For the last few years, proponents of e-books and digital libraries have been predicting the demise of the paper book, yet it's clear that people still love books that they can hold, touch and flip through. Even better is the concept of "little free libraries" -- physical hotspots where people can "Take a Book, Return a Book" -- working as a wonderful kind of social enterprise based on ideas like localized, open-source sharing and collaborative consumption.
Besides community libraries converted from derelict phone booths, now New York City has another "Little Free Library," this time on Prince Street, in a small courtyard of St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral School. Designed by
Venezuelan architects Marcelo Ertorteguy and Sara Valente of Stereotank,
in collaboration with sponsored by the Architectural League of New York for the Pen World Voices Festival, it's a little more edgy than the examples we've seen previously.
The designers explain on Designboom:
The concept creates an 'inhabitable' environment, where users can immerse themselves into the space, taking the time to browse through books and borrow or exchange them. The structure is built out of an inversed plastic tank and a wooden frame. Perforations around the volume allows visitors to peek inside and preview the interior configuration, which can be accessed by ducking under the yellow structure.
The portholes definitely add an element of mystery, surprise and fun, and the bright colours make the installation attractive, yet the structure seems to fit in into the neighbourhood (almost like the vibrant flash of a New York cab).
UPDATE: This yellow Little Free Library is but one of ten (ten!) free book repositories in NYC's East Village and Lower East Side. For the full list of little libraries and their locations, check out the Architectural League's page.