The Open Library
In November 2011, the second generation of Goethe-Guerilla established the first Open library in Belgrade. Its principle was quite simple: you could take a book from its shelves leaving your own in exchange, or return the borrowed book after reading. Next generation of Guerilla took helm of the library where it organized actions of different scope. However, they encountered several problems at the very beginning. Although numerous people had been donating large quantities of books to the library, there appeared the problem of abuse. Many would take books away leaving nothing in exchange and the books would often wind up at street sellers’. Due to this, the library shelves often stood empty. In order to turn attention of the public to this problem and promote the library at the same time, the Guerillas decided to carry out a series of actions, and participate in the SHARE festival in Dom Omladine in Belgrade where the library was promoted. In December 2011 the Open Library saw its first action after indecent graffiti had appeared on its walls. In order to do something about the negative impression the graffiti had left, we decided to fight back by all available, but creative means. A young street artist from Belgrade nicknamed “Alone” was hired to cover the existing tags with new graffiti in his own style. That is how the library got its new recognizable surface. The second action in the library, entitled “Books are female — exchanging books for a nice word”, took place on 8 March 2012, on the International Women’s Day, hence the name. The aim of this action was to promote the library and fill it with books on more time. The action was supported by several young Serbian actors who would sign autographs. On this occasion, apart from exchanging books, they were also exchanged for autographs and “nice words” i.e. quotations of famous people, chosen by the Guerilla members. The next action, “Children to the Library — Library to the Children”, was conducted in on 2 April 2012, on the International Children’s Book Day. The participants of this action were pupils of “Kralj Petar Prvi” elementary school from Belgrade. The pupils brought their stories and poems to the library and read them out aloud. Some even brought their drawings. During the action, small collections of children’s works were printed and distributed among the pupils, the remaining ones being left on the library shelves. In the light of the previous action, on 23 April, on the World Book Day, yet another action took place entitled “Poets in The Open Library”. This time, the GG invited young poets to read their works in front of the library. Another collection was printed from the participants’ poems, and some of the issues were given to the authors, while the remaining ones were left on the library shelves. Respecting the Open Library’s principle of mutual exchange, every poet got his or her own book and the library — full shelves.