Empowering individuals to build a stronger community
Erinn Batykefer , Laura Damon-Moore and Christina Endres
What is a library? A good place to go if you like stern, bun-headed women shushing you mercilessly? A place to store soon-to-be-obsolete books? A cultural institution past its prime in a digital age?
If you really spend time in a library— from the the New York Public Library’s main branch to Monona Public Library in Monona, WI— you might say that a library is a community center, a place to access the Internet on free public computers or to grab a cup of coffee, even a place to attend an art show, a poetry reading, or a public lecture.
On the Library as Incubator Project website, we want to showcase how libraries do more for their communities than provide free access to books; we’re interested in how they foster lifelong learning and creativity, and how they can (and do!) incubate the arts. Libraries provide tangible services to their communities every year; in Wisconsin, for example, they return $4.06 worth of materials and services for every tax dollar that’s invested, raising property values and literacy at the same time.
Libraries can be an office, a gallery, a performance space, even a studio. Not every library can build an exhibition area, and not every library has the space to act as a drawing studio, but every library can provide resources for local artists and writers, and work to connect their communities to the arts. Libraries can offer programs like scary story Halloween writing contests for children and young adults. They can connect with local writers or artists (many of whom who teach at schools and colleges) to host poetry or drawing workshops. They can link to image-rich resources on their websites and promote art and design books to their patrons with book displays and reading lists. No matter the scale, libraries have the capacity to connect their communities to the arts in meaningful ways.
We saw real potential for libraries to come to the fore as arts incubators in the same way that they have become job-search hubs by providing Internet access, resume workshops, and job search materials for many, many job seekers during this recession.
Librarians and artists of all stripes know that these kinds of partnerships are forming naturally all over the place. At The Library as Incubator Project, we simply hope to offer a “hub” for conversation and communication, and in so doing, promote new and deeper partnerships that will change the answer to our initial question:
What is a library? It’s place to connect and create. Stay tuned for another Library Corner to find out how our Craig Library is actively participating in the arts!
Get connected at Craig County Public Library!
Dates to remember:
Friday, June 30. Night Skies Program in conjunction with the Roanoke Valley Astronomical Society. Open to everyone! Location: Pavilion at Craig Valley Baptist Church. Call the CCPL for more info 864-8978.
Saturday, July 8, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Wheels for Kids. Fun for everyone! Craig County Fairgrounds.
Books and Baseball. Ongoing… Check out a book and your child can enter drawings for free tickets to baseball games!
Monday, July 10, 6 p.m. Board of Trustees meeting at the library.