Friday, January 27, 2012

The library has been sitting empty, awaiting renovation. But Saturday the word "Bookless" takes on a new meaning.

Closed for Renovation -- but Open Tomorrow for a Special 1-day-only Event, "Bookless"
The Central Branch of the Madison Public Library has been closed for weeks now, awaiting the construction crews that will give it a complete overhaul. Ice and snow are piling up on the steps, the books have all gone into storage, the shelves are bare and furniture and fixtures have been sold off. An orange snow fence marks off the site, draped with a banner showing the new library and noting its opening in the summer of 2013.

MPL's "Hieroglyph" Sculpture Now in Storage Awaiting Central Branch's RenovationEven this work of public art by artist O. V. Shaffer, which has stood in front of the downtown library since it opened more than 4 decades ago, has been put into storage. It's a hammered copper sculpture called Hieroglyph. It will be in storage until the renovation is complete. Not everyone likes the sculpture, but I've always been fond of it. Last I heard, it will go in the roof garden of the renovated library when it opens in the summer of 2013.

But tomorrow this dark, empty building will reopen for one day only and come vibrantly alive. The occasion is the Bookless event featuring numerous local artists, fun for the whole family, music and a whole lot more. It's also a fundraiser for the library (free admission for the family events in the afternoon, paid admission for the evening event that includes food and drink and music). That's tomorrow, Saturday, Jan. 28.

It's a unique, once-in-a-lifetime happening. Chances are, you'll never again have a chance to roam an empty library that's Bookless—filled with art instead of books, music instead of silence—and all for a good cause.

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