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Small, But Full Of Stories: The Mini Library Helps Readers Recover After Hurricane Sandy
February 17, 2013
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Photo: Urban Libraries Unite

When Hurricane Sandy hit, a lot of homes, buildings and infrastructure got damaged. And according to, the storm also forced libraries to close in New Jersey, New York and Connecticut.

In five Brooklyn libraries alone, nearly 80,000 books, magazines and DVDs were destroyed in the storm, the NY Daily News says.

Photo: Brooklyn Public Library

Some libraries are still closed. But an organization called Urban Libraries Unite (ULU) has stepped in with a solution: the Mini Library.

ULU set up these orange newspaper boxes outside libraries that are still closed in Brooklyn and Queens.

Each all-weather Mini Library houses about a hundred books at a time. And there's no expectation, the ULU says, that any of the books borrowed will be returned.

mini-library-sidebar.jpgInstead, the boxes are "a resource for our communities, a chance to experiment in library science, and a reminder to the public that even if the library itself is in ruins the librarians are still thinking of them."

But one thing the little boxes are not intended to do is replace full-sized libraries.

The ULU calls itself "a professional group created to promote and support libraries, library staff, and librarianship in urban settings." As such, some members of the organization "have had a very complicated relationship with the little library movement."

Although the Mini Library is a good way to ensure that people who want a book can get one, the ULU site says "A library without a librarian is a pile of books. It lacks a life spark, an essential curation component and thus a dynamic inspiration."

In fact, the ULU says they're considering ways to make the Mini Library a little bit more like its bigger cousin, including possibly dispatching teams for a few hours on weekends to offer people direct reference and library services and maybe even installing a wi-fi transmitter so people in the area can use their wireless devices.

Via Grist


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