REPRESENTATIVES OF the Shalem Center, the Israel Nature and Parks Authority along with trail hikers Nirit Leshem and Roi Sokolovski, pose with a ‘trail library.’.
(photo credit: COURTESY SHALEM CENTER)
Israel National Trail hikers will soon be able to borrow and return library books along select points of the path, which runs from Tel Dan in the country’s North to Eilat in the South.
The Israel Nature and Parks Authority, in conjunction with Shalem College, is placing branches of the “Sifriyot Shvil” (“Trail Libraries”) at select campgrounds along the path, stocking the stations with books on philosophy, literature, and poetry. The miniature libraries, the INPA explained, will operate on the basis of trust, enabling hikers to borrow and return books at any of the designated locations.
Shalem College’s Shalem Press, which translates major works of Western philosophy into Hebrew, has contributed the books for the project.
Israel Trail hikers Nirit Leshem and Roi Sokolovski helped realize the idea of establishing the book-borrowing stations.
“The Israel Nature and Parks Authority has placed an emphasis in recent years on the accessibility of its network of campgrounds to the public,” said Tom Amit, director of campgrounds for the INPA.
“The Trail Libraries project is an excellent example of enriching the visitor’s experience during the trip.”
While the project is only in its pilot phase, Amit explained that the organizations plan to add many more book borrowing stations along the trail in the future.
“The Israel Trail is a formative journey and an identity building experience, similar to the process that we go through with our students, by means of the ‘great books,’” added Dr. Ido Hevroni, of Shalem College.
Hevroni used English philosopher John Stuart Mill’s work On Liberty as a fitting example, stressing how the book delves into issues such as the relationship between the individual and society.
Raya Afner, of the organization Nifgashim Beshvil Israel (Meeting on the Israel Trail) – which conducts memorial hikes on behalf of fallen soldiers and terrorism victims – praised the project as “an amazing initiative that perpetuates the special spirit that is characteristic of the trail.”