While spending my vacation in Foz do Arelho, a small lagoon town in Portugal, I stumbled upon a “Biblioteca de Praia”, a beach library which blew my mind! What a great idea! I discovered it on the evening when it was closed so I just had to go next day to visit it! :)
This beach library is part of the public library of Caldas da Rainha, and offers free services of culture and information to local population and vacationers of Praia da Foz do Arelho. This library is open during the bathing summer season, from 1st of July to 31st of August 2022. Opening hours are super user friendly, the library is opened EVERY day, from 10:30 am to 1:00 pm and from 2:00 pm to 5:30 pm.
The Library space consists of a room in a structure that resembles a ship container, and the nice terrace with tables, chairs and sunshades. I talked with the librarian who told me that the library houses around 1000 books for grownups and children. The books are mostly on Portuguese language, but they have some books in English and French, for foreign tourists.
The books are part of the regular collection of the public library in Caldas da Rainha, and every year there are different books in the beach library - they are chosen by librarians and represent the current interests of the population. After the summer passes, the books are going back to the main library. The beach library also offers free wi-fi and various daily Portuguese newspapers that you can read on the sunny terrace.
You don’t need a library membership to use the library services. You can read all materials onsite without any procedure. If you want to borrow a book, you need to leave any kind of card with your name (ID, passport, or even a supermarket fidelity card, anything with your name on it) and sign the checkout paper. You can have a maximum of three books at a time and you can keep the book for five days.
It must be wonderful to work there – sun, happy people, books, ocean and cocktail…