What We Do
Back in Spring 2006, Maria and Sarah convened a small group of librarians at Enid’s bar and restaurant in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. We had heard that there were an unusual number of librarians living in our neighborhood, and we wanted to try to meet them all. Five of us met for drinks and dinner, chatted a bit about how we might convince all of the librarians in north Brooklyn to hang out with us, and the Desk Set was born.
After that preliminary meeting, our first few Desk Set gatherings were casual get togethers, the first at Enid’s, the second a picnic at McCarren Park, where librarians, library students, and other bibliophiles got to meet, share information, eat, and drink. Soon, we began making our events just a little more structured. But just a little.
In 2007, Proteus Gowanus devoted an entire year’s exhibits and programming to the theme of Libraries. Naturally, we had to check it out. This was our first Desk Set field trip, and about a dozen of us explored this fantastic gallery space just over the Gowanus canal, and then met for cocktails at Brooklyn Social.
We try to take field trips to repositories of interest all over the city, and whenever possible, we like to provide an insider’s view. We have been fortunate to meet with curators, librarians and other staff members at most of the places we’ve visited, and we’ve enjoyed a behind-the-scenes look at some of the greatest collections our city has to offer.
To see a list of our past and (hopefully) future field trip locations, see our links page.
Parties & Events
In addition to checking out the repositories and resources of New York City, we also spend a good deal of time throwing parties to raise money for causes that we love
When we found out about Books Through Bars, we knew that we wanted to help them in their quest to provide reading materials to prisoners all over the country. We also knew that the Librarians of NYC needed a good dance party. So Dance Dance Library Revolution was born in May of 2007 at Enid’s.
The second DDLR at Enid’s was held in October 2007, and in January of ’08, we collaborated with Philly-based Authority Control to present DDLR: Bibliodiscotheque Philadelphia during American Library Association‘s Mid-Winter Meeting
The DDLR tradition continued in May of 2008, just about a year after it all started. From 2007 to 2010, the Desk Set has thrown six DDLR parties, and all of them have raised funds for Books Through Bars.
Beginning in 2008, the Desk Set has celebrated Mardi Gras at Daddy’s with Louisiana tunes, King Cake, and hurricanes at Daddy’s bar in Williamsburg. Parties have raised money for New Orleans Public Library, and collected tons of books for the A.P. Tureaud School in NOLA’s 7th Ward.
The Beaucoup Book Love BBQ at Pete’s Candy Store celebrates New Orleans food and music, while continuing Desk Set’s support for the Tureaud School as we attempt to purchase all the remaining books from the school’s wish list.
To the best of our knowledge, Que(e)ry, at the Blackout Bar in June 2010, was the first ever dance party specifically targeting gay and lesbian librarians, and all those who love them. Curated by Amber Billey, Matt Haugen, and Tara Hart, the initial Que(e)ry party was a a benefit for the archives at Tom of Finland Foundation, and the Herstory Archives.
Quieter Desk Set events like Library and Literature Trivia nights at Black Rabbit, the Women Working in Panels graphic and comic literature discussion at Huckleberry Bar, and the Reader/Writer Mingle and Book Swap at Pacific Standard have allowed Desk Setters to meet some fellow librarians and bibliophiles at some of our favorite Brooklyn haunts.
The Desk Set’s largest endeavor, the Biblioball winter formal, began in 2009 at Glasslands and was followed in 2010 at the Bell House. Featuring live bands, DJs, performances by a foot juggler and a trapeze artist, Biblioball 2010 was an enormous celebration of book culture, a raging dance party, and a hugely successful fundraiser for Literature for Incarcerated Teens. LIT is a grassroots non profit providing funding for books and literary programming in New York City’s juvenile detention facilities. We are proud to support LIT, and all the other worthy groups we’ve worked with over the years, and we hope to see you at one of our parties soon!