Friday, October 9, 2009

Week 5

It's official--we're a lending library. Hundreds of books came in this past week, mostly from folks in the neighborhood. It felt like another opening day for us.

We've now got three solid sections: Fiction, Non-Fiction, Children's. To display our collection, we ended up buying about 25 discounted milk crates from a guy in Poughkeepsie--they're structurally pretty strong, stack well, and at the end of the day the books go into storage in their "shelves."

We stamped each book with the Branch logo. (That's an illustration of George Orwell--not stamped, the actual original illustration--on the inside of 1984, which was one of the first books borrowed.) Everyone who has a free library card can check out up to two books at a time; the books are due the following Sunday.

We also started a new activity called Memory Card. We asked each person who stopped by to fill out a blue index card with a memory of the neighborhood--it could be anything they remember, or a story of something that happened to them. We then placed a copy of the card in a due-date pouch in the back of the book, along with a simple description of the project. It's hard to read in the blurry photo, but it reads: "Most Branch books come from people who live nearby. Memory Card lets your neighbors to exchange their own local stories with you."

That's the main idea: our books are coming from people all over Clinton Hill and Fort Greene, who've sent them out into the neighborhood to be picked up by whoever borrows them. Memory Card allows people's own stories to circulate anonymously.

One other highlight. We contacted Regis Pean of the local architecture firm omni/form. He'd submitted a great entry for Architecture for Humanity's Call for Ideas for Branch. (We blogged about it a few weeks ago.) Regis and his partner wanted to test their ideas for using recycled cardboard to build a hybrid shelving/table/support system for a canopy. They found a bunch of discarded boxes off the street, and within the course of the afternoon produced this:

We plan to use it for the first time this Sunday.

Lots of new program events coming up: kids storytime, author readings, a Closing Party. Stay tuned!

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