This Thursday until Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Echo Park Lake will be hosting something aside from the usual pedal boats and canoes; The Floating Library. It is an art project from Minnesota and has collaborated with the LA Art Book Fair to bring a combination of polar opposites — paper and water. There will be a raft floating in the middle of the lake with an eclectic selection of books, half of them coming from LA artists and the other half coming from The Floating Library collection. People that pedal to the raft requesting a book will be handed something random and should expect something unconventional — like a book with pages made out of Mylar. Sarah Peters, an artist and the creator behind this project, started the library in Minnesota as an experimental public art project to take advantage of urban lakes as social and creative places. Peters hopes that through the unconventionality of her floating library in Echo Park, people will begin talking to each other again instead of living behind screens.
“What’s been interesting about the library on Minnesota waters is that it is a place you’re meeting people you don’t know for the most part; the people in the other canoe or the other boat,” Peter said in an interview with LA Weekly. “And while you at least have the common interest of being at a floating library together — which is already an affinity that’s perhaps abnormal — it still is an opportunity to talk to people in a way that you’re not in a common social space.” The environment is placed with the intent of being a place where strangers can talk to one another in an open way.
Ultimately, while the unconventionality of the library may be off-putting to some, there’s a nuanced form of attentiveness we give an environment when we see something unusual in it. Peters is hoping to take advantage of that attentiveness and ultimately help urban citizens reconnect with nature, as well as one another.