June 27, 20217:15 AM ET, Tommy Trenchard
They call it the Hot-Spot library: a ramshackle building of plywood and sheet metal set on a crime-ridden street corner in Cape Town, South Africa.
With its threadbare couches and mismatched carpets, the place looks somewhat dilapidated.
On winter days, rain leaks through holes in the corrugated zinc roof and drips down onto the tables and bookshelves. Built around a pair of aging shipping containers, it may not look like your conventional library.
But for the residents of Scottsville, a neighborhood torn apart by drug abuse and gang violence, it offers a safe space to escape the harsh realities of daily life and to explore different worlds in the pages of thousands of donated second-hand books.