I love libraries. I absolutely love them. I love the small community libraries that have story telling sessions for kids and displays of local treasures and old photographs of the area, and artworks from local schools and community groups up on the walls. I also love the BIG libraries, the multi-level libraries, housed in big old buildings, or often these days in sleek new modern ones. Every time I walk into a library I get butterflies in my belly (the same thing happens in bookshops, art galleries, art supply stores and fabric shops!). I always feel so overwhelmed by the sheer unfathomable amount of information in them. I spend a lot of time in libraries. Sometimes I go to research a specific thing for my work. Other times I just go and browse and graze and wander around and see what I stumble across. There’s always something weird and wonderful to be found amongst those shelves!
The thing I love most about libraries are the heritage collections. It’s amazing what you can find in those collections. Not just books, but objects and artworks and records of all kinds. I love nothing more than burying myself away in those dark rooms, where you have to wear the little white gloves, and poring over old manuscripts and diaries and photographs and records and documents, discovering stories or accounts or just simply evidence of peoples everyday lives. In some ways it is just a form of voyeurism, peeking into other people’s lives, the safe kind you can’t get busted for!! But it’s also about something else too. So often when we talk or think or make things about the past it is about remembering - what we remember, and the ways we remember. But what I find more fascinating is the forgetting, the process by which things get forgotten and how, in the absence of objects, whole lives and stories can just disappear. These collections fascinate me because they are little doorways into the past, little repositories of near-forgotten things, without which countless stories would have completely disappeared. detail from a work of mine titled "the absence of objects"