Library Love – Old Adage

The next time I’m in Brooklyn I will definitely visit the Reanimation Library.

What’s not to love about a library with a mission statement like this:

“The Reanimation Library was established in order to

  • build a collection of resources that inspire the production of new creative work
  • pan for gold in the sediment of print culture
  • emphasize the visual content of books
  • encourage collaboration among human beings
  • call attention to the generative potential of libraries
  • contribute to our cultural commons and gift economy
  • explore pathways between digital and analog worlds

You are invited to join the library in these endeavors.”

– From the Reanimation Library website

Basically, they collect books with high visual appeal that have been discarded, weeded from other library collections, or otherwise kicked to the curb, only to be brought back to life in a new physical space with an online presence to boot.

A search for “locks” resulted in:

Hennessy, Thomas F. Early Locks and Lockmakers of America.  Illinois: Nickerson and Collins Publishing, 1976.

101343_0033The cover may not wow! you but some of the images within are worth the exploration… ahem, don’t judge a book by its cover.


59 thoughts on “Library Love – Old Adage

  1. Wow -sounds amazing. I am actually on what appears to be a wild goose chase for visual information – I’m trying to track down examples of work by Tom O’Loughlin, a background artist. Somehow, his exquisite work doesn’t appear to be worthy of a published work, or even a website. It seems wrong, considering his work formed a major part of my early visual intake!

  2. I love the phrase “pan for gold in the sediment of print culture.” As print culture becomes increasingly fossilized, it’s good to know that there is a movement dedicated to bridging the gap.

  3. Seems to me that the mission statement is the description of something beatiful. All those books at first glance seem to be worthless indiviually, but add up to a work of art together. This collection must be a visual journey through time. A representation of modern history in some way as well. Would be nice to see some pictures of this place if anyone has the opportunity.

  4. Thanks for sharing information on this library, clearly requires further research! The idea of recycling books made me think of one of our recent posts about the artist Vik Muniz and the documentary film Waste Land:

    One of the men highlighted in the film begins a lending library in the favela of books he’s found in the dump. The entire story is extraordinary, primarily due to the people whose stories are being told.

    It seems like something that you would enjoy!

  5. Hi. It is so nice to hear about books being rejuvenated. I love my own library of books, the old as well as the new. This whole digital evolution is changing the world of reading and publishing before our eyes!!! Jane

  6. “pan for gold in the sediment of print culture
    emphasize the visual content of books
    encourage collaboration among human beings”

    love everything about the above. this museum is definitely on my must see list now – thanks for sharing!

  7. Wonderful! I love books and feel so sad that the electronic age is threatening to make them obsolete. I will defintely go check out their online site. Thanks!

  8. That’s cool. And a book like the one about Locks contains a lot of valuable info that would otherwise be lost. I live in an old house, and there is one original “lock box” left. I have always wondered about these… Thanks for the interesting post.

  9. Read this post today on Google+ and thought of you…
    Alas, as budget cuts push libraries to the brink, this librarian (a library science student) wonders if libraries will survive, and if they don’t, who or what will fill their role:

    “We need to do something which I’ll admit is ill defined and perhaps impossible: we need to become the center of civic engagement in our communities. We’re one of the few places left in our society where a great cross-section of people regularly interact, and also one of the few places that is free and non-commercial. Even museums, to bow and scrape to the master of Austerity, have begun to put branding on their exhibits, as if they were a sort of cultural NASCAR. We have amazing potential power, but without concerted effort I’m afraid it will be wasted. It will look better to save 10 dollars a year per person in taxes instead of funding community computer workshops, and childhood literacy programs, and community gardens. All the while we play desperate catch-up, trying to get a hold on ebooks, and licensing out endless sub-quality software for meeting room reservations and computer sign-ups and all this other rentier software capitalism instead of developing free and open source solutions and providing small systems with the expertise to use them. Our amazing power is squandered as we cut our staff, fail to attract skilled and diverse talent, and act as a band aid to the mounting social ills caused by slash and burn governance in the name of low taxes and some nebulous idea of freedom that seems to equate with living in a good society but not paying your share for it.”

    • They are Niki. I can really visualize that particular statement! I am also partial to ‘contribute to our cultural commons and gift economy’. Yes!

    • Thanks re: subtitle. And I empathize with your fear, but will never give up hope of printed matter surviving and evolving, especially with organizations such as the Reanimation Library in existence.

  10. The reanimation library sounds amazing. I am always scouring piles of books ready for the burn pile in arts libraries. I particularly like the line “build a collection of resources that inspire the production of new creative work” from the mission statement.

    After reading articles like this: the value of the book as a physical object is exponentially increased.

    Thank you for sharing!

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