Quarantine Public Library Provides Free Books Available For Download – Forbes

The new website Quarantine Public Library offers over 40 one-sheet fiction and nonfiction books … [+] available for free download.
Quarantine Public Library, an online repository of free short downloadable books, launched today with over 40 titles, available exclusively on the site. The mini books can each be printed on one sheet of paper, then folded into a book (similar to a zine), and range from fiction and nonfiction to humor and poetry.
The site is the brainchild of friends Katie Garth, a Philadelphia-based printmaking MFA and former graphic designer, and Tracy Honn, a Madison, Wisconsin-based printing history educator, curator and artist and former director of Silver Buckle Press. The pair were inspired to collaborate from their respective homes to offer reading material for free during the COVID-19 pandemic. Honn had long wanted to create an online offering of books, and the time seemed ripe.
The pair reached out to artists they knew, asking them to contribute. “We thought about whose work we admired, and aimed for variety in subject and media. It felt important for me to ask some artists to whom I was already connected, since the pandemic had eliminated the possibility of collaborating with my community more directly,” said Garth in an interview.
The site launched with just over 40 titles, including individual books by Garth and Honn, and a Pocket Protest Guide they created. About the guide, Garth said, “We began our project before the groundswell of protests in response to the police murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and so many other Black people, Indigenous folks, and other people of color. As we turned to create our own books, it felt important to consider how our work could be used to support this acceleration in the movement for Black lives. The pamphlet compiles information specific to this moment, but it also illustrates one approach for quickly and inexpensively disseminating printed information.”
Of the range of books available, Honn said, “Some of the books make me cry. Some make me laugh. The collection is balanced in a way we couldn’t have planned, so it’s a bonus that we have the range and depth that emerged.” One of Honn’s favorites is In the Car At Night by James Sturm, the first book they mounted. “The book whisks the reader into a world of reflection and feeling; in eight pages it transports you,” she said.
 “The collection satisfies so many different impulses and preferences across works; many of them function well specifically because they are in conversation with books that either mirror or challenge their own approaches,” said Garth. As for her favorites, she replied, “Ben Blount’s work makes me quiet; Sarah Thankam Mathews’ makes me think, and Daniel Fishel’s makes me laugh. Amira Pualwan’s puts me in the world before this pandemic, and Amze Emmons’ shows me how to move forward.”
While the individual titles are all available at no cost, the site also offers the option of a bundle of all the available titles for $30, with proceeds going to EveryoneOn, a nonprofit organization bringing low-cost computer and internet usage to those who need it.
Honn hopes the project encourages others to create art as well. “The spirit of this project is deeply rooted in our love of libraries, art, and books made by artists,” said Honn. “In part, Quarantine Public Library is an opportunity to demonstrate the potency of artists’ books. The example of artists of all kinds making new work about and during a hazardous time is inspirational. I hope people take away the idea that they can make a book, too.” While the pair aren’t sure what the future holds for Quarantine Public Library, they said artists interested in contributing to the site can contact them via email at [email protected].
As for her goals for the site, Garth noted, “I will consider the project a success if it encourages a visitor to pursue something new—be it engaging with an artist that was previously unknown to them, reinvigorating their own creative practice, or teaching others about this cool new thing they can make with a copy machine.”


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