Here’s one establishment that’s able to stay open during the coronavirus crisis: TARDIS Detroit.
The stock in the lending library based in the Woodbridge neighborhood of Detroit is patron-maintained; it runs on the take-a-book, leave-a-book philosophy. The wooden structure has been crafted to look like the TARDIS time machine from the British sci-fi TV show Doctor Who – though rather than its acronym standing for “Time and Relative Dimension in Space,” it means “Totally Awesome Reading Dispensary in Society.” Love it!
TARDIS Detroit is located in a grassy lot in a residential neighborhood at the corner of West Warren Avenue and Vermont Street. Approaching it on a sunny Sunday morning in early March, I felt as giddy as a child. Visiting the TARDIS combined three things I love: art, books, and exploring, and it was so fun to open first the outer doors, then the intricately painted sliding inner doors to reveal the bookshelves within.
Those shelves contained a variety of books, including a copy of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, a cookbook touting fruit-based dishes, and a novel by Hilary Duff. But it was a hardcover copy of Walden and Other Writings by Henry David Thoreau that prompted me to take it with me (and which, in hindsight, feels like an especially apt selection given the state of seclusion I’ve been forced to take up by current world events). In return, I left three books from my personal library that I’d brought with me.
It’s a dark time for Detroit; the coronavirus is ravaging it. I’ve struggled with whether releasing such a post at this time is even appropriate; I’ve went through with it because I’m hoping it serves as a reminder of all that is great about Detroit and that joyful experiences are still available.
It’s a small comfort to know that there are structures out there such as TARDIS Detroit that one can visit to pick up a book (perhaps on one of our sanctioned outdoor recreational jaunts?), without having to encounter another soul. It may not be an actual time machine, but through the tomes it houses, it’s serving as a portal to other dimensions – and escapism through the worlds constructed by books is a much-desired commodity for those of us who are privileged enough to be able to engage in it during this nightmare of a time.
1944 W. Warren Ave.
Detroit, MI 48208