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Libraries to open library transformation exhibit September 12

Emily Drabinski

WVU Libraries will launch an Art in the Libraries' exhibit on library transformation with featured speaker Emily Drabinski, president of the American Library Association, September 12 from 4-6 p.m. at WVU's Downtown Library.

The exhibit, titled “Hacking the Library”, was designed around the hacker ethos in the positive sense regarding the ability to deconstruct and reconstruct information systems. Hacking starts with reconceptualizing libraries beyond the book.

“’Hacking the Library’ invites us to think about our institutions as places of engagement and transformation,” Drabinski said. “As buildings and collections, they may look fixed in place. But as sites of research and study, exploration and imagination, libraries are also always in motion. From the classification structures that group like with like to the copy machines that are always in need of repair, libraries are always subject to change.”

Drabinski is an associate professor at the Queens College Graduate School of Library and Information Studies. She publishes and presents widely on topics related to knowledge organization, information literacy, and critical perspectives in librarianship. Drabinski edits “Gender and Sexuality in Information Studies,” a book series from Library Juice Press/Litwin Books. She is a contributing writer at “Truthout.”

“Hacking the Library” presents artwork by 13 national artists that highlights the intersecting values that shape our libraries, reflecting on challenges and definitions of libraries past and as we move into the future.

The contributing artists engaged with libraries creatively through artist residencies, installations, using discarded library materials in their work, collaborative workshops, digital collections remixing, performances and more. To provide personal context, viewers will enjoy “Community Connections” from librarians across the nation who responded to the artwork.

As libraries evolve into a new sort of space – still a place for research, learning and study, but also for community engagement and collaboration – library exhibits present a unique opportunity for exhibitors, librarians, and library users.

“In short, choosing the artwork for the exhibit spurred a conversation that we would like to keep going,” Christine Hoffmann, WVU associate professor of English, said. “Librarians from across the nation, from big and small institutions, academic, elementary and public, responded, presenting a peek inside both librarians’ personal experiences and the state of libraries in the past, present and into the future.”

Artists include:

·         Jackie Andrews (Maryland, mixed media).

·         Trudy Borenstein- Sugiura (New Jersey, book arts).

·         Sally Jane Brown (West Virginia, drawing).

·         Shan Cawley (West Virginia, painting).

·         Matthew Conboy (Pennsylvania, digital).

·         Chantel Foretich (New Mexico, sculpture).

·         Xueer Gao (Pennsylvania, book arts).

·         Ryan Lewis (Michigan, video).

·         Robin Miller (West Virginia, mixed media).

·         Irmari Nacht (New Jersey, book arts).

·         Chris Revelle (Arkansas, sculpture).

·         Erin Tapley (North Carolina, sculpture).

·         Liuqing Ruth Yang (West Virginia, mixed media, honorary artwork).

The exhibit will run through June 2024 when it will travel to Marshall University and Virginia Tech Libraries.

Exhibit sponsors include the WVU Humanities Center, WVU Office of the Provost, Morgantown Printing and Binding, Marshall University Libraries and Virginia Tech Libraries.

Exhibit Consultation Committee includes Karen Diaz, dean of WVU Libraries; Sarah Palfrey, director of Morgantown Public Library System; Christine Hoffmann, WVU associate professor of English; Lois Raimondo, WVU associate professor of journalism; and members of the WVU Art in the Libraries Committee.