BY BARRY LANK
SILVER LAKE – Little Lending Libraries – the small bookcases found in front of homes, shops and other places where passersby can take or leave books – have spread across the world, according to Little Free Library, which fosters these book exchanges. Approximately 60,000 of these little libraries have sprung up worldwide, including a few in Silver Lake, according to Little Free Library.
Many of the libraries are simple cabinets while others resemble small homes and other buildings. But Silver Lake wants to be creative when it comes to a new batch of libraries. It wants little library “pods.”
The oval shaped pods would be mounted on posts and contain a library for books and a “peep show” that would reveal “an image identified with Silver Lake – a great blue heron, the polka dot plaza, mid-century architecture, the stairways,” according to the description of the project. “The actual libraries would be fiberglass or fiberglass like material with a glossy finish.”
A proposal passed through the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council last summer.
“We weighed the pros and cons of simple designs that would cost less allowing for more libraries,” the Arts & Culture Committee stated in its proposal to the council, “vs. ones that cost a bit more because of required material and engineering costs that would produce fewer libraries but stand out more. It was agreed that the most original design, while costing more, would best reflect the unique character of Silver Lake.”
How much more would it cost? Only about $200 extra, as At-Large Representative Heather Carson estimated.
After the cost of installation, even the most basic library costs about $600. The fancier libraries are to cost about $800 each.
In the proposal, the little libraries are to be designed by Susan Simpson – a long-time Silver Lake resident and visual artist and designer working with miniatures, puppets and manipulated video projection.
The proposal has her making five libraries, for a total cost of $4,200. But some board members balked at spending that much on the library pods. Instead, they allocated $2,500, and the effort has received another $1,000 from local businesses Carson said.
“Once we set the locations – we are thinking the Sunset Triangle, the Reservoir and Bellevue Park to start – then the artist will work to incorporate something unique into each library,” Carson said.
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