• Agents of Change

    • More than fifteen thousand libraries have been adapted to urban spaces; a casual and fruitful approach to the macrocosmos of literature.

    Small libraries adapted to streets: a fortuitous encounter with knowledge / 

    Knowledge is humankind’s patrimony. Not everyone has access to the classics of universal literature in their social environments; generally speaking, this happens when in our immediate spheres (family, loved ones) the taste for literature is present, or when in school the student approaches literature. Even though access to education is greater, not everyone applies the same culture to the arts.

    It is impossible to evaluate the benefits of literature, until we submerge ourselves in its proposals, but in order to do so we require initial contact. If a person walks down the street and sees a public library in a monumental building, they’ll probably feel the experience is foreign to them. Everyday we involuntarily consume hundreds of advertisements. Why does this not happen with real knowledge? If one can be easily hooked on unnecessary products through the influence of arbitrary propaganda, what would happen to our minds if we set off on the best universal reflections casually?

    The Little Free Library project seeks to make literature accessible to all, by implementing thousands of bookshelves in urban streets. Some of these urban libraries are modules where the visitor remains standing, below a small roof, which grants the reader some privacy. Others have been adapted as shelves installed within telephone booths.

    The idea of street libraries began when Todd Bol, from Wisconsin, built a model and installed it on the sidewalk in front of his house, as a homage to his mother who loved reading. His neighbours and those who walked through the neighbourhood loved the idea. Today, the project has a global record of urban libraries and, since 2008, it has grown to 15 thousand locations with different designs.

    This initiative encourages anyone to adapt their library model to urban settings, which they can then register, and in case of requiring additional funds, they can ask for them: today Little Free Library has established itself as a popular NGO. The recreational book installations have been a complete success. People want to enjoy public spaces, feel they own them: opening a book is to submerge oneself in a parallel world and doing so as the side effect of an unexpected encounter with literature makes it all the more magical. 

    Tagged: libraries, Agents of Change, books