or, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Fear and Loathing at a Public Library Reference Desk


Graffiti: Art, Vandalism or Information?

   July 16th, 2009 Brian Herzog

graffiti removalThe recent article about graffiti at the University of Chicago Library has finally given me a chance to clear out links in my "to blog" folder.

So, graffiti - when does it cross the line? Graffiti commonly seen in academic libraries can be ugly, but it can also be part of the culture and community of the campus. It's a way for students to communicate with their peers - even those that come years later. That's unique, and interesting.

In the public library world, I more often see graffiti (a.k.a. "annotations") in books. On first blush, it's annoying, but is it really that bad? And in fact, is it a good thing?

These things are not too distant from Web 2.0 tools allowing comments and reviews, really. Same rules apply: leave your opinion for others, don't be offensive, can be removed at any time, etc. The marginalia of life can add a great deal of value to life (just ask a genealogist).

It might not all qualify as "art," and any open forum will attract spam, but that doesn't mean graffiti doesn't offer some unexpected value - it can bring a smile, answer a question, provide experience-based assistance, or just make a connection with an unknown predecessor.

I know this is a never-ending debate, so in the meantime, here are some graffiti- and anti-graffiti-related links I've been collecting:

Graffiti

Laser Graffiti

Combating Graffiti

Spam ("Inbox Graffiti")

via LISNews



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Found in Jail Libraries

   November 6th, 2007 Brian Herzog

Portrait drawingThis is interesting: a flickr set of photographs of drawings and writings found in books in jails in Wisconsin.

I've never found such artwork in my library's books, but I have been keeping all the scraps of paper and other miscellaneous debris I find around the library. I've wanted to display them all somehow, because they are interesting, but I just haven't figured out how to do it. A flickr set might be the best way - look for that in an upcoming (but not immediate future) post.

This was found via BoingBoing.

altered books, art, artwork, book, books, flickr, graffiti, jail, jails, libraries, library, prison, prisons, vandalism



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