The House That Herman Built

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Brooklyn Public Library’s Central Branch is now exhibiting a powerful collaboration between New Orleans-based artist Jackie Sumell and former prisoner and Black Panther, Herman Wallace. Wallace was a member of the Angola 3, who was wrongfully convicted of the 1972 murder of a prison guard; likely framed due to their political activism. Wallace spent nearly 42 years in solitary confinement and died just days after his conviction was overturned. The project Wallace worked on with Sumell began when she asked him, “What sort of house does a man who has lived in a 6-foot-by-9-foot cell for over 30 years dream of?”

The House That Herman Built is an on-going project that began as an exchange between two individuals and has expanded into an international art exhibition, a book, a documentary film, and is now in the fundraising stages of building Herman Wallace’s dream home in the city of New Orleans. The exhibit includes a life-sized replica of Wallace’s prison cell, selections from his correspondence with Sumell, books from his reading list, and, now in the library’s main lobby, a model of the dream house that he designed. In the wake of his death, this project, in all of its forms, speaks to Herman’s struggle and the struggle of all people forced to endure wrongful convictions and the inhumane conditions of long term solitary confinement. Go see it at BPL or take a look at the video below put out by Democracy Now!

http://www.democracynow.org/embed/story/2015/4/17/watch_art_exhibit_recreates_tiny_cell

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September is National Library Card Sign-Up Month for American Public Libraries

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catlibrarycardThere is no better time of the year than September to sign up for a library card. All next month, the American Library Association (ALA) and libraries all across the country are celebrating the value of getting a library card. If you don’t already have a library card, then be sure to stop by your local public library sometime during the month of September. If you have one, but know a friend or young person who doesn’t, then bring them to the library to get a card! They will want one to check out books, ebooks, audio tapes, cds, videos, dvds, and access computer terminals, databases and download mp3s—all free!

Live in Brooklyn?

Live in Manhattan, Bronx, or Staten Island?

Live in Queens?

 

“A library is like a train station for the mind. It is the point from which you can travel anywhere, everywhere.”

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Steve Keene painting at the Brooklyn Public Library. Photo by Julia Lipkins. 2014.

I appreciated a quote that I stumbled on today in the lobby of the Central Branch of Brooklyn Public Library by Steve Keene. Keene is BPL’s 2014 artist-in residence. His art can be seen through August 29 in an exhibition that pays homage to Brooklyn and to BPL, rendered in Keene’s Wood Sculpture and Tattooed Plywood.

“I’m excited about working with Brooklyn Public Library,” stated Keene. “A library is like a train station for the mind. It is the point from which you can travel anywhere, everywhere. There is something so energizing about both the familiar and the unknown all at your fingertips waiting for new connections to be made. I try to include this sense of unlimited possibility in my work.”

NYC Floating Library at Pier 25 (9/6 – 10/3)

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floatinglibraryAll aboard The Floating Library: a pop-up, mobile device-free public space aboard the historic Lilac Museum Steamship berthed at Pier 25 on the Hudson River in New York City (September 6- October 3, 2014) offering free public programming with over twenty roundtables, performances and workshops over the course of the month.  From their website: The ship’s main deck will be transformed into an outdoor reading lounge to offer library visitors a range of reading materials from underrepresented authors, artist books, poetry, manifestoes, as well as book collection, that, at the end of the lifecycle of the project, will be donated to local high school students with demonstrated need. Ongoing art installations include a Listening Room that will feature new works by six sound artists in response to literature. Readers can BYOB (Bring Your Own Book) or browse the library. I hear there will also be rope swings. Rope swings in a library. The library on a boat. I’ll never leave.

9/19 Books Through Bars NYC’s annual bingo fundraiser at ABC No Rio!

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NYC Books Through Bars is an all volunteer-run collective that sends free books to incarcerated people across the country. Join them and the folks at ABC No Rio at their annual bingo fundraiser September 19, 2014. Doors open at 7:30pm and games begin at 8! Face Book event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/289708914546972/

Bingo cards will go for $2 each and $5 for three cards. All the proceeds from the event will be used directly on postage to send books to prisoners. Please bring a pen to help you notate bingo.

Throughout the evening, we will be raffling prizes from The IFC Center, Gristle Tattoo, SHAG sex shop, Babeland, Pioneers Press, Pok Pok Restaurant, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Book Thug Nation, The Feminist Press, Cinnamon Snail Food Truck, Interference Archive, Verso Books, Terri Restaurant, Third Root Community Center, NYC Trapeze School, Just Seeds Arts Collective, AMC (TV network), Criterion Films, New York Public Library, and more.

ABC No Rio (and their Zine Library! ) is accessible by the F, J, M, and Z trains off the Delancey-Essex Street stop. If you cannot make it to bingo night, please consider donating to Books Through Bars NYC here: http://www.booksthroughbarsnyc.org/#!donate/c1ghi. You can donate money, stamps, packing supplies, or books. Just $10 can send three book packages to three prisoners.

BTB

#mylibraryis

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What is your library to you? Save NYC Libraries has a great social media campaign going which collects and shares the stories of everyday people who need/want/work in/utilize/or otherwise love the library in all kinds of different ways. Read them all here. And if you have your own story to tell you can do so my submitting it here. You can also chose to allow Save NYC Libraries to use your story for library advocacy purposes. Why? Because our stories make the libraries real for lawmakers and funders.

Comments on the Future of the 42nd St. Library

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“You want to photograph me eating chicken?”
“Yep.”
“Well, if I let you, I need you to help me deliver a message.”
“What’s that?”
“I work at this library. And before that, I was coming here for twenty years. It’s my favorite place in the world. As many people know, the main reading room of this library is supported by seven floors of books, which contain one of the greatest research collections …in the world. Recently, the library administration has decided to rip out this collection, send the books to New Jersey, and use the space for a lending library. As part of the consolidation, they are going to close down the Mid-Manhattan Library Branch as well as the Science, Industry, and Business Library. When everything is finished, one of the greatest research libraries in the world will become a glorified internet cafe. Now read that back to me.” [photograph by Brandon Stanton]
Stop the NYPL’s plan to gut the 42nd St. Library, send 1.5 million books to NJ, and sell the Mid-Manhattan and SIBL libraries.

 

More info: www.savenypl.org