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Read with the fishes: Floating Library returns to Twin Cities lake

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A new library has launched in St. Anthony and all you need to borrow a book is a boat.

It's the third year of the Floating Library, an experimental public art project by Twin Cities artist Sarah Peters, in which readers can paddle out to the library and read one-of-a-kind books crafted by artists from around the country, the project's website notes.

The unique collection of more than 100 works – stored in plastic sleeves to keep them from getting splashed – are situated on bookshelves built into a small, wooden raft designed by architect Molly Reichert. And like any library, there is a librarian nearby to help make reading suggestions.

The project launched this past weekend, and will be floating again in Silver Lake at Silverwood Park in St. Anothony this weekend from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. There will also be a moonlight paddle and poetry reading Aug. 1 at 8:30 p.m.

Visitors can bring their own boat or rent one at the park, the Silverwood Park Facebook page notes.

Peters came up with the Floating Library one winter while working on the Art Shanty Project as a way to spend more time on the water, MPR News reports. She launched the first Floating Library in Minneapolis' Cedar Lake in August 2013 (see photos here), her website notes.

In 2014, the project returned to the lake thanks to an Artist Initiative Grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, and also made an appearance in Winona on Lake Winona. (Photos from last year can be seen here.)

For this year's Floating Library, Peters partnered with Minneapolis-based Coffee House Press to add poet-in-residence Steve Healey. (Healey interviewed Peters about the Floating Library; read that here.)

While on the lake, Healey hopes to be inspired to write a few new poems, which he'll read at the event set for Aug. 1, MPR News reports.

Although the season for the Floating Library is short, Peters is looking towards next summer, telling MPR she hopes to be able to commission more artists to create more books and wants to bring the library to many different lakes in the state.

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