Four Amazing Mini Libraries That Will Inspire You to Read

Architizer’s round up of mini, pop-up libraries from around the world will inspire you to pick up a book.

Libraries are among the most important of human institutions, warehousing knowledge accumulated over centuries, nay, eons. Libraries are also very alluring places, often built with ornate and cavernous reading rooms, vertiginous shelving for book storage, and winding secret passages. Originally built to protect books from ruin, libraries are generally gigantic bunker-like buildings. Inwardly focused, they restrict access to their treasure troves to those who whisper and can thrive without sunlight.

With the advent of the internet, however, all of the world’s knowledge is available instantly to anyone who desires it. Books are no longer precious for the information within them, but rather for their physicality: you can’t hold the internet or turn a webpage (discounting the swipes of an iPad). This frees libraries to pursue another of their functions: to foster dialogue and investigation. To accomplish this task, libraries themselves have had to get smaller, and more mobile. More accessible to a larger population than a classic library, the Pop-Up Library preserves the intimacy and experience of the book. Below are some great examples of this new species of institution.

Levinski Library by Yoav Meiri Architects

The Levinski Library, also known as the Garden Library for Migrants and Refugees, was designed to provide escape from worldly troubles within the pages of books. Located in Tel Aviv’s Levinski Park, this pop-up library features a collection of books from around the world, in languages from all continents. Yoav Meiri Architects write that they wanted the library to be approachable by all people, at all hours of the day, so that it could be used without fear by its intended audience: illegal immigrants. It is composed of two sets of bookcases, one tall and meant for adults, and across from it, a child-height shelf filled with children’s books. The doors to the children’s shelves fold down to create a play floor, while the doors to the adult shelves lift up to create a canopy spanning the distance between the two halves of the project.

Artist Massimo Bartolini’s entry for Ghent’s “Track: A Contemporary City Conversation” festival is composed of two summertime favorites: wine and books. The installation, entitled “Bookyard,” features twelve rows of bookshelves, each aligned with the rows in the vineyard of nearby St. Peter’s Abbey. Visitors are invited to donate, borrow or purchase this pop-up library’s books as they sit on the grass of the surrounding fields and sip the monastery’s wine. This installation, like many pop-up structures, is temporary and will be taken down at the end of the festival this September.


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