Dead Library

Books Unread
2012, February 28 - 2012, April 22

For the purposes of the exhibition we have selected five thousand books that were published between 1945 and 1989, in Hungary, in Hungarian, on topics of general interest, which have not been checked out since 1989. Visitors can browse and read these books in Galeria Centralis until April 22, 2012, from 10 am to 6 pm every day, except for Monday, OSA Archivum has organized several exhibitions on preservation, classification, collection and sharing. The Dead Library is the latest event in the series.

The exhibition is a library installation, showing a typical branch library. The 300-square-meter space is dominated by bookshelves, on which the books are arranged in the standard library thematic order from technical and agricultural works to youth literature, arts and fiction. The only difference between a traditional library and the Dead Library is that here visitors will find only unread books – ones that have not been checked out since 1989 (or longer). Visitors taking one book or another off the shelves will become their first readers in decades. Our hope is that the Dead Library will inspire public thinking on libraries/archives, the preservation and re-use of information, and, by making the thousands of books available for browsing and reading, it will give visitors/readers the exceptional experience of re-discovering books otherwise destined for oblivion.

We wish to express our gratitude to the management and staff of ELTE University Library for making their huge collection available for selection and for their invaluable advice in the course of the work.