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What is a Node? And why is it at the entrance to the library?


Richard Meier

December 09, 2013

You may have noticed a new structure at the entrance to the library. The rabbit and the small door suggest Wonderland. The eyes in the back of its head suggest it is watching you. The fingers that make the rabbit a shadow suggest the activities of the human hand. The reclaimed maple — once a tree, then a bleacher, now an element of the Node — suggest reclamation and transformation. But what do you do? You take part.

You recall, in a small way, the potlatch, a word from the Chinook Jargon, meaning “to give away” or “a gift”; originally from the Nuu-chah-nulth word paɬaˑč, to make a ceremonial gift in a potlatch. You recall a practice of the indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest coast of Canada and United States. This includes Heiltsuk Nation, Haida, Nuxalk, Tlingit, Makah, Tsimshian, Nuu-chah-nulth, Kwakwaka’wakw, and Coast Salish cultures. You undertake an economic practice once banned by the governments of the United States. You leave something and you receive something. And all you have to do is follow the directions printed on the box:


Things made or found by you, including, but not limited to poems, songs, paintings, drawings, sculptures, pine cones, stones, cups, stories, or letters.

Simple Directions:

Please take something from this box another person made or found and left as a gift.

Please leave something in this box you have made or found for another person to take as a gift.