Request for Qualifications | Little Free Libraries/New York

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Spurred by a shared love of the written word, the Architectural League and PEN World Voices Festival are partnering to bring you Little Free Libraries/New York, as part of the New Museums’ 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.

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 constructed 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

The Architectural League and the PEN World Voices Festival invite you — architects, designers, urbanists — to submit your qualifications to design and fabricate a Little Free Library.

A jury (still in formation) —  including Andy Bernheimer, A.M. Homes, and Peter Mullan — will select ten design teams. Each team will be partnereed with a local community organization who will work with the designers and host the built libraries at various sites throughout Lower Manhattan.

Submissions are due March 4th, and the libraries will be installed on May 4, 2013, as part of the IDEAS CITY festival. For more details and the full submission requirements, or to download a PDF of the full Request for Qualifications, visit

The views expressed here are those of the authors only and do not reflect the position of The Architectural League of New York.