Utilizing a community resource January 15, 2011 9:18 PM   Subscribe

Given this post, I was thinking - about how the conversation turned to "people don't go to libraries..." I don't really do meet-ups (I'm SuperDad in my free time), but might I propose that somebody somewhere start pushing for some library meet-ups?

Note - this is not a specific meet-up proposal, more a meet-up culture proposal. Sure there's no beer in a library (exception: The Library in Portsmouth, NH... which doesn't count as an actual library since you can't check out books and there are no librarians), but there is media, wifi and librarians - all things mefites seem to go for...

Heck, I don't even know how or what 10-15 mefites would do in a "supposed to be quiet" setting...

Also, a few years from now, when I have kids that are a bit older, I'll probably go to them... may even take the kids since it sounds like there might not be a library to go to...
posted by Nanukthedog to MetaFilter-Related at 9:18 PM (47 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

tell me more about the beer library...
posted by clavdivs at 9:23 PM on January 15, 2011 [7 favorites]


Whoa ... YOU'RE Superdad? That would make your meetups ... fun.

Libraries arent't quiet anymore but even as a non-drinker I recognise alcohol is social lubrication. As is food, which you can bring in most libraries but setting up a potluck would feel like pushing the boundries a little too far.
posted by saucysault at 9:27 PM on January 15, 2011


Having been to a raucous Chicago meetup, I'm gonna say, yeah, this isn't gonna work. At least not with the Chicago cabal. (TINCC)
posted by IndigoRain at 9:38 PM on January 15, 2011


I agree. We can totally abolish the institute of library if we fill them up with people who ordinarily would have been drinking beer and talking loudly at the time.

I don't think you've thought this through. Are you intoxicated? Its not a judgment, just a question.
posted by hal_c_on at 9:40 PM on January 15, 2011


I have the keys to several local libraries, perhaps we can work something out...
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:44 PM on January 15, 2011 [20 favorites]


why not a virtual meet-up hosted by a library...huh, yeah?
posted by clavdivs at 9:47 PM on January 15, 2011


D'oh!
posted by clavdivs at 9:48 PM on January 15, 2011


Isn't there a bar called The Library in Austin? Or is it just a bar with lots of fake books that I named The Library?
posted by muddgirl at 9:49 PM on January 15, 2011


'Die Bibliothek.'

working title for lending library and night club.

*not available in bookmobile form.
posted by clavdivs at 9:59 PM on January 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


A compromise might be to go to a tavern with books. I recommend the Blue Moon in Seattle. It has a rotating library. As I recall the 1950's encyclopedia collection is missing the "V" and has been forever. My Grandfather went there when he was getting his engineering degree in the late 30's.
People are welcoming and kind. On a good night it's great, on a bad night it's still better than the world outside.
posted by vapidave at 10:15 PM on January 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think you are all missing the point. We get drunk in the parking lot first, and then go into the library. I mean, that's how I always do it.
posted by not_on_display at 10:43 PM on January 15, 2011 [5 favorites]


In Seattle, The Stranger organizes a monthly reading party at a hotel. Is that the sort of thing you're envisioning? Because that makes much more sense to me than people getting together for a chat inside the library.

Isn't there a bar called The Library in Austin?

Yes. This led to a hilarious misunderstanding between a friend and a girl who said one evening that she was going to the library, when he thought she meant The Library.
posted by grouse at 10:53 PM on January 15, 2011


ok. people. library. alcohol. books. poetry. chicago(NC).seattle. nightclub/bar. Austin. and jessamyn, fittingly, is the only one with keys.
real quick, is a virtual mefi meet-up ever been thought of, HA, done. like 200 in 20 rooms-...some heads going back/forth

oh come on, it would be a blast!

posted by clavdivs at 11:09 PM on January 15, 2011


Isn't there a bar called The Library in Austin?

I am pretty sure that at least half of the college towns in America have just such a thing.
posted by naoko at 11:23 PM on January 15, 2011 [4 favorites]


There's a pretty awesome, if pricey, hotel in New York called The Library.

Not that we should have a meetup there. I'm not sure how that would work.
posted by craichead at 2:38 AM on January 16, 2011


Hey, I've got keys to an elementary school building...gym, classrooms, the nurses clinic, and, get this, the bathrooms with stools 12 inches off the floor and the boiler room (access to the scariest looking 4 foot tall tunnels you've ever seen.
posted by HuronBob at 3:53 AM on January 16, 2011


Heck, I don't even know how or what 10-15 mefites would do in a "supposed to be quiet" setting...

Install ubuntu on the computers, check the sex, design, computer and language books, give everyone hugs and when told to be quiet, snap back "You're no Jessamyn!"
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:12 AM on January 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


Ah, what folks will do in the stacks. I used to have a bookstore, and as one of the residents of our middle-of-nowhere college town was a retired and renowned sushi chef, we started what we called Sushi Club there. The chef loved the ambiance of our store and approached us about starting this private club. So one Saturday a month, after we closed for the day, we'd allow up to sixty people to come to the store, and in 4 seatings, they'd all get a big platter of sushi. Before and after they just roamed the shelves reading and discussing, and a bit of tippling We provided a keg of decent local beer, but it was also BYOB— of saki, wine, real mint juleps, whatever. We also left the registers open. Man, we moved a lot of books on those nights. Usually in those 3 or 4 hours we sold as much as we had in the previous 8 hours of legitimate business.

It was illegal as all hell, but the local D.A. was a member, as were two members of the school board. Several department heads, chairs, the university president came a few times. Ivan Illich, Amiri Baraka, and Andrea Barrett, are among the invited people who dropped by.

When the store eventually went out of business, several members hosted meetings of the Sushi Club at their homes. But it eventually came to an end. It wasn't the same as doing it among the books.

I hear there's at least one place in New York that combines a bookstore and a bar. I think if I were ever insane enough to try and open a bookstore again, that's what I'd try. There's much to be said for coffeeshops in bookstores, but I think a beer and a good book also make an excellent combination.
posted by Toekneesan at 6:42 AM on January 16, 2011 [20 favorites]


I had a meetup at my library, and we went out for beer afterwards.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 6:46 AM on January 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


I once went to a happy hour and the conversation turned to all the faculty parties that happen in our Rare Books Room. We finally settled on "Bibliofeelya" as the name for the bar we would create in the Rare Books Room. I have the keys!
posted by haunted by Leonard Cohen at 6:54 AM on January 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


*not available in bookmobile form.

Oh, c'mon now - that's loser talk. Start planning now for your library-themed nightclub empire, clavdivs.

I'm free to drive the book/beermobile.
posted by ryanshepard at 6:58 AM on January 16, 2011


My wife and I occasionally go to meetups at the Harvard (MA) public library but it's ukulele based so you sorta need to bring a ukulele or some other instrument. Mefites are certainly welcome.
posted by bondcliff at 7:06 AM on January 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


I am pretty sure that at least half of the college towns in America have just such a thing.

Yeah, it is so college students can make the joke: "I'm going to the library to study" when they really mean "I'm going to get drunk."
posted by Falconetti at 7:19 AM on January 16, 2011


Just a couple of ideas to throw into the mix...

I'm a big fan of bookshops with coffee shops attached. I don't know if it's even logistically feasible (it's sometimes hard enough to find a place for even one person to sit) but a meetup over coffee in a bookstore sounds good to me.

The other idea is some kind of a reading-group-cum-library-meetup. I think libraries are quite welcoming to reading groups, and it would seem fitting.
posted by philipy at 7:29 AM on January 16, 2011


This thread makes me wonder if there'd be any interest in mefi meetups combined with volunteering opportunities. There's got to be plenty of opportunities for groups of people to help make positive changes in their local communities.
posted by crunchland at 7:33 AM on January 16, 2011 [14 favorites]


I'm pretty sure that you can peruse my commenting/answering history and figure out which library I paraprofessionalize at... when you do stop by and I'll buy you a drink at the Kelly's Fudge Factory that's attached.
posted by carsonb at 8:32 AM on January 16, 2011


The unemployed people without home Internet access using the library computers to apply for jobs will not be pleased—I know a guy who's been rotating between several library branches to fill out job applications online while out of work, and he's definitely not into with the full-on day-care atmosphere at some of them... But if there were a private room at the library you could reserve for a certain time, that sounds like it might work!
posted by limeonaire at 9:06 AM on January 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Library in Portsmouth, NH... which doesn't count as an actual library since you can't check out books and there are no librarians)

Hey, that's one of my favorite places. And there ARE librarians there...they just aren't at work when they're there.

Horace Rumpole's library meetup was a great example of how this could work. Libraries often run great programs. Why not craft a meetup which started with going to such a program, and progressed to a place with beer and food? It worked beautifully. I've been to a couple of these meetups that were more like activity + meetup and it seems to work out OK - for instance, a beach day/skeeball meetup followed by dinner and drinks out. It could work with a lot of activities - mini golf, movie night, hike, lecture, gaming thing, library program....If you don't like the activity you can just come to the socializing part of the meetup.

In a library, you could also reserve a room so noise isn't a problem. And I think it would be more fun if there was a collaborative activity to do, so it wasn't just "well, here we are all at the library." Since there's WiFi, you could do something like a distributed project blitz to build something......or play something....or edit the MeFi wiki...or stuff like that.

I've been thinking about this for museums as well...museums do lots of great programs with appeal to MeFi type people. I need to start remembering to think of my museum as a meetup place, and linking a get-together with an interesting program of some sort.

Anyway, a fine idea.
posted by Miko at 9:22 AM on January 16, 2011


Oh, I would also be down with the idea of a "My ____ (place or thing) tour." That's what Horace Rumpole's was like - he had some things to show about a topic he knew a lot about, and it was awesome. Let's say there was a MeFite who could give, like, a little afternoon walking tour of the Boston Molasses Flood (a perennial favorite topic here...). I would so be down with that, and then drinks afta. That kind of thing.
posted by Miko at 9:24 AM on January 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


As I recall the 1950's encyclopedia collection is missing the "V" and has been forever.

Why does this make me want to do a custom printout and binding of V. to slip into that encyclopedia?
posted by hippybear at 10:13 AM on January 16, 2011


Well, if you all wanna get loaded in a bookstore, I know a place.....
posted by jonmc at 11:13 AM on January 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


Well, heck, my library wouldn't turn down a crew of helpers.
posted by MonkeyToes at 11:55 AM on January 16, 2011


Isn't there a bar called The Library in Austin?

I am pretty sure that at least half of the college towns in America have just such a thing.


Yes, I can confirm that there is one of these in Columbus, OH right near the OSU campus, or at least there used to be.
posted by adamdschneider at 2:07 PM on January 16, 2011


There used to be one in Kent, OH, too. They used to be notorious for not carding.
posted by box at 3:45 PM on January 16, 2011


and when told to be quiet, snap back "You're no Jessamyn!"

"I don't have to listen to you! You're not my real mod!"
posted by nebulawindphone at 5:24 PM on January 16, 2011 [5 favorites]


I went to a whiskey tasting in a library once (after hours, hosted by someone with the keys). I always wondered what the patrons made of the smell the next morning.

If you don't want to do after hours, libraries in Australia at least often have meeting rooms specifically for this sort of thing. Although then you usually don't feel like you are in a library anymore, sadly. Our local one has a big soundproof glass box in the middle of the library as its meeting room, which is especially cool for people wandering past who like to watch the human chimpanzees...
posted by lollusc at 5:39 PM on January 16, 2011


Isn't there a bar called The Library in Austin?

There's one in Madison, WI too.
posted by kthxbi at 8:31 PM on January 16, 2011


Isn't there a bar called The Library in Austin?

There's one in Madison, WI too.


And one in Chapel Hill, but I've long been under the (possibly incorrect?) impression that it's sort of fratty.
posted by thivaia at 6:23 AM on January 17, 2011


So the Library (Restaraunt) in Portsmouth is a little different than a bar. There is a bar in it, but it is a higher-end bar. The Library's draw (besides decent food) is it is an architectural wonder, filled with craftsmanship basically not found in todays construction. Check out the History page from its website to get an idea of what I am talking about.

Then really, you have to do a picture search on flickr if you want to see some specifics of the craftsmanship.
posted by Nanukthedog at 6:35 AM on January 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Renting a meeting hall for a private meetup might be one way to hold a meetup in a library. I'm not sure if they'd let us BYOB or whatnot, but if they did I bet it would be cheaper or roughly equal to the sum total of the bar tab of most of the meetups I've been to. I do know that many libraries do rent out meeting rooms for a variety of social functions. Heck, in the highly unlikely situation I was getting married, I'd actually strongly consider renting a library to host it in.

I also like the idea of a volunteering meetup. We could do ad-hoc beach or park cleanup. Or maybe there's a computer recycling non-profit that could use an army of nerds to sort inventory or build ubuntu machines for a few hours.

"Relax. We're here from the internet to kick ass and nip whiskey out of flasks."
posted by loquacious at 9:20 AM on January 17, 2011


Like Miko, I also love the idea of specialty meetups/walking tours. Behind-the-scenes tours are especially awesome. Anybody work or volunteer someplace worth seeing?
posted by Quietgal at 9:28 AM on January 17, 2011


"meet us in the stacks":2011

and perhaps a rename in honor of ryan, 'The Jabobin Club'
posted by clavdivs at 9:37 AM on January 17, 2011


I think a beer and a good book also make an excellent combination.

They certainly make my favorite combination. Of all things.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 10:43 AM on January 17, 2011


I enjoy taking a book to my favorite bar within 1/2 hour to an hour of their closing, when things are relatively quiet (and it's a pretty quiet place most of the time anyway--at least, the music isn't too loud). It's not really an antisocial thing, either; half the time, I end up talking about whatever I'm reading to some random bar patron, anyway--booktalking al fresco, if you will. Also, some of the best drink-ups I've ever been along on were in library school. Also also, there's a Library bar in Memphis, near the state university.
posted by Halloween Jack at 1:50 PM on January 17, 2011


Columbus, OH

Kent, OH

Madison, WI

Chapel Hill...


There's even one in Williamsburg, VA, which has got to be one of the nation's saddest excuses for a college town. Go Tribe?
posted by naoko at 2:08 PM on January 17, 2011


The one in Pittsburgh is some kind of bar and grill with highbrow aspirations, and they made their menus out of defaced used books, which struck me as a pretty dreadful way to miss the point.
posted by nebulawindphone at 3:59 PM on January 17, 2011


MrMoonPie has given meetup-esque tours of the Library of Congress. Very neat, though as far as I know nobody has snuck in any booze.
posted by exogenous at 6:26 AM on January 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


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