Unlike the idea of electronic books and digital collections, the A47 mobile library is a counter-current notion. It champions the physical nature of the printed book, which it supports with a full cultural programme. A truck carrying over 1,200 volumes of visual art and culture, the A47 travels the streets of Mexico City, providing the residents of various neighbourhoods in the capital with access to its contents.
The A47 Mobile Library is a project developed by the Fundación Alumnos47, a civil society organisation that brings learning communities together around contemporary artistic practices and visual culture. Given that the foundation's major project is to build a public contemporary art museum by around 2014, it seemed reasonable to use a mobile unit to activate the museum's existing collection until the building to house it is completed.
The lorry operates primarily as an itinerant collection of contemporary art books. However, beyond this use, every centimetre of its 20 square metre surface area is harnessed to maximum effect to achieve true functionality of space. The bookshelves have left their traditional form behind, instead being dismantlable trays floating above the library users, visually crowning the interior space. The free plan becomes a flexible, transparent platform that relates directly with the urban and social context. The lorry is a forum that can be used as a venue for an endless number of activities: book presentations, film clubs, poetry readings, workshops, as well as the opportunity to consult its bibliographic holdings.
Famous names such as Lola Álvarez Bravo, Paul Strand, Roland Barthes and Laurie Anderson are among those to be discussed in the workshops that give purpose to this modern device. There are story readings and drawing sessions for children, while for adults there is the historiography and oral history of the colony. The raised platform of the A47 allows users to make use of the library in much the same way that an actor appropriates the stage.
Unlike the idea of electronic books and digital collections, the A47 mobile library is a counter-current notion, championing the physical nature of the printed book, which it supports with a full cultural programme