The Helping Friendly Book Stand Project

Books permit us to voyage through time, to tap the wisdom of our ancestors. The library connects us with the insight and knowledge, painfully extracted from Nature, of the greatest minds that ever were, with the best teachers, drawn from the entire planet and from all our history, to instruct us without tiring, and to inspire us to make our own contribution to the collective knowledge of the human species. I think the health of our civilization, the depth of our awareness about the underpinnings of our culture and our concern for the future can all be tested by how well we support our libraries.
— Carl Sagan

What is Your Project? 

Long story short, we’re on a mission to elevate the public conversation and connect people through books in convivial ways.  We’re advocating for a well-read public because a well-informed populace is the cornerstone of a functioning democracy.  

Inspired by The Helping Friendly Book Club’s Quest to discover the lost Secrets to Eternal Joy and Never Ending Splendor, we’re building a ‘Coalition of the Curious’ to help ‘Pass The Knowledge’, and we could really use your help.  

The Vision

Just as Dallas is working to rebuild a crumbling system of outdated roadways and gas lines, and address the food desert by adding gardens and grocery stores, so are we addressing the city’s literacy infrastructure and cultural systems.  By connecting words, people, books and cultural experiences in never-before-seen ways and unexpected places, we can help seed and instill strong and exciting experiences of meaning. In an era of rapidly expanding digital technology, the tactile, personal world remains.

Ironically, in the age of the “smartphone”, the threat of Idiocracy is becoming very real.  We want to stem that tide by helping change the way people feel about reading.  Values determine behavior, so if we want people to read more, we need to help them see the value in doing so.  We need to get creative and find ways to make reading more attractive, accessible, and communal. We need to make reading cool again.

As with any great endeavor, the first step is to lay a foundation. Phase I of the Helping Friendly  Instauration is to build a network of interconnected free public book exchanges around Dallas that Illuminate Curiosity for the Purpose of Forward Motion.

Literacy is a pathway to Knowledge, but without Curiosity, the willingness to learn anything is nonexistent. Curiosity is a prerequisite to Insight, and every time a person has an Insight, they make a discovery, and one discovery leads to the next, thus creating forward motion.  Without curiosity, nothing can make an impression long enough to generate an Insight. When you’re curious, you’re receptive, so the first thing we need to do is get people curious.  All meaningful growth begins with first believing in possibilities beyond what is.

At the confluence of the ‘Placemaking’ and ‘Little Free Library’ movements, we present:

The Helping Friendly Book Stand

On a physical level, ‘Helping Friendly Book Stands’ are free public book exchanges where people can ‘Pass The Knowledge’ and share their favorite books.  

On a metaphysical level, ‘Helping Friendly Book Stands’ are the Symbolic tip of Pallas Athena’s Spear of Illuminated Wisdom.  

How can we really fight fake news? By reading more books and developing our critical thinking.    

 

‘Helping Friendly Book Stands’ are the physical embodiment of The Helping Friendly Book Club’s invisible ideals.  In addition to Illuminating Curiosity for the Purpose of Forward Motion, ‘Helping Friendly Book Stands’ Create Space and Stimulation for the Generation of Insights, Support Conscious Connected Community Building, and help Cultivate Social Vitality through Literature, Art and Conversation.  

One of the things that separate our libraries from all the other free public book exchanges is that ‘Helping Friendly Book Stands’ are part of something greater than the sum of its parts, which is the Quest for SEJNES itself.  Each ‘Helping Friendly Book Stand’ is an opportunity, a nudge to those willing to dig a little deeper with the light of their curiosity to discover a community of Questers already engaged on an adventure of the mind and spirit together.

‘Helping Friendly Book Stands’ are like trees because they support everything in the most fundamental way, like the air we breathe.  Even though we can’t observe a tree transmuting poisonous carbon dioxide into life-supporting oxygen with our physical senses, we know it’s happening. Libraries do something similar. And when you plant enough trees, at a certain point they become a forest, and a forest truly is something greater than the sum of all its parts.

Great societies evolve from great conversations, and we want to help inspire those thoughtful conversations that pull fresh, productive thought patterns into waking life.

Why does this project matter to the Community?

We see the groundswell of an intellectual movement has already begun, and we want to help connect it in meaningful ways.  Books are a great place to start.

Two strangers walk into a bar, their relationship is one thing. The same two strangers walk into a bar, see a ‘Helping Friendly Book Stand’, and discover they’ve read the same book.  Now their relationship is something else. Suddenly, they’re not quite as strange to each other because they realize they have a shared experience.

It is a universal truth that relationships and communities are formed through shared experiences, and valuable shared experiences form valuable relationships and communities.  Books are those valuable shared experiences, and the more attractive, accessible and communal they are, the more conscious and connected a community becomes.  When a society stops sharing valuable experiences, it begins to decay. Without shared Vision, the people will perish.

‘Helping Friendly Book Stands’ are more than just free community libraries, they are beacons inviting you to follow your pinecone and embark on a journey of self-discovery.  ‘Helping Friendly Book Stands’ are guideposts pointing the way toward the Secrets to Eternal Joy and Never Ending Splendor.

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A Helping Friendly Pyramid in Three Phases

To give ourselves a measurable goal that we can use to keep track of our progress with, Phase I of the Helping Friendly Plan to elevate the public conversation and connect people through books is to build one ‘Helping Friendly Book Stand’ for each book we’ve read on the Quest so far.  As of March 2018 that number is at 28. (See list below.)

Each of the first 28 Helping Friendly Book Stands will have a quote from whichever Helping Friendly Book it’s built in honor of.  The quote (SEJNES) will be laser engraved on the front of the HFBS in such a way that anyone who wishes to can bring a piece of paper and a crayon and make an old school, tactile “rubbing” of that particular nugget of wisdom.

We will have a place on our website for people to keep track of our progress, and also to see the location of every ‘Helping Friendly Book Stand’ we place around Dallas.  That way, if they’re really curious, they can look at the map and see where all the ‘Helping Friendly Book Stands’ are and go around North Texas collecting “rubbings” of all the SEJNES, like a real life treasure hunt...   

Phase II of the Helping Friendly Plan is to develop a ‘Helping Friendly Book Stand Kit’ that is modular and scalable that we can mail out of state and keep growing beyond our North Texas Community.

Phase III, which is the capstone and our true aim, is to reach the point where we’re able to commission artists to create one-of-a-kind, large scale outdoor urban art sculptures that also function as free public book exchanges.

To plant this idea squarely in your mind, the aspirational goal for Phase III is to create something in Dallas at least as iconic as the famous Bean Sculpture in Chicago, but that also functions as a free public book exchange.

What is the time frame for your project?

The great news is we’ve already completed most of the time consuming legwork, and now we just need to focus on funding.  At this point, because we already have our prototype and manufacturer in place, as soon as we get funding, we’re ready to start planting ‘Helping Friendly Book Stands’ all across our North Texas Community.  

Everytime we open another ‘Helping Friendly Book Stand’ we’ll have a ‘Stock the Book Stand Party’ at each location, which will also support conscious connected community building, in alignment with our core values.  

Can you help us make this dream a reality?

 

The Original 

 Our Flagship Helping Friendly Little Free Library located outside 'City Council' at Thomas and Allen in Uptown Dallas. 

Our Flagship Helping Friendly Little Free Library located outside 'City Council' at Thomas and Allen in Uptown Dallas. 

Sage Cleansing and Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
12.13.14
State and Thomas, Uptown Dallas, TX

"Ladies and Gentlemen,

The Helping Friendly Book Club is on a quest to discover the ancient Secrets of Eternal Joy and Never Ending Splendor.  That quest has led us here, to today, to this very moment, as we welcome the first ever Helping Friendly Little Free Library to the Uptown neighborhood.

The ideal and purpose of all Helping Friendly endeavors is to illuminate curiosity for the purpose of forward motion. Without curiosity, willingness to learn is nonexistent.  Curiosity is a first step, a prerequisite to beginning your own quest to discover the ancient secrets to eternal joy and never ending splendor.  

When we say Forward Motion we mean something similar to the idea of following your Dharma, or Spiritual Phyllotaxis.  When you follow your curiosity, growth is a pattern of development over time that optimizes exposure to stimulus in order to maximize utility, much the same way a plant grows in response to the stimulus of the sunlight. The stimulus is your own curiosity.  The utility is your own eternal joy and never ending splendor. 

My hope is that this Helping Friendly Little Free Library becomes a Helping Friendly LIVING Free Library, just like the seeds that we have planted here on top.  I hope that this Helping Friendly Little Free Library takes on a life of its own.  And just like the seed that was first only the IDEA to build a Helping Friendly Little Free Library, that seed has now grown into this, the physical manifestation of a dream.  We have turned mind-stuff into creation, and now we are introducing it to the community for the betterment of all.

Let this be a lesson! 

All things manifest first from an idea.  If you will it, it is no dream. My hope is that we can gain your support and continue to nourish The Helping Friendly Vision and keep the momentum of this forward motion going.  Let us not take too long to start thinking about the next milestone we want to achieve.  The Helping Friendly Foundation would love to build a team to design, assemble, install, and steward as many Little Free Libraries as possible.  Where would the world be without books?  Where is it now?

Before we go any further I have to thank each and every one of you that contributed to help make this milestone a reality.  I want to give an especially huge thank you to Chase Williams for taking the creation of The Helping Friendly Little Free Library squarely on his back and delivering beyond expectations.  I am sincerely grateful.  You have made the world a little better place, as have we all with this project, and the fun is just beginning.

As a living entity I expect The Little Free Library is only just starting its existence and will go through many stages, just as all living entities do.  The more love and attention we shower on it, the more meaning it will have, and the more meaning it will radiate.  Cosmic Froth is created through engagement.  I encourage you all to engage with The Helping Friendly Little Free Library in your own special way.

Take a book, bring a book, read the book.  The formula is simple.

Without further ado, please join me in a blessing as we sage The Helping Friendly Little Free Library and cut the ribbon to officially open it here, today, 12.13.14, the final sequential day of the century."

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The Blessing

Great Spirit, Creator of all things,
Whose voice I hear in the wind,
Whose breath gives life to all the world
Guide me with your strength and wisdom.

To the North, to the East, to the South, and to the West

Great Spirit, with this sacred sage please rid this space of all negative energetic residues.  Leave in their absence a clean and clear energy field full of infinite potential.  Infuse this space with your sweet omniscience and make it a fertile field for cosmic growth.

Great Spirit, we gather here today to marvel at your wonders and give thanks for you continued love and support of our Helping Friendly endeavors.

We ask that you bless this, our first ever Helping Friendly Little Free Library, and aid it to become something greater than the sum of all its parts.
Bless these books, and bless the people who bring them.
Bless the holy exchanges that are made under this roof that they may be catalysts for enlightenment.

Great Spirit, please allow the Helping Friendly Little Free Library to be an instigator of fertile confusion,
Illuminating curiosity for the purpose of forward motion.

May the Questers of the world follow their pine cones right to you, and may you assist them as needed to discover the ancient secrets to eternal joy and never ending splendor.

To all our Relations, we give thanks.
Namaste!

 

From @helpingfriendlylfl on Instagram