Diehards

Friday, 17 July 2009

Anarcho Librarianism

I have just had the best evening. I logged onto Facebook, saw I had a message in my inbox (almost unheard of!) found it was from the Poetry Society, clicked on the link they had sent me, and from there stumbled upon the Poetry International website where I spent some hours watching clips of poets from all nations talking about and reading their work. Then, exploring the site further, I came upon The Itinerant Poetry Library. This is what Sarah Reams writing for Poetry International says about it:

The Itinerant Poetry Library has no vehicle, no building, next to no budget. Instead, the collection travels around in the suitcase of the librarian, Sara Wingate-Gray, who since 2006 has been continuously roaming the world, relying on couch-surfing, soup kitchens and the generosity of strangers for food, accommodation and transport. So far, she has installed the library in over 150 locations – from parks to bookshops to cafés to people’s homes – in 11 countries and 21 cities worldwide.

Why? According to the library itself, it exists to “remind people of the importance of free public libraries; subvert mainstream channels of distribution; remind people that access to knowledge should be free and not dependent upon economic wealth hierarchies; show people that poetry/art can provide answers to questions we ask of life [and to] experiment in existing outside of ‘the market’ – thereby, instead, investing in social capital, social innovation and community”. And it succeeds in doing all of these things through a simple installation composed only of a table, a chair, a sign, one woman and some books

Tonight I will sleep with a smile on my face.

11 comments:

PI said...

Sounds like an excellent project.
Re Twitter, Face book et al I promise myself I'll give them all a go when/if I ever get published.

Eryl Shields said...

Pat ~ I just love the bravado of it: one woman travelling the world with a suitcase full of books, relying on others to give her food and a couch to sleep on. I wish I was that trusting.

Re: Facebook (I haven't even looked at twitter) it's just another eater of time, so best leave it until you have plenty to spare.

debra said...

The governor of Ohio just tried to cut the funding to Ohio's public libraries. The public outcry was loud and intense. I don't think that the politicos had a clue...

Knowledge is power, and access to information is a cornerstone of democracy, I think. And words have power: power to make us cry, to laugh, to love. They reach places inside that we might not have known existed.

Thank you for sharing this link. I will explore it more when I have the time.
xo

Kim Ayres said...

That is soooo fantastic! We need so many more people in the world like that

angryparsnip said...

Thanks for the great artical today, she is sure special !

Eryl Shields said...

Debra ~ it's interesting, isn't it, that whenever governments want to suppress people they ban literature (and other arts too in some cases)?

Kim ~ we sooo do!

Parsnip ~ you're welcome: I couldn't wait to share it with you all!

Titus said...

What a genius idea, and then to execute it! Brilliant.

Kanani said...

I wish everyone could find one project or cause they're passionate about, then follow where it leads. Imagine the changes they could make --both small and large!

Eryl Shields said...

Titus ~ isn't it!?

Kanani ~ I couldn't agree more, but it seems we're still 'mining our minds for what we think we need.' Stupid really.

Scarlet-Blue said...

This reminds me of and art gallery that travels around in an old ice cream van!
Sx

Eryl Shields said...

Scarlet ~ crikey, where have you seen that, I'd love an old ice cream van? X