this afternoon i set up a free library outside of my office on campus.
i began with a book case - a nice, wooden, somewhat solid two-shelver - that's been with me for years, moving from apartment to apartment without ever feeling at home. i placed it directly outside of my office.
i filled it with books - books i'll never read, books i've read that i'll never read again, books that i've received for RCCS that have never found reviewers, books that sarah no longer wanted. for good measure, i also added some academic journals that i'll surely never read and a few years worth of the nation.
students love music so i added about thirty CDs from my personal stash - CDs i used to love but no longer listen to, CDs that suck, CDs that friends burned for me sometime in the past. i also included some classics - wilco's summerteeth, the long winter's when i pretend to fall, and the flaming lips' soft bulletin - that sarah had copies of, thereby making them redundant.
finally, i posted the library rules.
i've done experiments like this before - see "purge" and this facebook photo album, both from spring 2006 - and my once-belongings disappeared quickly and often completely. but i've never encouraged people to leave stuff behind. this time, i hope students, staff, and faculty will not only snag a few books and a CD but also leave stuff behind. after all, libraries, like love, are best when you give and get.