Reanimation Library

The Reanimation Library is a small, independent library that came to Proteus Gowanus as part of our theme year, Libraries. It is a collection of books that have fallen out of mainstream circulation. Outdated and discarded, they have been culled from thrift stores, stoop sales, and throw-away piles across the country and given new life as resource material for artists, writers, and other cultural archeologists.

The Reanimation Library is comprised of materials that are generally considered to be “outdated,” “obsolete” and lacking the privileged cultural status and/or market value that adhere to such artifacts as first editions or manuscripts. It includes items that, due to their age and their pedestrian nature, are often discarded from other library collections and that in some cases have never been catalogued. Many of the books in the collection contain significant amounts of graphic material; examples of these include, but are not limited to: textbooks, pedagogical aides, “how-to” books, atlases, scientific, medical, and technical manuals, government documents, books about the natural world, space exploration, and urban planning. The Reanimation Library is designed to provide source material for individuals embarking on and engaged in creative projects.

Contemporary cultural production often draws upon earlier cultural materials. Artists, historians, writers, musicians, and scholars all build their creative and intellectual work on the images, ideas, words, and sounds of previous generations. Pastiche, collage, and sampling are fundamental tools of our creative vocabulary. The Reanimation Library presents a fertile environment for patrons who wish to participate in these creative processes. Shiyali Ramamrita Ranganathan’s first law of library science states that “books are for use.” Through the belief in and promotion of the idea that a book’s intended use is not its only use, the library reanimates books that have, for whatever reason, fallen out of use.

The Reanimation Library is a non-circulating collection. If you find images or text that you want to take with you, the Library provides two scanner and a copier for patron use.

Hours: Thursday & Friday 3–6; Saturday & Sunday 12–6
On the Web:
Reanimation Library