Hiking is active and reading is passive, but these two great loves of the Israeli people don’t have to be mutually exclusive anymore.

Jerusalem’s Shalem College, a self-proclaimed “Great Books College” with its own press for Hebrew translations of classical works of Western thought, has lent its collection to library stations set up at select campgrounds along the country-long Israel National Trail.

The project is a joint initiative with the Israel Nature and Parks Authority (INPA) and Nifgashim Beshvil Israel, an organization that sponsors an annual hike on the Israel Trail in memory of fallen soldiers and terror victims.

The Trail Libraries are stocked with Shalem Press books on philosophy, literature and poetry. Hikers may borrow and return books at any of the branches, operating solely on an honor system.

“The Israel Nature and Parks Authority has placed an emphasis in recent years on the accessibility of its network of campgrounds to the public,” INPA Director of Campgrounds Tom Amit said. “The Trail Libraries project is an excellent example of enriching the visitor’s experience during the trip.”

Israel also has beach libraries and bus-stop libraries – not surprising in a country full of bookworms.

Click here to see a map of the Trail Libraries now available (in Hebrew). Amit said that 15 more library stations are planned in the future.

Raya Epner, cofounder of Nifgashim Beshvil Israel, called the Trail Libraries project “an amazing initiative that continues the special spirit characteristic of the Israel Trail. It was born of the idea that people walking at different times and in different periods can broaden their horizons, learn and develop an in-depth dialogue with other trail hikers.”