• FAQ

    By Megan and Rick Prelinger

    Where did the books come from?
    They were collected from used bookstores, new bookstores, junk stores, private book dealers, library discards and library duplicate exchange lists; also from donations offered to us by library visitors and other generous like-minded people.

    How are the books chosen?
    This is our personal collection, based on our research interests. It is also designed to support the projects of others; to stimulate discovery of the unexpected, and to work as a visual history, social history, and history of ideas of the 20th century in America. Each acquisition must make a direct contribution to this goal. We are very selective.

    Does the library still take in new material, or is it full?
    The library project is never static. Like a long-cooking pot of stew, it continuously takes in new ingredients while also reducing down, becoming richer and more concentrated with time. They were collected from used bookstores, new bookstores, junk stores, private book dealers, library discards and library duplicate exchange lists; also from donations offered to us by library visitors and other generous like-minded people.

    What’s the access policy?
    During open hours the library is open to the public without charge. The library is an appropriation-friendly workshop where visitors are invited to scan, to copy, to photograph, and to download digitized books from our collection at the Internet Archive. There are no access fees. However, materials cannot be physically removed from the library.

    What are the library’s open hours?
    We are open a minimum of one day a week, currently Wednesdays, 1 p.m. – 8 p.m. We also offer limited off-hours research appointments for traveling visitors who are unable to utilize the regularly scheduled open hours.

    Is the library a nonprofit?
    The library is a free offering, an installation, a workshop, and an extension of our living room. Although not incorporated officially , the library is is a member of the Intersection Incubator, a program of Intersection for the Arts providing fiscal sponsorship, incubation and consulting to artists.  Our annual budget is $28,000 per year.  In 2012 we were approximately 25% grant- and donor-supported.

    How is the library supported?
    The library is sponsored in part by individual donors through Intersection for the Arts. To donate, please visit our support page. We are also supported in part by grants from the Kenneth Rainin Foundation and the Haas Foundation. We are otherwise supported by the founders’ earned income. We gratefully acknowledge cash contributions for acquisitions and operations from Kenneth N. Swezey and from an anonymous donor.

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