On the weekend of August 10 – 11, 2013 a prototype of the Floating Library set adrift on the calm waters of Cedar Lake in Minneapolis. Staffing by a cadre of brave floating librarians, we delighted and inspired many a boater, lifeguard and swimmer with the Library’s collection of artist-made printed matter.

Take a look: The Floating Library 2013 Photo Gallery

In 2014, thanks to an Artist Initiative Grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, the Floating Library returned to Cedar Lake for three consecutive weekends in the dog days of summer – August 16 – 31. We experienced rain, sunshine and incredible wind all the while anchored in the middle of the lake with our artist-made materials.

The 2014 project concluded with an artist-in-residence weekend in Winona, MN on September 11 – 13. There the Floating Library was hosted by the Art Department at Winona State University with participation from the Minnesota Marine Art Museum and Lake Lodge Recreation Center on Lake Winona.

Activities included:
Artist talk by Sarah Peters at the Minnesota Marine Art Museum on September 11.
The Floating Library on Lake Winona, Saturday, September 13.

Take a look: The Floating Library 2014 Photo Gallery


In 2015, the Floating Library was hosted by Silverwood Park in the Three Rivers Park District for a two-weekend run with the addition of a closing Moonlight Paddle and Poetry Reading organized in partnership with Coffee House Press.

On the weekends of July 18 – 26 the Library was joined on the water by a Floating Poet, Steve Healy, as part of CHP’s In the Stacks Program. Read more about his investigation of the collection here.


In February 2016, the Floating Library escaped the Minnesota winter and headed to sunny Los Angeles, California for a long weekend float on Echo Park Lake. Hosted by Machine Project, the visit coincided with the L.A. Art Book Fair, February 11 – 14, 2016.  Bob Dornberger built the raft based on the original design. Becca Lofchie provided curatorial assistance of L.A. book artists. 

Take a look: The Floating Library on Echo Park Lake Photo Gallery


In the summer of 2016, the Floating Library held its longest-yet residency at Lake Phalen in lovely St. Paul, Minnesota. We were anchored off shore near Phalen Park Beach on weekends July 16 through August 7. Four artists were commissioned to make new works for the 2016 collection: Aaron Johnson-Ortiz, Tou Yia Xiong, Caitlin Warner and Martine Workman. The 2016 iteration was made possible by a Knight Arts Challenge grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, a Community Arts grant from the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, and many generous donors. Thank you!

Take a look: The Floating Library on Lake Phalen, 2016


In the summer of 2017 we took a break!


In summer 2018 the Floating Library returned to Lake Phalen on the east side of St. Paul, MN. The raft was anchored off shore near Phalen Park Beach for three weekends mid-July through early August: Saturdays & Sundays, 1-6 pm
July 21 & 22, July 28 & 29, August 4 & 5 

New that summer, we expanded programming to include on-beach activitieswith Floating Artist-in-Residence Anh-Hoa Thi Nguyen. Boat Folding and Reading on the Beach occurred on Sundays, July 21 & 28, 1-4 pm and invited beach goers to learn how to fold a simple paper boat to contribute to Waves Enfolding, a paper memorial to lives lost in the refugee waves from Vietnam.

A selection of Floating Library books were also be available to read on the beach.
A closing reading and ritual on Sunday, August 5 at 4 pm on Lake Phalen Beach marked the end of the project.



The full story starts before all of this, however.  For musings on the beginnings of my lake-based art interventions, read this.


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