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Staff who forgot to lock Swedish library surprised by behavior of 400 people who visited during holiday

A simple error on the library's part could have cost them a lot but the people of Gothenburg showed what it meant to spread goodness.
PUBLISHED JUN 26, 2024
Representative Cover Image Source: Pexels| Element5
Representative Cover Image Source: Pexels| Element5

An act of goodness always outshines everything else. An example of this unfolded at the Gothenburg Library in Sweden. What could have been a tragic disaster for the library turned out to be a wholesome and insightful experience. The staff had left the library doors unlocked with thousands of books and materials to be freely accessed, per ZME Science. Anna Elf, one of the workers, discovered the blunder only later. The library was shut on account of All Saints’ Day, a public holiday.

Representative Image Source: Pexels| Ivor Rainha
Representative Image Source: Pexels| Ivor Rainha

Though not observed by many, the space was supposed to be shut for visitors but as Elf was passing by, she was greeted by several readers and visitors as any other working day, per The Local. It was strange but not long before, she realized that the library had been left open by accident and readers were walking in and out at their convenience. Since All Saints’ Day is not a compulsory holiday, not many were aware and undoubtedly assumed the library to be open after finding it unlocked. Elf arrived to find no chaos but the readers doing their own thing, reading and browsing as usual.

Representative Image Source: Pexels| Pixabay
Representative Image Source: Pexels| Pixabay

Perhaps it didn’t strike many that the library had been left open by accident. “They were surprised. They thought it was a bit empty. The people in the library behaved as usual. Many were sitting reading newspapers, some families were in the children’s section and others were searching for books on the computer,” Elf mentioned. She took rounds in horror that some tragedy may have struck, leaving the vast space unattended. However, to her surprise, the readers were just treating it like a regular day and were engaged in reading, as usual.

Representative Image Source: Pexels| Cottonbro Studio
Representative Image Source: Pexels| Cottonbro Studio

The few who had realized the error beforehand left the library quietly. Others who had no clue, continued reading. Elf quickly made amends for the mistake and after discussing it with her superior, announced that the library was closed. The readers left, just like they would when it was time to shut the library on any other day. "Nothing was destroyed. It's amazing that Gothenburgers enter an empty library and treat it so lovingly,” Elf exclaimed. She mentioned that there were around 446 people who visited the library that day, having no clue that it was to shut.

Representative Image Source: Pexels| Cottonbro Studio
Representative Image Source: Pexels| Cottonbro Studio

A lot could have happened with even one wrong person entering. However, each reader entered only to gain a dose of wisdom and nothing more. To the library’s pure luck, despite over 250 books being borrowed that day, without supervision, each one of them was duly returned. Arvid Jadenius, one of the readers present on that day, shared his experience with a local outlet. He said, “It felt good that everyone behaved exactly as usual, they borrowed books, read the newspaper and so on. Think that you can have it so open and that the citizens of Gothenburg take care of their library. There is obviously a desire to be there.” 

A user on X, @lisa_pelling, reposted a heartwarming message shared by the library, thanking their visitors for their loyalty and impressive behavior. Pelling summarized the same in her caption, “This Saturday, the city library in Gothenburg was closed. But someone forgot to lock the doors. No worries! Hundreds of visitors just did what you do at the library: they borrowed books, read the papers, treated their beloved library with respect.” The avid readers of Gothenburg have shared a peak hope for humanity through their simplest gesture.



 

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