Henry Rollins Loves EveryLibrary

Now that we have come off of the polemics and nostalgia (both of which are awesome, mind you) it is a good time to remember that Henry Rollins loves libraries.

Henry Rollins really, REALLY loves libraries. This should really come as no surprise. He has always been the punk intellectual, and the old-school cool of the library fits perfectly with his persona of "don't box me in."

What is surprising (and fantastic, seriously, just fantastic) is how smart he is about it. When you look at the interview, it is like he is a long-term foot soldier for the social change inherent in libraries. This is a guy who gets it. He understands the leverage inherent with libraries, the fact that we are in everyone's backyard and accessible to all. Rollins does not put libraries in a box, does not make them objects of nostalgia and romance; no, he sees them as a genuine force in people's lives.

He is smart enough to endorse EveryLibrary, the national library Super PAC and to his credit that is some seriously next gen support of libraries. EveryLibrary is an amazing, nimble, creative organization. It has wide-ranging and diverse impacts. Headed by John Chrastka, an old veteran of the library wars, and powered by librarians and citizen-advocates across the country, it is a knife-in-the-teeth advocacy machine fighting hard for a libraries in a way that gets huge props from people across the library and social action worlds.

Seriously, these guys went toe-to-toe with folk in rural Louisiana where the Lafourche Parish council chairman complained that the library was full of hippies and junkies who use the library to look at food stamps and drugs on the computers. This happened in November 2013 too, which makes the whole hippie thing just that much better. There was a proposal on the table to defund the library to build a new jail. The capper of course was that this same guy went on a rant about the library because they were "teaching Mexicans how to speak English there." Well, good old EveryLibrary rallied the troops to that one and, in the end, the library stayed open and is presumably still running a lovely ESL program to this day.


What has always been wonderful about Rollins is that he is an aggro-intelligent man. He does not suffer fools gladly. You can either bring it in force or shut up. EveryLibrary is kind of the Henry Rollins of the library world. It is hard to put them in a box. When you show up at the table with anecdotes, they show up with actionable data and voting records. When you think it would be nice if someone stood-up for your library, they are the ones to coordinate a grassroots petition campaign while leaning hard on local government. Sure you love your library, everybody loves their library, but EveryLibrary are a batch of political/policy wonks who will do a full tactical/political breakdown on your situation and rip it up like the bad people slapped your momma.

Librarians are still a pretty soft-spoken profession. At the same time, libraries across the nation, large and small, north and south, east and west, are getting hit as low-hanging fruit in budget battles everywhere. Fortunately we have very loud supporters like Henry Rollins and EveryLibrary. These are people who are not afraid to shake the cage and change your perspective. Yeah, we speak softly, but with allies like this we carry big sticks.