Hidalgo is one of the states with the lowest educational level in Mexico, is neither inclusive nor equitable. There are a lot of communities without electricity and essential needs, let alone access to books and a safe space for learning.
This tiny library, consisting of a series of modular units made from durable materials, emerges as a ephemeral and nomadic set that is flexible, easy to assemble and able to be reconfigured in different ways in order to adapt both to its context and to each community’s specific needs. The idea is for the library to tour to the most underserved and underrepresented communities in Hidalgo and for it to operate as a learning pavilion that, rather than being set up on a permanent location, can move to different localities.
This project was originally conceived when thinking of community storytelling, and its transformative power, as a central idea; Hence, the inclusion of a recording module as one of the key components of this project.
Looking to inspire meaningful dialogue and action, this mobile library allows for stories and ideas from individuals to be recorded, documented and spread between otherwise disconnected communities, acting as both a connection and a catalyst that can shed light on the challenges that rural communities face when accessing education.
Stories nurture connection and empower people to become more engaged with their own communities; And just as books are capable of creating moments of reflection and introspection, so too can spoken word, music, film, dance and learning. With this in mind, the Traveling Stories Library aims to create a safe space where all of these activities can take place, almost as a refuge for information, literacy, entertainment and language skills.
The library truck itself also acts as a fundraising campaign for education in Hidalgo. Because of the experiential nature of the project, the library can help communities and state organizations to better understand the systemic barriers to access education and the real impacts it has on individuals. Hoping this can lead communities in Hidalgo to seek ways to improve the state’s learning spaces.
In order to meet the project’s basic functionality needs, the modular design allows for a classic library space configuration, with bookshelves, tables and chairs; However this same modular design can help rethink the library itself as an open reading space that fosters community encounters and blurs the line between indoors and outdoors.
With flexibility at the core of the project’s design philosophy, the modular nature paired with the library’s easy-to-build structures allows for each pavilion to be completely different. Using a simple build system, the facade panels and ceilings can be placed in many ways and matched to different modules, and the bookshelves and tables can be mixed and matched to create multipurpose layouts that can be freely modified in a way that opens up a world of possibilities for the configuration of the space.
The library can either be set up as an enclosed space (Layout B) or set up so that it is accessible from all sides (Layout C); It can be divided into different rooms and platforms (Layout A) or set up as a single building; It can contain a single function or multiple ones; It can be set up for creative workshop spaces, reading & resting spaces, performance platforms, screening spaces or into a public space for gathering, socializing and connecting. It essentially reshapes itself to better fit the desired learning experience.