Daily Thoughts 7/16/2010Today has been quiet. I went through the gifts this morning for books to add, printed up some flyers for the Overdrive Media Catalog. I also looked at creating a flyer to indicate we take gifts and donations. We are meeting next week for an ordering meeting on Wednesday, and on Monday I am meeting with our Book Wholesalers Incorporated representative. New York Librarians Meetup at the Poets House.
I am leaving early to go to Poets House http://www.poetshouse.org/ for a New York Librarians Meetup. Hopefully, it should be quite interesting. Battery Park City is a very nice area. The Poets House is next to the New York Public Library. There is a small green space in the back. You can walk out front across the street and be on the riverfront. It is quite pretty. The building is brand new, it is a LEED Gold Certified green building. There is lots of natural light, denim insulation in the walls, hardwood floors from sustainable forestry, lead free paint, windows that can be opened on all the floors. It has an expansive feeling to it with lots of clean air and light.
The Poets House was founded by the poet Stanley Kunitz. It is located on 10 River Terrace in Battery Park in Manhattan. Entrance is free and open to the public. The organization is twenty five years old. For twenty years previously it had been on Spring Street in Manhattan. The feel of the place was very genteel and academic. It is the kind of place where William Carlos Williams might have fit perfectly. The collection was housed to be used in the building. None of the material could be checked out. All of the material was donated to the collection. The staff contacted the publishers directly and requested two copies of each book from a publisher. They also took donations from individual poets. Occassionally, they had sales of duplicate materials.
On the first floor for the month of July, they are showcasing poetry collected from publishers that was published in the year of 2009. There are thousands of different books arranged by publisher. Many of these are chapbooks of original poetry, small original artistic works. It is the 18th Annual Showcase of Poetry which Poets House has done. The collection was quite interesting. The space where they are housing the exhibit had many overstuffed chairs and plenty of light. They do poetry readings in there.
Poets House also had a childrens poetry area. Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein was on display. There were lots of pictures books with poetry in them that had been donated. I found the idea that picture books as a kind of poetry very interesting.
On the second floor is the library. This is a merchandised collection. A lot of the collection is alphabetically by the poets last name combining both poetry, literary criticism, and biography. The collection is largely focused on American poetry although they are trying to expand outside of the United States. It contains a magazine collection which includes zines as well as a collection of poetry on compact disc and on records. I spotted a few Richard Scarry children's poetry records. All of the poetry that was on cassette has been digitized so it can be downloaded and listened to.
The library is designed to be very comfortable. People are allowed to eat in the library. There is also wireless access. There were several people in the library area reading books or sitting and useing laptops. They told us that they took all the old furniture from their last building and had it refurbished and brought to the new building. Their opinion was that library furniture was way too expensive. Much of the furniture looked like it was reupholstered or neatly repainted.
I had a few minutes to look at the collection. It had Charles Bukowski, Theodore Roethke, Diane Ackerman, Allen Ginsberg, W.S. Merwin, and many of my favorite poets. I think that I may come back later to look over the collection at a later date. There was a poster of one of Rita Dove's poems on one of the walls.
In addition to poetry, there was also artwork. James Walton Fox had a number of oil paintings that were hung throughout the building. http://www.jameswaltonfox.com/www.jameswaltonfox.com/Recent_Works.html
There was also a small space to display rare books. Currently Letter Press books are on display. I did not get a chance to look at it. The whole experience was very relaxed. There were a lot of volunteers in the building. Many of the people who worked in the building had started as volunteers.
The place did not seem to be a space for performance poetry. It was very seminar focused. When I looked at their brochure, they seem to be more focused on teaching, poetics, writing and discussing poetry as well as having formal poetry readings. This does not look like a working class style place for poetry slams. They even told us that they had done a couple of weddings during the last year. It also does not feel particularly avant garde. Although they are starting to collect online poetry.
Carlin Wragg, The Community Relations Manager led the tour. We also got to talk to Mike Romano's who showed us the Childrens Area as well as Maggie Balistreri who is the librarian.
Poets House does Poetry In The Branches which is a program focused on doing workshops and hving poetry classes in library branches. I went to one of their sessions almost a year ago held for the Westchester Library System.
Poets House atmosphere felt a little bit like The Center For Fiction which the New York Librarians Meetup had gone to earlier. They are both special libraries with merchandised collections. It was an excellent experience.
After we went to the Poets House, we went to Kaffe 1668 for a breakout session. Many of the librarians were looking for work. Some had previously been to the Librarians Skill Share at Brooklyn Public Library on July 13, 2010 which was a job search workshop for laid off librarians and those seeking new employment. It was very sad in a way. People had been laid off from a variety of places; Columbia School For Journalism, Brooklyn Public Library, and other libraries. There were a few who had found a few new jobs. Some were trying to figure out what they could do with their degree.
A few were just finishing their degree. Others were talking about all the different listservs they had joined to find jobs, Metro, Nylink, Nyline, Libjobs, and other places. A few people had just got jobs and could not make it. Because the group is from Meetup, quite a few people are quite tech savvy. It is Social Networking for New York Librarians and Library Students. http://www.meetup.com/NYLibrarians/
There was a bit of discussion on hwo to use LinkedIn and Facebook because of fear of loss of privacy. I sometimes think privacy has disappeared a while ago. I try to limit some of the things which I will talk about on the internet.
Kaffe 1668 was very hip. It had the classic chalkboard with all the prices for the different teas and coffees on it above the register. It reminded me of a cafe you might see in Berkeley California or Santa Cruz California transplanted to New York. The artwork was very interesting. This is a comic from their website, it captures the feel of the place very well. http://www.kaffe1668.com/about_kaffe.html I got a pot of fresh black currant tea.