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Hacking the Library

The hacker ethos in the positive sense is about the ability to deconstruct and reconstruct information systems. Hacking starts with reconceptualizing libraries. Libraries are now beyond the book. 

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. 

Hacking the Library art by Matthew Conboy

Hacking the Library art by Matthew Conboy

“Hacking the Library” presents artwork 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 artwork is contextualized by “community connections” — that is, responses from librarians to the artwork in the exhibit. This idea came directly from the experience of the committee as we met to review the exhibit applications. Some of us were charmed by entries others found perplexing. 

In short, choosing the artwork for the exhibit spurred a conversation that we would like to keep going. 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. 

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

The 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. 

After June 2024, the exhibit will travel to Marshall University and Virginia Tech libraries.