November 20, 2023
November 16, 2023
By Anika Klix, former Port of Seattle employee
You may have seen or walked by a Little Free Library (LFL) in your neighborhood, and if you have not noticed them before, you sure will after reading this. Little Free Library is a registered 501©3 organization with over 120,000 Little Free Libraries in 108 countries. Their mission is to “be a catalyst for building community, inspiring readers, and expanding book access for all through a global network of volunteer-led Little Free Libraries.”
SEA is one of the first international airports to install a Little Free Library! There are a few other airports in the country with LFLs: Hobby Airport in Houston, Providence’s Green Airport, and the Gerald R. Ford International Airport in Kent County, Michigan. Maybe someday more airports will have one so you can pick up a book — or donate one — at each leg of your journey!
The idea was conceived when I noticed a Little Free Library in my neighborhood that needed a remodel. I contacted the organization who put me in touch with the steward of the LFL to ask if my daughter and I could volunteer to re-paint it and give it a fresh look. She was thrilled and actually had two Little Free Libraries in need of an upgrade. They are now freshly painted in bright colorful designs and installed at the entrance of Eagle View Park in Kent.
I then introduced the idea of a LFL at SEA at the Fall 2021 Shark Tank event. Based on the Shark Tank reality show, Port of Seattle employees are encouraged to share innovative ideas to shape the future of SEA. It seemed like the perfect platform to make our pitch! I partnered with Amy Dressler, who is a Steward for a Little Free Library in her neighborhood.
Since literacy and access to books is important to us, we wanted to provide an option for Port of Seattle employees, SEA employees, and SEA Airport travelers to have access to free and diverse books. In alignment with the Port’s Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion goals, the Little Free Library at SEA has signed the Read in Color pledge to ensure that it provides and distributes books on diverse issues such as racism and social justice as well as in celebration of BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and all marginalized voices for readers of all abilities, ages, and experiences. As an official Read in Color steward, SEA will receive shipments of diverse books at no charge, purchased from BIPOC-owned independent bookstores whenever possible and encourages book donations by BIPOC and Indigenous authors.
The two Free Libraries at SEA Airport have been painted by two local artists:
This artist “explores relationships between nature and built environments, public space and private experience, as well as architecture and advertising. Using corrugated plastic and colorful vinyl, I transform ordinary materials into alluring and elaborate “synthetic growths” in which unnatural materials take on forms inspired by nature, architecture, and pattern."
“I target destructive texts—official or influential words that have harmful repercussions on a mass scale. Then I disempower the messages in these texts by transforming them into paintings through handwritten algorithms.
I take the numbers, letters, and punctuation that comprise these texts and alphabetically reorder them. The result is total nonsense. All of the same elements are there, but they no longer have the power to do harm. They have been disarmed. Like taking a gun and switching around its parts so the mechanism can no longer fire. Finally, I use both forms of the text to write an algorithm that that drives the decisions of each brush stroke of paint. I input the raw data of the text into the algorithm, run it through a series of “if/then” rules I assign based on the structure and grammar of the written words, and receive an output of painterly actions. Each letter of the text corresponds to one discrete brush stroke, creating a larger idea from the individual elements. The painting could not exist without either the original or altered text. “
Little Free Libraries are based on the honor system; take a book, share a book. Anyone can take a book without the obligation of giving one back, but anyone can also donate a book, or books, to the LFL.
Supporting LFL helps expand their services to communities with little access to books and supports their mission and ongoing programs such as their Impact Library Program and Read In Color initiative. To locate a LFL near you, or anywhere you travel, you can download the LFL mobile app or view the web map.
Please stop by the Little Free Libraries (LFL) on your visit to SEA at the following locations:
Special thanks to all Port of Seattle employees who supported this idea to install a Little Free Library at SEA. We hope you enjoy it.
November 20, 2023
November 16, 2023
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