A striking piece of public art is planted front and center outside the downtown Tacoma Public Library. The message “Long Live the Libraries” is knitted in white letters on a background of rose-colored yarn and wrapped around a 90-min. parking sign like a cozy sweater. This example of anonymous yarn graffiti certainly warmed our cockles at a time when independent booksellers are struggling to keep their doors open and the closure of a string of Borders bookstores has left gaping holes on the urban landscape. (Can everyone really afford to own a computer or a Kindle to download books or browse on Amazon, or does the closure of brick-and-mortar stores restrict information access to those who need it? Though we love our iPads and paper-free technology, the dwindling accessibility to concrete reading material has a whiff of the Dark Ages about it.)
Yes, we love our public library, its friendly and knowledgeable staff; the wonderful range of free services it provides (check out the teen StoryLab on the main floor – wow); the magnificent Northwest Room and Special Collections upstairs; the Handforth Gallery; its citywide bookclub, Tacoma Reads Together); and so much more. TPL headquarters is the most appropriate of places for a secretive visual artist to come spin an original yarn.