That’s What She Said at Public Assembly


2012: Year of the Dragon, Year of 30th Olympiad, and year of outrageous lady hating. It seems almost silly to point out areas where women are particularly marginalized, because the past few months have brought us this, this, and who could forget this?

But most of think of the arts as a kinder, gentler, or at least better and more gender equal place. Oh, but this guy thinks that women can’t be funny, and (some) people seem to…like him? His “argument” isn’t even worth debating, but here’s a debate you might have time for: why are women so underrepresented in the literary arts?  Women who choose to pursue careers in comedy or in writing are bravely facing obstacles that their (straight) male counterparts are unlikely to ever experience. And I’m being really generous with the use of the word “unlikely.” And what of the women who do both? Women who tell jokes in public and write books? These women should be celebrated, cheered, given their own day, their own year even (2013 is available). Well, the Desk Set can at least give them a couple of hours. Jumping off my high horse just in time to have some fun and invite you to :

the Desk Set & the G.L.O.C. present

That’s What She Said:
Conversations with Women Writers/Comics

Wednesday, September 19, 2012 7:00PM

Public Assembly’s back room

Glennis McCarthy, of the Gorgeous Ladies of Comedy (G.L.O.C), will moderate a panel discussion with women navigating the worlds of both comedy and literature. Panelists include legendary SNL cast member Rachel DratchElna Baker (The Moth, This American Life, Studio 360, Radiolab),Kambri Crews (92Y, UCB, the Moth, Ochi’s Lounge), and Karen Bergreen (Gotham, Comic Strip, Caroline’s)

That’s What She Said is part of EtceteraPublic Assembly‘s week long festival of art, talks, films, comedy, learning, music and dancing.

This event, like many of the Et Cetera events is FREE.

(But bring cash if you want to buy a book!)



7:00 PM

Public Assembly

70 North 6th Street

Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Rachel Dratch grew up in Lexington, Massachusetts, attended Dartmouth College, and spent nine years in the Chicago improv scene, eventually making it to the Second City mainstage, where she worked with Adam McKay, Tina Fey, Scott Adsit, and Kevin Dorff among others. Starting in 1999, Rachel famously spent seven seasons as a cast member of Saturday Night Live. After leaving SNL, Rachel has performed in various TV, film and theatre projects. Last spring, she published her first book, the memoir Girl Walks Into a Bar…

Elna Baker is a writer and comedic storyteller. She’s appeared on The Moth Radio Hour, This American Life, BBC Radio 4, All Things Considered, WTF with Marc Maron, Studio 360, The Sound of Young America, and at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater. She’s written for ELLE, Glamour and Men’s Journal among others. Her memoir The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance was published by Penguin, earning four stars in People Magazine and the 2010 AML award for best humor writing. She’s also the co-host and co-creator of The Talent Show, recently named best variety show by New York Magazine.

Kambri Crews once lived with her deaf parents in a tin shed in Montgomery, Texas. She now runs her own PR and production company in New York City, books comedy for the 92YTribeca, and is the author of the critically acclaimed memoir Burn Down the Ground (Random House). A renowned storyteller and public speaker, Kambri has performed on The Moth’s Mainstage, The 92Y, SXSW Comedy, Risk!, UCB Theatre, Gotham Comedy Club and given speeches at SXSW, DeafHope, and many other schools, colleges, venues and events.

Karen Bergreen, a mainstay in the New York City comedy clubs, has been invited twice to perform at HBO’s U.S. Comedy Festival in Aspen, Colorado and the Great American Comedy Festival at the Johnny Carson Theatre in Norfolk, Nebraska.  Karen has appeared on Comedy Central, The Oxygen Network, and The Joy Behar Show, and Law & Order. Her 2010 comic novel Following Polly earned praise from The New York Times, Oprah Magazine, and her mother-in-law.  Her newest novel Perfect is Overrated came out in July.

Glennis McCarthy (nee McMurray) is a New York Times profiled comedian, actress and founder of, a community-building website for women in comedy. At 19, Glennis moved from a trailer park in Colorado to New York City with a degree in manicurist…ing. [Nails.] She survived a 93-year-old French roommate with Dementia; a customer service job opening mail containing used condoms; a winter in Jersey City on $200 a week; an almost marriage; lots and lots of credit card debt; a celebrity boyfriend; a blue album; and an eventual emersion as the FIERCE butterfly you see before you. She is writing a book about it and yes, mom, you will be in it.

Calling All Library School Students in NYC!

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Essay Contest Worth $200

Due Date September 21st 2012.

What is the role of the librarian in the city?

1000-1200 words

Urban Librarians Unite (ULU) is holding an essay contest to award $200 to go towards books and supplies for one brilliant libraryschool student who has ground breaking ideas and is ready to speak to the work of the library in the city.

Hit us with the good stuff, let’s hear wild ideas and big big thoughts. Students are a vital voice in library theory and scholarship. We want to hear your biggest boldest thoughts and grandest aspirations.

OK, having said all that, we gots some rules, that is fair right? We are librarians, we LIKE rules.

ULU Essay Contest Rules
– All entrants must either live in New York City or attend a Library/Information Science program at an accredited library school based in New York City.
– All entrants must be enrolled in a course of study pursuant to postgraduate education in Library/Information Science (“Library School”)
– Essays should be 1000 – 1200 words
– Essays should be on the topic/question given for that semester only
– One essay per person, per semester
– No repeat submissions of the same essay in different semesters
– Winners may compete again in subsequent semesters
– All essays will be considered anonymously
– Please follow formatting rules
– Winning essay will be published on
– Runner up essays will be published on at the discretion of the organization and the essay author
– Contest winners shall receive a $200 cash prize for use in purchasing books and supplies for the pursuit of postgraduate library and information science education

Formatting Rules
– Please submit all essays as MS Word 2003 documents
– Please put your name and the name of your institution at the top of the first page of your essay
– Do not put your name in the header or footer of the essay
– Use APA formatting for text and citations

Think Big! Knock Us Out!

Thomas J. Watson Library hosts Karolina Waclawiak

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and YOU are invited! The Thomas J. Watson Library is a fantastic resource available mostly to museum staff and other registered researchers. One of the perks of signing up on the Desk Set list is the chance to sneak a peak at libraries like this one, and Desk Setters were treated to a fascinating tour a few years ago. We’re pleased to say we’ve been invited back for wine, cheese, and fiction. Hope you can make it, and if you can, RSVP to soon as space is limited.

Here are the details from our pals at at the Watson:

The Thomas J. Watson Library at the Metropolitan Museum of art invites you for an afternoon with Karolina Waclawiak, author of How To Get Into the Twin Palms. Karolina, Deputy Editor of The Believer and Watson Library visiting researcher, will read from her highly-acclaimed novel and will engage in a conversation with the audience. We will also feature related books from our collection for you to browse.  Wine and snacks will be served. Limited space is available!

What: Thomas J. Watson Library presents Karolina Waclawiak, author of How To Get Into the Twin Palms

When: Tuesday, September 11th 4:00 – 5:30

Where: Watson Library, The Metropolitan Museum of Art (meet at the Group Desk in the Great Hall)

RSVP: by Friday, September 7th.

How to Get into the Twin Palms


“Waclawiak takes the immigrant novel and spins it on its head. A great addition to 1.5 generation literature, beautifully written, funny and touching.”
-Gary Shteyngart

It was a strange choice to decide to pass as a Russian. But it was a question of proximity and level of allure. Russians were everywhere in Los Angeles, especially in my neighborhood, and held a certain sense of mystery. I had long attempted to inhabit my Polish skin and was happy to finally crawl out of it. I would never tell my mother. She only thought of them as crooks and beneath us. They felt the same about us, we were beneath them. It had always been a question of who was under whom.

Anya stalks the nearby Twin Palms nightclub, the pinnacle of exclusivity in the Russian community. Desperate not only to gain entrance into the club but to belong there, Anya begins a perilous pursuit for Lev, a Russian gangster who frequents the seemingly impenetrable world of the Twin Palms.

Book Trailer:

How To Get Into the Twin Palms is hilarious and deeply moving, providing a humorous twist on the typical immigrant tale of belonging.

“Anya’s story strikes with the creeping suddenness of a brush fire.”
– Starred Review, Publisher’s Weekly

Waclawiak writes about loneliness, isolation, and determination in a refreshing and quirky way.  – New York Magazine

Author of the Week – The Week

One of Marie Claire’s Favorite Reads –

10 Novellas Perfect for Literary Lounging, Flavorpill NYC

As seen in the New York Times, Flavorpill, The Rumpus, Marie Claire, HTML Giant, The Week, as well as others.

About the Author

Karolina Waclawiak: Karolina Waclawiak received her MFA in fiction from Columbia University. She is the Deputy Editor of The Believer and lives and writes in Brooklyn.

Fold, Staple, Share at Brooklyn College

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Flyer by zine interns Sarah Rappo and Erica Saunders

The poster really does say it all, and in perfect zineish fashion!

Get yourself to the opening reception for  Fold, Staple, Share: Highlights from the Brooklyn College Library Zine Collection, an exhibition celebrating the newly opened collection. The opening celebration includes refreshments and readings from Brooklyn zinesters Kate AngellElvis Bakaitis, Tommy Pico, and Kate Wadkins, as well as Brooklyn College students Afrah Ahmed, Emma Karin Eriksson, and Tzirel Norman, among others.

The exhibition will run throughout the summer and fall semesters, but don’t miss the opening event, which represents the official unveiling of this extraordinary zine collection.

Tuesday, July 31 from 7:00pm to 9:00pm

Brooklyn College Library’s Christoph M. Kimmich Reading Room (1st floor)

About the Brooklyn College Library Zine Collection:

The Brooklyn College Library Zine Collection specializes in zines that relate to Brooklyn, zines by Brooklyn College students and alumni, zines about zines, and other zines that relate to the student body and curriculum of Brooklyn College. The Zine Collection was founded in 2011 by Alycia Sellie, Media and Cultural Studies Librarian at Brooklyn College Library, with assistance from two cohorts of summer zine interns: Devon Nevola and Robin Potter (2011), and Sarah Rappo and Erica Saunders (2012). Whenever possible, two copies of each zine are collected: one will be in the open browsing collection, accessible whenever the library is open; the other will be placed in Special Collections at the library, accessible by appointment.

For more information on the Brooklyn College Library Zine Collection, please contact Alycia Sellie at, (718) 758-8217, or visit

They Spin for Us, We Flip for Them

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After the hottest spring and summer on record, it’s hard to even remember what passed for our most recent winter here in Brooklyn. But many months ago, we partied with the library crowd at the fine Bell House, sipping lit themed cocktails, dressed to the nines in some old-fashioned Noir splendor. Biblioball 2011 was the latest of the Desk Set’s dance parties, and over the years we’ve engaged the (100% volunteer) services of some of NYC’s best and loveliest DJs. Whether at DDLR or Biblioball, these gals and guys have been so great to us over the years, making sure we get funding into the hands of amazing organizations like Literacy for Incarcerated Teens and Books Through Bars.

Matt Fiveash at Daddy's, Mardi Gras 2009

Good news, friends: you don’t have to wait for the next Desk Set bash to catch some of these fine purveyors of classic soul, rock, boogaloo, alt-pop and nearly every other genre of music you love. They’re all quite busy doing their thing all year long. Here’s where you can catch of few of them this summer, online and in real life.

  • Mr. Matt Fiveash can be found on the first Wednesday of every month at our favorite Graham Avenue haunt Daddy’s. And for the agoraphobic (or anyone else who enjoys listening from home), tune in on Thursdays from 1:00-3:00 PM on WFMU’s Rock & Soul Ichiban Stream.
  • Rob Dyrenforth DJs a regular gig in Greenpoint at NoName bar, 597 Manhattan Ave every 2nd, 3rd and 4th Sunday every month from 10p to 3a. And, you can find him playing records from time to time at Hotel Delmano on Berry St.  This month, he’ll be there on the 14th (tomorrow!) and 24th.

Check back next week for more details about some of our other favorite record spinners and their whereabouts!

Announcing the Radical Librarian Reading Group

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Here’s a cool opportunity to read some radical library texts and discuss them with fellow lib types. From some MLIS students at Queens:

Hi there,

A Radical Librarians Book Club will be starting on Sunday, July 22, at Bluestockings Bookstore on the Lower East Side. We will be meeting at 2pm, on the 3rd Sunday of every month.

Our book for July 22nd is Questioning Library Neutrality: Essays from Progressive Librarians and is available for sale at Bluestockings. The book for our second meeting, on August 19, is Make Your Own History: Documenting Feminist and Queer Activism in the 21st Century.

The Radical Librarians Book Club is a group of aspiring and current librarians, anyone in the information science field, and people who are invested in re-envisioning the traditional library.  We seek to examine issues of librarianship from a radical, politically-focused perspective, and build community within the field. We look forward to reading such texts as Radical Cataloging, Revolting Librarians Redux, and more.

Feel free to come check it out, and bring your ideas for future books/discussions.
Email us at with questions, or to get on our mailing list (1 email per month, announcing the upcoming books).

Hope to see you there,
Elvis Bakaitis, Erica Saunders, and Sarah Rappo
(Current students in Queens College LIS program)

Lessons from 48 Hours of ReadIn

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  • Layering is key, bring something for rain just in case.
  • Don’t pontificate. If your words are not written on the page in front of you nobody wants to hear them. You can read ANYTHING and people will find cause to respect you for it but offer up a polemic and you are gonna get shouted down.

  • 5AM is bad but 6AM is worse.

  • Food and coffee are your friends.

  • Brooklyn Public Library are the most wonderful hosts in the world. Security are great and thank God for the bathrooms.

  • People really do like to help out and support libraries.
  • At 3AM picture books can scare the crap out of you and Our Bodies Ourselves can be freaking hilarious.

  • It is a lot of fun, people get into it and stick with you and help out in really surprising ways.
  • The Read In is a feast, a literary banquet that goes around the clock. It is as just as fascinating to see what people bring to the table as it is to hear the words they share.


UniRead Rocked, More to Come

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The UniRead this past Saturday was an incredible, vibrant, and unique event. The weather was gorgeous, the sky was blue, the sun was shining, it was an utterly marvelous day for a library protest. The event hinged on this idea of having multiple readers recite the same text translated into different languages simultaneously. We chose the first chapter of the first Harry Potter as the text as there are so many great translations available and there is a built in audience/fan base both in the library world and in the wider public. The Unisphere is a great backdrop and it could not have been a more Queens event.

Getting the texts was a task in itself and we were fortunate in our contacts there. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone has been translated into over 80 languages. While you would think that the libraries of New York City would offer these up in the blink of an eye we only found about ten languages available on the shelves in circulation. Our good friends the dauntless workers of ILL were able to come up with another half a dozen or so as well. In the midst of the prep we came across a reference to a professor of Russian at the University of Calgary, Nicholas Žekulin who had a complete set. On an outside chance we reached out to him and he leaped to help. He has been an utter delight to work with, furiously scanning languages to match readers for us turning text around overnight. Thank you Professor Žekulin!

On the day we had readers in: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Irish, Italian, Korean, Lithuanian, Russian, Spanish, and Thai. The readers started off together and it was an incredible babel brought to life. It was just a jumble of language, a tumble of tone and inflection. You would hear the words Dursley, or Dumbledore, pop up occasionally but mostly it was just a wonderful welter of linguistics.

This event also marked the first appearance of Bonnie the Bookworm and her nemeses the Budget Birds. Bonnie is a hard working library professional just trying to do her job, help people, and hang out with her boyfriend Carl the Caterpiller (he’s in a band…so hot). Those Budget Birds keep pecking at her, messing with her storytimes, keeping the books away, and generally stressing her out. Bonnie doesn’t want to get a pink slip and neither do you!

This was the first stunt of the season but there are others in the works, big ones, fun ones. We would love to have you come out and join us. Our events are fun, lively, literary activism. We would love to see you there.

Libraries have taken a serious hit in the budget, let’s not forget that. There is a feeling in the air that “the money will be restored”. While we should all hope for the best at all times this is no reason to be complacent. We got cuts restored for the last two years due to a lot of hard work by a lot of people. If we don’t get out there and fight for our slice of the budget pie you can bet that someone else will be trying to take it right off our plate.

Don’t let the Budget Birds peck poor Bonnie. Please join us, get a postcard in, get lots of postcards in, come out, get active.

The third 24 Hour Read In to protest budget cuts will be held on June 9th & 10th from 4PM to 4PM at the Brooklyn Public Library Central Library in Grand Army Plaza. Please join us there.

To volunteer please contact, or

BINGO for a Great Cause

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Greetings from the Bibliobeat, here today with news from our friends at Books Through Bars:

Books Through Bars Annual Bingo Fundraiser (!!!)

Join Books Through Bars NYC for our annual Bingo Fundraiser.

WHEN: Saturday Jan. 28th. Doors open @ 7pm

WHERE: The Brecht Forum — 451 West Street (that’s the West Side Highway) between Bank & Bethune Streets


Prizes include gift certificates and treats from: Angelika Cinema, Anthology film archives, Babycakes, Book Thug Nation, Bluestockings, Criterion Films, Earth First Journal!, the IFC Center, the Feminist Press, the New Press, and many more!

Free entry; $1 per card to play. Beverages will be available. ALL PROCEEDS used to buy postage to send free books to prisoners.

The Brecht Forum is accessible by A, C, E, 1, 2, 3 trains.

Books B Q Three (third time’s a charm)


You could win your own garden gnome, we think he has kind eyes

Come one come all to the Books B Q Three October 2nd from 4 to 7:30. Ten bucks gets you a plate of food and a chance to help protect libraries in New York City. We’ve tried to do this twice and got sheeting thunderstorms the first time around and a goldurn hurricane the second. This time though we are confident that we will be graced with lovely autumnal weather for a great late season BBQ. Come out and enjoy pleasant company and some of the last outdoor eating of the season, all for a good cause.

Our cause is Urban Librarians Unite and the Save NYC Libraries Campaign that they put on. These are the people who do the 24 hour read in at BPL and who hugged the Schwarzman. They are looking to ramp up their efforts and keep that pressure on for libraries in the city. They were part of a huge win back last year and they are not letting up. They need cash to campaign though so your ten bucks will go to bigger and better rallies and protests.

Relationship therapy

We have the pleasure and privilege of having Vermont Country Store as a partner this time around and they have donated dozens of fantastic prizes for the raffle. There is all kinds of oldey timey goodness fun up for grabs and it might be your lucky day.

It is going to be a fun time for a good cause. Come join us and raise a glass, and your voice, for libraries in the city.

So many pickles

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