RR Anderson, DIY Cultural Arts Specialist

Jun. 17, 2012 at 8:41pm

BEHOLD, Central Tacoma Free-Radical Media Exchange

Take Something / Leave Something. Sharing = Empowerment!

LOCATED in the alley off South 19th between Oakes & Anderson st.



  • DVDs
  • USED BOOKS (with strange messages scrawled in pages)
  • ZINES! - coming soon
  • MIX cassette Tapes

Greatest public library collection of VHS tapes in all of Central Tacoma!

take something, leave something! Sharing = Empowerment!

BEHOLD, our latest community-building new urbanist creation! WHY? Mostly in protest of the Central Tacoma Martin Luther King Jr. Library being closed down and sold for scrap. But that is just the beginning... Oh FRIENDS!


City Council-member Marty Campbell delivered these surplus Stadium Video shelving units to Holistic Forge Works a couple of weeks ago. Kinda awkward to fit anything other than DVD or VHS tapes on them. 

Clean up nicely with paint

Too big for the American Museum of Alaskan Entrepreneurship... Where could they be installed?  What to do?

My back alley has a huge blank blue wall.  Not even graffiti artists will touch it. Perhaps they're scared away by the toddler lawnmower?  Even so, this would be a perfect fit for the huge shelving units.  Would need to be filled with items that you wouldn't mind being taken away by people who frequent alley ways. 

These days mostly we stream movies over the internet, or watch DVDs all on the laptop snuggled in bed.  So the VHS tape collection got banished to the garage.  Lots of good titles here, a shame to get rid of them in a less-than-spectacular way. 

Poor old TV + VCR.

OK,so I had the location location location. I had the tools, I had the goods, I had the will. Now I just needed a name to call this project.  In times of need I always turn to the chalkboard, my most treasured possession.

what to call it?

thus and so the Central Tacoma Free Radical Media Exchange (CTFRME) was born.


how about a "DIY customer service buzzer" to be installed under the shelving units. (spoiler alert: it will do nothing.)

donation slot for coins or whatever.  Figure I can install a slot in the alley and then a collection bin on the other side of the wall. I see the main expense of running the Media Exchange will be zip-lock bags to keep the tapes and box art nice and dry.

comments [99]  |  posted under community, exchange, holistic forge works, library, media, sharing, tacoma, tacomic


by NineInchNachos on 6/17/2012 @ 9:18pm
be kind, rewind.

by ChrisTopher on 6/17/2012 @ 10:28pm

by NineInchNachos on 6/18/2012 @ 9:58am
has been real fun so far!

by cisserosmiley on 6/18/2012 @ 10:25am
This works with VHS cassettes too

by fredo on 6/18/2012 @ 11:08am
I hope your idea works out.  

But are you really sure you want to be open 24 hours a day? You're inviting people to come onto your property in the middle of the night and sort of just wander around looking for "radical media exchanges?" I think you are inviting a lot of problems.

by NineInchNachos on 6/18/2012 @ 11:16am
well i've considered the risks.  Once we close and bolt the blast door, the alley is completely walled off... you could probably reach out your SUV window and pick stuff off these shelves from the alley which is already public access.  I consider this an art experiment.  It might go well, it might go bad. I think that is the exciting part.  Will keep record of how it goes here on this thread!

by Maria on 6/18/2012 @ 11:53am
Cool idea, RR. If I remember, I'll try to provide you with some free poetry next April during National Poetry Month.

That blank wall underneath might make a nice location for a hyperlocal mural project with rotating craftsmen displaying their mad skillz...

by NineInchNachos on 6/18/2012 @ 11:57am
Spaceship Kalakala Mural is on the to do list

by NineInchNachos on 6/18/2012 @ 12:09pm
Walmart has low low prices, but even low low prices can't compete against 100% FREE!

by seejane on 6/18/2012 @ 2:35pm
oh! cassette tapes! Our car has a cassette player and I'm sick of 'Tommy'
and I have things to share too

by tommyllew on 6/19/2012 @ 7:52am
Since it's Tacoma, could we include firearms, and also make it a free gun exchange? "Take a gun, leave a gun."

by NineInchNachos on 6/19/2012 @ 7:54am
and remove the profit motive from gun exchanges?    that's socialisimz !!! 

by cisserosmiley on 6/19/2012 @ 7:55am
And a bullet exchange in case you have to throw a gun in the bay, then you'll have a place to bring your unused ammo

by NineInchNachos on 6/19/2012 @ 11:36am
the only ammunition you need is in a book.

by NineInchNachos on 6/19/2012 @ 11:37am
not that there are real bullets in the books.. so don't go ripping them up looking for bullets for your 253 glock.

by tommyllew on 6/19/2012 @ 2:59pm
Saddens me that Austrian-made Glocks are symbolic of our town.
Makes you wish that some local entrepreneur would start a gun smithery right here in town, so that when you needed a gun you could buy local. You could sell them at farmer's markets, right between the henna tattoos and the tomato starts.
The .253 caliber Tacoma. It would be a natural. 

by NineInchNachos on 6/19/2012 @ 8:37pm
looks like somebody dropped off a bunch of CD's  !  
it's working!

by thriceallamerican on 6/19/2012 @ 9:35pm
Small collection of VHS coming soon. Good stuff, but our VCR has seen better days and I don't want to buy a new one (if such a thing is even possible).

by JesseHillFan on 6/20/2012 @ 7:38am
Do you accept spare World War 2 Panzerfaust anti tank launchers?

by NineInchNachos on 6/20/2012 @ 9:00am
think MEDIA comrade JHF

by thriceallamerican on 6/20/2012 @ 9:08am
(more seriously) National Geo magazines?

by NineInchNachos on 6/20/2012 @ 9:14am
you could try fitting them on there... shelves are about as deep as a DVD 

by cisserosmiley on 6/20/2012 @ 9:15am
USB sticks with demo songs on them?

by JesseHillFan on 6/20/2012 @ 9:16am
Porn mags acceptable?

by NineInchNachos on 6/20/2012 @ 9:23am
re@ usb sticks: cds might be more waterproof?
re@porn:  might have same fit-on-shelf problem as nat. geo mags

by NineInchNachos on 6/20/2012 @ 9:30pm
we just got a massive infusion of DVDs and books.  Anyone going on an airplane flight should swing by!

by L.S.Erhardt on 6/20/2012 @ 10:44pm
Something to consider adding to the Media Exchange?


I'm currently scouting locations for a dead drop...

by NineInchNachos on 6/21/2012 @ 9:14am

by NineInchNachos on 6/21/2012 @ 1:55pm
NEW dvds in stock!  

by NineInchNachos on 6/21/2012 @ 2:10pm
it was a beautiful thing waking up to this NPR news story


"It was the idea that culture in a democracy should be the property of
all the people," Eustis says, "regardless of their educational
attainment, regardless of their financial status or class status — that
everybody had the right to own the best that our culture had to offer.
And it's a beautiful vision that still lives."

by thriceallamerican on 6/21/2012 @ 2:22pm
You're gonna have to get some plexi sheets on those at some point, maybe hinged at the top, to limit weather damage!

by NineInchNachos on 6/21/2012 @ 2:25pm
I was thinkin' that same thing with magnets on the bottom.  or heavy plastic curtain?  our engineering department is working on it!

by NineInchNachos on 6/22/2012 @ 11:07am
WEATHER UPDATE!  First serious rain since installing the shelves.  stuff seems to be staying dry so far, but looks like a facebook friend is donating some fabric-store heavy-duty plastic for rain shield. 

stay tuned!

by Cloud on 6/23/2012 @ 1:21am
RR you are officially very cool. 

by NineInchNachos on 6/23/2012 @ 3:47pm
overnight an African buffalo wood carving has appeared in the collection.  We truly have the most diverse MEDIA exchange in Central Tacoma, possibly the face of the globe. 

by fredo on 6/23/2012 @ 5:01pm

nice workmanship on those repurposed stadium video shelves RR. hope your project is a big success.

by L.S.Erhardt on 6/23/2012 @ 11:34pm
What story does that Buffalo carving tell you, RR?

Also, Mr Fredo: Will you be contributing to the Media Exchange?

by fredo on 6/24/2012 @ 7:23am

Before I donate to a media exchange I usually try to make sure the exchange is handicapped accessable and has bathrooms available to the patrons. But once these minor details are addressed I don't see any problem with a contribution.

by ChrisTopher on 6/24/2012 @ 1:07pm
Why does a carved buffalo have to have a message? Sometimes a carved buffalo is just a carved buffalo.

by NineInchNachos on 6/24/2012 @ 1:42pm
you bring your own stories to the carved buffalo, and it considers them. 

by L.S.Erhardt on 6/24/2012 @ 7:18pm
I like RR's answer!

And Fredo sounds like a politician.

by NineInchNachos on 6/24/2012 @ 7:47pm
I have installed the heavy-duty transparent rain curtains!

by fredo on 6/24/2012 @ 8:35pm

I'm sending over some stuff for your radical library. Pretty soon you'll look out there and there will be 1000 copies of my highly rated book "Fredo's Favorite Sayings" and 1000 copies of my follow-up book "Things Fredo Likes" 

by JesseHillFan on 6/25/2012 @ 6:12am
Wow you already have those rain curtains installed.You have been busy.Perhaps I'll have to pick a day out to visit on my bicycle though I can't carry much cargo as of now (just panniers)..Besides you're only 2 miles away from where I reside.Probably sometime after the 4th of July.One day I hope to meet RRA (NiN) in person and say hi to you.

by ChrisTopher on 6/25/2012 @ 8:30am
I have many questions for the Carved African Buffalo, but I don't know where to start.

by Welshman Novelty Account on 6/25/2012 @ 4:27pm
Ca 'ch llyfrdy llyfr i mewn Cymraeg

by L.S.Erhardt on 6/25/2012 @ 6:41pm

by NineInchNachos on 6/26/2012 @ 1:12pm
like us on FaceHole!


by NineInchNachos on 6/26/2012 @ 1:18pm
new logo too.  (scroll back up to the top of page)

by Cheechmo on 6/26/2012 @ 1:24pm
Any 8-tracks in there, by chance?

by thriceallamerican on 6/26/2012 @ 1:31pm
Re: @RR: "like us on FaceHole!"

Would this not imply some sort of implicit endorsement by the CTFRME? What if Tim Farrell were to like it? What then?

by NineInchNachos on 6/26/2012 @ 1:38pm
one feminist book on tape.  So far no 8-tracks!  Thinking about adding a bunch of old CD rom / NES classic games though.

by NineInchNachos on 6/26/2012 @ 1:40pm
 Tim Farrell would have an unfair advantage over the other candidates, it would be a smart move!

by L.S.Erhardt on 6/26/2012 @ 1:59pm
If you have SNES games out there, I'll leave more than a 2 volume dictionary set and sci-fi novels.

by NineInchNachos on 6/27/2012 @ 5:20pm
new feature! 

by NineInchNachos on 7/2/2012 @ 10:22am
BOOKS ALERT: Vintage Kurt Vonnegut books! Mountain Biking Guide
Books! Constitutional Law Flash Cards! Cornel West books! John F
Kennedy Profiles In Courage!

by JesseHillFan on 7/2/2012 @ 1:42pm
RR's neighborhood has been hot lately.Some crime (B&E) nearby.Take care.Let's hope that it doesn't strike him.www.tacomacrime.org/ 

by NineInchNachos on 7/2/2012 @ 9:46pm
the new star trek movie lasted a night!

by NineInchNachos on 7/2/2012 @ 9:48pm
Death By Stars demo CD is hidden in there now too.

by thriceallamerican on 7/2/2012 @ 9:57pm
Might need to bring my bag o' VHS soon before all of the Vonnegut is gone! ...includes the original non-rejiggered Star Wars trilogy, and many other great movies.

by NineInchNachos on 7/2/2012 @ 10:10pm
  • community cork bulletin board
  • white LED xmas lights on a photo cell switch for night time retrieval
  • framed instructions w. QR codes
  • logo stickers for the media
  • library card pocket things?
  • chalk guest book / new releases?
  • stationary flash drive for ebooks?

by NineInchNachos on 7/6/2012 @ 9:32am


by Camaratii on 7/8/2012 @ 10:51pm
Dropped off some Lonely Planet books (all well traveled - the Ireland one was almost lost in Dublin!) and took a movie. Might have another round of inventory to add later this week.

Three suggestions, if I may...
1) A space for peripherals, e.g. USB cables, old thumb drives, etc. These are small and who among us hasn't scrambled for them at one point! 
2) Flashing neon!
3) It might not be immediately clear to some whether this is a lending library or a take a penny leave a penny type of deal. Might not hurt to clarify in any rules you post. 

Great work RR - hope this spreads like wildfire all over town!

by Camaratii on 7/8/2012 @ 10:54pm
Also...I suspect the political books were the possessions of former School Board candidate and subversive free radical Chris Van Vechten. I'm on to him and his parlor tricks! 

(And yes I want one...and that sweet Cory Doctorow novel.)

by NineInchNachos on 7/9/2012 @ 8:25am
good call!  thanks for your feedback comrade!

by NineInchNachos on 7/9/2012 @ 8:26am
John Hathaway commented on your post.John
wrote: "The Central Tacoma Free-Radical Media Exchange should thrive as
TPL's budget continues to shrink by $3.6 to $4.5 million this year.
Main branch could close to the public and be administrative only. Tell
'em you heard it here first!"

by L.S.Erhardt on 7/9/2012 @ 10:35am
The biggest branch with the freaking Northwest Room could become administrative only?


by L.S.Erhardt on 7/9/2012 @ 10:35am
The biggest branch with the freaking Northwest Room could become administrative only?


by NineInchNachos on 7/11/2012 @ 11:43pm


by NineInchNachos on 7/19/2012 @ 10:41pm
anyone ready for stickers? 

by Maria on 7/19/2012 @ 11:17pm
Nice logo. BTW saw this tonight and thought of the CTFRME.


It's the CBFRME, housed in hollowed-out logs.

by NineInchNachos on 7/21/2012 @ 12:43pm
all the shelves are pretty much filled to self sustaining levels.

what is next for our little experiment ?

intangible media?   Pirate Radio ? 

by NineInchNachos on 7/21/2012 @ 12:43pm


by NineInchNachos on 7/21/2012 @ 12:48pm

by NineInchNachos on 7/27/2012 @ 11:23am



N 47° 14.614 W 122° 28.344

do you Geocache ?

by cisserosmiley on 7/27/2012 @ 5:53pm
You could have a qr that gives an email for patrons to send pics of themselves using the exchange

by NineInchNachos on 7/27/2012 @ 6:42pm
building the cork info board!

by NineInchNachos on 8/13/2012 @ 4:48pm
cork board has been installed. Please post stuff!

also stickers coming soon! should have them in hand at Frost Park!

by JesseHillFan on 8/13/2012 @ 5:00pm
Cool FM Radio kit RR.I even obtained 4 new rolls of EPA banned Lead Based Rosin Core that actually works that would be useful in building it.The new type of electronic solder is useless junk.I have built many kits or projects in the past even designing my own circuits and boards too.

by fredo on 8/13/2012 @ 5:04pm

RR, where would people who might want hire you to do some logo/art stuff go to look at some samples of your past work? We've all seen the cartoon stuff but where are samples of your commercial stuff located?

by NineInchNachos on 8/13/2012 @ 5:32pm
i've been posting regularly the results of 1 hour logo to my facebook... so far just word of mouth.  putting together a portfolio and online purchase google wallet thing for public consumption is on my TO DO LIST!   

by NineInchNachos on 8/13/2012 @ 5:33pm
(also working closely with a local printer) 

by NineInchNachos on 8/13/2012 @ 6:30pm
will keep you posted on any kit purchases JHF !

by Maria on 8/15/2012 @ 10:02pm

Apparently this is in Columbia or somewhere, but isn't it cool the micro public library concept is popping up all over the globe?

by fredo on 8/16/2012 @ 6:43am

The micro libraries without librarians are the modern day answer to high wage workers. They are kind of like spray parks and redbox machines. prospective employees need not apply

by NineInchNachos on 8/17/2012 @ 4:27pm
SUPER SECRET ALERT! dropped a cache of media exchange stickers on bluebeard Coffee newspaper table.  I now have over 700+ high quality media exchange stickers.  HO HO HO.

by NineInchNachos on 8/22/2012 @ 9:55am
I love this blog...


anyone speak french?

by NineInchNachos on 10/1/2012 @ 2:20pm
October has the shelves bursting with New media!


Come visit the stacks, bring a backback!

by NineInchNachos on 10/8/2012 @ 2:36pm
father bix brand sunflower seed kits available now at the media exchange...

by NineInchNachos on 10/27/2012 @ 9:02am
easter egg alert! 

by NineInchNachos on 11/8/2012 @ 3:28pm

Mobile CTFRME Helicarrier Maiden Flight @ bluebeards coffee roasters

by NineInchNachos on 11/12/2012 @ 2:50pm
Tacomic Book Vol. 001 available now in e-book form at the Central Tacoma Free-Radical Media Exchange!

by NineInchNachos on 12/17/2012 @ 7:59pm
CENTRAL TACOMA FREE-RADICAL MEDIA EXCHANGE is holding a contest among musical folks to invent a theme song for us!  You will win a prize if you post your CTFRME theme song to our FB page!

by NineInchNachos on 1/6/2013 @ 5:58pm
update!  we now have a periscope from which you can view the world's most unusual art gallery...

by NineInchNachos on 1/28/2013 @ 10:10pm
this is worth a listen


by NineInchNachos on 2/20/2013 @ 8:15am
instructional video about the CTFRME


by NineInchNachos on 4/30/2013 @ 1:46pm
I've been invited to present the library project at the city of neighborhoods event! www.facebook.com/events/454145094658505/...

by NineInchNachos on 7/30/2013 @ 10:27am
for the kids!


by JesseHillFan on 7/31/2013 @ 1:09pm
Great story RR that was a fun read.


political cartoonist Your Friendly Neighborhood Political Cartoonist


TIP LINE: email me, TWITTER OR CALL (253) 778-6786

RR Anderson is one of the most curious characters in the UFO lore and the history of underground cartooning. He fought bizarre underground beings in the caves of Alaska, was wounded by a laser before it was invented, and had a background with the clandestine branch of the Tacoma Cartoonists Society.

For seekers unafraid to be discernibly turgid in a time of drastic change, we recommend:

Tacomic Book volume 001


find me on Facebook



Holistic Forge Works


"may the great winged turtle flap her wind upon us all" ~ Dr. FA Neekburn, 1889

Recent Posts