What is a People's Library?

The People's Library is an ongoing collaborative project featuring libraries designed, built and authored by community members. The project transforms and repurposes discarded books into blank canvasses for the production and exchange of local histories.

 

In Richmond, VA, in partnership with 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.

While in some instances, public spaces and institutions have invited patron participation, it is often 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 reinterprets public institutions as a space for production, meditation, and alternative education.

Individuals in youth programs at each library have co-facilitated dozens of workshops. At each workshop, which are free and open to the public, participants complete various tasks, engage in conversation and learn functional creative skills.

If interested in donating books, participating, or incorporating the project in your local library please contact:
peopleslibraryproject@gmail.com

The project has been made possible through a 2012-13 VCU Arts Undergraduate Research grant, a 2014 Culture Works Project Grant and is part of the Virginia Museum of Fine Art’s statewide public education program. 

The People’s Library was presented at the 2013 Open Engagement conference in Portland, Oregon, the Art Librarians of North America's 2014 national conference. The collection will travel this January to Columbia College’s Center for Book and Paper Arts, for their international showcase of community based art, 
‘Social Paper.’



THE PEOPLE'S LIBRARY HAS OPENED!



Blank books are now available for you to author and include your histories in the library's permanent collection! 

COME AUTHOR YOUR OWN BOOK!

OPEN HOURS

MONDAY-FRIDAY 10-7

SATURDAY: 10-5

WHO WE ARE

 

The People's Library was started by Courtney Bowles and Mark Strandquist and has only been made possible through the incredible support, time, and help from the wonderful folks at the Main Branch of the Richmond Public Library!



 

In The

News:

THE PEOPLE'S LIBRARY HEADS TO PHILADELPHIA!

 

The PL was selected to be one of three projects for the innaugral round of the SPACES residency program at the Village of Arts and Humanities in North Philly.  More info HERE

THE PEOPLE'S LIBRARY GOES TO COLUMBIA COLLEGE!



The PL will be featured in an exciting international exhibit that showcases how artists are utilizing paper and book arts to engage in meaningful ways with their communities. 

PL GETS CULTURE WORKS ARTS DISTRICT GRANT!

 

Alongside a ton of awesome groups, the PL was chosen for the 2014 Richmond, VA CultureWorks grant to support our People's Librarian Internship program!

THE PEOPLE'S LIBRARY HAS OPENED!



Blank books are now available for you to author and include your histories in the library's permanent collection!