Reading on the Fly

A recent Skyscanner report found that 32 percent of travelers would like to see more libraries in airports. These airports have taken note, offering travelers a cozy corner away from the busy lines and crowds.

Nashville International Airport Library

In 1962, Nashville International Airport snagged the milestone of being the first municipal airport to open public a library. Though now closed, the reading room offered several books for the choosing, along with reproductions of popular artwork that could all be checked out.

Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport’s Smart Library

Opened in 2011, Taipei’s Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport library – located near gate C5 in Terminal 2 – offers patrons approximately 2,000 books for check out, in addition to newspapers and magazines. Gadget-friendly visitors can borrow one of the library’s e-readers, which store around 400 titles in English and Chinese.

Schiphol’s Airport Library

Airport Library at Schiphol (temporarily closed for renovation) opened to much fanfare in 2010, providing travelers, including the 42 percent in 2013 who were making transfers, with a literary-themed sanctuary. Open at all hours, Airport Library is centered around Dutch culture, offering 1,250 books (and 4 iPads) ranging from Dutch literary classics to books on Dutch art and architecture, translated into over 30 languages.

San Francisco International Airport 

Like Schiphol, SFO’s library collection is also centered around a theme – only SFO’s theme is aviation. Stocking over 8,000 aviation-related books, periodicals, photographs, technical drawings, oral histories and archival materials – there’s enough material here to keep even the geekiest of avgeeks occupied for hours.

Tallinn Airport Library

Estonia’s Tallinn Airport library lets patrons borrow books in the hopes that they’ll find their way back eventually. Describing themselves as a “passenger-to-passenger library,” they even request that each reader leave a message for the next reader when they’re done with the book, along with a log of where they’ve traveled with it. The collection, acquired largely through donation, includes books donated by the country’s president and first lady.

Cape Town Airport’s Flybrary

Complete with a replica Victorian fireplace and a futuristic circular shelf, Cape Town Airport’s Flybrary gives their books clearance to fly. By putting their collection up for grabs, forgotten books are given chance to find a new home and rightful owner.

Finland’s Helsinki Airport

Near Gate 31 at Helsinki Airport in Finland, a dedicated 24/7 book swap corner offers travelers cushy chairs to lounge in, and books free for the taking – or swapping if you’re looking to unload a book you’ve finished.

Read “Dear Library” in The Education Issue for more on book-related initiatives airports have taken.

Katie is a writer for APEX Media, based in Toronto, Ontario.