Book It
Micro-libraries hit the streets
Life / 13 Feb 2012
Leveraging the power of community, micro-libraries are emerging as a novel alternative to the tired public library. Reading materials are being crowdsourced and shared as a cost-effective, zero waste way to circulate print media among those who still prefer an analog reading experience. With these DIY corner libraries multiplying, those considering purchasing an e-reader may have a reason to think twice.
Microlending Stations:
During OWS’ time in Zuccotti Park, The People’s Library provided protesters with free, unrestricted access to a collective, open reading room of books, ’zines, newspapers and educational pamphlets. Though this so-called Library 3.0 was destroyed during a police raid on Liberty Plaza, it proved unstoppable, ultimately being resurrected in a mobile hodgepodge of crates, shopping carts, and the like. The Little Free Library is a similar initiative promoting literacy, community strength and the sheer pleasure of reading through the building of worldwide book exchanges. With the goal of beating Andrew Carnegie’s record-setting founding of 2,509 libraries, look for the project to bring an LFC to a corner near you.
Miniature Book Houses:
In Brooklyn, stoop sales are as much an excuse for socializing as they are means of spring cleaning. Extending these urban versions of garage sales beyond their primary intent, sellers often leave unsold goods, largely books, out on the sidewalk for the taking. This casual book sharing has, as of late, evolved into a series of more official programs. 100 Story House, an interactive art project currently seeking funding, is a miniature brownstone conceived to house 100 books for borrowing by the neighborhood community. Similarly, Colin McMullen’s Corner Library houses not only books but also DVDs, CDs, maps and other media available for consumption under the honor system.
Library Booths:
With digital advancements replacing outdated public services, some cityscapes have become littered with urban relics like phone booths. In an attempt to repurpose such unused space, UK resident James Econs took an abandoned booth, built library shelves inside and then filled them with books, thereby creating the world’s first PhoneBoox. Distinctly labeled with instructions to “Enjoy!” and “Make sure to replace me!,” the PhoneBoox, along with all of its contents, is entirely self-sustained by the community and available for use by any passersby. Apparently, “smart phone booths” are becoming a reality in more ways than one.
©The Intelligence Group