Terry Ballard, an academic systems librarian for more than 40 years, recently finished up an ambitious project: visiting, photographing, and writing about 50 of New York City’s special libraries. The resulting book, 50 Specialty Libraries of New York City: From Botany to Magic, from Chandos Books, publishes today. LJ caught up with him shortly before the book’s launch in order to find out a little more about the process behind his odyssey—and what it was like to visit 50 libraries in less than a year.
The Art Lending Library, originally commissioned by Glasgow’s Market Gallery and created by Walker & Bromwich, is a series of crates fitted together, filled with donated works of art from living contemporary artists around the world. Anybody who walks in the libraries where the project is housed can sign out a work of art of their choosing, and the piece is crated up and shipped to their house for up to a week.