Social Resource Library Machine

For one week, the Social Resource Library Machine served as a point of respite and inspiration at a highly trafficked and rapidly redeveloping Saint Paul intersection. Snelling and University, known as the busiest corner in the state of Minnesota, lies at the crossroads of two major corridors and multiple modes of transit. It is also a diverse lower-income commercial zone that is transitioning into a recreation area with the arrival of a new soccer stadium. The Social Resource Library Machine, commissioned by the Union Park District Council, reflects on the changing character of the neighborhood while giving its inhabitants a platform for developing their knowledge and interests.

The Library Machine operated as a free library out of a temporarily retrofitted box truck. Positioned at an empty bank, it offered a variety of books and public programming for commuters, families on a walk, and people waiting for their bus or train. Though the selection was limited, a knowledgeable ‘librarian’ helped visitors find the resources they needed to read to their kids, find a new job, learn about the I-Ching, or keep themselves occupied while recovering from surgery. Throughout its short presence, the Social Resource Library Machine acted as a space for enhancing a community’s existing assets in the face of a rapidly changing neighborhood. (Emily Stover with Paul Dickinson)

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