Pop-Up Library

Readers, the idea I’ve been completely consumed by lately is this:

Uni Portable Reading Room

For several months now, I’ve been plotting a “pop-up library” to sprout up at venues and events around Lawrence.  Why not check out some DVDs featuring street performers while at Busker Fest!  Books on brews at the Replay!  Jayhawk vanity publications at Allen Fieldhouse!  The idea is that an LPL librarian will curate a small collection of great titles for the occasion and then haul them out food-truck style in a tiny cart via book van.  Don’t have a library card?  No problem — we’ll get you signed up for one on the spot!  Our library already offers remote services at select retirement communities to serve seniors, but this would extend that model, taking the library out guerilla-style into the thick of the action at the most unexpected times and places.

So, that seemed like a pretty good idea.  And then my colleague introduced me to the Uni “portable reading room”.  Uni is a project based in NYC, funded by Kickstarter donors, and built at f-ing MIT.  I want one.  And I’m going to get one.

I’m in love with the idea of the portable reading room, because it takes the pop-up library one step further.  The concept becomes more than just a way to get books and other materials into the hands of a new audience, but morphs into a public space for community members to come, stay, and sit for awhile.  As my library school mentor would say, it shifts the library from a “bibliographic” to an “educational” model; a “third space” away from home and work where people can be together and read.  Hopefully even talk a little.  We’ll see.

Kickstarter, here I come.