Like many states, New Hampshire recently faced draconian arts funding cuts. Happily, as Connie Rosemont explained in the Concord Monitor, “The Arts Prevailed.” Last year when arts and literature programs lost funding in Wisconsin, a trio of library school students launched a website: the Library as Incubator Project. I read about this innovative idea in Poets & Writers, where you can view a slideshow of “art, writing, performances and workshops that have taken place in or been inspired by libraries.”
The Library as Incubator Project connects libraries with the arts community. Finding inspiration and ideas and collaborating at the incubator benefits artists and libraries as well as the public they are both trying to reach. The site also links to resources helpful to artists and writers and offers professional development for librarians who want to “incubate the arts.”
When I mentioned the Library As Incubator Project on an email list recently, a colleague replied with a link to Art-o-Mat, which re-purposes old cigarette vending machines into art dispensers. The machines are found in a variety of locations, including libraries.
Libraries often schedule performances, films, and readings as well. This week Regina Library here at Rivier College is hosting “An Evening of Favorite Poems.” My nocturnal colleague Peter and I had fun creating a display of poetry books. I actually found too many books for our allotted display space and had to put the overflow on a table by the entrance.
So if you think libraries are just housing books, take another look. Chances are you’ll find the arts.