Tiny Libraries and Nowhere Classrooms

We’ve entered an era of hyperobjects and microcosms. Plastic fills the ocean, and structures like capitalism are everywhere and nowhere, oppressive and debilitating. But their antidote may be the proliferation of small learning communities, gemlike chips off ivory towers.

The city of Victoria, where I live, is dotted by dovecote-size lending libraries on people’s front lawns. Further up my street, Arts and Crafts houses preface their intricate stories with these mini versions of themselves. The little lending libraries, like the houses, often feature prominent roofs and small-paned windows, and are painted in complementary colors. Bright curlicues and calligraphy invite passersby to take or leave a book. Even when public and university libraries closed down due to COVID-19, these small stores circulated tales and advice, history and dream. Continue reading