The Facebook of Librarianship…

The Social Aspects of Information Science.”  These six words snapped several times in front of me.  I never realized how STUCK individuals (myself included) and become on defining what we see as a THING – for example, defining what we see as a library, what we see is involved with being a librarian, easy to define in our own minds, harder to represent and truly define in real life.

This weekend I drove to Philadelphia as I was afraid the new movie, The Public, would not come near to my area, so I, without hesitation, booked a 1:00 PM appointment to drive to The Ritz Landmark Theatre at the Bourse to catch the 1:00.  Maybe considered excessive and ritzextreme, but in the trailer I saw – although be it a public library, the same reality that the chain of events that happen in the community if its own within a public library, closely resembled the routines and life that occurs every day in a school library –

Bryant coming in and grabbing the closest new item on the counter an asking what new graphic novels are in and checking out the same ones for the 20th time, Shania ALWAYS checking to see what extra Craisins there are and being always able to be counted on every morning and soaking up my bad and good mood I find myself in, laughing on the latest inside jokes, Giovanny coming in every other morning to voice his latest frustration with the latest game he stayed up until who knows when playing-

It is so easy to dismiss a library as that quiet place, that solitary place when those inside know most of the time it is ANYTHING but. Mostly everyone, unless having experienced the social routines of what a library connects to outside of those walls, the world, will never fully realize the niche libraries fill for the world. Sounds dramatic but it is just the plain truth.  As I participated in this last course on line with Dr. Burnett and the students in my Florida State online class, it was amazing to review the intersections that the library has made through print, taxonomies, controlled vocabularies, folksonomies, and despite threats and closings of so many school and public libraries, how extremely valiant a fight it is to preserve this arena of information that is constantly changing and to represent and provided access to so many unique individuals on a daily basis, a challenge few truly will be aware of.

I knew I was not only infatuated with Emilio Estevez’s production and directed movie The Public, Alec Baldwin’s role and how they used real individuals that faced homelessness, addiction, and so much more on a daily basis, and also found a refuge in the library; the wealthiest and well to do individual as well, he decided to focus on this topic.  HE saw, realized, and portrayed the sociology of the library to society as a whole.  There was SO SO much that came out of The Public, but none of it can be put into words as much as seeing it and finding at least one person you can identify with from the film, because you will be able to. 

I realized the library is not just this location for grabbing a book when needed, I realized this when I was a tyke in elementary school the way I was invited into a space that made me  feel, more me.  For a hundred different reasons and ways.  Estevez confronts the countless attempts and actions of deeming libraries and librarians, both school and public, as not needed in every single moment of this film. I read a review that said it felt as if he was “stuffing this message down the throats of the viewers.” I laughed.  How many times have individuals tagged the library as one specific definition, tagged a librarian as one specific type of individual, over and over and over…touche.

I finally realizes as well how incredibly connected we are as humans due to some specific areas in our community, the library being one of them.  Kudos to individuals like Dr. Burnett, Emilo Estevez, our WHS Administrator of the year 2018-2019 Kelley Thompson, Principal Kent Chase, Woodbridge Board and administrators, and fellow DASL officers past and present that role model how relevant, how 21st Century, how social, how HUMAN libraries are to our world today. Was it worth the trip to Philadelphia and back to see The Public?  ABSOLUTELY. Way to go Emilio Estevez for picking topics that influence every person and the social community we find ourselves in, and in this case, the library!


About Harry Brake

Employee of Woodbridge High School, Library Media Specialist, Media crazy! :)
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