While the Fez folk are discussing the new Medina Children's Library, the travelling public in Casablanca are having a literary experience. Moroccan students from the University of Settat have turned the trams into mobile libraries or 'bibliotrams'. The program is called 'Qra Tewsel' - read while waiting to get to your destination
Since December 8th, the Casablanca tramway is offering its passengers free libraries at ten stations along two lines. This is the second edition of the BiblioTram operation. The idea is simply to provide passengers books during their journey. Once they have finished their journey, users are obliged to leave the book on the tram for others to enjoy.
However, if a passenger wants to read more they can borrow a book but it must be in exchange for a book of their own. Users who fall in love with a book have the option to buy it.
The first time the library on a tram went into operation they experienced some problems, including the disappearance of books soon after the program began. Casa Tram is better organised this time with agents on trams who will control the smooth running of the operation.
The books have been collected by students of the Faculty of Legal, Economic and Social Sciences at the Hassan 1st University of Settat (FSJES UH1).
While the project lasts only seven days, it is hoped travellers will be stimulated to read more. According to Casablanca Tramway spokesperson, Yassine Embarek, "Casablanca Tramway wants to position itself as a 'cultural vehicle' by providing the logistics for this initiative." He also points out that "the statistics on reading in Morocco are alarming".