Desk Set Sponsored Events, Dispatches from the Editors, Events from Other Orgs Brooklyn Public Library, Dance Dance Library Revolution, New York Public Library, Queens Library, Urban Librarians Unite 2 Comments
Walking towards the Brooklyn Public Library’s Love Your Library Day celebration this past picture perfect Saturday afternoon, I caught the eye of a passerby who smiled and said “Go buy a book for a dollar to support the library!” Indeed, that’s where I was headed, and partly why I was headed there, but hearing the suggestion from a stranger made it feel like an even more satisfying way to spend my afternoon. Now, she could have been a librarian or library worker. But I feel pretty certain she was a patron. One of the many patrons who turned up to sign petitions, listen to live music, buy some cheap books, and support the library. Sometimes it feels like the only people speaking up for libraries are librarians. But that’s way off. It’s not just about looking out for our jobs, or our colleagues, it’s about looking out for the millions of New Yorkers who see the value in an institution that wants to spread, share and celebrate information. Not for the price of a laptop, an iPad or a Kindle, but for free free free.
Despite what happened in Queens this week (see below), it is still important to let your voice be heard if you count yourself among the library lovers. And what better way to speak out than by throwing down vintage style with a pen and paper, and sending a postcard to the city council?
In case you are not friendly with Urban Librarians Unite on Facebook (and you really should be), here’s what our retroactivist hero Christian Zabriskie had to say:
If you haven’t heard the news 90 day notices of layoff have been handed out to hundreds of Queens Library staff. Over a third of the workforce of this year’s Library Journal Library of the year and the top circulating library system in America is being given notice this week.
Although it is tempting to give up, to throw up our hands and decry the ways of the world, we cannot allow ourselves to do so. We are at a crux in the history of libraries in New York City. Not only will dozens of libraries be closed if this budget goes through but hours on others will be so drastically slashed that the library will simply cease to be a regular part of those communities. It will go from a neighborhood resource and common area to another inconvenience in the city and people drop the library habit because it becomes simply too awkward. The kids will stop coming and parents will no longer automatically default to the library as rendezvous. That ebb and flow of the public which we all love so much will dry up.
On top of that this has the potential to be an incredible drain of library talent. A generation of up and coming library professionals, people with energy and ideas and so much potential, are being nipped off the vine just as they are coming into their professional potential. These people will either leave the profession or drift off somewhere else to some place where there are library jobs to be found, Oz perhaps or Wonderland. The point is, they won’t be with us, they won’t be serving our kids, teaching our elders, watching our forgotten. We will have to start all over again in the years to come when the budgets come eeking back, if they come back. If we have anyone left to care about getting money back for these dusty foreign stacks.
We will not go gentle into this good night. No my friends, we will keep getting out there, keep going to the rallies, and keep getting our postcards in. If they want to kill our libraries then let us drown them in our cards, shout them down, force them to see what they have the potential to lose and if, at the end of all that, the budget changes not a dime let us say that we did everything we could in the fight that was fought.
Thank you for your support. My deepest sorrow to everyone who got a letter this week from Queens and who stands to get a letter some week in the future from other Tri-Li libraries.
If you haven’t sent in a postcard yet, there is still time. And the Desk Set is trying to make it as easy and stylish as possible. We are thrilled to announce that Polluted Eyeball will be screenprinting brand new Save NYC Libraries postcards at DDLR on Saturday, May 22nd. You can pick up a card, or even watch it be made, then head over the Postcard table to write your personal message to the City Council. We will deliver the cards to Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer, a library ally who will present all the cards to the council.
We are super grateful to Peter at Polluted Eyeball for this tremendous addition to the party, and we hope to see you all there!
But if you can’t come, make your own postcard in support of your library and send it to:
Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer
47-01 Queens Boulevard, Suite 205
Sunnyside, NY 11104