Rich Smith sucks at his job. Initially I wrote a longer, perhaps more eloquent tirade, but I think in this case brevity makes more sense.
When I was a kid, I read only newspapers and magazines. Then my mom took me to the library and we started checking out sports fiction books. I became an avid reader, and years later I graduated with a degree in English Literature.

Don't underestimate the power between sports and books, especially for young boys.
JFC, are white Seattle hipsters incapable of thinking of anyone besides themselves??Does it ever occur to them that the library means different things to different people and these kinds of community events are wonderful for families, recent immigrants and all kinds of people in our city? Has Rich Smith even stepped foot into an SPL branch or is his head wedged too far up his own ass?
Check your privilege there Rich. The library is a community gathering place that makes media available to any and all for free. It is not just an ivory tower filled with "Important Knowledge" in books.From Internet access to all to multiple copies of The Good Wife on DVD, a lot of what is available is brainless entertainment, football included, and that is at should be. Just because you don't like football doesn't mean everyone should be deprived of the opportunity to watch big games if they want to. And many in our community can't, or don't want to, go to a bar to watch a game for any number of reasons. Community is community and if some find it while watching a game you don't like, there's nothing wrong with that. Just like there's nothing wrong with you sitting down and reading whatever "Important Knowledge" you think is vital to life. It's probably boring as snot to many, but it's your thing. That's fine. Just learn to look beyond your own pages.

I became a Matt Christopher junkie at a pretty young age. I've a couple friends down here in Portland who also read him and I've (mostly jokingly) toyed with the idea of starting a MC reading club to see just how well his works will have aged. Fun times.
@3, 4,

The library representative is on the record, right here in this very article that you're all incensed about, as being "uncomfortable" with the decision. I'd think that in itself justifies the inquiry/posting from Rich. And I actually think it's a pretty cool idea and I'd hope they continue to show games if it's deemed successful. But it is at least a bit odd.
Yeah, the tone of this article/post was kinda ick.

I'm not a football fan at all, but I enjoy watching a certain yearly rivalry game that takes place many miles away. Reminds me of home, etc...

Likewise, I think people can show up for a library showing of the apple cup and not be big football fans. Maybe they just like watching this one game (although as an outside the whole apple cup thing seems kinda lame).

And did you look at that polling data in detail? For college football fans, the percentage difference between "$50,000 or more" and "Less than $50,000" for household income wasn't all that large. (For those that watch/follow "a little" the split was 31% less than and 34% over, with margin of error being 3%.)
The last time I was at the downtown library, I was trying to teach a 4 year-old to read. They were playing a Seahawks game, and it got so loud we just couldn't concentrate and had to leave. I should have told that poor, illiterate 4 year-old to check his privilege at the door. It was game day after all, and we all have to make a few sacrifices.
Oh, and I probably should have mentioned that 4 year-old was a 1st generation immigrant whose parents can't read and who was afraid of reading (but whose parents did have a tv). Nonetheless, let's continue criticizing people who want to read, even collaboratively, in libraries as elitist hipsters who can't see beyond their own privilege.
@6 and then she want on to extoll the virtues of the event and to be open to making changes to make it more educational. So that's great. And yes, the question is a fair one, but this isn't the first time that Rich has been angred by this kind of thing. And he ignored the idea that many of us can't watch the game elsewhere.

@8- Pretty tough to find a different spot in the library that doesn't happen to be right next to the room where they showed that game, eh? the downtown library is pretty small.
@10 Yeah. It's really tough to find a spot in Seattle that's playing a football game on a game day, eh? As everybody knows, the only place for that is the public library.

Apropos of nothing, we didn't go to the adult spaces because I didn't want us to disturb adults who may have been trying to read, if they were able to.

The library doesn't have to be a silent space. I would argue that it *shouldn't* be a silent space. But it really should be as absent of abrupt, sporadic screaming as possible. One wouldn't think this would be a controversial notion.
@11 apparently states what indeed should be obvious: when you teach someone to read, you tend to read to them aloud and have them read to you aloud. I don't know if @10 has ever been in the downtown library, but in spite of the occasional loud patrons at the various levels, most places are not comfortable areas for reading aloud.
@12 Yes. I should have made that explicit.

Of course, I forgot my favorite part of the experience was joking with the kid as we left about how we wouldn't be learning to read there today because 'the adults were too busy playing a game.' It was an embarrassment.

The bummer of it is that, in his neighborhood and among his family and friends, sports are highly prioritized and reading and other forms of cerebral learning are highly stigmatized. Nearly every cultural influence he has tells him that he's good for only one thing—his ability with a ball. Nice to have our public library, in spite of all the books on sports they apparently featured that day, reinforce that view for him. Haven't been back since.
@15 Wut?

@Rich, I'm addicted to reading, seriously, I'd read cereal boxes and milk cartons at breakfast if I don't have something else to read. That said, I think showing the Apple Cup is not a bad idea. SPL has to get as many people as possible to use the libraries, otherwise they might lose funding and have to cut hours like before. We'd all lose then. The Apple Cup is actually a really big deal because of the big rivalry between UW and WSU - so many people (like me) who don't often watch football would be interested in seeing it.
I think the last comment is probably the most insightful; if you get down to it, this move to show Football in the Library is purely about funding. If SPL can prove that their numbers for public events are up, the funding continues. This is really more about that than it is to build community, in my opinion. Because, as has already been pointed out, Football is omnipresent: TV, billboards, school, etc. The library houses something that is NOT pushed down people's throats all the time: Books. If you were to compare how much media coverage there is of football and sporting events vs. books and literacy, it would be embarrassing. The Library is there to promote reading and advancement of thought, education and literacy. Community centers and gyms can promote sports all the live-long day; that's what they are there for. I don't need my Library doing it. The term "Community" in this sense means that they appreciate the number of people who turn out for the event; and that makes it successful. But does it really fulfill the objectives for what it is the Library should do? I think the answer is stunningly clear.

Please wait...

Comments are closed.

Commenting on this item is available only to members of the site. You can sign in here or create an account here.

Add a comment

By posting this comment, you are agreeing to our Terms of Use.