Future of libraries: Can we attract non-readers to enjoy books? | SierraSun.com

Future of libraries: Can we attract non-readers to enjoy books?

Pam McAdoo
Special to the Sun

TAHOE-TRUCKEE, Calif. — Is there a new and different way to attract non-readers to an event that celebrates books? A group of volunteers at this month's inaugural Bay Area Book Festival in Berkeley believes there is.

Internet Archive, a nonprofit digital library, scans millions of donated books for its online database — books that are donated by people from around the world. Although the Archive keeps a print copy of each of its online postings, they have no use for the thousands of donated duplicates they receive each year.

Archive Director Brewster Kahle contacted the organizers of the upcoming Book Festival to ask if they would be like to give away the Archive's duplicates at their event.

The obvious answer was "yes," but, rather than let visitors paw through piles of books, Festival organizers wanted to come up with a novel way to distribute the free books.

Enter Victoria Rojas, a project manager by trade, who has spearheaded the pop-up Black Rock Public Library project at Burning Man for the last two years.

Working with artist collective the Flux Foundation, she originated the idea of building an outdoor tent-like structure — a reading temple, if you will — called Lacuna. And building it with books.

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Lacuna's framework will be constructed with pillars of books that no longer have much use — think out-of-date reference books — fortified with resin, and arranged around an old fountain in Berkeley's Martin Luther King, Jr. Civic Center Park.

Wooden shelves connecting the pillars will create reading alcoves as well as hold 50,000 books which readers can browse and read on site, or pluck and take home.

Wires running up though the pillars will connect to a central pole, and single pages will be attached by one edge to the overhead wires, creating a fluttering, shady roof. As visitors take books from the shelves, patterns of light and dark will change, adding to the feeling that the building of books is alive.

The organizers of the Festival are hoping to attract a cross-section of people, and especially kids, from communities outside of Berkeley who are not typically interested in books and reading. The unique Lacuna book temple should go a long way in making that happen.

Pam McAdoo is a board member of the Friends of the Truckee Library. Visit truckeefol.org to learn more.

Editor’s note

This is the 10th in a series of articles exploring the varied ways that public libraries are continuing to reinvent their services and facilities in order to respond to technological innovation and the specific needs and populations of the communities they serve.

Click here to read part one of the series.

Click here to read part two of the series.

Click here to read part three of the series.

Click here to read part four of the series.

Click here to read part five of the series.

Click here to read part six of the series.

Click here to read part seven of the series.

Click here to read part eight of the series.

Click here to read part nine of the series.