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Monday, June 3, 2013

Seattle Public Library Claims to Break the World Book Domino Chain World Record

Posted by on Mon, Jun 3, 2013 at 4:25 PM

So this happened last Friday night:

Press release after the jump.

June 3, 2013


It took a total of seven hours of setup and five tries, but at around 11 p.m. Friday, May 31, The Seattle Public Library set the world’s record for the longest book domino chain. (Note: Confirmation pending from

The record-breaking event was held on the third floor of the Central Library, 1000 Fourth Ave. A total of 2,131 books followed a complex pathway that included ramps up and across book stacks, around a large planter in the center of the floor, up and down sets of stairs, bridges and more. At one point, one book has to fall from a shelf to the floor to continue the book domino chain. At different locations while the books are dropping, patrons are reading. One woman, for example, looks like she is reading at the beach, while another couple appears to be having a picnic and reading. A portion of the book domino chain spelled the word “read.”

The previous record of a 1,000-book domino chain was achieved by an organization called Responsible Fishing in the United Kingdom in 2011.

To video the Library’s world record, five film crew members and seven cameras were used, including a time lapse camera. Playfish Media in Seattle shot the video. Twenty-seven volunteers assisted with the setup of books.

Amy Twito, the Library’s youth program manager said the first attempt happened at about 8:15 p.m. “When the book chain was making its way around the planter, one book didn’t topple,” Twito said. “We weren’t prepared for that to happen, so when the chain kept going, people starting diving toward the books to stop the chain.” The book domino chain was a collaborative project between the Library and local residents Luke Greenway of Bryant/View Ridge and Laura D’Asaro of Sand Point’s Matthews Beach neighborhood. Greenway designed the book chain pathway.

D’Asaro, a Nathan Hale High graduate, just graduated from Harvard University and Greenway, a Roosevelt High graduate, will be a senior at Middlebury College in the fall.

The second and third attempts at breaking the record for the longest book domino chain involved minor technical difficulties. “We got really fast at setting the books back up after each failure,” Twito said.
Twito noted that the fourth attempt at around 10:15 p.m. was a heartbreaker. “It stopped about 10 books short of finishing,” she said. “There wasn’t the momentum in the chain to get the books up a set of stairs. There were lots of shoots of jubilation as it got near the end, and then a lot of groans.” Prior to any world record attempt, Twito said there was “lots of testing” of the ramps and bridges to ensure proper set- up and speed throughout the book chain.

At around 11 p.m., when the fifth try was successful, “everyone was jumping up and down, hugging and shouting,” Twito said. “Despite how tired we were at that point, everyone stayed to box up all the books, which had to be on the loading dock by midnight,” she said.

She noted that if it the fifth attempt had not been successful, there wouldn’t have been enough time to try again. “We had to be packed up and out of the building by midnight,” she said. “Everyone was so happy that we were able to break the record.”

Books used in the record-setting event can be purchased at upcoming Friends of The Seattle Public Library book sales. Each book will have a special sticker identifying that it helped set the book domino world record, as well as the Web address so the book buyer can watch the vide


Comments (7) RSS

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theophrastus 1
what an impressive alternate use of books.
what ever became of the whistle-blower that declared that the library leadership was denuding the shelves, essentially selling off the (non-electronic) collection? and/or how is the relationship between the Friends of the Library book sales as regards deals done with a third party book buyer?
Posted by theophrastus on June 3, 2013 at 4:42 PM · Report this
mikethehammer 2
I was kind of preparing to be annoyed at how there's now a world record for every single little action and event one can perform, no matter how ridiculous, or the extent to which it's nothing more than a perfunctory attention grab. But then that was pretty badass. Can't believe it was only 2,100 -- seemed like way more.
Posted by mikethehammer on June 3, 2013 at 5:17 PM · Report this
Max Solomon 3
i feel a little sorry for the kids that had to pose and not look at the awesomeness surrounding them.
Posted by Max Solomon on June 3, 2013 at 6:32 PM · Report this
The continuous soft slapping sound the books make as they fall is oddly and deeply satisfying to me. So is the cheering at the end.
Posted by katallred on June 3, 2013 at 10:36 PM · Report this
NotSean 5
Fun fact: The entire trail was in Dewey Decimal order.
Posted by NotSean on June 4, 2013 at 6:45 AM · Report this
Would not want to do the reshelving. But that was cool!
Posted by mizmojo on June 4, 2013 at 7:00 AM · Report this
I love how the domino chain can "fall" uphill, from the floor up onto the top of the bookshelf.
Posted by Eric from Boulder on June 4, 2013 at 7:30 AM · Report this

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