This summer, a miniature library will be installed in the front window of Little Shop of Stories bookstore in Decatur, said Karen Anderson, Tiny Doors ATL’s director and principal artist. Resembling some swell elegant home’s library, it will have tiny bookshelves, a pint-sized just-right-for-reading armchair, a rug, even a working lamp — and some 300 wee books, many of them familiar works “written” by favorite authors.
That would be you. Or whomever else’s name — or pretty much any other personalized message — you choose to have immortalized on its spine for a modest donation.
The first tiny door ever installed was at the Krog Street tunnel. It's been updated and accessorized at times since then. Photo courtesy of Tiny Doors ATL
In an effort that’s as much about putting the “public” in public art as it is fundraising, Tiny Doors ATL is offering people the chance to customize books in the tiny library. There are five different donation levels available — starting at one book to be customized with up to 10 characters for $25 (the “First Edition”) and continuing up through “The Sequel” (two books displayed beside each other on a shelf), “The Tiny Trilogy” (three books side by side), and so on.
At the top donation level of $250 — the aptly named “#1 Best Seller” — donors get a full-color book cover that includes a photo or logo and text of their choosing. Nearly all of the money raised goes to a fund dedicated to maintaining and upgrading the tiny doors (eight percent will also go fiscal sponsor organization C4 Atlanta) and donations are tax deductible.
Karen Anderson of Tiny Doors ATL packs up her tools after installing a tiny door and bookcase at Little Shop of Stories in downtown Decatur in January 2015. She’s back at it, creating an entire tiny library that will be in a window of the bookstore. AJC FILE PHOTO
The fund is needed to maintain and fortify the doors, which are exposed to the elements outdoors and to what Anderson happily calls “a lot of love” (people touching them, taking selfies with them, etc). ) A group dubbed the Tiny Door Guardians spends an estimated 20 hours per week on maintenance alone.
The campaign runs through June 8 (for information and donating, go to https://c4atlanta.org/project/tiny-doors-atl/), but the tiny library will be built no matter how many books are sold, Anderson said.
"One of the main reasons we're doing the tiny library is the community involvement aspect," said Anderson, who'll be hosting two sessions on Saturday and Sunday for people who want more information or may need help coming up with just the right text to go on their book(s). "I want people to feel like this is <em>their</em> project. I love it when people say 'This is my tiny door' when they come across one. So the more people that literally have their name on this, the more it becomes a public art project."
This tiny door and bookcase were installed at Little Shop of Stories in downtown Decatur in January 2015. A window at the beloved children’s bookstore will be the location of Tiny Doors ATL’s upcoming tiny library. AJC FILE PHOTO
The library will replace another tiny door that's been located inside the beloved children's bookstore since early 2015. Door #4 was described in an AJC story at the time as Tiny Doors ATL's "most fully tricked-out creation yet: A white pillared Georgian-style door that stands about 10 inches tall beside a miniature bookcase with tiny volumes on its shelves (Harry Potter, Curious George) and a lush jungle scene hidden in a cabinet below."
One tiny door wasn’t good enough for Tiny Doors ATL, which included a tiny doggie door within the door outside Inman Park Pet Works. CONTRIBUTED BY TINY DOORS ATL
Now the tiny library is the latest example of Tiny Doors ATL pushing against the petite boundaries of public art. What started out in May 2014 as a small handful of creative types like Anderson setting out to "bring big wonder to tiny spaces" by installing the small doors largely in secrecy has now blossomed into a uniquely Atlanta artistic calling card that can't help but pull others in. Passers-by frequently add their own touches to the doors, whether it's the tiny posters or lost dog signs that have appeared on the wee bulletin board that's part of the tiny door outside Inman Park Pet Works (Tiny Door #3) or the miniature versions of the AJC that a mystery figure calling himself "Scoop Callahan" sometimes "delivers" to the various doors, which now number 11.
Related video: An exclusive look inside the Center for Puppetry Arts new Worlds of Puppetry Museum.
At the same time, Tiny Doors ATL keeps finding new ways to expand on its artistry and inclusivity: Door #11, which was installed at the Center for Puppetry Arts on World Puppetry Day in March, includes a tiny wheelchair/stroller ramp to highlight accessibility.
Door #11 at the Center for Puppetry Arts in Atlanta even includes a tiny wheelchair ramp to highlight the importance of accessibility. Photo courtesy of Tiny Doors ATL
Door #8, located at the Milltown Arms Tavern in Cabbagetown, includes over 200 teeny personalized bricks — everything from a (successful) marriage proposal to an inscription in Braille — "owned" by donors to a previous fundraising campaign. (To see all the doors and their locations on an interactive map, go to www.tinydoorsatl.com/doors.)
Tiny Doors ATL will host two informational events about the tiny library campaign:
10 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday. Little Shop of Stories, 133 E. Court Square #A, Decatur. 404- 373-6300, www.littleshopofstories.com.
11 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday. Atlanta Beltline Eastside Trail, just behind Paris on Ponce (street address: 716 Ponce de Leon Place NE, Atlanta).