Jessica Leigh Hester is a former senior associate editor at CityLab, covering environment and culture. Her work also appears in the New Yorker, The Atlantic, New York Times, Modern Farmer, Village Voice, Slate, BBC, NPR, and other outlets.
Large, artist-designed book-shares are popping up all over town.
Some people who try to install modest Little Free Libraries find themselves in spats—or legal kerfuffles—with site owners who accuse them of shrugging off zoning laws. But in Indianapolis, there are city-sanctioned, immersive installations that double as libraries and sculptures.
As part of the project, The Public Collection, local artists constructed elaborate shelves for books donated by the Indianapolis Public Library. The team then secured two-year contracts or permits with homeless shelters, parks, and other locations around town.
“There are no barriers when you walk up to one of these,” says the founder, Rachel Simon. There are no hurdles—no library card or sign-out sheet. “It’s coming to the people, instead of expecting people to come to the art.”