What happens when a school librarian and a former theatrical set designer turned architectural designer, both with a love of birds, get together? The Bird Library is born. We decided to bring our love of libraries, books, building, and birding together into a project that would feed our birds stomachs and brains. We were inspired by Norwegians Magne Klann & Lars Aurtrade that created a bird feeder designed as a coffee bar for birds, called The Piip Show. It gave us the idea that, sure birds need caffeine, but what they really need are books! Our slogan is “Bird Library: feeding the birdbrains of Virginia.”
Kevin Cwalina, a designer at Bushman Dreyfus Architects and Rebecca Flowers, a Librarian at Johnson Elementary School and founder of Books on Bikes designed and built the library. The work involved covering miniature books with vinyl covers and painting on spine labels. We started this project in the summer of 2014 and launched the first version May 2015. Everything but the chair was made by us. We found the chair at a local second hand store and painted it, it was the perfect fit. We had a grand opening, complete with registering birds for library cards and a grand opening banner.
The Bird Library has been a great way to document the many varieties of birds we have in Virginia. Our Patrons page has photos of all the various species that have visited the library and offers some basic information about them as well as a link to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology website for further reading about each bird. At this time, we are up to about 20 different bird species. It has also been a lot of fun to see who shows up, who keeps returning, and creating little stories for each of our bird patrons.
We started tweeting our bird library photos on Twitter & Facebook and discovered that book and bird lovers alike enjoyed viewing the birds that stopped by. We enhanced the sometimes awkward and silly behaviors of birds with library and bird puns. Not long after the grand opening, we were contacted by Book Riot, they wanted to write a blog post about the Bird Library. The post is no longer online, but here is another outlet that picked us up through Book Riot
In late 2018 we demolished the old Bird Library and started design and development of a new and improved Bird Library 2.0! Complete with a large concrete base for increased capacity and a bigger circulation desk capable of feeding all our guests all day long. A lot has changed but we decided to keep our iconic red chair.
The changes don’t stop with what you see in the library, we have also upgraded our camera to a new 20 mega pixel motion sensing camera that we hope will bring you sharper more beautiful images of your favorite library patrons.
We hope The Bird Library will bring some joy to your day. We encourage our guests to add their own literary puns to the photos.