Cataloging community resources: A writer’s experience

Bad libraries build collections, good libraries build services,  great libraries build communities. –R. David Lankes

Given Lankes’ definition of library greatness, the East Side Freedom Library (  is a great library-in-progress! Even better, the day-to-day narrative of the life, growth and strength of the ESFL is being chronicled and shared.

Victoria Blanco spent several months as a resident artist at ESFL, recording her observations and opinions as she experienced the day-to-day community under construction at and through ESFL.

One beehive of activity that Blanco came to understand and appreciate during her residency at ESFL is the work of the volunteer catalogers whose painstaking efforts are expanding access to the rich collections of the ESFL. She vividly records the work of volunteer catalogers going about their professional tasks as “books, records, art, movies, instruments, and textiles arrived by the boxful.”

Tedious work, perhaps, but Blanco appreciates the goal of the catalogers: “Like planting, there’s a repetitive rhythm to cataloguing. Open the book, find it in the World Cat system, enter the essentials in the electronic system, print out a slip with a call number, and shelve the book, in the correct place. Do this for weeks, months, years, until the library is complete.” (Not that any library collection is ever truly complete!)

Blanco’s experiences at ESFL range from observing the work of volunteer catalogers to conversations with the library’s patrons to exchanges with young scholars hard at work on their History Day presentations.

Blanco will share her impressions on her ESFL experience on Thursday evening, July 28, 7:00 p.m. at the ESFL, 1105 Greenbrier Street, St Paul. The community event is free and open to the public.

Come early to experience the abundant energy and commitment that are transforming a proud Carnegie library building into the nucleus of a living, thriving community-in-progress.



One response to “Cataloging community resources: A writer’s experience

  1. Suzanne Mahmoodi

    Beautiful, Mary. >

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.