Saturday, February 20, 2010

"The Wisdom and Wit of an Irregular Library Regular"

The New York Times' City Room blog ran this story yesterday about "an irregular library regular" - a homeless man. Is it still news that libraries are public spaces that may be used by all? Is it news that homeless people like reading too? These articles show up with incredible regularity - you'd think people would get used to the fact that libraries welcome and attract people from diverse backgrounds. Make sure to read the comments for more "us versus them"-ism....

"Perhaps the most regular visitor to the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts is Greg Sloane, who can be seen nearly every day among the dancers, musicians, actors and culture-mongers who flock to this gem at Lincoln Center.

Mr. Sloane, 62, is not from the School of American Ballet or the Juilliard School or any other esteemed arts institution nearby, but he does excel at his own particular performing art: survival in New York City without a home.

It is a pursuit that involves seeking a roof, a chair and some heat, maybe something clean to lean on. And this is where the library comes in. After a wash-up and shave in the bathroom, he might peruse the 12,000 titles in the library’s Reserve Film and Video Collection and select something to watch. Or perhaps he will select a recording and settle in for the day to culture himself."


Brian J said...

"Mr. Sloane is a bit scruffy, but not bummy"

"On Thursday, he did look pretty styling, with his snappy bracelets and rings and his Dior sunglasses"

I like that the NYT is covering the challenges of homelessness and the library's role, but this is chocked with paternalistic tripe.

Thanks for pointing it out, guys.

FLIF said...

this also struck us as quite Victorian:

"...settle in for the day to culture himself"

You're right Brian, it's not the intent behind the article that's the major issue, but the condescending tone of it.