I wanted to take a quick opportunity to blow the trumpets of various library staff currently exhibiting work inspired by some of their favourite books. A wide range of media and approaches are currently on display in Jubilee library.
It’s really inspiring to see how much talent surrounds and fills up the organisation. Staff from all levels of the service have contributed, and the end result is an inspiring transformation of a space we work in every day, into a stimulating cultural challenge.
Of course, in reality, libraries are inherently cultural spaces, which presumably attracts the wealth of talent on display. A library is a place someone can (just about) make a living, whilst giving something to the community, and engaging with people. We work surrounded by the wealth of literature and human knowledge, spending our day talking to and helping the public. All life is here.
It’s utterly enlightening to see the people you work with every day, showing off their creative sides. Knowing someone who you sit with for a group mither in the staff room is capable of producing an exquisite and emotional artistic statement seems surprising, even though it is clear that we all have this side to us. We are not just workers and colleagues. We are creative, unique and challenging people.
So a space is transformed through an artistic intervention, and we get to see inside some of the souls that keep the library chugging along. Precious pieces of work are displayed, by the same people putting books on the shelves, scanning barcodes and answering phones.
A building. A workplace. A job. These things are all empty without the person within. A library is not just a room full of books, it is a space full of people.
Those people have been touched by the books they work with. The books owned by the public, and then shared freely. Books seem to have souls that reach from author to reader. All these pieces are responses to favourite works. People trying to express the power and wonder of the texts that have left marks on them. The books don’t take these impressions, so you can’t know what mark the book in your hands has left on the previous readers.
So come to Jubilee library. Take a look at the work on display. These are the marks books have made on people. These are the extensions of the stories we read. A book makes a mark, makes a person, makes a life. Come to the library and find some stories; not necessarily the ones you expected.
I’ll leave you with some words from Carl Sagan. Poached from the ever fascinating book-delving blog Brain Pickings:
What an astonishing thing a book is. It’s a flat object made from a tree with flexible parts on which are imprinted lots of funny dark squiggles. But one glance at it and you’re inside the mind of another person, maybe somebody dead for thousands of years. Across the millennia, an author is speaking clearly and silently inside your head, directly to you. Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people who never knew each other, citizens of distant epochs. Books break the shackles of time. A book is proof that humans are capable of working magic.
Come to Jubilee Library, and see if you can find some magic.
On the walls or the shelves.
Alex – Library Officer
Alex is trying hard not to self-promote too much, but some of his work is also on display, and more can be found on unstruck.wordpress.com.
There are plenty more images of work on show on the group’s facebook page.
Please stop by Jubilee library and have a look. The exhibition is running until the 26th May, and there are plenty of other things to see (besides even the books).