Stepping into the Williamsburg shop is like walking into an old timey general store, only with paper centric products. The rustic beams, remnants of the building’s former factory life, are echoed throughout with furniture and shelves made from the same woodgrain. A mix of vintage tables, chairs, and curio cabinets work together to create the welcoming and familiar aesthetic of the shop.
Card catalogs, hardware drawers, and vintage organizers of all types hold the shop’s bounty. Here, you can find (and purchase) delicate wax paper bags left over from a 1960s boulangerie in France, tiny perfect envelopes with matching miniature cards, magnets and pennants from out parents’ era, or books about the joys of travel or housekeeping. Each jar, drawer, and shelf is like a discovery of something special. The shop also stocks polished versions of zines and independent publications.
The shop wouldn’t be called a library, without the incredible Sketchbook Project. Lining the walls of the store are shelves upon shelves of sketchbooks from thousands of artists world wide. The library is an ever evolving celebration of creativity. Each artist who signs up is sent a sketchbook to fill completely with artwork, set in a theme chosen by the project. When complete, they send it back to add to the library. Selections from the library are then shared, sometimes traveling to different venues around the country. Visitors can also come in and check out books to be leafed through at the authentic library study table. The project is also being digitized, so each page of each book is available online, in a digital archive.
The Sketchbook Project enables artists from around the globe to have their work available to anyone, to either pour over in person or search online, inciting inspiration to all those who enjoy it. The Brooklyn Art Library is not only a place to find inspiration gifts (for friends or for yourself), but also to find artistic inspiration. The next sketchbook sign up is April 18th, so pay a visit and get some ideas for your very own sketchbook!
Images © Lori Zimmer for Inhabitat