Sculpture a literary solution to eyesore

EVERETT — Developer Craig Skotdal watched as a giant row of books was installed outside Library Place on Hoyt Avenue.

The eight-foot-tall and 12-foot-wide art installation started attracting attention Wednesday morning as it was going up, said Skotdal, president of Skotdal Real Estate.

“It looks fantastic,” he said. “We’re pretty excited about it.”

The piece, called “The Book Stack,” got its start about a year ago when an electric transformer box was put near the main entrance to Library Place, a residential building adjacent to the Everett Public Library.

“We were looking for a fun and creative way to hide it,” Skotdal said. “We had a pretty creative marketing team on board and we kicked ideas around on ways we could do something fun and interesting for residents and patrons of the library.”

The row of seven books fits into the new apartment building’s literary motif and includes recognizable classics including “A Tale of Two Cities” by Charles Dickens, “Sense and Sensibility” by Jane Austen, and “The Importance of Being Earnest” by Oscar Wilde. A plaque to be put on a planter near the stack will explain that the titles were chosen to acknowledge themes for urban renewal, Skotdal said.

“The book ‘Main Street’ is a reference to pedestrian-friendly streets, ‘Leaves of Grass’ refers to the city’s need for green spaces and ‘Great Expectations’ is a reference not only to our projects but to having a vision for making the city’s future more compelling,” he said. “We were also very careful to make sure we were not infringing on any copyrights.”

The books were fabricated out of fiberglass and metal by Dillon Works of Mukilteo. Skotdal Real Estate began working with the company about four months ago to come up with the concept for the artwork.

Snohomish Public Utility District commissioner David Aldrich was taking his daily walk by the library on Wednesday when he saw the books.

“I knew that (the Skotdals) were concerned about the exposed transformer,” he said. “As fond as I am of PUD equipment, I can see their point. This is a nice theme that they have here right next to the library.”

Everett resident Lyla Anderson and her husband, Trygve, noticed the books on their way to have coffee with friends at Bookend Coffee Co. inside the library. The couple agreed the artwork is a nice new landmark and that it cleverly hides the transformer box.

“It reminded me of very formal library decor,” said Lyla Anderson.

She added as a retired middle school librarian, she’d like it if maybe someday a few children’s books are added to the mix.

“Just throw on top a couple of haphazard children’s books and make it look like it’s really used,” she said.

Skotdal Real Estate has plans for a restaurant, wine bar and outdoor seating area to eventually go into a patio and building space near the row of books. An open house at Library Place Apartments is being planned for the summer, Skotdal said.

A reader himself, Skotdal confessed that he hasn’t read all of the books that are part of the stack.

“It’s part of my summer reading list to make sure I read them all,” he said.

Amy Daybert: 425-339-3491; adaybert@heraldnet.com.

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