One of the tenents of librarianship is privacy. It's why I love librarians...you can ask them ANYTHING and they won't spill the beans. Privacy, the right which we have almost given away for free (witness the growth of Facebook, where one is asked to indicate their "status" on a minute by minute basis for advertisers and anyone else, including divorce lawyers, to plunder). Trust me, all those status updates will come back and chew you a new one someday.
Librarians used to only very, very reluctantly give up circulation records to the feds, even Oswald's! But today folks willingly click "I am reading so and so" instead of keeping their knowledge quests private. For librarians, a noble profession with noble rules, intellectual freedom was paramount.
For decades the only bugaboo in the library privacy record was the checkout card. Anyone could see who else read the book, or at least carried it home. My mother, herself a junior high librarian in her day, used to say every book she checked out had my name on the card. He said modestly. Eh...there were no books about Marxism in the junior high anyway, I found those in high school. Today, I am trying hard to fill my kindle so I can justify buying the new one.
These lovely relics come to me from artist Mary Gibney, and they come with a good story. I received an email from Mary about my recent post of mug shots. It is always nice to receive notes with comments and such, but this one was different. It came from an artist who PAINTS mug shots! I can get behind that...how many cool ideas are left, after all? Mary Gibney found one, and she is doing a good job with it.
Ms. Gibney and I exchanged a few pleasantries, and that she had this collection of library checkout cards came up...so I finagled a few for the blog. They are lovely and odd, and I can't thank Mary enough for sharing. She also has an overdue notice for Victorian potboiler "The Magnificent Ambersons" which is surprising as the filmed version is so, so much better. At least the first three minutes of it. (Seriously!) Why anyone would struggle with the book when an Orson Welles masterpiece is available is beyond me.
I have also cribbed a handful of Gibney's splendid mug shot work. She really deserves a post of her own here, and one day I hope to.
Gibney has a long exhibition history HERE and seems to be doing quite well selling her work. As you can see, the mugshots are done of both celebs and regular mugs, and she has also done a series of works based on the faces shot by Weegee. Gibney is a Minneapolis artist, cyclist, library worker (ah HA!) and collector of odd objects, scraps and castoffs. As becomes an artist, she has a statement.
"I rely on intuition, mixing up, shapely objects, found bits and ephemera, the arcane and the obsolete, mistakes and fortunate convergences. I am fascinated by mugshots, anonymous faces and abandoned photos which I use to make portraits of unknown people. Other inspirations are maps, children's encyclopedia illustrations, paint color chips, sideshow art and theatrical illusions, old toys and unnecessary objects, handwritten signs, ads from old Popular Mechanics and Ladies Home Journals and mid-20th century illustrations of the wonderful future."
Mary Gibney Website HERE
Vintage Library Circulation Cards collection Mary Gibney Paintings by Mary Gibney Private Collections
Jim Linderman books and Ebooks HERE