Drag Queen Story Hour at the Library

This week I was amazed to see a one-page article in my alumni magazine, InterCom, from University of South Carolina College of Information and Communication. The author was a sophomore named Shelby Johnson. Her article’s title was “Drag Queen Story Hour”. At the top of that article are two color photos: one showing a drag queen reading to children and the other, a toddler reaching out to touch the jewelry on a drag queen’s hand. At first I thought the library in the article was in the Richland County Library System in County where I did my internship.  But a closer reading showed that it was nearer to where my home was during the year I commuted to Columbia S.C. to get a graduate-level library degree. Here’s what you should know if you don’t live in that state. In the upper left corner of South Carolina are two counties with cities that were diametric opposites of each other while I lived there. In the top of the far left-hand corner is Greenville County, the most populous and most liberal county in the state.  To the right of Greenville County is Spartanburg County, the most conservative country in the state.  To give you an idea of what I mean by ‘conservative’ is that Spartanburg was true to its name. This city had more churches than bars—but outside the city was a ring of porn movie theaters and stores.  Perhaps the most telling thing about Spartanburg was that it banned sales of rock and roll music in its stores back then. Even its own hometown boys, the Marshall Tucker Band, were not allowed to play there. In this century, Marshall Tucker, still touring decades later, now has fans who make the trek to see the city where their favorite band was born.  Marshall Tucker Band From banning rock n roll, to controversy over drag queens, you might think it was at a Spartanburg County library that people protested a Drag Queen Story Hour, but you’d be wrong.  The event, sponsored by a group named “Mom’s Liberal Happy Hour” was held at the Five Forks Library in a tiny town with 22,072 people in 2017, named Simpsonville—located in Greenville County.  The Sheriff’s office had deputies at the ready as a Simpsonville resident organized an online petition to cancel the event, saying “As a father, I do not want my children or community exposed to this alternative lifestyle...

Rebuilding a Library from Scratch

From Aramco World magazine July/August 2018 comes this rather surprising announcement about a Canadian museum exhibition that features an ancient library in the Middle East. The exhibit is titled 168.01 — A Library Rising from the Ashes. In 2003 The College of Fine Arts at the University of Baghdad lost its entire library of 70,000 books during the invasion of Iraq when looters set fire to the collection. Previously in the 13th century Mongol army invaders destroyed all the libraries in Baghdad. The invaders threw the entire library of the Bayt al-Hikma (House of Wisdom) into the Tigris River to create a bridge of books their army could use to cross the river. “The pages bled ink into the river for seven days—168 hours—at the end of which the books were drained of knowledge.”  Wafaa Bilat, the Iraqi artist, named his museum exhibit 168:01 to indicate the first moment when grief yields to a spur to take action to move forward from loss.  His exhibit runs at the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto through August 19, 2018. ————— From the Web:  The artist of the exhibit has been running a Kickstarter Funding campaign to buy new books. In 2016, more than 1600 books were donated to the project around the world. Here is Wafaa Bilat below:   Kickstarter Funding – Wishlist Books were purchased from Amazon by the 168.01 team using funds from the Kickstarter campaign. Books were first sent to the Art Gallery of Windsor and the Esker Foundation as part of the exhibitions, before being prepared for shipment to Baghdad. During the exhibition at the Esker Foundation, the local community purchased white books from the gallery and the gallery used the money to buy books from a local bookstore. Individual and Institutional Donations – People and institutions from around the globe purchased books from the Amazon list and/or donated books from their personal collections. These books were also sent to the galleries for the exhibition and prepared for shipment after the exhibitions ended. At the end of the exhibition at the Esker Foundation, all of the purchased and donated books from all sources were organized, cataloged, and prepared for shipment. The Books are being prepared for delivery to Baghdad. To see how the books will be shipped as well as awards the artist and exhibit have received click here:   The librarian behind it all Judith Frangos is...

Delivery of Library Books to Library Patrons

Source: New York University I can still vividly recall the bookmobile arriving every week.  I was in second grade at a small country school. That county library system bookmobile made me the bibliophile I am today! But are American libraries missing the boat for sticking with the bookmobile for delivery of books to their patrons? The Speedy Bookbag service A Bookstore in China called Kuaishubao (“speedy bookbag”) is now competing with Amazon.com. It does this by delivering books right to houses and offices in selected cities. The bookstore delivers the goods within an hour of receiving an order! Can you imagine ordering a book to be delivered in time for your lunch break? Or in time to finish a paper you left until the last minute? Readers who need a book fast in China use Sina Weibo, China’s leading microblog, to order their books from Kuaishubao. Sina Weibo has features that work better than Twitter (which is banned in China) for this kind of business use. Sina allows users to post photos and videos, for example. Advertisers love Sina Weibo, and those who use it for ordering books don’t seem to mind the ads, not when they get their book in an hour! With the popularity of eReaders growing, it makes sense for bookstores to deliver print books as fast as they can. Is there any reason libraries shouldn’t do the same? Or how about a library partnering with a local bookstore to make book delivery easier and faster for library patrons? Why should readers continue to have come into the library if they are short on time or it is far away? Many of the people who use public libraries in the US have mobility issues. Home delivery would be a blessing. Others need library books quickly. On campuses, a 24/7 book delivery service might be very popular. US libraries already serve five times more customers than Amazon.com. Give an American library a speedy bookbag service, and who knows? That number might be even greater! Source “China’s Weibo posts lesson to Twitter in making social media pay” Financial Times 5/11/11...

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