Library Made Only Of Books Is Coming To Berkeley

by Kathleen Culliton

Imagine your ideal library. Now instead of walls, there are books. Instead of a ceiling, books. Want a window? Just pull out a book, et voilà. Now stop imagining because it’s real. There’s going to be an enormous library made of books at the Bay Area Book Festival this June.

The library, or Lacuna as it is called by its designers, will be built from 50,000 books that the Internet Archive donated to the festival. The books will be stacked in the shape of a bicycle wheel, with each of the 12 spokes quartering off a small nook in which to read.

The structure in Berkeley’s MLK Civic Center Park will work like a library as well – there will be no charge to come in and read. And what better reading material than the contents of the walls themselves? Here's a description from designers at Project Lacuna:

“As books are removed from Lacuna, the structure will morph—gaps in the book brickwork will cause changes in the way light and sound filter through Lacuna’s walls, creating an ever-changing play of color, shape, and sound that will evolve over time.”

The concept was born from a simple offer. The director of the Internet Archive promised to donate literally tons of books to the festival only if they could find a way to get them read, according to Berkeleyside (a media sponsor of the festival). Since the Internet Archive is a non-profit that scans and publishes books for the web, they have plenty of duplicates to spare – more than 200,000.

“I immediately envisioned a structure made of books, a kind of ‘city of books,” said Cherilyn Parsons, the Bay Area Book Festival director. The result was Lacuna.

For those of you who want to read in a room of only books and book nerds, the structure will be on display from June 6 to June 7, 2015.

Please don’t knock it over.

Image: Project Lacuna