A Legacy of #LAFE

It is hard for me to fully express what the Libraries Are For Everyone campaign has meant to me. Hitting 100 languages this week has really made me pause and reflect on this experience. When I’ve been asked to talk about it, I find that I can’t because it is so deeply moving to me, and I will start to cry.

A decade ago, my life collapsed, and I felt like I had failed in everything. Back then if you would have told me that in a handful of years I would impact lives around the world with my art? I likely would have thought you were being cruel.

But the reality is that with the help of many-many people, there will be a legacy of #LAFE. We did this together.

Thank you to every person who worked to bring me translations.

Thank you to everyone who has spread the #LAFE message.

The Tacoma Community College Library shared their framed LAFEs which were right next to the Library Bill of Rights. Hooray!

Canada: represent! Librarians at the University of the Fraser Valley in Abbotsford, British Columbia shared one of the loveliest creations using LAFE signs. It makes my heart sing every time I see this.

MY ART HAS BEEN ON A CAKE!!! PEOPLE LITERALLY ATE MY ART!!! I can’t help but smile when I see these pictures from Mount Holyoke College. Mmmm…LAFE cake…

This is the exterior of La Crosse Public Library in Wisconsin. Inside they also have beautiful large LAFE banners hanging from a second floor balcony. And yes, this is the library that is having massive budget/employee cuts. Please sign EveryLibrary’s online petition to show your support of this great library.

This is Lauren Seaver, a Library Assistant at Fairport Public Library. Our friendship began when she sent me this picture of herself rocking a LAFE bag that she made for herself. I never imagined that my art would lead to so many amazing friendships – it still blows my mind (in a good way).

This is all the Library Helpers at Rochester International Academy in New York. This picture gets me right in the feels every time. ❤️

This photo is one of a set that a patron named Jason sent me. This was my first email from a patron sharing the #LAFE love. He and his kids really loved the printing workshop that was held at Appleton Public Library.

I received a lovely email from Molly Moss, the Assistant Director/Patron Services Librarian at Forbes Library in Northampton, MA. Those fabulous librarians marched in their town’s Pride parade and she sent me a thank you along with this photo. Happy tears.

Becky Ferguson, the Communications Coordinator at Vernon Area Public Library let me know about some signs that they created.. When I went to grab a link from VAPL’s website for this post, I discovered what is in the next picture, and may have cried a wee bit.

THIS IS ON THEIR FRONT PAGE. And when you opt to READ MORE – the first thing you see on that page is this:

And underneath is a beautiful statement about LAFE (this is just a snippet) by their Director Cynthia Fuerst: “It’s more than just a slogan. It’s the foundation of what we believe.” VAPL will make one more appearance in this post from one of their patrons. It’s one of my favorite all-time responses to LAFE. ❤️ 🧡 💛 💚 💙 💜 🖤

Sandra Lopez, the Head of Outreach Services for the Round Lake Area Public Library District, sent me some photos featuring her team using #LAFE to decorate their booth at the Lake County Fair!

Corey Flynn, a Library Assistant at the King Philip Regional Middle School in Massachusetts shared this wall that is tiled with #LAFE. Yay!!!

Colleen Sanders, Reference & Instruction Librarian at Clackamas Community College in Oregon, sent me this pic of their circ desk. LOVE. IT.

All of these photos are so very precious to me, and so are all the emails or messages that people have sent to me over the years. But I wanted to highlight the following posts and pictures because these make my heart…it’s a feeling that I can’t put into words. These are the things that I have printed out and put at my desk for those days when I struggle with negative feelings about myself. These are my lifelines to know that something I did during my time on this planet has meant something special to others.

You might find it odd that I don’t write as much about these in their captions, and take it the wrong way. It goes back to the deep emotions that these bring about within me, and I’ve treated these like private gems that give me hope in this chaotic universe. I feel like I’m baring my soul with these and feel like they speak for themselves.

This is the first image shared with me that made me cry (in a good way).

My heart, too.

This is the sign that the Jefferson Madison Regional Library in Charlottesville, VA proudly put out in front of their building in August of 2017.

The whole impetus for creating my diverse patrons was because I was sick-and-tired of seeing people with disabilities being represented by someone in an old-fashioned wheel chair. I took that anger and poured it out to show others that hey – there’s a beautiful rainbow of people out there who are marginalized and not represented in art or design. And they both can and should be.

My soul.

This is a selfie of my mom and dad, taken in the entryway of their home. Over a decade ago they took me in and gave me back my strength and determination to do good. I would never have found myself in the library-world without them. And for them to be so proud of me? #LAFE would have never happened without their love and support.

I will let the poster of this Instagram picture at Vernon Area Public Library have the final word on #LAFE. I look at this beautiful baby and hope that she gets to live in a better world.

“I hope America will re-find its path of accepting all, without discriminating between race, religion, language & color. You have to change with the changing world, sometimes drastically, but your history, ideals & philosophy define you. Change can be less violent & traumatic. Thank you @vernonlibrary for the beautiful message advocating inclusivity. This was an inspiration.”

6 thoughts on “A Legacy of #LAFE

  1. This makes me so happy to read! I can’t stress enough how much #LAFE has meant to be as a librarian and as a person. I remember talking to you and making large-scale versions of these posters for my library’s Summer Library Program in Mississippi a couple of years ago and this project’s continued growth even since then is AMAZING.

    • Kayla!!!!!

      I’m so happy that you’re so happy. And hooray for reaching out and then sharing the LAFE message with your community!

      Rock on, you amazing librarian, you!

    • Thank you so much, Kim! I had hoped that it would be popular, but I never thought that it would end up being as popular as it is. It’s a wonderful surprise.

  2. You are such a shero for me. #LAFE is and has been such an incredible gift that you have given and shared. The pictures you share here are priceless and moving. You are good people. Thank you for catching us up!

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