The People's Library* is an ongoing collaborative project featuring libraries designed, built and authored by community members. The project transforms and re-purposes discarded books into blank canvasses for the production and exchange of local histories.
In Richmond, VA, at the Main Branch of the Richmond Public Library, a thousand blank books are being created for anyone in the community to check out, bring home, fill with their histories and bring back to the library to be included in the permanent collection. The resulting installation includes a thousand micro-monuments, becomes the real and symbolic meeting place for alienated publics, and offers sustainable, collective and critical alternatives for the form and function of public art.
For more information visit our website here.
The People's Librarians believe that the how, where, with whom, and why we labor is as important as what we produce. Thus the way the project has developed--in that it’s collective, slow, discursive, tactile, public, and sources discarded materials--further imbues it with social and political possibilities.
Since February of 2013 a weekly workshop(s) has been held at the main branch of the Richmond public library. Workshops are co-faclilitated by members of the corresponding youth mentorship program (The People's Librarians) which brings college students and high school students together to manage and produce the project. Workshop participants complete the various tasks necessary to build the books, engage in conversation, and explore creative, social, and educational skills.
If interested in participating or incorporating the project in your local library please contact;
*The project was instigated Courtney Bowles and Mark Strandquist.
The project has been made possible through a 2012-13 VCU Arts Undergraduate Research grant, a 2014 Culture Works Grant, and is part of the Virginia Museum of Fine Art’s statewide public education program.
The collection traveled this January to Columbia College’s Center for Book and Paper Arts, for their international showcase of community based paper-making projects, ‘Social Paper.’