Now that the 12-acre Grand Park has been open for over a year in Downtown LA, the LA Music Center, which is in charge of maintaining and programming the park, continues to look for innovative ways to activate the public space, becoming an integral part of the Downtown LA urban psyche. Part of that ongoing process depends on community driven participation that will happen organically over time as more Angelenos, especially downtown residents and workers, are exposed to the park. To nudge that process along, Grand Park has implemented a new “Free Little Libraries” program that promotes the idea of reading and getting the community more engaged with the public realm.
According to Julia Diamond who is the Programming Director for Grand Park, there are currently four “hot fuschia pink” colored little library kiosk stands placed strategically around the park — one stand for each section of the park stretching from Grand Ave to City Hall along Spring Street. Each stand has a capacity for about 60 books, depending on how thick the books are of course.
“The motto is: ‘Give a book, take a book, find a nook,’” Diamond explains in an email. “We hope that the readers of Bunker Hill will develop a sustained relationship with these cute little pink libraries. And it is entirely in their hands to make it work.”
The community driven and sustained idea behind these “little libraries” is catching on in Los Angeles from Silver Lake to Sherman Oaks and is now here at Grand Park in Downtown LA. The concept, which actually started in Wisconsin, is simple: give a book, take a book. It’s about sharing a favorite book in a real life context instead of just sharing in the virtual online world. The results have been uplifting as people have been able to connect in real life over these book exchanges in a society becoming increasingly anonymous and virtual. The end result is always about building community.
The pink little libraries at Grand Park have been largely successful since debuting in March. Downtown LA-based The Last Bookstore has teamed up with Grand Park by donating books to help with the program. However, Diamond stresses that she would like to see more downtowners “contributing” to the program.
“Books fly out of the libraries within hours of being placed,” Diamond explains. “But these libraries rely on both the givers and the takers. That means that if you take a book one day, bring a book the next.”
For more info, check out Grand Park online. And please, do visit it in real life as well.