One day, while walking through the Williamsburg neighborhood, we happened to stumble upon a sign that read, “World’s Largest Sketchbook Collection”. Naturally, we were intrigued so we decided to take a step inside.
They really were not kidding. From wall to wall, floor to ceiling, there were endless shelves packed with sketchbooks of various colors and sizes. Without any expectations nor explanations, we stood there in awe.
After the initial jaw drop, any person’s natural instinct was to go and pull a random sketchbook from the wall. But, of course, the minute you do that, a staff member will stop you midway to tell you more about the actual rules of the Brooklyn Art Library. Oh, right… we just walked into a library.
There is indeed a whole system to this grand collage of bookcases. Each sketchbook has been categorized by the artist into various themes. Once you sign up for a library card, you can check out a sketchbook by selecting a category of interest. The catalogue will automatically select a sketchbook at random within the category of interest. The “librarian” will fetch the sketchbook along with another completely random sketchbook for you. When both books have been pulled from the shelf, they sit at the front desk for pickup, ready for your viewing pleasure.
In this library, already set with the right mood lighting and comfortable tables and benches, you are welcome to sit and discover what’s inside your sketchbooks.
The whole beauty of the process is that you really don’t know what you’re going to get.
The crowd sourced library is comprised of over 30,000 sketchbooks at this permanent location alone created by artists from 135 countries around the world. They also have a mobile collection that travels between and is showcased in major cities. Some of the books are available for viewing in their digital library. Each book is an opportunity to peer inside an artist’s world.
So, what are you waiting for? Whether you’re in the neighborhood or not, check out what this library has to offer! It is an incredible source of inspiration, imagination and just total awesome-ness.
Brooklyn Art Library
103A North 3rd St.
Brooklyn, NY 11249