Can I just say how amazing libraries are?
These are the ultimate community spaces: free to use for the community, full of interesting things and connected to such a diverse spread of our society.
Matriark focuses on building audiences from the ground up and I’ve been meaning to write about the value of libraries for a while. This is because, as some of you would know, we’ve been working very closely with City of Sydney libraries as well as Georges River Council libraries to present in their spaces.
I’m a huge advocate for the value of presenting in community spaces so when City of Sydney pitched some collaboration through their programs, we jumped! The City of Sydney Council presented Urza and the Song in the Dark in a bunch of libraries throughout January and the response was very positive. Our audiences were full of people we’d never met before expressing their thankfulness for being able to access some great theatre in their local space. One mother of three explained that theatre was normally totally inaccessible for her because of the cost and stress involved, the library made it accessible.
Accessibility first and foremost relates to enabling people with disability to participate in arts and culture. There are barriers to access that are most of the time solved by simple changes to how we present our work so that it is more inclusive.
Perhaps we can extend this inclusivity to include other groups with barriers to access. Those living in suburbs away from the CBD, regional communities who can’t physically attend cultural events without great effort, those experiencing financial hardship or those who just don’t float in the circles aware of what’s happening (whether online or in life).
Libraries are awesome because their entire focus is access for all! Why wouldn’t we support our local libraries, work with them to build community and audiences from the ground up.
Librarians: so much respect to you and the spaces you manage. As a nerdy, quirky outsider, the library has always been my safe space. In a culture that struggles with community, you are glue. I hope you’ll continue to test the limits of what you can offer and look forward to the bright future you’re crafting. Thank you.