We were delighted to welcome Katrina vanden Heuvel, the Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of The Nation magazine, to The People’s Library today. For those who aren’t familiar with this publication, it is the longest running, continuously published weekly magazine in the United States, stretching back all the way to 1865, when it was founded as a vital instrument of the abolitionist movement. The magazine has what you might call a left/progressive slant, and they and their writers are passionate advocates of social justice. I myself have been a reader (and sometime subscriber) for years. In fact, I had emailed someone at The Nation over the weekend requesting speakers for a series of in-library talks I’d like to have, and the response was more than I anticipated. In addition to the visit today, Katrina plans to return and indeed possibly help arrange for some speakers. She seems very eager to help us, and I think we should embrace her support as the publisher of such a widely-read organ of progressive politics. Luckily, I recognized her when she came in: while standing up on the ledge to fix a sign, I looked down to see a familiar face. Her photo is published alongside her columns, and I’d seen her speak before, too. So you can imagine my surprise and excitement! Fortunately, she shares our spirit, and I think she was even more excited than us. When we mentioned that we need tarps, she seemed delighted by the prospect of having something else to offer! And, of course, she said she has a warm feeling for books—who can blame her?
More on this: I had imagined I might get us a subscription to The Nation for the library. Before I even had a chance, I received this email:
Hey Steven — Starting this Thursday — we’ll send a box of issues of The Nation (most recent, plus smattering of relevant back issues) down to the library each week. Would that be ok with you folks? How many is too much — I don’t want to create a burden for you guys.
I haven’t responded yet so others have a chance to chime in. I certainly think it would be great to have such a recognizable publication to hand out (legitimacy! legitimacy!), but I’ve been at the vanguard of paper-handling issues, so I recognize that others should have a chance to attenuate my enthusiasm.
Photos from Katrina’s visit below, including the page she autographed in her book, dedicated to the People’s Library and now in the newly constituted Reference section.