Up to 50,000 books to be stocked at new library in Okuma, one of largest collections in Japan

A new library to be established at an integrated kindergarten, elementary and junior high school in the Fukushima Prefecture town of Okuma will hold up to 50,000 books, one of the largest collections at a public school in Japan, the town's education board said on Jan. 7. The "Tosho Hiroba" (book plaza), to be located in the town's Ogawara district, will feature "support library" shelves on which books donated after the 2011 nuclear accident at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.'s Fukushima Daiichi plant will be placed to show gratitude for the donations across the country. The board revealed a scale model of the facility on Jan. 7 at a meeting of all municipal assembly members, briefing them on the draft of its basic design. The book plaza in the center of the facility will rise in an inverted-cone shape from the first to second floors. Visitors can enjoy a panoramic view of books on display from the front entrance. It is a structure allowing easy movement between the floors. Labeling itself as a "town of reading," Okuma had a municipal library with more than 100,000 books in stock before the nuclear disaster. But the library and schools were encompassed by an area designated as difficult-to-return following the disaster, leaving children without access to the books. Learning of the situation, charity organizations, schools and other concerned parties from across Japan donated more than 2,000 books to the town. These books are due to be made available on the support library shelves. Okuma, which co-hosts the crippled nuclear plant with the neighboring town of Futaba, is going ahead with a plan to open the integrated school along with the library in April 2023. (Translated by Kyodo News)