RFQ Little Free Libraries/New York


Little Free Libraries/New York
Request for Qualifications (RFQ)

Submission Deadline
March 4, 2013

Download a PDF of this RFQ here.

The Little Free Libraries movement places small-scale book shelters in neighborhoods and is based on the premise of “take a book, leave a book.” Established less than three years ago, Little Free Libraries now populate 5,000 communities worldwide. Initially crafted to resemble miniature one-room schoolhouses mounted on a pole, each library is a unique structure, designed and constructed in a wide range of styles, often utilizing recycled, reclaimed, or salvaged materials. For more on the history and examples of Little Free Libraries, visit LittleFreeLibrary.org.

The PEN World Voices Festival and the Architectural League of New York are partnering in a Little Free Libraries/New York project, which will be presented as part of the May 2013 IDEAS CITY festival. In keeping with this year’s IDEAS CITY theme of untapped capital, the libraries will facilitate an informal exchange of books in the city’s public spaces, where local residents and visitors may use and contribute to these communal, non-market based resources. Architects and designers interested in creating a library as part of this project are invited to submit their qualifications and describe their interest in the project in response to this RFQ. A jury will select ten teams to each design and fabricate a library, hosted on the property or in the domain of a partnering community organization. Selected design teams will be matched with partner organizations by the PEN World Voices Festival and the Architectural League of New York.

The commissioned Little Free Libraries/New York will be installed on May 4, 2013, as part of the IDEAS CITY festival.

Design/Fabrication Team Expectations
Design/Fabrication teams will be responsible for all design, material selection, and fabrication of one library. Teams may fabricate the components of their design before construction on May 4, 2013, when the libraries must be installed in their entirety and start functioning to serve their communities.

Each design team will receive $1,000 to build and install its library. This amount does not include books, which will be provided separately. Design teams are encouraged to utilize reclaimed, recycled or unused items as building materials. Upon completion, all designs will be open sourced online with designer credit. Design teams will consult frequently with their community partners, which will be responsible for procuring any necessary permits and permissions. Please note the short design and fabrication timeframe.

Design Guidelines
Applicants should not include design proposals in their submission to this RFQ. However, to outline the basic expectations for each design, it is important to consider that each library must:

  • Reasonably shelter the contents of the library from exterior elements
  • Provide easy visual access to the contents of the library
  • Adequately convey the nature of a Little Free Library/New York to a passerby not familiar with its mission
  • Provide a minimum of two linear feet of shelving, or space for 15-20 books

Laurie Anderson
Andy Bernheimer
A.M. Homes
Scott Marble
Shannon Mattern
Peter Mullan

Submission Requirements:

Cover Sheet
Applicants must include a cover sheet with name, mailing address, telephone number, and email. If you are applying as a team, please include the names and emails for each team member and identify one team member as the Lead Contact.

Statements of interest must not exceed 100 words. Rather than propose specific sites or designs, applicants must discuss their interest in Little Free Libraries/New York, how they plan to explore this small-scale book distribution model, and demonstrate an understanding of the impact of books and libraries on urban life.

Current Resume/CV
Entries must include a one-page resume/CV that also details relevant hands-on building experience.

Entries may include up to 3 images of past work with identification. Images must be incorporated into the submitted PDF.

Application Format and Deadline
The application package must be submitted as a single PDF (8 ½” x 11” page) of not more than 3 pages and 15 megabytes, emailed to littlefreelibraries@archleague.org no later than 11:59 pm on Monday, March 4, 2013.

Architects and designers are invited to apply. Applicants must reside in the New York metropolitan area given the demands and necessary speed of construction for the May 2013 installation deadline.

Little Free Libraries Project Team
Donna Drewes, Jakab Orsos, and Beth Weinstein, PEN World Voices Festival

Anne Rieselbach, Daniel Rojo, and Ian Veidenheimer, The Architectural League of New York

Applicants may email questions to littlefreelibraries@archleague.org.

About the PEN World Voices Festival
For one week each spring, the PEN World Voices Festival showcases the work of more than 50 international writers from across the globe in conversations, readings, performances, demonstrating that literature is more than just pages bound in a book. Chaired by Salman Rushdie, the theme of the 2013 World Voices Festival is Bravery.

International PEN, the worldwide association of writers, was founded in 1921 to promote friendship and intellectual cooperation among writers everywhere; to emphasize the role of literature in the development of mutual understanding and world culture; to fight for freedom of expression; and to act as a powerful voice on behalf of writers harassed, imprisoned, and sometimes killed for their views.

For more information on this year’s PEN World Voices Festival, click here.

Formerly known as the Festival of Ideas for the New City, IDEAS CITY was founded by the New Museum as a major collaboration between dozens of downtown arts, education, and community organizations to harness the power of the creative community and imagine our collective future. This ambitious initiative is built upon the core belief that arts and culture constitute a driving force behind the vitality of urban centers worldwide. Besides the New Museum (founder), the organizing partners for IDEAS CITY 2013 are Storefront for Art and Architecture, the Architectural League of New York, Bowery Poetry Club, New York University Wagner School, and the Drawing Center.

For more information on this year’s IDEAS CITY, click here.