from 'Patio Gardens', by Helen Morgenthau Fox, 1929:
"In Spain there is a unique garden ornament not found in any other lands; this is the out of door bookcase. They are four and a half feet high and less than two feet wide. These bookcases are placed in the public parks.
The bookcases are tiny and completely faced with tile. They look like jewel caskets, and if they are deep enough to set the books far back they could be used in rainy lands, too, and would be handy places in which to keep the garden records and plans as well as essays and poems for the bookish gardener who never likes to be too far from his favorite authors. No less an authority than Monsieur Forestier told me that there is the record of but one theft from the bookcases, and that of a magazine.
In the exposition grounds at Seville, there is a bookcase dedicated to Cervantes in a little square to itself. It is surmounted by a brightly colored porcelain statue of Don Quixote on Rosinante..."
[Source of the above photo is a short post at the NYT blogs on park bookcases, with a more useful discussion in the comments about honor-system libraries and etc., both in the US and abroad. ]