Patrick Califia on libraries…

Patrick Califia is one of my all time favourite writers. Thanks Jen for clipping this from Xtra West for me. He writes:

When I came out, the first place I headed to to find out about my sexuality was the library and thank god there were librarians who were opposed to censorship and kept whatever minimal sources of information there were. It’s through the printed page, through the written word that we know about the folks that have gone on before us, and it’s the way that we leave the little trail of breadcrumbs for the new folks to follow. It’s invaluable just for that reason alone.

-Author, Patrick Califia tells a crowd at Toronto’s first ever Writing Outside the Margins literary festival, produced by Xtra West’s sister paper Xtra, Aug 26.

This reminds me of the second place story in the Beyond Words story contest, The Cure, by MP Jorgensen. He wrote about how as a young gay man, he went to the library to read about curing his homosexuality, and ended up “learn(ing) that I could love and be loved as a gay man, not only by others and myself, but also by my creator…I am grateful, and perhaps owe my life, to the BC and Canadian library system, that allows freedom of information and makes it available to all, at no cost.”

response from Susie Bright

I received this email from Susie Bright as a response to the last post.A   It’s massively exciting to get an email from an author I admire.

I’m so glad you saw the conversation with Steve and posted about it.

It’s probably because I know Steve so well, so I talked rather intimately, but we both share the same feelings as you do about why the library is a sanctuary for people who are struggling, and how outrageous the public policies are where we live that no one gives a damn about the bigger issues of mental health, homelessness, health care, poverty, etc.

I’m so mortified you don’t know that side of me! Cause I’ve gone to jail and marched my ass for those causes. I’m not sashaying into the library with my fur coat and pooh-poohing the little people!

Nevertheless, one can be a hardcore socialist rabblerouser, and still be upset that there’s no where to sit at the library where your eyes don’t sting! It’s hard for the library workers, too.

And actually, they extreme hygiene element not a homeless issue, it’s a mental health issue. There are plenty of homeless folks in the library socializing or reading or enjoying the public space who are just as upset about it as I am.

I would’ve added this comment to your blog, but there was no place to do it!

Eat the rich,