Photo and more information about Steve Lambert can be found here.
Steve Lambert believes that art has the ability to change the world. In his artist statement he writes, “For me, art is a bridge that connects uncommon, idealistic, or even radical ideas with everyday life. I carefully craft various conditions where I can discuss these ideas with people and have a mutually meaningful exchange. Often this means working collaboratively with the audience, bringing them into the process or even having them physically complete the work.”
Much of his work, like the image above, relates to making connections with people–he facilitates communication exchanges. The first thing I think of when I see the image above is: reference. I believe that many of Steve Lambert’s pieces and the inspiration behind them are quite similar to the philosophy of librarianship. As librarians (or future librarian in my case), we provide a bridge, or service, that connects people with information. We facilitate (hopefully meaningful) exchanges of knowledge. Is Steve providing reference services in the above image? I would argue that he is. Of course, he is not a ‘Librarian’, but the essence and spirit of librarianship is there. If people approach him and don’t know what to talk about, he has a list of helpful questions to get the conversation going (comparable to the reference interview?). He provides instructions on how to replicate his project, including tips like “make eye contact” and “listen more than you talk”.
What if librarians recreated his project at a fair, a busy grocery store, park, etc? What could be gained? It’s possible that new connections within the community could be formed, knowledge could be exchanged and patrons could be inspired to think about library service a new way.
**I first learned about Steve Lambert and his work in a course that I am currently enrolled in at SU called Innovation in Public Libraries.**