‘Safety Pin’ art seeks to secure sense of inclusion

Kirk Boxleitner kboxleitner@ptleader.com
Posted 1/3/17

The Port Townsend Public Library recently drew notice with a series of posters whose goal was to advance inclusion rather than exclusion, according to library staff.

An anonymous patron of the …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

E-mail
Password
Log in

‘Safety Pin’ art seeks to secure sense of inclusion

Posted

The Port Townsend Public Library recently drew notice with a series of posters whose goal was to advance inclusion rather than exclusion, according to library staff.

An anonymous patron of the library had interpreted the posters as being against President-elect Donald Trump. The patron asked The Leader, “If [the library] is a ‘safe’ space, then why make Trump supporters angry and uncomfortable by saying they aren’t welcome there?” The patron then added that they would not condone the posting of pro-Trump materials at the library either.

Melody Sky Eisler, director of the Port Townsend Public Library, said the artwork inspired by the Safety Pin Project, which was posted from mid-November through mid-December, “in no way endorses a political candidate or is intended as any type of propaganda for or against any candidate or political party.”

The Safety Pin Project originated in England with children’s book authors and illustrators who were inspired to use their characters “to literally illustrate messages of inclusiveness, love, support, anti-discrimination and anti-bullying – all messages and themes that have been trending in children’s literature over the last few year.”

Eisler said she and Youth Services librarian Kit Ward-Crixell chose to display the art because of its literary themes and messages of hope and inclusiveness, after they’d seen it on a website called A Mighty Girl, at tinyurl.com/gurpagb.

Eisler singled out an illustration of a mermaid, by Port Townsend illustrator Faith Pray, for praise.

“I wanted to remind our library patrons and community that the library is a safe, inclusive and welcoming place for everyone, and what better way to do that than with beloved literary characters from contemporary children’s literature?” Eisler asked. “I have found myself thinking a lot about how public libraries can help bring people together who have different viewpoints and beliefs, as that is the beauty of public libraries being politically neutral and safe and welcoming place for all.”

As is standard practice for the library, the literary display was up for only month, and other displays have since taken its place.

The Jefferson County Library had not posted any artwork from the Safety Pin Project, but public services manager Chris HoffmanHill noted the library was unaware of the project before being contacted by The Leader.

“Libraries are places of inclusivity, lifelong learning and cultural enrichment,” HoffmanHill said. “We all endeavor to share a wide variety of ideas to reflect the diversity that exists in our communities.”

Comments

No comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment