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Shipping Containers Libraries Around the World


Shipping containers have been turned into libraries all over the world to help bring literature to children that may not have access to libraries. This is relatively simple to do; all you really need is some shelves, books, and maybe some comfortable seating, and you have a library.

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Amin Shipping Container Library in Batu, Indonesia

In Batu, Indonesia the Amin Library is comprised of seven shipping containers. It is not only a library but also a free health clinic and it has a cafeteria. It was intended to level the playing field between the rich and the poor, who have a large gap between them, by offering a free place for education and health. Amin Library has approximately 6,000 books available for checkout. This library has become a major landmark and a popular attraction. It is colorfully painted, and each color signifies a different part of the library, for example, the red room has the science and technology books, whereas the blue room has popular and entertainment books.

Children International's Gifts in Kind Center Shipping Container Library in Kenya

In 2013 a shipping container was accidentally delivered to Children International’s Gifts in Kind center in Kenya. The staff of the center decided to turn it into a library, and they immediately called the company that owned the container to purchase it. It was moved to a better location and turned into a library that has 2,200 books and thrives.

SEED Library Made of Shipping Containers in Johannesburg

The SEED library in Johannesburg is made of shipping containers too. It was originally intended to be a brick and mortar building, but the project did not have the funding for it, so they decided to use the more affordable shipping containers.

Dutch BiebBus Mobile Shipping Container Library

The BiebBus is a Dutch mobile children’s library that has a shipping container mounted on top of a library bus. This allows it to hold more books, and the container is also a reading room. The more remote areas the BiebBus visits have narrow roads, so they had to use the smaller library bus, and the shipping container solved their space problem.

5 Shipping Container Libraries from the Thingery Project in Vancouver, BC

In Vancouver, BC, the Thingery project has led to five shipping container libraries opening. Unlike a traditional library that has books, the Thingery has whatever items the community it is in needs. This could be recreation equipment, children’s toys, instruments, and even household appliances. It is completely self-service, so members can check out things as they need them. The Thingery is not free though, members pay a one-time $50 fee and an annual fee of $29. Each Thingery is run by its neighborhood co-op.

Julia Hulbert, a board member of the Kitsilano Thingery co-op, said: “A set of new snowshoes is about $150 and can be rented multiple times a year. It’s really easy to get your investment back. It’s also great to be able to borrow high-quality equipment, instead of buying cheaper equipment to save money and then having that equipment wear out.”

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