Friday, September 29, 2017

thinking about the ideas of safe in libraries for #glamblogclub

As Terry Pratchett wrote in Soul Music
The Library didn't only contain magical books, the ones which are chained to their shelves and are very dangerous. It also contained perfectly ordinary books, printed on commonplace paper in mundane ink. It would be a mistake to think that they weren't also dangerous, just because reading them didn't make fireworks go off in the sky. Reading them sometimes did the more dangerous trick of making fireworks go off in the privacy of the reader's brain. This quote demonstrates the safety to explore a wide range of ideas in libraries.

Thinking about this post and the idea of libraries as safe places has also made me think back to my post about silence as some of those who are silent/silenced in the library may also not feel that that library is safe, or that it saves their stories for the community. 

There has been a lot of discussion about libraries being neutral places (for example this and this). I am not convinced that libraries have ever really been neutral, as often it is those who have not been excluded who are writing about the neutrality of libraries.The discussion of neutrality is not always accompanied by discussion of libraries as safe places.  Sometimes it is not possible for the library to be both safe and neutral, and safe should not be sacrificed.  Safe was sacrificed for decades in libraries in the south in the USA (Not Free, Not for All: Public Libraries in the Age of Jim Crow - is an amazing and disturbing book to read) although they also may not have said they were neutral.  This is true in other places around the world where there have been (or maybe still are) restrictions on who can use the space, or the library intimidates (by the building, by the staff...).  Libraries should be safe places to go to.

They should be safe places to explore ideas, without risk of harm.  Libraries should also make sure their client data is safe, and that as much other data as possible is open for people to use.  Digitising and collecting digital content can be ways to make information available (but often isn't as people choose copyright over open creative commons licenses). If your organisation owns the copyright on something, they can choose to make it widely available while it is still in copyright.

Maker spaces are a great way for people to explore ideas and to experiment (and yet they need to safe so that people are not injured). Libraries should be safe for staff (think work health safety, not bullied, support from managers) and all who use them (in the library and online).

The tweet, below, shows libraries as a safe place to explore literacy.

Read more about Dr Carla Hayden, and the importance of libraries as safe places (repositories). There continues to be much destruction of libraries, both by war and by neglect (including inadequate funding).

Neil Gaiman says "Libraries really are the gates to the future" (go and read the whole article here) Libraries should be a safe place to explore a wide range of ideas, and this includes through collections, services and programs, and this can lead to a very wide range of outcomes.  There is much more to ponder on this idea, but I am almost out of September to write it in. 

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Welcome Blanket at Smart Museum (and some nifty cataloguing)

The Smart Museum in Chicago is having what is described as an artistic action.

On the museum website it says:
Welcome Blanket is a crowd-sourced artistic action that calls for over 3,000 blankets to be knit from 3,500,640 yards of yarn, a length equal to the proposed border wall dividing the United States and Mexico. Welcome Blanket invites participants to knit, crochet, or sew the blankets for new immigrants as well as for refugees seeking resettlement and send them with personal notes of welcome and stories of immigration to the Smart Museum of Art.

You can read more about it on the museum blog.

You can see the catalogue in this image from Instagram, and you can see the online catalogue by scrolling down at this link.

You can see how people are sharing their #welcomeblanket photographs

This is an impressive collaboration, and I really like how quickly the museum is cataloguing the material, as the catalogue keeps changing and being updated.  I figure this is part of the whole art experience, but this is an art experience with practical outcomes.  I had a look at the representation on Instagram of #wrapwithlove as I thought aspects of #welcomeblanket sounded similar to Wrap with love.

A key difference is the documentation and cataloguing. I have not found a library which photographs each wrap and includes the photograph in the local studies collection.  If anyone knows of this happening, I would be very interested to hear. I really like the #welcomeblanket for what is doing as an 'artistic action', and I really like the way the Smart Museum is cataloging all the wraps.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

#rakowinspired from @corningmuseum

The Corning Museum of Glass, is an amazing museum. They are continue to profile the library at the museum, the Rakow Research Library. Recently on the museum Instagram account, they have been encouraging people to share their #rakowinspired work. This is a lovely way to share work inspired by the library at the museum (which is why I did a storify of it).

Monday, September 11, 2017

#thegreatmnknittogether and local studies potential

Here is a storify of the #thegreatmnknittogether which was planned and implemented for the recent Minnesota State Fair. It is a wonderful tale of collaboration and hard work.  The photographs are one way to record the state fair. The items knitted also demonstrate social history, and perceptions in the community. I am hoping the local public library is collecting some of this information, as it would be an interesting inclusion in local studies.

The first video in the storify has more information about this.