The Mobile Library: The Sketchbook Project Gets a Totable Home + Tour

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April 1, 2013
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The Mobile Library: The Sketchbook Project Gets a Totable Home + Tour

Last summer, we shared The Art House Co-op's traveling Sketchbook Project. Now, the independent, Brooklyn-based group that organizes global, collaborative art projects, is taking their collection on the road in a new and even more portable way.

Design, sketchbook, mobile
Design, sketchbook, mobile
Design, sketchbook, mobile

Like many designs, their new Mobile Library evolved from trying to optimize an experience. While hauling their sketchbook collections around the U.S., The Sketchbook Project's methods of transport progressed.

The sketchbooks submitted to The Project did not always go on tour, and when the Co-op thought that others outside of New York could benefit from checking out artists' books, they took to the road. The process of transport changed from packing books in painted cardboard boxes and driving them to shows in the back of a car, to a truck loaded with all the components of an exhibition.

Now the tour has taken its newest form in the Mobile Library—an easy-to transport and sustainable exhibition that takes only minutes to set up.

Design, sketchbook, mobile
Design, sketchbook, mobile
Design, sketchbook, mobile
Design, sketchbook, mobile
Design, sketchbook, mobile
Design, sketchbook, mobile

They just launched the 2014 North American Tour, which will be the first tour utilizing the Mobile Library exclusively. They broke the tour up into six major regions "from coast to coast and parts of Canada." Each region's tour includes up to 2,000 books specific the route.

The cities and regions include:
North East: New York/Portland, ME/Philadelphia/Toronto
South East: Richmond/Atlanta/Orlando/New Orleans
South West: Austin/Houston/Tempe
Cali: Los Angeles/San Francisco/San Diego
PNW: Portland/Seattle/Vancouver
Central: Chicago/Minneapolis/Madison

They'll still continue The Sketchbook Project tradition of the large annual tour made up of all these smaller stops—"it's the perfect combination of the collection, the road trip and the community."

They designed the 16-foot trailer in-house, but had it fabricated in New Jersey by Trailer Outlet.

Custom shelves built to snugly display the books include locking mechanisms to keep the books in place on the road. The trailer body was altered with three windows where visitors can sign up, browse and check out books with laptops and help from the staff, complete with step-by-step instructions on the exterior of the trailer. The interior is equipped with lighting and power hookups for laptops to run the project when it stops at its destination.

Design, sketchbook, mobile
Design, sketchbook, mobile
Design, sketchbook, mobile
Design, sketchbook, mobile
Design, sketchbook, mobile
Design, sketchbook, mobile
Design, sketchbook, mobile

In terms of reaction, James Vanderberg, The Sketchbook Project Senior Manager, said "people love the Mobile Library! She is a thing of beauty, and it certainly turns heads whenever we are driving through a city or even just parking it in Brooklyn."

"The ease by which we can set up and interact with the public right on the street makes it so assessable and approachable, which is what we want all our art projects to be. Art House is about creating communities through projects like The Sketchbook Project, and the Mobile Library is the embodiment of that. We can physically drive our collection to your door!"

Design, sketchbook, mobile

Check out The Sketchbook Project site for more info on getting involved, entering / digitizing a book, and other free participatory projects.

Some other hand-picked posts you might enjoy on our Design Blog:

The Work of Wim Crouwel: Exhibition and Video Interview
Doodle Flix: Turning Netflix Mailers into Mini Artworks
The Phraseology Project: An Exercise in Design with Type

Ward Andrews

Ward Andrews

Hi, I'm Ward Andrews. I started Design.org in 2009, you can read about why here. Thanks for participating in the Design.org Community. I also run an interactive agency called Drawbackwards. I love basketball, electronic music and creating experiences that improve daily life. You can follow me on Twitter @wardandrews.

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Designer Decorative Accessories / Minneapolis, MN, US

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