Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Our New Library

I don't know if this is going on where you live, but for the past decade or so, little curbside lending libraries have been popping up all over the north Seattle neighborhoods. 

As a man who loves books and spent many years as an avid collector (my catalogued collection once topped 3000 books), I highly approve, even if I've not always been willing to release my own books into the wild. But that's what should happen with books: they need to be read not curated on dusty shelves.

I don't know if the day of the book is coming to an end or not. I still see plenty of folks reading them and while the small independent bookseller is almost non-existent and even the large national chains are shutting down due to the competition from online sellers like Amazon, I find it difficult to believe that the book will ever really go away. Yes, I know that some of you enjoy your e-readers, but it's hard for me to see how they're an improvement over a technology that already exists in a perfected form. Sure, I appreciate that one can carry a virtual library with you on your morning commute, but you can only read one book at a time, TSA doesn't require you remove a book from your luggage to go through airport screening, and leaving an electronic device behind on the train is a much bigger deal than a paperback.

But that's neither here nor there. What I do know for certain is that used books have become a cheap and plentiful natural resource. It's one of the reasons that many of us have taken to using them to make art because otherwise they are heading for the recycling center or landfill.

But even better is when used books can be put back into circulation, so it was a no-brainer for the Woodland Park Cooperative School to have its own curbside library and what a library it is! Lisle's dad Jared created this wonderful piece to stand by the street and hold a couple dozen children's books. He finished it on Saturday, just in time for our annual Garden Festival fundraiser. I filled it with what I call "junker books." It's not that they are junk books, per se, but rather books that show up as "excess," getting lost on the shelves and therefore never being read. Worse, I often feel that they are just in the way as I'm searching for the books I tend to read with the kids again and again.

It was a joy to see clusters of children sitting on the lawn reading those books even during a sunny day party with dancing, treats and games. Even more delightful was Sunday afternoon when I stopped by the school to putter around in the green house. During the two hours I was there, at least a hundred people stopped to check it out. Those with children almost all took a book with them. I refilled it at least five times.

These are books that were destined to never be read again, but now they're back out there in the world. Maybe they will only be read once more, but that's something, and I'm proud we've become part of it.

I put a lot of time and effort into this blog. If you'd like to support me please consider a small contribution to the cause. Thank you!
Bookmark and Share


Anonymous said...

That. Is. Adorable.

angelondarun said...

We have these in my city! I have found some real gems lurking behind their doors! Vive les livres!