Improbable Libraries


A global showcase of innovative libraries in unexpected forms and out-of-the-way places

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ISBN: 9780500517772 Category:

Alex Johnson


Boats, camels, phone boxes, rail stations, hotels, pre-fabs, pop-ups, pubs, people’s palaces and your own back garden – welcome to the libraries of the future! From the rise of the egalitarian Little Free Library movement (motto: ‘Take a book, return a book’) to the growth in luxury hotel libraries, Alex Johnson – whose parents were both librarians – maps out the history and future of the 21st-century library revolution, each chapter consisting of a brief essay followed by illustrated project profiles.

Whether by bike in Chicago or by donkey in Colombia, librarians all over the world are coming up with astonishingly ingenious ways of ensuring their books reach the people who need them. Many of these new libraries function as community centres, and assist their members in overcoming economic, social and political barriers. Others provide an unexpected dose of culture for travellers and commuters – or even prisoners. Elsewhere, architects are designing monumental public libraries without walls, and prefabricated home libraries that can be assembled in an ordinary back garden. Whether you’re at an airport, a park, a cafĂ© or in the wilds, you can still find just the right book – all for free.

Additional information

Weight 764 g
Dimensions 18.8 x 18.7 cm
Publisher name Thames and Hudson Ltd
Publication date 1 April 2015
Number of pages 240
Format Hardback
Dimensions 18.8 x 18.7 cm
Weight 764 g


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Alex Johnson is a regular contributor to the Independent and Enterprise Nation, and the founding editor/publisher of two internationally popular blogs, Shedworking and Bookshelf.