Thursday, December 1, 2011

Update.  This was taken just before I went into the Central Brooklyn Library to see the Reaghan Tarbell's To Brooklyn and Back: A Mohawk Journey.  It's a beautiful film, about the dual lives of the Mohawks of Brooklyn's Little Caughnawaga, who lived partly here in Gowanus & partly in Caughnawaga, Quebec.  The film pays special tribute to the Mohawk women who came to Brooklyn - either independently or with their ironworker husbands - & helped create such a strong & vital community so far from home, in the face of constant hardship and loss.  It was a treat to see old photographs of Gowanus in the 50s, and a little clip of drinkers at the Wigwam Bar on Nevins. 

I like the motley crowd you find in public libraries.  Some earnest self-improvers at the books, & some giggling kids sent there in lieu of latchkey malarkey.  The snoozer in from the street, and some middle-aged dreamer toiling at the Great Work that will end up, at best, as a vanity edition.   Inevitably, these days, the rows of screen watchers (mostly male), looking at websites it's best not not to scrutinize too closely. These guys used to annoy me but I don't mind them much any more.  The library's a refuge for all of us.  It's also one of the few great democratic institutions we have left, but you always feel it's under siege, from budget cutters, book burners, and those who can't abide the freedom & spirit of enquiry it stands for. 

1 comment:

Marty Wombacher said...

I've always found libraries to be excellent people watching places as well.