center for Social Services in Prague, told the Czech news agency ČTK. Many of them use facilities such as hostels and dormitories, while others sleep in makeshift shelters or tents located on the outskirts of Prague.

Reknihy currently lists a number of books in the English language as well as in German, Spanish, French, Russian, and Italian. Prices range start from CZK 99; you can also find out how to donate your secondhand books directly via their site or arrange for pick-ups.

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