1-Teens Take the Met window graffiti

Teens were encouraged to creatively make their mark on Nolen Library windows during Teens Take the Met. Photo by Leah High.

by Abby Wanserski.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is home to libraries which support the research activities of museum staff as well as the public. Previous articles about The Met’s Watson Library and their Special Collections discuss how The Met’s libraries welcome the public. The Nolen Library is a hub for learning and inspiration for kids, teens, families, educators, and patrons of all ages and provides educational and outreach opportunities for all museum visitors. I spoke with Public Services Librarian Leah High to find out what makes Nolen such a special library.

I love that Nolen Library is a space for inquiry, exploration, and inspiration for all Met visitors. ~Public Services Librarian Leah High

The library’s easily accessible collection of over ten thousand items is filled with books for all ages (including a large picture book collection with titles in English and a variety of world languages).  The collection is meant to give context to museum exhibits and provide additional information about artists and art topics. In addition to the library’s wonderful collection, Nolen provides instructional and reference support to library patrons on use of library resources and offers programming such as regular Storytimes (as well as occasional bilingual Storytime sessions).

2-Lunar New Year Bi-lingual Storytime

Librarians Min Xu and Leah High read stories in English and Chinese during the museum-wide Lunar New Year festival. Photo by library staff.

3-Pop up on the Plaza July 2015

Pop-Up Library presented by Nolen Library on the plaza in front of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Photo by Leah High.

Library staff use programming to inspire creativity and an interest in art.

Library staff use programming to inspire creativity and an interest in art. Nolen Library frequently collaborates with The Met’s Education Department to create phenomenal programming opportunities. An example of this is Nolen’s pop-up library, which has appeared in the galleries to accompany Sunday Studio and outdoors on the museum’s Plaza (shown above). This little library on the go provides great resources for museum exhibits, promotion for the library, and of course, a relaxing place to browse through some of the collection.

4-Brian Floca and library staff

Watson Library staff Leah High and Angela Washington join Floca with a selection of his books. Photo by Alayna Wiley.

Some programming is aimed towards visitors of all ages. In December 2014, the library welcomed children’s book Illustrator Brian Floca. The event included a presentation and lecture by Floca along with a Q&A and book signing. Programs like these inspire readers and art lovers alike.

5-Teens Take the Met Black-out poetry

Teens get poetic in the Teacher Resource Room of Nolen Library.  Photo by Leah High.

6-Teens Take the Met old school games

Teens concentrate on a game of Jenga. Photo by Leah High.

7-Teens Take the Met window graffiti 2

Teens use washable markers to draw on Nolen Library’s giant window “canvases.” Photo by Leah High.

Perhaps most impressive are programs such as the museum’s Teens Take the Met. In October 2015, more than 4,000 teens were welcomed during evening hours for a multitude of activities throughout the museum. Nolen hosted a “loud library” and gave teens a chillout space to listen to music, play old school board games, graffiti the windows, and have some craft time. (View photos from previous Teens Take the Met). Similarly, in September of last year, the Met Kids Launch Party celebrated the museum’s new MetKids digital feature by providing creative, inquiry-based activities and by once again turning Nolen into a “loud library.”

8- Kids Make Bookplates

Kids create their own bookplates in Nolen Library’s Teacher Resource Room. Hand lettering on window by Natasha Mileshina. Photograph by Filip Wolak.

10-library conservation staff

Watson Library Book Conservation staff Jenny Davis and Yukari Hayashida discuss how books are made and what we can do to protect them. Photo by Leah High.

Watson Library Book Conservation staff Jenny Davis and Yukari Hayashida discuss how books are made and what we can do to protect them. Photo by Leah High.

A young visitor experiments with ink stamps on a bookplate. Photograph by Filip Wolak

Following Nolen online is a great way to get inspiration for your own library!

Of course not every library is lucky enough to be part of a world renowned art museum like The Met, but thanks to their collaborations, outreach, and strong online presences, Nolen and other libraries at The Met are able to share ideas with a growing community of creative libraries. Following Nolen online is a great way to get inspiration for your own library! Check out the libraries’ blog, In Circulation, for wonderful glimpses into the libraries’ collections, or follow them on Instagram (#NolenLibrary), Facebook and Pinterest. The Met’s event calendar is the best place to go for upcoming library events.

It’s clear The Met is a huge incubator for the arts, and Nolen Library strives to be a valuable resource for learning and creativity within it. When describing the library, Leah has this to say, “I love that Nolen Library is a space for inquiry, exploration, and inspiration for all Met visitors.” I couldn’t have said it better!

Want More?

  • You can keep in touch with the library’s blog In Circulation for highlights collections, events, library news, and more
  • Check out all the articles in this series on the Libraries of the Met.

 

DSC_0015
Abby Wanserski
received her BFA in Photography from the University Wisconsin Milwaukee. She currently works at the Alicia Ashman Library in Madison Wisconsin and is the co-founder and manager of the Russian folk music group White Birch Ensemble, where she plays the domra, a Russian folk instrument, and sings. Abby is also a photographer and visual artist, and she hopes to apply her creative experience and expertise to a career in Art Librarianship. Visit Abby online at abbyroseart.com.

Pin It