2714 - A Pop Up Library Residency at ChiArts
For this Pop Up Library, Read/Write Library partnered with Enrich Chicago to create our first-ever residency in a Chicago Public School. Students in the ChiArts Arts Administration Pathways Club determined the narratives they wanted to shape for the Pop Up Library, led the curation (with research assistance from Read/Write Library), and created the programs that accompanied it to engage the larger ChiArts community. The Pop Up Library took place in the unused library at ChiArts.
In addition to research support, outreach assistance, and loaning the materials for the ChiArts Pop Up Library curated by AAPC, Read/Write Library conducted workshops to offer students background and tools to help their Pop Up Library succeed on their own terms. Workshops offered an overview of Pop Up Libraries and the rationale for libraries that are rewritable by the community. Another focused on programs and facilitation approaches that we have developed to accompany the Pop Up Libraries so that the students have examples to build on.
These are questions we asked ourselves and the students during this project:
• What might change in a community when their efforts, struggles, contributions and desires for what they want to see in the world are not only recognized, but elevated?
• Can reading about or hearing stories similar to your own increase empathy across communities? If yes, to what end?
• What forms of generating attention for these histories work best in an instant, digital media world?
• How can the ways that the public perceives libraries, both positive and negative, be best leveraged (openness, information, critical thinking, community) or upended (silence, gatekeepers, hierarchy, oppression, segregation)?
The residency culminated in a multi-week Pop Up Library called '2714,' referring to ChiArt's address, and curating a narrative of art, culture and community that has occurred in and around that building.