A visit to the Floating Library in Echo Park Lake

by Carolyn Kellogg

From: The Los Angeles Times
1548176_10102053567501124_553482537_oOn this sunny Friday, unseasonably gorgeous even for Los Angeles, I headed to Echo Park Lake to visit the new Floating Library. You don’t need a card to borrow books from the Floating Library, but you do have to reach it.

You can only get there by boat — a pedal boat, specifically — which luckily you may rent at the Echo Park boathouse.

Designed by Minnesota artist Sarah Peters and set loose in the Great Lakes region during the recent summers, the Floating Library is making its first visit to the West Coast. It’s a raft filled with art books and zines, presented by the Machine Project gallery as part of the L.A. Art Book Fair.

It’s adrift in Echo Park Lake, just northwest of downtown Los Angeles. The lake was first created as a drinking reservoir in 1870. In his history of the lake on KCET, Nathan Masters (who reviews the book “The Road Taken” for us this week) writes that after some failed commercial attempts, the reservoir became part of a public park, officially named Echo Park in 1892.

During its long history, Echo Park Lake was a site for shooting silent films, the destination for fans of church leader Aimee Semple McPherson (who built her temple at its northwest corner), bohemians, a volunteer colony of lotuses, and drug dealers and buyers who littered the lake floor with hypodermics and guns. The lake was drained and dredged for a major rehabilitation that was completed in 2013. The east side (above) is overlooked by vintage apartments and lined with palm trees.

We rented a pedal boat for an hour ($10 per adult, $5 per child). Most of the pedal boats are two-seaters, but we got a candy-apple red one big enough for three adults. We signed a release form and dutifully donned the mandated life jackets.

The library hours are from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. through Sunday. It wasn’t much after 11 when we got on the water, but the Floating Library was already crowded with patrons. Read Rest of Article Here


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