Public Writing, Public Libraries

Thanks to the Iowa Arts Council's Public Art Network, more and more Iowans are able to stumble upon new works of contemporary visual art in public places, but there are fewer opportunities for the public to stumble upon new works of creative writing without the sometimes-intimidating commitment to opening the cover of a book. This limits the public's exposure to new authors and contemporary writing.



In May 2014, Grin City Collective launched the "Public Writing, Public Libraries" pilot program with Drake Community Library in Grinnell. There, three writers installed in vinyl film short works or excerpts of fiction, nonfiction and poetry in the library windows, essentially turning the glass into the page of a book. A year later in spring 2015, Grin City Collective hosted three national and international writers-in-residence for a three-week residency. During this time, these writers and project leader, Molly Rideout, compose new works of fiction, nonfiction and poetry in twelve more Iowa libraries. The works will be on display for library patrons? viewing for up to five years. If you would like to bring "Public Writing, Public Libraries" to your community, contact Molly Rideout.

Pauliina Haasjoki, Poet (Helsinki, Finland)
Kevin Haworth, Essayist (Athens, OH)
Molly Rideout, Prose (Grinnell, Iowa)
Emma Saperstein, Artist (New York, NY)
Purvi Shah, Poet (Brooklyn, New York)

Newton Public Library, Marshalltown Public Library, Cedar Rapids Public Library, Coralville Public Library, Waterloo Public Library, Cedar Falls Public Library, Tama Public Library, Toledo Public Library, Pella Public Library, Knoxville Public Library, North Liberty Public Library and Grinnell College Burling Library. In 2014, phase 1 of the Public Writing project was installed at Drake Community Library in Grinnell, Iowa.

Project sponsors include: Grinnell College, Martha-Ellen Tye Foundation, ACT, Vermeer Corporation, Coralville Public Library, Friends of the Cedar Falls Public Library, Friends of the Waterloo Public Library, Friends of the Newton Public Library, Prairie Meadows, The Arts Connection Inc, CLIK.

Design and printing costs for the final publication are sponsored by Grinnell College.


    Public Writing, Public Libraries Book

     2015. Click image to view book.