Reanimation Library – Brooklyn, New York

In a couple of our recent sessions, I mentioned the Reanimation Library, so I wanted to take a moment to share a little more about this amazing place. For example, I brought up this library when Deirdre Lawrence, Principal Librarian at the Brooklyn Museum, showed us some of the books (doubles? non-collectables?) from the museum’s collection that artists have repurposed into artist books.I learned of the Reanimation Library several years ago, when I had the pleasure of working with Andrew Beccone, its founder and an all-around awesome librarian. The library is not only a depository for all the weird textbooks my parents (trained in medical fields in the late 1970s and early 1980s) used in school and subsequently left to gather dust in our basement but is also much, much more. It serves, primarily, to inspire artists and others, who can use the library as source material for projects, like artist books.

According to its website:

“The Reanimation Library is an independent presence library. (Presence library is a mistranslation of the German word for reference library, Präsenzbibliothek. In addition to being a non-circulating collection, the library encourages IRL encounters with actual books and actual humans.) The books in the collection—simultaneously prosaic and peculiar—are relics of the rapidly receding 20th century. Chosen primarily for the images that they contain, they have been culled from thrift stores, rummage sales, flea markets, municipal dumps, library sales, give-away piles, and used bookstores across the country.”

More information about the Reanimation Library can be found here and here. The former is a text and the latter is a short video, both by Beccone, who describes the library’s origins, its goals, and what kinds of books it houses. These include but are not limited to…

Exhibiting Poultry for Pleasure and Profit (1978) by Loyl Stromberg

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Fun with Science (1947) by Ira and Mae Freeman

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And finally, Secrets of Show Dog Handling (1973) by Mario Migliorini

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You can visit the Reanimation Library in the the Proteus Gowanus complex, which is located at 543 Union Street in Gowanus, Brooklyn.

Thursday/Friday: 3 – 6 PM
Saturday/Sunday: 12 – 6 PM
and by appointment: 718-710-0276

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