Since January 13, Boston has been home to New England’s only general Spanish-language bookstore, but Librería Donceles will soon close as swiftly as it opened. That’s part of the point for New York City artist, author, and educator Pablo Helguera, who created the used bookstore as an art installation intended to highlight both the disappearance of used bookstores and the widespread unavailability of Spanish-language books in the United States.

“In this landscape where we see small bookstores disappearing all the time, and we contemplate a future where there might not be bookstores at all, I felt that maybe the only way that this project would happen is as an artwork,” Helguera says.

The installation first opened at Manhattan’s Kent Fine Art Gallery in 2013, with 20,000 volumes culled from donations, purchases, and Helguera’s own library. Not long after, Helguera started getting calls to bring the bookstore to other cities. At first, he wasn’t sure it would be possible. “Imagine moving your house every two months,” he says. “And when you are moving, the worst part is the books.” In the end, however, he agreed.

Over the past four years the itinerant bookstore has made stops in numerous cities, including Chicago, Miami, San Francisco, and Seattle. By the time it reached Indianapolis in 2016, Helguera was ready to bring the project to an end. Those plans changed when Stella Aguirre McGregor, executive director of Boston’s literature- and arts-focused Urbano Project, urged him to bring the bookstore to Boston.

At first, Helguera demurred. Despite a longtime love for the city’s literary culture, he told McGregor that the logistics would be daunting. She would need to help ship books, shelves, furniture, lamps, and artwork from Indianapolis; 27 boxes of books would have to be retrieved from the Mexican Cultural Center in New York City; and donations would be needed to replenish the depleted stock.

Helguera agreed to listen to McGregor’s request once she had the logistics worked out, and in January, Librería Donceles opened in Boston for one final exhibition. It has been so successful that Helguera and McGregor decided in mid-February to extend its stay by a month. It will close in late April.

Librería Donceles draws from influences as varied as Helguera’s mother’s living room to the now-closed Bookman’s Alley in Evanston, Ill., which the artist frequented as a student. But the main inspiration is Calle de Donceles, a street in Mexico City’s historic district that boasts some of the most renowned bookstores in the Spanish-speaking world.

On the surface, the current installation has all the appearances of a community bookshop. There are weekly events and books piling up on the counter. But there is no inventory or formal pricing scheme, and there is an unusual rule for customers: readers are limited to one book purchase per day. “We want to place a lot of emphasis on the selection process,” Helguera says. “We want to value the book as an object.”

As a result, some readers come back daily. Alongside native Spanish speakers are many English speakers looking to work on their Spanish. For Helguera, who sees monolingualism as “a big problem in this culture,” that outpouring of interest has been a source of excitement.

With its success, Librería Donceles has brought attention to the scarcity of Spanish-language bookstores across the country. Data are limited, but in a recent interview with the magazine Houstonia, Tony Diaz, owner of Houston’s newly opened Nuestra Palabra Art & Books, claimed that there are only five “Latino-focused” bookstores in America.

In New England, the recent closure of Schoenhof’s Foreign Books, the nation’s largest foreign-language bookstore, raised questions about whether an all-Spanish-language general trade bookstore could succeed in the region. Helguera believes that it could. He points to the nation’s growing Latino population and the success of other Spanish-language media as signs that there is a market for print media as well.

McGregor agrees. At the very least, she thinks, “it could be viable to have a more substantial section in the Spanish language” in one of the area’s existing bookstores.

Librería Donceles has already helped add to the permanent roster of Spanish-language bookshops elsewhere in the country. After visiting the Librería during its stay at Arizona State University in 2014, Phoenix bookseller Rosie Magaña opened Palabras Librería Bookstore. She credits Librería Donceles for inspiring her to do it.

In Boston, the Librería is talking with children’s publisher Candlewick Press about possibly working together. The publisher, based in nearby Somerville, Mass., is releasing a growing number of Spanish-language and dual-language titles and participating in efforts to help get more Spanish-language titles into the hands of young readers, according to Phoebe Kosman, Candlewick’s assistant director of marketing, publicity, and events. When Candlewick president and publisher Karen Lotz heard about Helguera’s project, she reached out to the Urbano Project’s McGregor right away. The two are currently in conversations about working together in some capacity on an aspect of the Librería. Interest in the project also has McGregor considering ways to keep a small book selection at the front of the Urbano Project after the Librería closes at the end of April.

At the heart of it, says Helguera, that’s why he created the Librería. Books are “critical to becoming a global citizen in this globalized world,” he notes. “It’s very important to see how other worlds think and how other realities can be perceived.”