Print’s not dead at Kommune, where La Biblioteka has built an escape hatch into the universe of the written word in the city centre. Here you’ll find Alex Maxwell in charge of selecting the most interesting, beautiful, obscure and inspiring publications to fill the shelves, and your bookcases and magazine racks.
Alex created La Biblioteka in response to the independent magazine boom that’s seen subscription services like Stack take off and which, until 2015, Sheffield was more or less missing out on.
With a roving selection of distinctive stock, La Biblioteka started building up customer bases at events and locations around the city – places like Peddler night market and Broomhill cafe Upshot Espresso. He eventually took on a place on Pinstone Street thanks to the ReNew Sheffield scheme, before moving into Kommune when it opened in 2019.
Despite it’s modest size, it’s easy to lose an hour flipping through pages at La Biblioteka. The book selection spans from artsy city guides to poetry to illustration. Subjects covered in the mags are particularly diverse: there’s Printed Pages on design, Makeshift on creativity, The Wire on music, Like The Wind on running, The Lifted Brow on Australian culture, Hello Mr on modern male homosexuality, Apartamento on interiors, Standart on coffee, The Idler on procrastination, Perdiz on happiness…
You get the idea: La Biblioteka is full of elegantly presented ideas. And with risograph printing service Choriso and plans for more events, La Biblioteka is helping to maintain the relationship between people and the printed word.
- Words by
- Robert Cooke
- Images by
- Nigel Barker