The Top 5 Cities for Pop-up Libraries Across America

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The world is more mobile now with smart sensors and wearable technology embedding themselves into every aspect of our lives.  As a result, people are increasingly rediscovering the original mobile device – the book.  It’s completely secure, doesn’t mind being dropped and never runs out of power.  As Ray Bradbury pointed out, it can even survive temperatures up to 450 degrees F.

As we enter the second decade of the 21st century, we have begun to see the real world equivalent of the ubiquitous app store is something called a “pop-up library.”  People who love books are transforming vestigial cultural icons into mini-libraries for the exchange of books.  In the Netherlands, a shipping container has become a friendly green children’s library.  In Bulgaria, a trolly bus has transformed into a book nook with 600 books and cozy chairs for reading.  Perhaps the most poignant example is Argentina’s Weapon of Mass Instruction, a tank filled with books as a mobile library and cultural commentary.

Pop up libraries like these are appearing all over the US as well, as another generation discovers just how cool books are.  Here are five of the more ambitious projects in cities across the country.

1. New York – When you hear the name John Locke, do you think of the 17th century English philosopher or Jack’s mystical antagonist on ‘Lost’?  Actually, he is also an architect who has built pop up libraries in abandoned New York phone booths.  Locke’s project is open ended but his site points out that there are almost 14,000 pay phone booths in NYC.  No one knows where books will be popping up next.

2. Orlando – Even smaller cities like Florida’s Amusement City have been dabbling in displays of books as sharable art.  The Corridor Project installed boxes of books all over the city for residents to “take it or leave it.”  Is it art or public service?  It doesn’t have to be a choice.

3. Chicago – The “Second City” hasn’t been second in size or population for a long time, but it is right behind New York in terms of pop up libraries.  The Chicago Underground Library has launched popups all over the city, with displays of printed treasures going back more than 100 years.

4. Austin – Texas represents the past in terms of cattle drives and outlaws, but Austin is a different animal.  Thanks to the University of Texas, Austin has become a little Hollywood and mini-Silicon Valley.  At the annual SXSW festival, Austin has introduced new technology like Twitter and Foursquare.  Popups of all kinds, including popup libraries, have been a staple at SXSW for years.

5. San Francisco – Newspaper stands are another rapidly disappearing cultural artifact as print has moved online.  Once a day is too slow for the contemporary news cycle, so newspaper stands have been converted into pop up libraries by the San Francisco Public Library.

If you’ve been to any of these pop up libraries or have plans to start one in your own city, we’d love to hear about your experience.

~ Mathew

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photo credit: docpop via photopin cc

Top 5 Must-See Romantic Film Adaptations

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Prince William and Kate Middleton have just had their first child, George Alexander Louis, but you may address the baby as ‘His Royal Highness Prince George of Cambridge’.  Everyone loves to hear about a Royal Romance, doesn’t it just get you in the mood to watch some breathtaking romantic films based on books?  I know you answered yes!  Here is our top five must see Romantic film adaptations.

The Notebook (2004)

When you think of romantic movies, The Notebook always comes to mind.  Based on Nicholas Sparks’ novel of the same name, you can’t help but fall in love with the characters Noah Calhoun (Ryan Gosling) and Allie Hamilton (Rachel McAdams).  Although their love story is an intense one, the ending is the perfect payoff.  If you haven’t seen this flick already, go find it today, just make sure you have a box of tissues ready nearby.

The African Queen (1951)

Based on C.S. Forester’s novel, The African Queen, is an exciting adventure-romance starring Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn.  The film has been selected for preservation by the United States National Film Registry, for its culture, historical, & aesthetic significance.  On Rotten Tomatoes, the movie holds a 100% fresh rating.  Have I convinced you to watch it yet?  You really should.

Silver Linings Playbook (2012)

If you watched the Oscars this year, you already know that Silver Linings Playbook received eight nominations, with Jennifer Lawrence winning Best Actress.  Adapted from Matthew Quick’s novel, the film was written and directed by David O. Russell.  In order to maintain the romantic comedy, yet emotional and troubled nature of the story, Russell claims to have rewritten the screenplay over twenty times.  Go see/read it for yourself and find out if the movie did the novel justice.

Wuthering Heights (1939)

In 1847, Emily Brontë’s published her only novel, Wuthering Heights.  Emily’s sister, Charlotte, made the decision for Wuthering Heights to be published after the success of her own novel Jane Eyre.  The novel revolves around the destruction that jealousy and vengeance can cause on individuals and their communities.  The film was nominated for eight Academy Awards, winning Best Cinematography.  So, if you’re in the mood for some romantic vengeance, check this one out!

Pride & Prejudice (2005)

The infamous story of Pride & Prejudice was published in 1813, written by Jane Austen.  The well-known love story begins with the introduction of Mr. Darcy, a proud and condescending man, and his conflicting relationship with Elizabeth Bennet.  The film, written by Deborah Moggach, strived to remain as faithful to the novel as possible.  The movie had a positive critical reaction with Kiera Knightly portraying Elizabeth Bennet and Matthew Macfadyen as her romantic opposite.  If you are looking for a classic love story, draped across the stunning English country side, this will sure to please.

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