Rabbits Road Institute Library is a community collection of over 200 books, organised into three categories: People & Place, The Future, Making it Happen. The library contains fiction, non-fiction and poetry, on subjects ranging from placemaking to science fiction, immigration to regeneration, British Asian & Black identity to class, social history, economics and democracy.
Established in 2016, the library was initially started as part of Rabbits Road Institute at Old Manor Park Library, a former Carnegie Library on the corner of Rabbits Road in Manor Park, East London. It developed from a series of workshops and events exploring the meaning of public libraries, and a collective re-thinking of what a local library could be, how it might function and its relationship to self-education.
Who runs it?
Rabbits Road Institute Library is run by artists Ruth Beale and Amy Feneck, who work together as The Alternative School of Economics.
Where is it?
The Library is currently unhoused and cannot be visited in person, but is on a virtual tour to Barking and Dagenham.We hope to physically install the library again in the future, and to continue to take it on tour to different locations.
Who chose the books?
Each book is nominated by friends and collaborators associated with the library and its development by The Alternative School of Economics. This includes people who supported or attended events at Rabbits Road Institute in Manor Park, partners, local community leaders, local librarians, and artists who have worked with Library. A number of books were also directly donated by individuals, including 50 books selected from the collection of activist Julie Begum. Together, these books form the initial collection.
The Library continues to grow through nominations of books from people involved as partners, supporters or collaborators in each location. The next round of nominations will be from people who have worked with the Library in Barking & Dagenham.
How is it funded?
The library relies on grant funding for activities and book purchases. It was founded with part of a grant from Arts Council England, as part of a commission for Create London and London Borough of Newham. Further books were purchased by RIBA in 2019, when the Library was part of an exhibition called Making it Happen. Activity in 2021 is funded by an Arts Council England project grant.
How can I borrow books or get involved?
The collection is currently only available to view online - please browse the catalogue for photos, video and information. However, we have added a link for every book which can be borrowed through the Barking & Dagenham Libraries, including London Library Consortium books, ebooks and audio books.
We are organising a public programme and ways of getting involved and accessing the books, and will post upcoming events on the Notices page.
To contact us please email firstname.lastname@example.org with RRIL in the subject line, or keep in touch by joining the mailing list below.