Reanimation Library Congress Street Branch
The Reanimation Library is an independent presence library.* 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.
Branch libraries are temporary, site-sourced manifestations of the Reanimation Library that provide a way for the library to exist in dispersed locations, to engage people who might otherwise be unable to visit the main library in Brooklyn, and to exhibit library-generated artworks. They are interactive, hybrid spaces that contain elements of libraries, galleries, and studio workspaces, without settling neatly into any of those categories.
Each branch library consists of a collection of books assembled from local sources. Though branches are non-circulating, scanners and photocopiers allow visitors to make reproductions of library material for their own use. When a branch closes, its books are sent back to Brooklyn where they are integrated into the main library's collection.
Branch libraries have taken place in Philadelphia, London, Chicago, Los Angeles, Mexico City, and Beirut, among other places. Branches have also been installed in the Museum of Modern Art and the Queens Museum.
The Reanimation Library is organized by Andrew Beccone.
*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.