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Events Fri Nov 13 2015
"This is our largest neighborhood pop-up to date, but we've done a number of these in the past and it's definitely something that we want to do more regularly," said Nell Taylor, co-founder of the Read/Write Library. "And for us, it's getting the materials we have in our collection back out in the neighborhoods they came from.
"One thing that we'd always find when we did smaller pop-up libraries in the past is that people always want to tell us things about what was in the collection or what jogged memories for them, or that they had things at home that they'd want to bring. But we'd be like, 'Oh, sorry, we're only here for a day,' or 'we don't have that much room.' So this is one of the few times we've had an opportunity to let people actively participate in rewriting the neighborhood's history by having their inspiration sparked by things they see here and coming back and adding things themselves."
Visitors will find a wide range of books, zines, cookbooks and more that were produced in or have a connection to Wicker Park, as well as nearby neighborhoods like Bucktown, Ukrainian Village and Humboldt Park.
"I think if you ask any Chicagoan, they'll define their neighborhood's boundaries differently -- and of course, 75 years ago this entire area would have just been known as West Town, nobody would have even made a distinction," said Taylor. "We're really interested in the way that those borders do change, and how community members self-define and where the locate themselves in a neighborhood."
Handwritten poetry by recently deceased street poet Oba Maja is given pride of place on one shelf, giving friends and those unfamiliar an opportunity to flip through his work. The pop-up's collection also includes outdated guidebooks, something most libraries throw out. But to Taylor, they're a historical document of spaces and local organizations that existed at a certain place and time, but may now only survive in people's memory.
Rewritable Wicker Park is housed in the Boombox pop-up retail kiosk that is one of the first projects of Activate! Chicago, a new partnership between the architecture firm Latent Design and the City of Chicago. "They had an opening in November and we were able to move fairly quickly, especially since we've done pop-ups before, and it was just sort of a perfect timing situation for both of us," Taylor said.
The library pop-up will be open daily through Nov. 29, from 3pm to sunset on weekdays and noon to sunset on weekends. Events are free, though donations are accepted. See a full schedule of events on the Read/Write Library website.