Building of spines

Two photographs cropped together of Manchester Central Library; on the left a person sits reading a newspaper, on the right a corner of stairs

A book is in the library and a library is in the book.

Building of spines happens over seven days in a library. During that time a book is researched, written, edited, printed and bound by hand.

The book’s narrative is shaped by answers people in the library give to a set of questions.

Every morning and afternoon the questions change, moving through the classifications of the Dewey Decimal system – from 900: History and Geography, to 000: Computer Science, Information and General Works.

Individual accounts are written into a work of collective fiction.

One book is made in each location. On the last day, it’s handed over to the library to be processed, categorised and entered into their collection.

Building of spines invites us to reflect on our personal (his)stories in relation to the people around us; What questions do we have? What knowledge do we value and hold on to? And how do we choose to spend the time available to us?

Building of spines also considers the obvious. What makes a good book? Where does it start? How will it end? And why do we still gather in libraries?