Our Projects

At the Alternatives Library we curate and develop our collection through hands on experience and community organizing. Here are some of the current projects we’re engaged in.

Prisoner Express

The Prisoner Express program, sponsored by the Durland Alternatives Library, promotes rehabilitation by offering inmates information, education and the opportunity for creative self-expression in a public forum. Participation in this program fosters self-exploration, enrichment and knowledge.

Recent Article Featuring Prisoner Express : http://www.buzzsawmag.org/2012/10/31/rehabilitation-through-reading/

The Durland Alternatives Library has a number of ongoing programs as parts of its Prisoners Express project. Incarceration is an expensive proposition for taxpayers. Since the prison system is lacking the tools to ensure the effective rehabilitation of inmates, our program is designed to aid men and women wishing to improve themselves and to offer an outlet for their creativity.

We step through the isolation and alienation of prison life to bring hope and foster a sense of community among the prisoners who participate. While most of our efforts are concerned with reaching into prisons with artistic and educational programs, another important component of our program is helping prisoners reach over the walls to communicate with those of us in the “free world”. We seek to present prisoners as real people rather than statistics. By furthering understanding of the prison experience, we hope to encourage more public discussion regarding the present-day model for incarceration.

This web site offers an opportunity to learn more about the programs Prisoner Express is currently offering, and, more importantly, a chance to read the writings and view the artwork of prisoners who are enrolled in our programs. We invite you to learn about the prison experience through their writings and artwork.



Celebrate People’s History Posters

CPH art show

The Alternatives Library is now distributing Celebrate People’s History poster series, printed by the Just Seeds Artist Cooperative. We use these posters to fund raise for the library, while also spreading images to celebrate people’s history.

Pictures speak 1,000 words–and the poster series (over 100 posters total!) contain a vast history of social movements, people’s empowerment, and resistance. This is a perfect fit for our library, as much of our material (Howard Zinn‘s book A People’s History of the United States for one) explores in-depth many of the issues portrayed in the poster series.

To bring the Celebrate People’s History poster series to your event, business, gallery, or community center – contact us; alt-lib@cornell.edu

Check out the Celebrate People’s History Poster Book of Resistance & Revolution




The Mobile Circulation Desk:


Just what it sounds like. We bring library materials out of the library and set up a table. From this table people can sign up for new cards, check out items, and make requests. If you’d like to bring us to your event, we can even tailor our mobile collection to specific topics and such.

Contact us alt-lib@cornell.edu to request the circ. desk.

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Since in 1974, the Durland Alternatives Library has been providing materials which are not commonly found through mainstream media channels. With our vast collection of books, zines, documentaries, feature films, music, books on tape/cd, and periodicals, we create a space that nurtures dialogue and promotes a radical, “connect the dots” approach to social change. Learn More About

The Alternatives Library is a project partner of the Center for Transformative Action


Open 7 Days a Week!
Monday - Thursday
11:00 am - 8:00 pm*
Friday 11:00 am - 6:00pm
Weekends (Sat, Sun) 11:00 am - 5:00 pm

PARKING: Free parking after 5pm & all day weekends! Otherwise, metered parking across the street at Williard Straight Hall.

*Open Late on Sundays 7-11pm during Bound for Glory.

Our hours are subject to change during semester breaks.
Feel free to call anytime, 607-255-6486


Renew your items by logging in HERE;

You may also renew your items by e-mailing alt-lib@cornell.edu or by phone 607-255-6486 Most items have a 2 time renewal limit.

You can return your materials after hours in our drop box in Anabel Taylor Hall, Greenstar Co-op, or at any Finger Lakes Library System library.


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