Daily Archives: October 14, 2011

Whole Lotta Readin’ Goin’ On

If you haven’t made it to Oakland for Read to the People yet, you are missing the most enthusiastic, exciting show of library support since Andrew Carnegie dedicated Main Library. Here are just a few highlights from this afternoon and evening’s readings:

  • The Pirate Parrot’s vivacious pantomime of “Casey at the Bat.”
  • The Toonseum’s Joe Wos drawing a magical tale of a fairy flower princess.
  • Councilman R. Daniel Lavalle reading Langston Hughes
  • Lynn Cullen reading David McCullough
  • Kristofer Collins reading from the poetry of Frank O’Hara
  • A dramatic reading from Time Stand Still, the play currently in production at City Theatre, by two of the show’s lead actors.
  • A birthday celebration (really)!
  • Lots and lots of fireworks (really)!
  • A whole hour of readings by local fashion designers.

As I type, there’s an hour of poetry afoot.  If you can make it down here tonight or tomorrow, I can guarantee you won’t be disappointed.  There are so many interesting readers and readings, as well as so much unintentional hilarity, that I can barely keep up recording it!

With a big thanks to everyone who read today, and with gratitude for those readers yet to come, I remain your faithful onsite blogger.  I’m headed back outside to take pictures and serve as the timer in hour twelve, the halfway mark.

Leigh Anne

who read from The Odyssey, but drank not of the wine-dark sea

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And They’re Off!

Just in case you weren’t here for the Read to the People kickoff, here’s a small sample of what you’ve missed!

State Senator Jay Costa
Senator Jay Costa reading from Andrew Carnegie
After Senator Costa’s opening remarks, the reading was on. And on, and on, and on!  So far today we’ve heard snippets of Lord of the Flies, The Skin I’m In, The Vagina Monologues, and other titles both classic and contemporary.  Between bouts of rain, the sun is shining fiercely, and the readers and volunteers remain undaunted.
To keep up with the deluge of photos we’re uploading, check out our Flickr set!  And if you’re a video fan, you’ll want to keep an eye on our YouTube channel.  If you’re coming to the Read-Aloud and want to upload your own video to YouTube, please tag your creation with the phrase “read to the people.”  And if you’re more of the photo-sharing kind, please tag us on Facebook as Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.  Twitter user?  Tag your tweet #read1440, and don’t forget to follow @OLOFPA.
Leigh Anne
whose favorite reading so far today was Brian O’Neill’s excerpts from his own work, The Paris of Appalachia.

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All Day, And All of the Night: Read to the People

What do Urban Mommies, a famous Froggy, and a local mystery maven have in common?  They’ll all be making an appearance at Read to the People, the 24-hour read-a-thon that begins today at noon.  That’s right:  144 volunteer readers, including many local celebrities, signed up for a collective 1,440 minutes of reading out loud to raise awareness of the Our Library, Our Future voter initiative.   That’s 24 hours of library love.  Makes me feel warm and fuzzy all over.

I’m biased, of course.  But, quite frankly, even if I didn’t work here, I’d still visit every day.  For starters,  you’d better believe I’d be getting my money’s worth from the library.  The amount of money I save on books alone is so embarrassingly high I’m surprised it’s not illegal:  $850 per every fifty books checked out on my card.  That makes the cost of a Donor Plus membership look, by comparison, decidedly affordable.  Add in the value of free internet access, free magazines and research journals, free cultural/educational programming, and all the other free perks that come with library membership? I’d be a fool not to spend my time here (especially if I were actually searching for a new job).

It’s the intangibles that matter most to me, though, namely my emotional attachment to the library as a palace of letters and light.  Illusory though it may be, it comforts me to think that, in our frazzled, consumption-driven world, there is still one place where any citizen may go and be treated with courtesy and respect.  One haven where, if they’re willing to work and learn, people can teach themselves anything they care to know.  A sanctuary that values both quiet spaces and noisy, cheerful, collaborative ones.  A place for children to dream and explore, and for adults to remember how to dream and explore.  A safe space to navigate the sometimes muddy waters of being a teen (and, of course, to have fun while doing so).  A place where, no matter how many times you’ve failed, you can always start over.

As lovely as all that sounds, I know that libraries can’t sustain themselves on dreams and illusions.  They need you:  your time, your ear, your voice, your donations, your vote.  That’s why I’m part of the volunteer crew staying up all night for Read to the People:  I love the library so much, I’m not content to be with it in the daytime. I’m going to stay up all night to support it, and so are a lot of your friends and neighbors.  Won’t you join us?

In conjunction with the brouhaha, Eleventh Stack will update frequently this weekend with photos and short posts about read-aloud festivities.  You can also get read-aloud tidbits on Facebook and Twitter, and participate virtually by retweeting and sharing links and photos in your social networks.  Spread the word, and we hope to see you soon, either outside or online!

—Leigh Anne

serendipitously celebrating nine years of library employment today

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