June 13, 2016

Mexico City’s Aeromoto library becomes a cultural hub


Aeromoto is an arts-focused library in Mexico City that's found an appreciative audience.

Aeromoto is an arts-focused library in Mexico City that’s found an appreciative audience.

In 2015 in Mexico City, four friends opened a small library in a private home. Now it’s quickly becoming an integral part of cultural life in the neighborhood of Juárez. Called Aeromoto, the library is funded entirely through grants and donations from “independent publishing houses, as well as from editors, artists, writers, patrons, and museums.” Lucia Hinojosa wrote about the young library in Hyperallergic:

The Aeromoto members’ shared desire to create a space dedicated specifically to books about art — experimental and contemporary publications by independent publishers, as well as artists’ books — led them to imagine a collective project where their meticulously curated archive could be experienced by anyone, detached from commercial exchange. They envisioned a place where people from different professional fields and social realms could have access to novel content ranging from theoretical writings by important critics and philosophers to publications and recordings by artist collectives, zines, and mail art from all over the world.

The library began with just the personal collections of book designer Maru Calva and Mauricio Marcin, an editor, writer, and museum curator. They opened up their home, turning it into a public space and encouraging visitors to interact with arts-focused publications that would otherwise be difficult to find in Mexico City’s government-funded libraries. Gradually, and with the public’s input, they began adding new books to their collection.

The public collectively contributes to the founders’ curatorial decision-making, proposing new content for sections ranging from Dance and Pedagogy to Erotica and Architecture. Another standout program is “Mesas Curadas” (“Curated Tables”), wherein the founders invite a person — generally an artist, writer, educator, or curator, but not always — to select new books for the collection, loosely connecting notions and ideas with the publication’s content.

Aeromoto’s slogan is “your trusted library,” and they envision more events, more exhibitions, and more visitors to what has turned out to be a very successful experiment. Calva told Max Pearl at Vice that the goal in opening up their home was simple — they wanted to share their books. “We wanted our books to be for other people to read them, and stop being on our bookshelves.”

Julia Fleischaker is a former director of marketing and publicity at Melville House.