Photos, from School Library Journal's Chelsea Philpot, of Saturday and Sunday's 24-Hour Read in!
Day after day, when I still worked at the Forty-second Street branch of the public library, I saw the same young man, bearded, intense, cleaning his fingernails on the corners of the pages of a book. “What are you studying for?” I asked him once. The numbers were flashing over the counter as the books came up. “Research,” he said. “I’m writing my autobiography.” There are certainly odd people in that reading room—one who doodles the same bird endlessly on the back of a half of a single bank check, one who hums all the time, and one who keeps asking the other two to stop. A little pantomime concerto. I quit that job soon. The trouble is, I sometimes understand that research project. Or I did understand it. Then.
Thanks to Molly McArdle, who in her latest Classic Returns column at Library Journal pulls out this passage from Renata Adler’s Speedboat.
And might we suggest the passage to anyone looking to participate in the Urban Librarians Unite–sponsored 24 Hour Read at the Brooklyn Public Library (or any other library read-ins).
Librarians are out there making things just a little better one person at a time in the city around you. That is our service. You sleep easier at night knowing that the cops and firefighters are on the job, don’t you feel even a little better knowing librarians are working in your community as well? Nobody is suggesting that we risk our lives in the line of duty, we don’t. We are public servants like they are though and we do interact very directly with the public just as they do. Sometimes we have even more direct and frequent contact with the public than the siren services. In our quiet, anonymous way, we set our shoulder to the wheel of their problems and issues and we leverage all the knowledge and resources we can muster for them. We care, and that is why you should care.
— Christian Zabriskie, “Libraries in New York City: Why We Give a Damn and Why You Should Too” (via thelifeguardlibrarian)
I’m way late (somehow final projects and a zombie-themed rugby weekend got in the way) but wanted to update about the Urban Librarians Conference. There have been so many conferences that I’ve been reading and hearing about lately – this was a great way to dip my toes in the water.
My two favorite speakers were Wick Thomas and Steve Teeri, both librarians who create really cool spaces that allow their teens to sparkle. Wick works in Kansas City and mentors his teens as they create a literary magazine called Unheard Voices. Steve is in Detroit at the HYPE center and supervises a Makers Space that I am 100% jealous of. I’m also super late on the Makerspace and MakerFaire thing but they are just so freaking cool.
I also (obviously) met a ton of cool librarians, including Amy from Oakland California, Ingrid the Magpie Librarian, Rita of ScrewyDecimal and those who run LibrarianShipwreck. There was a good queer contingent (plus lots of glittery nail polish and dyed hair), which was not surprising but still refreshing.
Some of the ideas from Rebecca Lubin of the Albany Library included seeking out local movie theaters for the day-old popcorn (which is still tasty) to use for kids storytimes or movie hours. Another was to hold storytimes in local businesses, especially when the library is undergoing renovations.
You can also see Princeton Library Director Peter Bromberg’s presentation here. He created an innovative story to market the library, which stood out because I’ve been hearing so much about library advocacy and marketing this semester.
Afterwards, we went for a beer at Sepia. I’m so glad so many of my library pals realize that socializing can be as important as what gets absorbed via lectures. I realized I also need to get on some business cards for myself and would love suggestions on that front (Etsy? Staples?)
Here’s a good write up from SLJ if you want some pictures and the textbook definition of twerk, in case that was missing from your Sunday.
"The Volunteer Library Brigade is rolling out to the sidewalks, parks, and subway stations of New York City. These small teams will set up tiny mobile library carts in public spaces around the city and do on site volunteer library work. They will look stuff up, hand out books, do storytime for kids, offer directions, advocate for libraries, and more. The carts will have reference books, maps, giveaways, wifi, and free ebook downloads."
This rules. Sign up to volunteer at the link.
Urban Librarians Unite (ULU) collected more than 20,000 children’s books to help replace library collections damaged by Hurricane Sandy. The library advocacy and support group, founded by 2012 LJ Mover & Shaker Christian Zabriskie, also placed Mini Libraries in front of libraries that were closed by storm damage. Locations include Queens Library branches in Broad Channel and Seaside, and Brooklyn Public Library branches at Redhook, Coney Island, and Gerristen Beach.
The mini libraries hold about 100 books at a time, and ULU doesn’t expect any of them back.
“Our Mini Libraries will suffer from the same limitations as any little library,” ULU said on its website. “They could never be mistaken as an alternative to the branch libraries they substitute and intended to support. They do offer some comfort and succor, especially to kids and families, and they remind people that libraries–and their librarians–are nimble, caring and quick to respond to the needs of their communities.”
ULU rules. Give them your money.