The café titled “Titil” hosts the bookworms, who even lend their books to this mobile library in order to give the chance to their fellow citizens to read them as well. What follows is a report by the Persian-language Iran Book News Agency (IBNA) on this café.
In the days that reading books is not that much prevalent in Iran, and the publishers are worried about the decreased number of readers and book shoppers, three young guys are doing their best to promote the book reading culture among people using their own talents and experiences.
They bought a red Volkswagen T3 with a small amount of money, and turned it into a mobile library so that they could explore the city to lend books to the people interested in reading.
It was an interesting idea that produced results very soon, and the Titil Café has now become one of the most popular mobile cafés and libraries in Tehran. It is a café whose owners, regardless of economic concerns, seek to promote book reading culture among the people.
In addition to borrowing books from the café, you can order coffee, snacks and cold drinks, along with cupcakes and homemade and handmade cookies to enjoy your time when you are reading a book.
How It Came into Existence
Kourosh Esmaili, Mostafa Rasouli and Mohammad-Reza Heydari are the three main initiators of the Titil Café, which started its work in the summer of 2017 with an investment of around 14,000 US dollars. The three guys, who are the employees of a company in the field of oil and gas, are busy at the company from morning to the afternoon. From 5 pm to 10 they work at Titil Café.
As regards the name of the place, Kourosh Esmaili says “Titil in the Gilaki language means dragonfly, and since we wanted to go from place to place every day, Titil was a good choice as it constantly jumps from one place to another.”
Read Books for Free
One of the main features of Titil book café is that you can only borrow books, and this means no one can buy and sell books here. “Our main aim was to lend the books in a rotating form among the audience across the city. Honestly, we never thought about selling books, and from the very beginning we wanted to lend books for free,” says Mostafa Rasouli.
“Borrow a book, read and bring it back please,” this is a sentence written on a 25*30 cm blackboard in front of the café’s library. The library, which began with 150 books, now has about 3,000 volumes. Of these, about 400 to 700 books are transferred every day by the mobile Titil Café.
Concerning the future of the café, Kourosh told us that “we would like to enjoy the close cooperation of people and publishers with Titil Café so much so that we could have about 10,000 volumes of books on various subjects in order to be able to expand Titil’s activity from Tehran to other cities across the country.”
Mohammad-Reza Heydari says some of the people are the fixed clients of the café, adding that “we have a lot of clients, and some of them, who follow us in the social media, read our news and daily events. They visit us several times a week to return the books they have read and borrow some new ones. This is very promising.”
He also refers to one of their regular clients, saying “there is a woman who lives near Darabad in north of Tehran. She finds our location via our page on Instagram and comes to us every afternoon at about 6. She borrows a book and reads it until 10 pm, and if she is short of time, she will take the book to return it the day after.”
About the terms of lending books, Mohammad-Reza tells us that “anyone who likes to borrow a book just needs to give us his/her name and a cell phone number to be registered. We give them a card and they give it back after they read the books.”
A Charitable, Cultural Work
“During the week, many writers and translators are invited to the café, and sometimes they call on us without any coordination. In addition to donating their books to the café and holding book-reading sessions, they sign a number of their works.”
Kourosh, Mostafa and Mohammad-Reza, however, are thinking of another goal by separating the books signed by writers and translators.
“When the number of such books goes up, we will hold a public exhibition to sell the books signed by the authors, and spend the money on charity events. Fortunately, we have collected more than 60 signed books that we hope will increase as soon as possible.”
Another interesting thing about Titil café is that on the first Saturday of every month the revenues are spent on charity works.