The Library @ Jilakin Rock City
Library interior, 2017.
|A Free Library, reading lounge and performance space|
|Location:||Cnr High & Sweet St., Jilakin Rock City|
|Website:||The Library on facebook|
The Library Theme Camp has been a feature of Blazing Swan since 2016. Modeled on the Little Free Library movement, every book is free to borrow, free to keep. Originally named, 'The Anti-Precludian Reading & Performance Society' (APRAPS), the name was will be changed in 2018 to 'The Library @ Jilakin Rock City'. The Library's original ambition was to be a talking performance space and have a strong focus on childrens activities. In 2018 and future years The Library will simply focus on bringing a wide range of books and to providing a relaxation space. The Library is aligned with and supports other reflective and caring Camps such as Campassion and Shiva's.
The Theme Camp
In 2016 1,500 books were displayed and approximately 650 were gifted. The Library opened on Friday morning, delayed due to weather conditions. Two boxes of books were out-placed at Camp Hart, the Medical/Ranger station.
In 2017 3,000 books were presented and approximately 1,100 were gifted. The Library opened on Thursday morning, again delayed due to weather conditions. One box each was out-placed at the Medical Station and at Campassion. A special effort was made to accumulate over 600 childrens books, but there was almost zero uptake of this material.
In 2018 we brought 2,250 volumes to the Blaze, of which about 1,000 were gifted. In light of the experience in 2017 there very few childrens and teens books. The weather was generally fine during this Blaze, although a shower of rain resulted in the outside bookstands being moved into the Bell Tent.
Other Activities Onsite
The Library in 2017 gifted over 50 dressing gown, jackets and robes. These were intended to provide warmth during the very cold evenings. In 2018 over 60 dressing gowns were distributed via the Aiding and Abetting pop-up boutique. A collection of 30 gum boots were brought to the 2018 Blaze, but due to the fine weather these were stored away for possible use in 2019.
The Library in 2017 acquired a full size radiogram, but brought a desktop record player/amplifier to the Blaze that year. This was well received, but the limited playing time and the need for manual intervention meant that it was used only intermittently.
In 2016 the APRAPS Theme Camp was allocated a space on the Esplanade, adjacent to Mike Parry Associates. Due to strong winds making that location untenable, the library was relocated at the invitation of Cat Connor to a large unused marquee adjacent to the Medical Station.
In 2017 the APRAPS Theme Camp was initially allocated a position inside Infinity Loop, adjacent to the XYZ Theme Camp. The Camp subsequently moved to a location just outside Infinity Loop on High Street, adjacent to the Teenage Junkyard Theme Camp.
In 2018 The Library @ Jilakin Rock City occupied the interior space of Infinite Loop.
In 2019 it is proposed that the Library remain in the interior space defined by Infinite Loop, but share that space with one or two other Camps.
Organization & Crew
2016 - Leads: John Mack.
2017 - Leads: John Mack, Sandy, Gnomes, Georg, Rachel, Samele.
2018 - Leads: John Mack, Gnomes, Georg, Rachel, Sarah
In 2017 and 2018 The Library used a model of co-operative camping, whereby assistance and resources were shared, but not placed in a common pool. Unlike some Camps, there was no central kitchen or other facilities. In 2018 we purchased a shipping container which is storing books and gear between Blaze presentations, and which will be lifted up to the actual Theme Camp site prior to the Blaze in 2019 and subsequent presentations.
Identity and image
The Camp's original title was 'The Anti-Precludian Reading & Performance Society', a play on the word 'Ante-deluvian' which referenced the floods common at the Jilakin Rock City site. Anti-Precludian when parsed had the meaning 'inclusive' and the emphasis equally on 'Reading' and 'Performance' was in the hope of sustaining a program of poetry and prose reading, and the telling of recollected tales and stories of real experiences. In day to day use it was shortened to APRAPS.
In 2017 it was recognized that APRAPS was not helping people identify the Theme Camp as a Library, and the title was changed at the suggestion of Melanie and Pockets to 'The Library'. Alia Artisan argued for including a reference to Jilakin Rock City, and the final synthesis was 'The Library @ Jilakin Rock City. The domain names jilakinrockcity.com and jilakinrockcity.org were registered in order to allow for the eventual creation of a valid email address, TheLibrary@JilakinRockCity.
Signage in 2016 was non existent, in 2017 it consisted of a painted cardboard box placed outside the library. On the last day of the blaze a considerable number of visitors were directed to the Library by a chalkboard we erected that day at the centre of the road intersection outside Infinite Loop. Signage in 2018 was more prominent at the Theme Camp Site and other locations on the Playa. In 2019 The Library will have a logo (a blazing swan rising from a pile of open books and pens, with a circled of text) which will be stamped in the books, and on labels attached to gifts (dressing gowns and gum boots) and at other points around the Camp. The hessian wall around the Camp will be decorated with book and literature motifs. Signs pointing to the library will be erected on a reciprocal basis with Camps that share the relaxing and reflective philosophy of The Library.
Structures and Systems
The Library in 2017 and 2018 was housed in a 6m diameter canvas bell tent. In 2019 The Library will acquire a second 6m diameter bell tent. From 2019 onwards The Library will be erected on a pallet and plywood floor to mitigate against the possibility of flash flooding. The bell tents are rated to European standards for fire resistance and are made for very heavy duty canvas. The tents were both sourced from Canvas Camp, ultimately a manufacturer in Belgium.
The Library does not use shelving as such. A series of 'A' frame book stands are used to support and display the 600 x 300mm fruit packing boxes that the books are stored and shipped in. The boxes are stacked 3 high on the double sided stands, so for every 600mm of display stand there are 6 boxes. The 2.4m stand used in 2017 held 24 boxes of books. Each box holds approximately 30 books, so the 2.4m book stand held about 720 books. In 2018 there was 3m of double sided stands inside the bell tent, and a large number of boxes open on the floor. At least six boxes taken to the site were not actually opened there. In 2019 we will utilise an awning on the side of the shipping container to give us some space to display books 'outside'.
Lighting in 2017 and 2018 inside the tent was provided by LED lamps and spotlights. At night the light was only just adequate within the tent and more micro-spotlights will be placed in the vicinity of the book stands in 2019.
In 2017 power was supplied by a 35Kva generator shared with Teenage Junkyard and Lollipop Village. Total power consumption by The Library was estimated to be less than 600w. peak. In 2018 power was supplied from the site-wide power network.
In 2016 36 boxes of books, approximately 1,500 volumes were brought to the Blaze. They were stored in John Mack's house during several months of 2015 and 2016, and brought up to Kulin by trailer prior to the Blaze and stored a Kulin arts studio immediately prior to the Blaze. Approximately six return trips were made between Albany and Kulin moving this load. $40 was subsequently donated to 'Activate The Wheatbelt', a conservation organisation, as a Carbon Offset.
In 2017 74 boxes of books, approximately 3,000 volumes were brought to the Blaze.. While the 74 boxes of books were being accumulated they were stored in dry shed on pallets. The two tons of books and two tons of equipment were brought directly to the Blaze site from Albany using a 5 ton hire truck on a 2 day hire. The truck was further used to pick up loads from Perth - assisting other Camps - and returned to Albany prior to the commencement of the Blaze. The truck was rehired at the conclusion of the Blaze. The retrieved material is stored under cover on a farm just outside Albany.
In 2018 books and Theme Camp structural items were again collected and stored in John Mack's house in Albany and brought up to Kulin by hired truck just prior to the Blaze. Only 75 of the 100 boxes of books could be transported to Kulin due to weight restrictions on the truck. At the end of the 2018 Blaze approximately 1,250 books and two tonnes of Theme Camp gear were put away in an onsite shipping container that The Library had purchased for this purpose. It is anticipated that books will be brought up to Kulin from Albany and Perth during the course of the year and that there will be no further requirement to truck gear to or from the actual Blaze event.
We are looking at options for storing books in Perth.
Other Activities Offsite
It is expected that The Library operations and infrastructure will continue to be largely funded by the Team Leaders.
600 Childrens books were offered 'free to borrow, free to keep' at the Kraken Mid-Winter Blaze in 2017. Approximately 300 were gifted at the Kraken event, and the remaining books were donated to a local community. The Library at the Kraken was located on the upper level grassed area, alongside the Round House entry, and the art galleries on Captain's Walk. We expect to return to the Kraken event in 2018 with one bell tent.
Discussions with interested parties will be advanced in respect of the astronomy and microscope collection.
John Mack continues to play a large role in the development of content for the Burning Wiki.
- Black Rock City Library - at Burning Man since 2014
- Burning Down the Library - Burning Man
- The Tankwa Town Library at AfrikaBurn