Chelsea Gunn is one of five volunteer UNI librarians working with Boston Street Lab on the UNI, which is our project to create a portable, outdoor reading room for cities. As part of that work, Chelsea attended the Beyond Book Conference on the future of Libraries and Journalism at MIT.

In the weeks ahead, we’ll be hearing more from Chelsea and others working on the UNI. The UNI Librarians aim to create a versatile and engaging collection of books for public space, and they are actually creating a set of modular “mini-collections” which can be swapped in and out of the UNI depending on location and even time of day. At the same time, Höweler + Yoon Architecture is working on a physical structure—an institution in a box that closes up at night into a dramatic eight foot cube—which will hold the books, learning activities, and programs of the UNI.

Here’s a video conversation between Leslie, Sam, and one of the Beyond Books Conference organizer Bill Densmore, about the UNI concept and how our small-scale, flexible institution might serve as a test kitchen for new ideas for libraries, journalism and public space.


Boston Street Lab — Neighborhood library communities in a rolloff-box-like pod? from Bill Densmore on Vimeo.