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The Open Library

The Open Library


Since our community is not used to free book exchange at a local level, the Goethe-Guerilla group set up the first Open Library object in the year 2011. In Knez Mihailova Street, the main pedestrian zone in Belgrade. This object was used for free book exchange and soon enough became accepted and recognizable among the citizens of Belgrade. The aim of the Open library was to promote reading, education and the meeting of different worlds through stories and free book exchange without the control of an institution, but with the idea of good will and greater good. Many individuals and institutions donated books so the program would continue to exist and progress. The Goethe- Guerilla organized events in order to maintain and promote this idea, such as exchanging books with students, organizing summits with young writers, poets, actors and musicians, many forms of street art and so on. From the experience gathered, it was noticed that there is a great interest in the idea of free book exchange, so the goal now is to stimulate the spreading of this concept through the citizens’ initiative. The first of many projects, which has the goal to spread the idea of the Open Library, is the Workshop for Design and Crafting Open Libraries. Keeping former experience in mind, the main conclusion was that the project should continue by physically and metaphorically deconstructing the first Open Library. The new object should therefore be smaller and easy to transport, so that the libraries could be moved from one location to the other and maintained in a more controlled environment. During the six day intensive workshop, 10 participants of different backgrounds ( students, architects, designers, sociologists, etc.) created seven smaller mobile Open libraries, which will be used for storing books and visually identifying the “Free book exchange” project at different The best locations for placing small Libraries were semi-public or less exposed spaces, such as doorways of buildings. Thus the mini Open libraries will be places at different locations of that sort in Savamala, and their target group will be Savamala citizens, creative individuals, students and young people. These mini Open libraries will become a part of our everyday lives, and thus become available to a wider audience, who would potentially continue with this project in some other part of Belgrade or in any other city. With this in mind, a handbook with project documentation for DIY construction will be placed online for free, so anyone who wishes to make an Open library and start his system of free exchange can do so. Anyone can make a library quickly and easily with cheap and easily accessible material and tools or by recycling already existing materials. The Libraries are functional both on the outside and inside, are easily set up, placed at the chosen location and moved to another. The Open library can be the simplest cardboard box, wooden crate or window parapet, and at this workshop participants gave many interesting solutions. At the workshop participants were offered a great experience by going through the entire process/ from the starting idea, elaborating the concept, designing, and crafting the very object, with the given instruction intended for the future users At this years’ Book fair, the City-Guerilla exhibited the results of this workshop- models, offered an instruction on how to make them and organized a debate on the topic: Open Library- more than Google? The debate was concerning the question whether digital forms of books could really replace the feeling of the real thing and having a book in ones hands, as well as whether it is possible to create a network via Open libraries which would play the same role as the virtual search for information via Internet.