This week is one of the biggest, busiest weeks of the year in Ann Arbor. It’s ART FAIR week! The Ann Arbor Art Fair is actually 4 separate art fairs that all happen during the same 4 days all across the city. There are over 1200 artists within those 4 fairs, working in pretty much any medium you can think of, with booths to sell their wares. Then there’s all the food trucks, local restaurants have booths, some of the areas have entertainment with musicians and the like, nonprofits in the area have booths set up for fundraising and just informational purposes, national brands often have giveaways in their booths. It’s 4 days with 4 fairs and it usually brings in upwards of 300,000 people to the area. It’s definitely a boost to the local economy.
One thing about Art Fair that rarely fails – it’s hot and humid during those 4 days and there’s USUALLY a storm at some point. Often times it’s a severe storm with hail and even possible tornadoes. It used to run Wednesday thru Saturday but this is the 2nd year where they’ve changed it to Thursday thru Sunday, which those of us who work downtown say “THANK YOU!” to those who made the decision to switch which days it runs.
Now, the Downtown branch of the library is only one block away from one of the Art Fair thoroughfares and two blocks away from another. Therefore, we get a lot of out-of-town visitors who come in to cool off, use our restrooms, and in the case of storms, we become a storm shelter as well. But that’s about all who come in. Most of the “regulars” stay away because they just don’t want to have to deal with all the traffic and the crowds and the craziness that is Art Fair. Many of my colleagues even just take the days off from work because it’s difficult to get around downtown, finding parking is difficult, and there’s not usually much to do around here at work. Next year, I may join them in taking the two days off, but tonight, tonight I’m okay with working and dealing with the Art Fair chaos.
I get to be on our “Tools” desk tonight, which if you’re going to work during Art Fair, this really is the desk to be working. Our “tools” are what we call our collection of unusual items that we have available to borrow (you can check out the list of things HERE – it’s really pretty cool). It’s so fun to see their awe and excitement over all of the really awesome things we have for people to borrow. 🙂 I enjoy introducing people to our “tools” collections. I enjoy watching their faces light up at all the possibilities. You see, when libraries first started, books weren’t easy to obtain access to. Books are a lot easier to access these days, so our library is working on creating other collections of items that people may want to borrow, but might not want to own. We have all sorts of great things. Lights, amps, and guitar pedals for music (as well as more unusual instruments like thereminis, boomwhackers, etc.). We have models of the human body’s various organs and things. We have telescopes, microscopes, sewing machines, spinning wheels, all kinds of fun things! And tonight, tonight it’s my job to man the desk where I get to tell all the out-of-town people who are here all about them. I love my job. I love being a librarian.
This doesn’t take any excitement away from the new job that I’m taking over within the library. I’m excited about being behind-the-scenes. My little introverted heart is just beating wildly with joy thinking about not having to be social all day long. Now I get to look at it from the other end. Instead of getting to tell the people all about it, I get to be the one ordering the things and preparing them for all the checkouts and glory they will have as part of our “tools” collections. 🙂
Being a librarian is awesome. 🙂 Art Fair is an acquired taste. 😉