Book Pickings at New York Public Library

If there was a list of impossibly cool things that could happen to you at any given moment, being approached by the world's third largest public library to curate a selection of books would have to be near the top of that list.  Or is that just me?

For Maria Popova of the highly fascinating (and likewise addicting) Brain Pickings, it's just another perk to being the inimitable "curator of interestingness."  Commissioned by the New York Public Library and given carte blanche to do whatever she wished, Popova and her uniquely wonderful brand of research delivered more than the library ever imagined, as a single reading list grew into four, each observing its own significant theme: wisdom on writing, great reads about New York City, heart- and brain-stirring books on pets and animals, and timeless treats for young readers.

For a presentation of equal enthusiasm, Popova collaborated with artist Kelli Anderson (you may have seen her paper record player) to transform the lists into an elaborate papercraft display of three-dimensional book sculptures floating above a meticulous Manhattan skyline. 

I especially love this note from Brooklyn-based photographer Youngna Park, who worked on the installation with her husband, director and photographer Jacob Krupnick of Wild Combination:
Jacob and I were part of the crew that helped construct the books, and last Wednesday night, camped out at the New York Public Library until the wee hours of the morning, hanging, balancing, wiring, and taping this installation into place. There's something magical about being in a world-class public institution at 3 a.m., with only the security guard and a bunch of your friends. The imagination flows, the adrenaline pumps; you're night elves on a mission.  
If you’re in New York, you can visit The Library Shop to see this fantastic exhibit and the incredible work that went into creating it.  Wherever you are, please consider joining me in supporting the library (or your favorite local branch) – because libraries are awesome and so are you. 

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