June 6, 2013

Seattle Public Library sets record for longest book domino chain


The world’s longest book domino chain, at the Seattle Public Library on May 31.

To kick off its summer reading program, the Seattle Public Library set out to break one of the great literary records: the longest book domino chain in the world. If you ever lined up your dominos as a kid in order to knock them down in a perfect chain reaction, you’ll be familiar with the principle behind this, and more importantly, the frustration that boils up when you knock the whole thing over prematurely or if the chain fizzles out before completing its run.

The library brought in two college students, Luke Greenway and Laura D’Asaro, to design and execute the chain, along with 27 volunteers who set up the 2,131 books. According to one of the two organizers, who answered questions under the name “agentpebble” on Reddit (I gather from context that it’s Greenway but couldn’t swear to it), the whole process was completed in a day, with most volunteers arriving after the library closed at 6 P.M. last Friday, and the chain successfully knocked down by 11:30 P.M. that night. Per agentpebble, it took five attempts to build it, as sections would occasionally collapse, but they had wisely left occasional gaps to prevent a complete collapse.

You can see the full video right here, and be prepared for a couple tense moments at about 1:36 and 1:51 when it seems like the whole thing might just come to a halt:

The chain was built and executed at the Seattle Public Library’s central branch, which is a cool building and worth checking out even when they’re not knocking down thousands of books in succession. The books that were used were all earmarked to be part of a library sale, so thankfully, nobody was tasked with the arduous task of re-shelving them.


Nick Davies is a publicist at Melville House.