Free Reading Zones in Croatia

By 21 July 2016

After the United States, where Free Reading Zones are common, Croatia will become one of the countries with zones of free reading for residents and tourists.

FREZ (Free Reading Zones) is a project created by global publishers, libraries and other organizations that advocate for the promotion of literacy and reading. In collaboration with government agencies and private sponsors, FREZ turns public and private spaces (parks, hospitals, trains, buses, beaches, schools, squares, hotels, colleges) into areas where books are available to be read on all devices (smartphones, tablets) for free, reports on July 21, 2016.

The mission of FREZ is to maximize the potential of digital books, which are accessible to any reader anywhere in the world at the same time, thus crossing the borders easily and making reading more important than the book’s format.

FREZ’s main partners are usually public libraries that use this project to bring books to people (they no longer have to be physically present in a library to log in and read). So, libraries are acting outside the scope of their walls and becoming “'distributors”. A person simply “entere the zone” and downloads a free reading app. After that, reading can be done online or offline. When you leave a free reading zone, you can continue reading anywhere if you are a member of a public library.

The world's first FREZ was launched at a hospital in Houston. Patients inside the hospital (as well as all other people in the area) have free access to books. Other FREZ projects in the United States now include airports, railway stations, urban parks, colleges, schools, beaches, and squares.

The collection currently consists of hundreds of thousands of books in several languages ​​(for adults and children, leisure and education) from the world-famous publishers and it is growing weekly. The majority of the works are in English, but other languages ​​are growing in number as well.

Project director is Mirela Rončević, an editor and literary critic from New York, as well as the editor in chief of the No Shelf Required portal. “FREZ is an attempt to eliminate unnecessary limitations and create a world in which access to books is a right, not a privilege. Today, it is a hospital in Houston. Tomorrow, it is an airport in Germany, and then schools in Zambia. Why not a beach in Croatia as well?” she said.