Near where I work is a popup store front called The Free Book Incident. It is a temporary installment of a book store like space where all books are free to take. I finally went in the other day. Nothing fancy, just book shelves and old books. There was a librarian reading a short story. Apparently he reads a story twice a week at the Central Library during what he calls Story Time for Adults.
I milled around for a while and selected two books. One The Spendthrifts by Perez Galdos (1952), a classic Spanish novelist of the 19th century. The second A Purse of Coppers Stories by Sean O’Faolain (1938), an Irish writer from the early to mid 20th century. I have no idea what he’s like, but it was free.
In a month or so it will be gone and Olson Kundig Architects will create a new store front. From the Olson Kundig website:
Olson Kundig Architects partnered with Wessel & Lieberman Booksellers, Inc. for its next [storefront] installation, The Free Book Incident. Inspired by a long-running book exchange, “The Book Thing” in Baltimore, MD, The Incident explores what can happen when books are made available for free.
Describing the idea behind The Free Book Incident, Wessel & Lieberman state, “It is not a book store (there is nothing for sale); it is not a library (there is nothing to return). The Incident is a place for exploration, engagement, ideas, activity, conversation—and ultimately, alchemy—all of it generated by the decommidification of books.”
The Free Book Incident celebrates the organic experiences that occur when one searches for a new book. With Olson Kundig Architects providing its [storefront] space and Wessel & Lieberman providing the inventory, this installation is designed for all to enjoy.
“Books are more than pages and binding; they are a catalyst for an experience. The reader finds a book on a shelf, takes that book into his hands and home, and its words into his head,” says intern architect and installation co-curator Adam Monkaba of Olson Kundig Architects. “For the space itself, we designed a kinetic book shelf that pivots, offering a variety of settings in which visitors can explore books. Our goal was to create an engaging environment that promotes access to books and allows visitors to interact with them in surprising ways.”
A series of events from readings and bookmaking classes to writing workshops and book clubs will take place during the months of January and February. In addition to special events, [storefront] will be open Monday through Friday, 11:30am -1:30pm during which time visitors can browse for books.