Ljubljana, Slovenia

Another day, another unusually quirky story from the public library space.

Today’s story comes from the far-off and seemingly magical outpost of Ljubljana, the capital city of Slovenia. And yes, this story does happen to be about 13 months old—the earliest online reference we found carried a January 2012 deadline. But because it doesn’t seem to have attracted much press attention when it first broke, and because it does such a good job of illustrating the joy of surprise and discovery that libraries offer, we figured it wouldn’t hurt to bring it to your attention.

Ljubljana City LibrarySee the packages in the photo on the right, wrapped in brown butcher paper? Those are mystery packs, and at the time the photo was taken, they were waiting to be chosen by visitors to the Ljubljana City Library.

The sticker affixed to each package represents only the genre of the books hidden inside. (I can see stickers representing sci-fi, mystery, and what appears to be history—European history, perhaps?) The titles themselves, all of which were hand-picked by librarians, remain a mystery until the borrower arrives home, tears off the wrapping, and dives in.

According to an international trend-spotting site that featured the program, “the parcels all contained one novel from a contemporary writer, one classic, and one ‘easy to read’ novel.”

I love it. I think if I stumbled upon something like this at my local branch, I’d grab a mystery pack just out of pure curiosity. That is, the curiosity to see what sort of books my local librarians had recommended, and also the hope of finding something potentially life-changing, which is basically what I’m hoping for every time I enter a place where the written word is on offer.

What do you think? If your branch offered something like this, would you give it a try? Why, or why not?