Poet-Librarians in the Library of Babel

Innovative Meditations on Librarianship

Editors: Shannon Tharp and Sommer Browning

Price: $30

Published: April 2018

ISBN: 978-1-63400-028-4

204 pages


Poet-Librarians in the Library of Babel is a compendium of experimental essays, creative meditations, non-fiction accounts, and lyrical explorations that challenge, redefine, and/or widen perspectives on subjects related to libraries and librarianship. These subjects encompass abstractions such as silence, knowledge, questioning, solitude, information, access, truth, organization, preservation, alphabetical order, digitization, and memory to such concretenesses as bookshelves, archives, mildew, the Patriot Act, scholars, pencils, catalogs, and the list goes on.

21st century librarianship employs a wide array of languages, from the language of scholarly communication to the vocabulary and syntax of computer science, from customer service at the circulation desk to the rhetoric one exercises when asking donors for funds, from the language of government in which state-funded institutions must participate to the very modern language of branding. Libraries are well known for providing services that blur and cut across social layers such as class, ethnicity, and religion. The ways in which libraries use, experiment, and translate the various languages of the profession support the aforementioned blurring and strengthen “core library values.” This anthology adds another language to the mix-—a language of hybridity, exploration, creativity, and experimentation; a language that is missing from today’s critical librarianship landscape.

The audience for this book includes creative writers, librarians and other information professionals, artists who have chosen careers besides that of the traditional professor, and library scholars.

Sommer Browning is Associate Director of Technical and Financial Services at Auraria Library in Denver, Colorado. Her most recent books include the poetry collection, Backup Singers(Birds, LLC; 2014), and The Circle Book (Cuneiform, 2015). She holds an MSLIS from Long Island University and an MFA from the University of Arizona.

Shannon Tharp is the Collections & Content Management Librarian the University of Denver Libraries. She is also the author of the poetry collections The Cost of Walking (Skysill Press, 2011) and Vertigo in Spring (The Cultural Society, 2013). She holds a MLIS and a MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Washington.

Table of Contents

Note to the Reader
Shannon Tharp and Sommer Browning

Creating Creativity: Zines, Empowerment and Independence
25 October 2015 / Brooklyn [poem]
Jessica Smith

Poetry & Public Libraries: An EthoPoetics
dirt lot [poem]
Melissa Eleftherion

Reflections on “Ojos y Orejas are Eyes and Ears” Bilingual Story Time Program
To: Nora [poem]
Itza Vilaboy

The Weltanschauung of a (Very Particular) Poet-Librarian
Inscription [poem]
Michele R. Santamaria

An Open Booklist To Kanye West
Scott Woods

You Must Like to Read
How Not to Need Resurrection [poem]
Michalle Gould

Hoisting the Disenfranchised Over the Digital Divide in South Central Los Angeles
Exposition, Line [poem]
Yago S. Cura

on procedure / [Ann] [Goldsmith], 84
Clauses escaping from within archival asylum as breath [poem]
Edric Mesmer

Sorting Noises: Poetry, Libraries, and the Resistance of Information
In the Cards [poem]
Sam Lohmann

Note to Self
Sources [poem]
Marie Elia

and lo! yr letter hit me hard: Connecting Poets’ Lives & Works in Special Collections & Archives
Moonburn City [poem]
Patrick Williams

Scholarly Communication, Bureaucracy, Darkness and Desire: Poets in the Age of the Quantified Self
10/8/16 [poem]
Aaron McCollough

The Granting of Grace in an Ordinary Room
Internal Voicemail Greeting [poem]
Shannon Tharp

“in silence, for silence, out of silence”: a poet-librarian activism
Take Care [poem]
Oliver Baez Bendorf