Slab City Library Saved!

There are some places in America that keep calling us back. The Slab City Lizard Tree Library is one of them. Our winter migration would be incomplete without it.

New Slab City Lizard Tree Library Welcomes You

But ever since the last Chief Librarian flipped out and destroyed this hallowed place, the Library has disintegrated little by little. Books have been left out in the dust storms, walls have split in half. But this year, things are different. The Lizard Tree Library is alive and thriving once again!

An organized anarchist library.

In the same tradition of Slab City neighborhoods that ebb and flow, grow and self-destruct, the library that almost became a heaping pile of debris is now a hub of activity for the free spirited thinkers, artists and musicians who live here.

Who runs this place? ALL of us!

New books are on the shelves and they’re organized by topic! A cafe welcomes guests and volunteers hang out there to make newcomers feel welcome.

A touch of kitsch in the library.

There’s a buzz in the air and it’s not just what the librarians are smoking. The rebirth of the library is largely because of this amazing woman, Cornelius Vango. In the following video she explains how she found the library and what she’s doing here.


Anarchist libraries are hard to find. As Chief Librarian, Cornelius and her friends’ Lizard Tree revival is a feat that nobody in the last seven years has managed to do. There’s even a weekly Thursday night fireside poetry reading that brings in poets, musicians and people who just want to soak up the vibe.

Fireside poetry readings under the stars.

The Internet has brainwashed many short-sighted people in this country into thinking that libraries are relics of the past. Who needs ’em when you have Google, right? Uh, wrong!

As this artist has demonstrated in little under a year, libraries of all types are vibrant sources of thinking, creativity and collaboration that this country desperately needs.

Screw you Google, libraries live on!

There’s no telling how long the revival will continue. Maybe the searing summer heat will drive her away, or the isolation of being in the hottest place on the continent in July. Who knows. All that really matters is this beautiful library resurrection is happening now and we’re enjoying being a part of it.

Livin’ the Library dream.

On behalf of library nerds like myself, thank you Cornelius and friends!


7 thoughts on “Slab City Library Saved!”

  1. When I was a boy of nine running the streets of El Barrio in Spanish Harlem I passed the library on 110th between Lexington and 3rd. It became my refuge from bullies, drunks, and the pedophilic motherfucker that bought me stuff if I let him blow me.
    It was the place that made me feel as if all things were possible and where understanding words and arranging them in a fashion … that was my Barrio Superpower!
    S-O-C-K-S = “It is what it is.”, in Spanish.
    I am a fan Ms. Cornelius. I applaud you and your fellow Slab City residents. I think what you guys are doing with the library is swell. It is my hope to experience it one day soon.

  2. Hi! Rene,

    Thank you for this article on the Slab City Library!

    I was there to re-visit the library recently. The place looks really great and functioning. I hope Conelius stays a while longer.

    I appreciate what she has contributed to the community – a resurrected library. I also consider this an art assemblage installation. As well, I am appreciative of her
    colleagues and friends who contributed to the work in the library.

    I wonder if her Thursday poetry reading is still active?

    Have a super week!

    • You are so welcome Arlou! Yeah, Cornelius is one impressive gal, we love what she’s done with it. I’m glad you got to experience it for yourself. As for the poetry reading night, I’m not sure if it’s still going on but all it takes is one person to get it started again. Hope to see you there next winter!


Leave a Comment