Bookleggers Library, an artist designed free library open to the public has set up a temporary residence at 1600 Washington Avenue. Bookleggers “Beach Reads” pop-up library is part of the City of Miami Beach’s Open House program. In collaboration with participating property owners, Open House provides the necessary space to envision work and breed new art forms that benefit the City’s entire artistic community. The program supports Miami Beach’s dynamic cultural atmosphere and highlights available spaces for temporary and long-term economic opportunities.
“We see ourselves as one of the successes of the Miami Beach Open House program. Our project has helped to bring more cultural opportunities to Miami Beach. It would be great if Bookleggers could be open every day and give more free books to tourists and residents,” said the director, native Miamian Nathaniel Sandler.
Currently, Bookleggers is open on Sundays from 1:00pm to 7:00pm. Over the past several weeks, each Sunday approximately 150-200 people of all ages came in to donate a book or choose one for their own libraries. You can choose from a wide collection of subjects including poetry, a kids’ section and Spanish-language books.
Sandler says Bookleggers’ mission is to permeate Miami with books while sharing local arts and culture. Tourists and residents alike are drawn to the corner location by the Florida memorabilia displayed in the windows designed by @Christina_Pettersson. Look closely at the visual array of vintage 1950s and 1960s-era Florida themed tourist souvenirs such as alligators, oranges and famous Miami Beach hotels. On one wall is an illustrated colorful cotton tablecloth/map depicting Florida’s top tourist destinations, at that time, when families drove through the state on their summer vacation, pre-Disney World.
Since launching in 2014, Bookleggers has circulated 35,000+ books in places as varied as the mouth of Anhinga Trail in the Everglades, the Miami Science Museum Planetarium, Redland Market Village surrounded by a 15-piece mariachi band and a pirate ship in the middle of Biscayne Bay. A collection of the community, their donation-based library is comprised of books from Miami residents as well as major South Florida institutions. By encouraging and preserving community donations, Bookleggers has built a combination of permanent and rotating holdings/literary artifacts that reflect Miami’s diverse cultural history to readers.