Floating libraries take to the water

A library on a docked boat is set to debut in New York in September, while a book collection has been circulating on a lake in Minneapolis this summer.

Eli Lucero/The Herald Journal/AP
Sumo wrestler Kelly Gneiting swims across Bear Lake with support from Gordon Gridley near Garden City, Utah.

Water sports and hanging out on boats are always popular in the summer (and after) to try to cool off – now some book fans are making it easy for you to peruse a novel while you float. 

According to Mediabistro, a steamship on the Hudson River will soon provide books for visitors to browse while the boat is docked at New York's Pier 25. The library will be on board the Lilac Museum Steamship and the books will be chosen by artist Beatrice Glow, with selections including “underrepresented authors, artist books, poetry, [and] manifestoes,” among other topics, according to the project’s website. The deck will be a reading area and there will be a “Listening Room that will feature new works by six sound artists in response to literature,” according to the site. Paper rope swings and other installations will also be on the boat.

Also, tuck away your cell phone – no mobile devices are allowed on the boat. There will be various discussions, performances, and other activities that will take place there as well such as a bookmaking session.

The project will be happening between Sept. 6 and Oct. 3 and after it’s concluded, some of the books on the boat will go to high school students that require them, according to the website for New York’s library. 

Meanwhile, Minneapolis already has a floating library. According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, artist Sarah Peters created a rowboat with a friend and can be found sometimes on Cedar Lake distributing works – mostly books made by artists, as noted by Star Tribune writer Laurie Hertzel, not well-known titles. The structure will be on the lake the last week of August. Peters told the Star Tribune that she'd also put boxes on shore for readers to return the books if they won't be out on the water again soon.

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