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A Tiny Mobile Library Makes a Pit Stop at Burlington's Intervale Center

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Published September 28, 2022 at 10:00 a.m.


On the way to Burlington's Intervale Center — a 360-acre campus of farmland and trails — one can expect to pass bikers, farmers, hikers and the occasional tractor. But this summer, visitors passed something less expected: a small wooden structure on a trailer near the center's entrance.

What appeared to be a tiny house is actually the Loam Library. Housed within the 8-by-12-foot reading room — complete with a cozy pillow-adorned corner bench — are roughly 400 books about climate justice.

"We really wanted to create what would feel like a sacred, joyful, juicy space for people to connect to radical world-building reads," said Kate Weiner, creative director of Loam, an environmental arts organization and magazine.

Weiner, who primarily manages the magazine, worked in collaboration with Yestermorrow Design/Build School, based in Waitsfield, to create the library, which she considers a space for people to discover texts related to the climate crisis. The partnership was mutually beneficial: Students in Yestermorrow's tiny home design course learned valuable building skills by constructing the library.

The next step was filling the space with books, including Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer, Pleasure Activism by adrienne maree brown and Black Imagination by Natasha Marin.

"We wanted to have the type of book that, once you read it, it felt like there was a clear before and after," Weiner said.

The library was recently returned to Yestermorrow so students can install more permanent windows and doors. But it will be back at the Intervale, at which point Weiner would like to create a more formal system for lending books and to host "climate cafés" — inclusive events for people to talk and act on the climate crisis. She invites collaboration and sees Loam Library as a space for community gatherings.

Future plans include a Tour de Vermont, with season-long stops in communities across the state.

"I think people can feel the love that was poured into the creation of the space and that each book was carefully chosen," she said.

For more, follow @loamlove on Instagram.

The original print version of this article was headlined "Little Mobile Library"