They might be hard to spot at first, but once you stumble upon a Little Free Library, it's hard not to sit and stay a while! New Yorkers have been discovering the temporary mini book shelters tucked away on sidestreets, along the waterfront and hung on fences thanks to the PEN World Voices Festival and The Architectural League of New York, who joined forces to bring the Little Free Library movement to the city. Inhabitat recently went on an impromptu scavenger hunt around the Lower East Side to try and search out a few of these lilliputian libraries for ourselves. Click through our gallery to see what we found.
Wisconsin Partners for SustainAbility started The Little Free Library initiative back in 2009 as a social experiment for good. Since then, the movement has been helping people to place small book shelters all over world so that others in their communities can “Take a book, and return a book.” The PEN World Voices Festival and The Architectural League of New York decided that they wanted to bring this fascinating movement to New York City as part of the New Museum’s IDEAS CITY 2013. The group tapped ten NYC-based teams to design ten custom book kiosks and placed them all around the Lower East Side and the East Village with help from local community partners.
The ten contributing design teams and community partners were: Cevan Castle + The Clemente Soto Vélez Cultural and Educational Center; The Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture’s Design III studio + The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Architecture; Davies Tang + Toews + La MaMa; Stereotank + St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral School and The They Co.; Shannon Harvey, Adam Michaels, and Levi Murphy + Hester Street Collaborative; Forrest Jessee and Brigette Borders, studio point 0 + Abrons Art Center/Henry Street Settlement; stpmj + Fourth Arts Block; Matter Practice + New York University; Chat Travieso + Two Bridges Neighborhood Council; Mark Rakatansky Studio with Aaron White + University Settlement.
The mini libraries will be up until September 1, 2013, but could remain for longer (based on a re-evaluation in the fall). Want to check out a Little Free Library for yourself? Explore this map to find the one closest to you, and don’t forget to bring a book with you if you’d like to donate to the cause!