July 17, 2015

Book Review—Improbable Libraries by Alex Johnson

Can you put a library there? A question asked by many people looking at many spaces in many parts of the world. From train station convenience stores, to the back of elephants and camels, to red English phone booths, the book reveals some of the imaginative approaches to libraries around the globe.

It would have been great if the book could have taken a broader look at the changing nature of libraries, taking into account digital developments and creative activates that are becoming so much a part of their life force. But the local colour it does focus on is enthusing and vibrant, from the necessity of the boat library in Laos, the humanity of the deaf library in Burundi, the playfulness of the Little Free Library in New York.  But these are not simply novelty fodder for coffee tables books.  These unlikely libraries serve real people in real communities, from commuters in Madrid to remote villagers in Mongolia. Encouraging and inspiring not just for librarians but for members of communities everywhere. 

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