The Library of Unread Books

Heman Chong & Renee Staal

Open Call: Donate an unread book!'

The Library of Unread Books is an itinerant library initiated by Heman Chong and Renée Staal, it is a living reference library with a collection of nearly 600 titles, that traces the perimeters of knowledge and reflects on notions of access, excess and the politics of redistribution.

September - November 2018

The Art Book Shop Project

We’re not calling for books on particular subjects or issues, but call instead for your ‘unread’ books – books that have been on your to-read-pile or that you are no longer interested in without ever having read them. Your donation will enter into the collection of The Library of Unread Books that will be exhibited at Kunstverein’s The Art Book Shop Project from 3 October until 23 November 2018.


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The Library of Unread Books consists of books donated by former owners who haven’t read it while they had the book on their bookshelves at home – for whatever reason. Contributors to the growing mobile library receive a personalised library card and a lifetime membership. The Library of Unread Books brings to light these once-hidden-away titles to emphasise shared knowledge. The books, accessible to anyone who can visit the library sites, work to create a commons.

Reminding us that a (private) library is both a means to an end and a research tool rather than an accessory, Umberto Eco famously called for an ‘antilibrary’ made up of unread books. The novelist and scholar argued that read books are far less valuable than the unread ones and that a library should contain as much of what one does not know, as finance might allow. In the case of this library of unread books, access to knowledge is not contingent on finance, and so the books are reverted back to a common resource pool.

We encourage and gladly receive books prior to the period that the Library is installed at Kunstverein’s Art Book Shop Project in Milan.
Feel free to post your unread book to Kunstverein Milano, or drop it of directly at our offices (Wednesday – Friday 3-7pm) before the 3rd of October 2018. Your library card will be mailed to you during the exhibition period. And Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any queries.

Kunstverein Milano TABsP
c/o careof, fabbrica del vapore
Via Procaccini 4
20154 Milano