(Photo: Jesse Fox)
If you see a gorilla walking through the main public library of Cincinnati, Ohio, it's probably just music librarian Steven Kemple.* He keeps a gorilla suit in his office and puts it to good use:
There’s a serious reason behind everything Kemple is doing with music programming at the Main Library, even if it sometimes means wearing the gorilla suit he got as a wedding present three years ago. He’s championing libraries as a source for experimentalism — a place to “blow minds,” in his words — and is part of a national movement to do so, having been featured on the blog “Library as Incubator Project” early this year for his experimental music series.
“I see being a librarian as not that different from being an artist or running a gallery,” he explains. “When I talk about blowing minds, I don’t necessarily mean in the sense of cheap gags or thrills, but really turning people on to how vast and amazing the world is.
“One function of public libraries is to foster an informed citizenry. Part of getting people informed is to get people curious, and curiosity begins with wonder — and blowing minds is a great way of cultivating wonder. Experimentalism in the library creates incongruous situations that, presented in the right way, can elicit wonder.”
I will not wear a gorilla suit in my library. I am a professional.
*Probably, but not certainly.