Build Community

The Library of Approximate Locations

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Charlie Macquarie, a librarian, archivist, artist and writer, spoke about his “Library of Approximate Locations” at SNC’s Poetry Center (NV) in the Prim Library this spring. Macquarie’s project sheds light on the importance of libraries and books in a way that makes people want to keep turning the pages.

Macquarie grew up in Carson City and shares his connection to the region and landscape through his art installations at outdoor locations throughout the West and his accompanying talks, which usually take place in libraries.

His installations are comprised of books that share a historic connection to the land. He presents himself as the librarian that he is, curating a library that is specific to a chosen site. His own book collection always follows him in his grandfather’s old truck.

‘Winter in New England’ Exhibit Finds Beauty in Photos Frozen in Time

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A number of students stroll down Linden Lane, their hands shoved deep into the pockets of their puffy down jackets to avoid the biting winter wind. Leaving a dizzying pattern of fresh footprints in the gently falling snow, two or three of them seem to submit to their inner child in fits of laughter while dodging flying spheres of hand-packed snow. Others opt not to tarry, preferring instead to shield their faces from frigid air and forge ahead in search of shelter. It’s almost winter at Boston College, and final exams compete with the whimsy of falling snowflakes for the attention of an entire student body.

After the sudden click of a standard film camera—and following a few hours of negative processing—this rather ordinary moment is frozen in time. A few decades later, however, the black and white photo sits behind a sheet of protective glass as part of this month’s festive on-campus exhibit, Winter in New England.

Featured among a myriad of other artists’ odes to the holiday season, the photo is just one artistic piece that comprises a temporary exhibit located at the far wall of the O’Neill Reading Room. Celebrating a season full of freezing temperatures and warm, wool clothing, the new exhibit is a creative and oddly calming addition to the popular student study space.

Freedom to Marry Archives Offer Insight into a Modern Civil Rights Movement

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Same-sex marriage has evolved from a far-fetched notion to established law in the United States over the past four decades. At the forefront of this modern civil rights movement has been a Yale alumnus, Evan Wolfson ’78.

Wolfson wrote his Harvard Law School thesis on same-sex marriage long before it became a topic of national and local activism. He founded Freedom to Marry in 2001, serving as its president until the Supreme Court’s historic 2015 decision guaranteeing marriage equality. Along with his many other awards, Wolfson was honored with a Yale-Jefferson Public Service Award in 2016.

Wolfson donated Freedom to Marry’s archives to Yale in 2015. The alumnus explained that decision to YaleNews: “When we confirmed that Freedom to Marry would, as promised, wind down after having achieved the goal and fulfilled the strategy we were created as a campaign to drive, we pledged it would be a strategic, careful wind-down that would capture the lessons and resources and make them available to other advocates, causes, and other countries, as well as historians and students. Yale already had a number of key LGBT collections, had a deep commitment to preserving and telling our story.”

Monks Spread Peace at Library

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A monk walked around a board decorated with a multicolored sand design, ringing a bell. The estimated 300 patrons at the Mark Twain Library (CT) inched closer, trying to get a last look at the mandala art, which featured symbols from different religions, the American flag, the Buddhist flag, the library’s logo and the words “One World, Keep Peace.”

The monk picked up pieces of the sand and put them in a glass carried by another monk, ringing the bell again. He used a tool to create lines through the sand at each side and corner before the other monks moved forward with brushes in hand. The audience gasped as the monks swept away the sand, destroying the design so only the carvings of the symbols remained on the wood.

“Let it go with a long breath,” the monk said as the crowd sighed with him. “We’ve done it a long time, so no emotion here because we can rebuild it.”  “I have to learn that,” a woman in the crowd said.

The monks had been working on this design since Wednesday, but destroyed it in a ceremony Sunday afternoon to symbolize one of the main tenants of Buddhism: impermanence.

Librarians to Portland readers: 'Show us your tats!'

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Crazy looking bees. Flying hearts. Oh, and skulls - lots of skulls.  Those are just a few of the tattoos from those of a literary bent posted on the Multnomah County (OR) Library’s Twitter account for their #books4tats campaign.

Steve Roskoski, a library assistant, said he and his fellow librarians (some with their own tattoos) came up with the idea to match readers with books based on their tats. It’s Portland after all.

Disadvantaged Neighborhood Finds Its Voice with Library-organized Discussions

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The Hartford (Conn.) Public Library has a long history with community engagement; it regularly sponsors community dialogues and youth forums. So after learning residents from a disadvantaged neighborhood felt underserved and misrepresented, the library jumped at the chance to strengthen the neighborhood’s bond to the rest of the city. Hartford’s North End consists of a group of neighborhoods with some of the lowest income levels in the United States. To learn more about the community, the library hosted a series of small “kitchen table-style” conversations in the area. Instead of starting the conversations with a list of problems, staff members asked North End residents how they envision their ideal community.

Films find their identity at “Mostly Lost”

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For film preservationists and movie comedy buffs, one of the major events this year is the public unveiling of the long sought complete second reel of Laurel and Hardy’s classic “The Battle of the Century.”

Prior to its rediscovery, the film had only existed in fragments.

Its existence was revealed during a seminar at Mostly Lost, an annual event that not only draws film buffs, historians and preservationists from all over the world, but also calls attention to the important work done by the Library of Congress, our nation’s library, in preserving our cultural legacy and history.

Had it not been for the event, would we have even known about reel two of “The Battle of the Century?”

It goes beyond that. Think of all the films we love that might have been lost without the tender loving care of the staff at LOC.  A scan of the National Film Registry provides an overview of some of the treasures – everything from “Casablanca” and “Citizen Kane” to “Top Gun” and “Raging Bull” – that this archive has earmarked for protection.

State librarian, filmmaker create documentary on Baton Rouge punk scene

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In the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s, Baton Rouge’s West Chimes Street and the surrounding North Gates area was home to a small, yet devoted punk rock scene.  Author and former punk-rocker Tim Parrish, State Librarian of Louisiana Rebecca Hamilton, and filmmaker Bennet Rhodes have decided this almost 30-year period needs to be preserved as a document of one of the city’s most colorful subcultures.

All former members of the punk community, the three are creating “Red Stick Punkumentary,” a documentary film covering the punk scene of Baton Rouge. Hamilton said, as the State Librarian of Louisiana, the project is an opportunity to turn the obscure scene into a permanent part of history.