Over 45,000 sketchbooks!!

To celebrate Book Lovers Day I wanted to share this not so hidden treasure of bibliophile and artistic delight.

The Brooklyn Art Library in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY is a fantastic gem for artists, book lovers, and visitors who have to see it to believe what 45,000 + sketchbooks look like.

It is quite unassuming as you walk along Frost St., but when you enter the Brooklyn Art Library, you are greeted with a sense of awe and wonder. The staff are friendly and happy to describe this project which began in 2009 and has been growing exponentially ever since.

One of the best parts, in my opinion, is that anyone can participate. Yes anyone, even you! There are tens of thousands of artists from over 100 countries who have already added their creativity to this initiative. A unique and creative way to build a global community.

It's different than a regular library in a few ways. Besides being the largest sketchbook collection in the world with so many artists worldwide, you don't actually take the sketchbooks off the shelf. Each sketchbook has been cataloged, tagged, and barcoded. You use an app or their iPad to search by theme/topic/key word. Once you have requested a sketchbook the person working at the library will bring it to you and the book next to it on the shelf... bonus!! You can ask for as many sketchbooks as you want and each time you will get the one next to it. Coming up with a topic or theme can be overwhelming so you can also do a randomized search to get you started.

What do some of the sketchbooks look like? They seem to range from very simple to all decked out. Here are some of the examples I looked at.

I went with what I like. NYC, pizza, reading and one of the bonus sketchbooks was on napping so I couldn't go wrong with that. The possibilities of what you might find felt endless.

You can search the library online at

If this is something you would consider being a part of, you don't have to go to New York to participate. You can order a sketchbook online and follow the instructions. They start off just like the one in the picture below. What it becomes is up to you.

Sketching adventures await.

The Sketchbook Project - a blank slate.


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