Monday, February 25, 2013

The People's Library Project

The People's Library Project

Beginning in March, the Main library will collaborate with VCU student Mark Strandquist on his research project titled "The People's Library." There will be several workshops held at the Main Library in the "Out of the Box" area located in General Collections. Workshops will be held at 2 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays through April. The workshops are free and open to the public.

The purpose of this project
Below is a description of the People's Library workshops from

"People’s Library is an ongoing collaborative project that incorporates interactive sculpture and community created ethnographies.

The project features libraries designed, built and authored by community members. Utilizing donated books from individuals, public libraries, and thrift stores, the project transforms and re-purposes unwanted or otherwise discarded books into blank canvasses for oral histories, self-representation, and intimate reflection.

People’s Library offers sustainable, collective and critical alternatives for the form and function of public space.

The project is collaborative at every public stage of the project. While each book becomes a safe and personal space for intimate reflection, the books and installation are produced through collective and sustainable means. Each autonomous history becomes part of a larger whole. 

While in some instances, public spaces have utilized new media to invite patron participation, it is typically through internet based means. People's Library champions collective production as an avenue for face to face interaction between diverse publics. The project reflects the histories, needs, desires of local residents, and re-interprets public institutions as a space for production, meditation, and alternative education."

Those who participate in this workshop will have the opportunity to complete various tasks, engage in conversation about contemporary art, and learn functional creative skills such as:

Papermaking: using pages from the discarded books, participants will blend, pulp and dry materials to create new paper.

Creative Content: participants will collectively formulate, choose and print the prompts to be included in each book.

Bookbinding: the re-purposed paper will be rebound into the covers of the discarded books.

The Bookshelf: participants will collectively design and construct the interactive sculpture that will house the books.

Card Catalog: participants will design, construct and implement a system for the books to be checked out by the public. This system will include space for the reader to reflect and react to their chosen book, the project, and the over-all experience.

First Friday @ MAIN
In celebration of Youth Arts Month, there will be a demonstration and hands-on workshop during the First Friday reception at 6:30 p.m. 

More information about this project can be found at:

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