Secret Library Podcast


Secret Library Podcast Episodes

#8 Ruth Bernstein

You read that right, this week's episode is about the library! Such heaven. I just loved getting to talk to Ruth, who did her honors undergraduate thesis in anthropology at Pitzer about the library. She's since gotten a masters in Social Work. We dive into everything from the role of the library in communities, how books made us weak in the knees, and the wild world of librarian protest.

I'm so excited to share this with you. Also, I cannot believe that I did not use the word "titular" once in an episode about the library. Oops! Clearly, we'll have to talk about this topic again. If you love the episode, be sure to check out Ruth's thesis, which you can download here. It really does read like a library memoir- I know you'll love it.

Again, we have a lot of links, so check out notes below.

Show notes for #7: Ruth Bernstein on the Role of Libraries:

  • A thesis that reads like a hot novel (2:00) Mentioned: Ruth's thesis : The Idea of the Public Library in the United States: Why is it Important?
  • Library as physical place vs. a concept (3:00)
  • Architectural changes to the library + the Silverlake branch of LAPL (4:20)
  • The self check-out (6:00)
  • The vital importance of books and community (7:10)
  • What books to archive? (7:45)
  • Guerrilla librarian protest & book activism (8:00)
  • How to keep up with the number of published books as a library system? (9:15)
  • Preserving library collections (10:15)
  • Digital vs. Analog in the library space (11:00)
  • The encyclopedia conundrum (14:00)
  • The library + access to computers (14:45)
  • Social workers in libraries as resources (15:45)
  • Literacy projects in libraries (16:45)
  • Literacy vs. language learning (18:45)
  • Funding and library projects (20:25)
  • Co-reading and slow reading (23:00) Mentioned: The Grapes of Wrath
  • How is a thesis on the public library anthropology? (25:15)
  • Social Work and Anthropology on describing vs. prescribing (26:20)
  • On being kind to the books (27:20)
  • The archiving of Donald Judd's library (29:30) Mentioned: Donald Judd Foundation in Soho | The Marfa Texas Library | The Library Archive 
  • "Books are great survivors. They tend to go where they're needed." -London bookseller (33:45) Mentioned: World of Interiors (April issue)
  • On being provided with notes (35:00)
  • Trusting the library and its existence (35:45)
  • Libraries as spiritual space (36:00)
  • Home libraries and collecting (37:20)
  • Books with maps (42:00)
  • Books like fruit and books like wine (42:45) Mentioned: Rebecca Solnit's Field Guide to Getting Lost | The Alexandria Quartet | The Thin Man

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