“Micro-libraries” cropping up across the city

July 22, 2011 05:22PM

Even as traditional bookstores are closing (Borders began its liquidation sales today), privately funded “micro-libraries” are cropping up across the city, the Wall Street Journal reported. In Williamsburg, the doghouse-like Corner Library stands four feet tall at the corner of Leonard and Withers streets and contains instructions on how to become a member on its padlocked door. Founded by 31-year-old artist Colin McMullan, the library offers books, zines, cycling maps and other curiosities, and already has 20 to 30 members. Another Corner Library opened June 3 in front of the Julia de Burgos LatinoCultural Center in East Harlem, while a third is planned for Coney Island. The Proteus Gowanus, an interdisciplinary arts venue located in a former box factory overlooking the Gowanus canal, houses six non-circulating collections, while the Underground Library, founded in October 2009 by two anonymous New Yorkers, circulates handmade works through in-person trades among about 200 members. Though some librarians worry that the popularity of micro-libraries could harm support for traditional libraries, supporters of the ventures hope that they can renew interest in books and bring neighborhoods together. [WSJ]