London’s bicycle library makes me weak in the knees


© 2011

 I’m glad none of you can see me as I prepare this post. My eyes are wide and my cheeks are flushed and I’m smiling far too widely. I melt for stuff like this. When I visited my brother recently in Jakarta, I was thrilled to discover that outside of the former town hall in Old Town one could rent a bike with a bonnet to match. Well, this is just as brilliant, possibly more so…


Most of us are no strangers to libraries where you can borrow books but what about libraries where you can borrow bikes? Well, that’s exactly what The Bicycle Library is (a mobile library advocating bicycles). Not only does this London-based business promote green transportation, it’s also situated in a converted double decker bus.Inside the adapted bus, there is a “library“/gallery on the top floor with a showroom on the first level. Londoners who need expert advice on which bike they should rent or buy can speak to an in-house “librarian” specializing in all things two-wheeled. There’s even an array of actual books pertaining to – what else? – bicycles, on hand for reference. The first floor also boasts a shop with clothing and biking accessories.

Just as you would in a regular library, you can browse thorough different bikes, take them out and even test them out on the track outside. There are seven types of bicycles to choose from: folding, MiniVelo, FGSS (Fix Gear Single Speed), Ladies Coaster, Mens Coaster, cargo and electric, so you’re sure to find one that’s right for you. And if you find, after renting it for a while, that you’ve met your perfect bike match, the Bike Library even has a borrow to buy program so that you can make it your own.

Read more: The Bicycle Library Invites Londoners to “Borrow” Bikes Inside a Converted Double Decker Bus The Bicycle Library – Inhabitat – Green Design Will Save the World 


The Black Queer Studies Collection at UT


This sort of institutionalized recognition of the importance of Black Queer scholarship is quite exciting. Thank you Professor Matt Richardson, UT subject specialist Lindsey Schell, and School of Information student Kristen Hogan have banded together to create and launch this fabulous new library resource for UT students and Austin community members!

“Current information organization practice frequently obscures access to materials by and/or about historically marginalized communities, particularly lesbian, gay, and transgender communities of color. This erasure results in a lack not only of appropriate materials in users’ search results, but also of sufficient context for the incomplete list materials generated by a search,” writes Kristen Hogan in the BQSC guide, which can be found here.

The Black Queer Studies Collection is a cataloged creation that makes searching for works by queer people of color much less time consuming. With the addition of this new tool to the University’s library system, a localized note (MARC field 590) will now appear in the online catalog listings of works by, for and about Black Diasporic LGBTQ people. The note is being added to and improves access to records in the UT Libraries Catalog for materials by and about Black Diasporic LGBTQ people; the collection includes works in the circulating and archival collections, multiple formats, and multiple languages. The Black Queer Studies Collection is a groundbreaking project in librarianship in that it addresses standard obstacles posed by the Library of Congress Subject Headings and information retrieval systems to locating materials by and about Black Diasporic LGBTQ people.

American (Library) Graffiti


In 2007 Quinn Dombrowski started photographing the graffiti she encountered on her visits to the Regenstein Library at the University of Chicago. As she found more and more of them, she began posting the images on Flickr and over a two year period had amassed a collection of over 700 pieces of graffiti!

I love the idea that these anonymous, ephemeral thoughts, doodles, procrastinations, and abbreviated conversations hidden away on library carrels were given their literal moment in the sun.

For more highlights of the collected (shall we say) “works,” check out the book, published last year, Crescat Graffiti, Vita Excolatur: Confessions of the University of Chicago.