Ourshelves is a communal library with selections curated by editors, readers and longtime booksellers, one which adapts each time a member takes out a book or suggests a new title.

With nearly two hundred members, the selection changes often.

Ourshelves acts as an active reflection of our diverse community, with literature from North America, South America, Russia, Europe, Eastern Europe, Asia and Africa. Our titles represent various cultures, races, genders, classes and sexualities, as does San Francisco.

We provide diverse literature not just because of its artistic strength, which is reason enough, but because we believe that literature widens our humanistic gaze and promotes empathetic, intelligent dialogue.

Ourshelves is an evolving space devoted to four basic tenets: that art should not be separate from community, that the act of reading can be both cathartic and empowering, that art should be affordable and available for all, and that the impact literature has on a reader does not end at the final page.

Ourshelves keeps its doors open for members and visitors to use the space however they like, and to monetarily contribute on a sliding-scale basis. Some members use the library for its personal recommendations, or to see what local authors are reading, or have conversations about what they have just read. Some people use it for book clubs, others read from their favorite literature and poetry during our monthly Excerpts event. Some people give books, some people borrow books, and many do both.

Ourshelves is a space for local author’s – from self-published to critically acclaimed – to host copies of their work alongside their favorites.

Ourshelves is, in essence, an open artistic experiment set inside a physical, public space, one that is eager to celebrate both literature and the people and communities it represents.

We are a Member of the Intersection Incubator, a program of Intersection for the Arts providing fiscal sponsorship, incubation and consulting services to artists. Visit www.theintersection.org.