And other duties…

When asked to describe what librarians do (usually in the context of “and is it still worth doing…”), I use some variation on the theme that libraries and librarians exist to connect people to the information they need. Rather than shrinking, our roles seem to me to be growing, at least if we let them.

This week (right after the conference proposal deadline, alas), librarianship opened a very exciting new door for me. I am the Librarian and Archivist at the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe, which is a fairly magical place even on the worst days. This week, because I tend to define my role so widely, and because I am less afraid of technology than many people, my role expanded to creating up a phpBB based forum for use by members of a fledgling Global Folk Arts Network. I can’t link to the GFAN site because, well, there isn’t one yet. The group only got its name sometime Tuesday (and the day was such a blur I can’t even recall if it was morning or afternoon).

So is it a librarian’s job to create and moderate an information-sharing forum?

I say it is, but I am well aware that I might have been less enthusiastic about this “other duty as assigned” if the forum had been for members of roller derby clubs or expert mortgage bankers. The forum gives the new network, of which our Museum is a part, a unique chance to share information globally, even where Internet service is too spotty for prettier applications such as Facebook. It is all about putting people together with information, and that is how I see my job. It’s a far cry, though, from stamping books and handing them over the counter.


Two administrative notes:

Thank you, Christiane Erbolato-Ramsey, for sending me the shiny new logo that is now atop the blog.

The blog is likely to be on hiatus for most of October. I apologize, but I have a solid week of training followed by a conference week, and then only a couple of days until the next conference. When I come up for air again it’s likely to be November. If I can find time to keep in touch here, I will. If not, see you in a month or so!

Art in the Library

Jose Damasceno Holborn Artangel

Plot by José Damasceno at Holborn library. Photograph: William Eckersley/Artangel. Photo retrieved from

British public art agency Artangel has commissioned Brazilian artist José Damasceno to create an installation entitled Plot in the Holborn Library in Camden, England. The Guardian offers a good description of the project here, with photos of some of the elements scattered throughout the library.

I’ve seen the gallery-in-a-library idea often, but never seen an art project that permeates a library as this one apparently does. If I worked in a library with open space, I’d be jealous. As it is, our library is too stuffed with volumes about art to become art itself. How about yours?