Meanwhile, The San Francisco Public Library
May 16, 2011 5:03 AM   Subscribe

Wendy MacNaughton's Meanwhile Illustrated Documentary Series has so far covered San Francisco dog walkers, Farmers' Market Farmers, Mission Bar Tenders etc. This week she captures the essence of libraries in Meanwhile, The San Francisco Library
posted by honey-barbara (15 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
These are so good! I love the library one.
posted by parmanparman at 5:43 AM on May 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

This is very good. Thank you.
posted by thebestsophist at 7:17 AM on May 16, 2011

These illustrations make me wish I was living in SF
posted by indigo4963 at 7:21 AM on May 16, 2011

These cheered me up like nobody's business - thank you.
posted by jaynewould at 7:32 AM on May 16, 2011

She really did capture public libraries' essence.

I can't tell if she worked in libraries or just listened really well the day she visited, but she managed to say exactly what librarians are trying to say right now--we're important, people depend on us, please don't cut our funding to a level where we can't help them--and for that alone, she deserves a medal.
posted by librarylis at 7:42 AM on May 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

There's something dreadful about a sequence about a library confusing it's and its. That said, while I've never been to the San Francisco library (perhaps a big oversight on my part), I think these drawing nicely encapsulate many big public libraries.
posted by hoyland at 8:07 AM on May 16, 2011

These are fantastic.
posted by Terminal Verbosity at 8:12 AM on May 16, 2011

I love these. Thank you. They capture the spirit of the city very well, especially the SFPL one. Her statement that "Nobody here is really from here" is true of most big cities, but SF in particular fits that bill so well. I felt incredibly lost the first time I moved there and then it took maybe a month tops before the city had sucked me in, and living there made me feel the way no other city had before or has since. There was a point when it stopped feeling welcoming and hospitable, about the point that it became too expensive to live there on any decent wage, and I left. And it's not really as much a city to be 40-something in as it is a city to be 20-something in. But it's still in many ways a magical place, or maybe just my nostalgic associations make it seem that way to me in retrospect.

The library illustrations were right on target and are a great counter to all of those people who think that public libraries are horrible because they're full of homeless people and immigrants. The reality is that the public library is one of the last places in the US where you can get a sense of what it once must have been like to feel part of a community -- where you bumped up against people that you would never meet otherwise and realized that the world is simultaneously a lot smaller and a lot bigger than you normally believe.

"I started coming here thirty years ago this June ..... I said I'd stay a year ..... I've been here ever since." How true.
posted by blucevalo at 9:02 AM on May 16, 2011 [2 favorites]

Wow - these are great! My favorite is the panel in the 'Dog Walkers' on that says, "They just want love." Very sweet.
posted by Pecinpah at 10:51 AM on May 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

No shit! Wendy did my fabulous Bowie-esque makeup for my senior prom!
posted by Graygorey at 3:37 PM on May 16, 2011

These are lovely, thanks for posting them!
posted by LobsterMitten at 6:50 PM on May 16, 2011

Nice, I really like the farmer's market one. Thanks!
posted by LoraT at 7:30 PM on May 16, 2011

Pics please, or it didn't happen Graygorey! (I bet it was brilliant - she has a lovely hand with her line work)
posted by honey-barbara at 1:05 AM on May 17, 2011

Love the SF library one. Thanks.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:46 AM on May 18, 2011

Her statement that "Nobody here is really from here" is true of most big cities, but SF in particular fits that bill so well. I felt incredibly lost the first time I moved there

As much as I like her art, speaking as a born & raised Bay Arean statements like this make me cranky. Believe it or not, there are plenty of us who were born here, grew up here, and still live here. How far back is it necessary to go before being considered to be "really from" a place? How is it that my husband, who's first-generation American on his father's side and second-generation on his mother's side, gets no skepticism when he self-identifies as "a New Yorker", but people who are second-, third-, fourth-generation Bay Areans by birth are all over the place and still people make this assertion that "nobody here is really from here"?

If you've lived in the Bay Area for more than a year and you don't know anybody who's "really from here" you need to expand your circle of acquaintances.
posted by Lexica at 7:04 PM on May 19, 2011

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