Quite amazingly, this year marks my 20th anniversary as a member and user of Bookcrossing.com. Bookcrossing’s concept is that you give a book that you’ve finished a unique number. Then, you give it to someone else, or you leave it somewhere, for someone else to find it.
The unique code can then be used to trace the book’s past, and allows you to see its journey.
In 2009, the first Little Free Library (LFL) was created, with the organisation becoming a non-profit in 2012. LFL promotes neighbourhood book exchanges, usually in the form of a public bookcase.
More than 90,000 public book exchanges are registered with the organization.
As with Bookcrossing, I was excited when I first learned of the latter, also because the match of Bookcrossing and LFL seems blatantly obvious.
Surprisingly, in practice this hardly seems to be case; I have yet to encounter a book in a Little Free Library that has a book with a Bookcrossing ID, besides the occasional book I myself have left behind in these little libraries.
Now, for two weeks, I’m based in New York, specifically, in Brooklyn, and after a successful construction of a physical deck as part of a class at MIT, and with some inspiration from a professor of a class at the Harvard Extension School, I decided to take another dive into the creation of a physical deck, and to distribute it through New York’s abundant collection of Little Free Libraries.
I’ve printed nine decks of 56 cards each, then made bundles of three sheets of four identical cards, for distribution in 42 Little Free Libraries throughout Brooklyn and Manhattan.
The idea is that, when someone finds the little stack of sheets, they read the accompanying explanation, take one sheet of four cards, and start exploring their neighbourhood, prompted by the tasks in the cards.
Then, if the concept appeals, I hope, and expect, they will explore their vicinity for additional Little Free Libraries with, hopefully, additional sheets of tasks, perhaps them being able to complete their collection, which would require, at minimum, finding 14 of the little libraries.
Or, if they visit this website, they can download the pack to create their own deck, themselves.
This deck of 56 cards consists of 16 cards from the Dérive app deck for New York, 8 cards from the Taking it easy deck, with the remainder drawn from the Urban Base Deck.
To distribute the sets, I of course explored the areas on foot, walking from library to library.
Below the source material for creating the cards.
The cards are designed to be printed on pre-cut paper, specifically this product available on Amazon. The paper is US Letter size (8.5×11 inch).
The material takes into account an unprintable margin, meaning you might be able to set the scaling to 100%.
The native files are .pxd, which is Pixelmator‘s native file format.