The Magdeburg Open Air Library came to fruition as a community project, made possible by the community’s contribution throughout. In 2005 the town of Magdeburg was in decline with 20% retail occupancy, limited community facilities and no cultural focal point. The former central library site had not been occupied since a fire in the 1980s.
With a need for a community facility and no funding, the project team and community built a 1:1 open air library with beer cartons, lining the shelves with books collected by the community. The open air library was more than just a home to books, with a stage and public plaza the community organised a two day Readers and Writers Festival which helped attract funding for the construction works of a permanent library.
The permanent library incorporated parts of the facade from the City of Hamm’s demolished Horten warehouse. During its entire planning and construction period the library accepted book donations, which are now available to borrow any time of day without a membership – all books are accessible to everyone at all times. The community
is responsible for the day to day running of the space.
The grassy plaza features a reading cafe and a stage that hosts elementary school theatre plays, public readings, concerts, and other cultural events.
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