There are some places in America that keep calling us back. The Slab City Lizard Tree Library is one of them. Our winter migration would be incomplete without it.
But ever since the last Chief Librarian flipped out and destroyed this hallowed place, the Library has disintegrated little by little. Books have been left out in the dust storms, walls have split in half. But this year, things are different. The Lizard Tree Library is alive and thriving once again!
In the same tradition of Slab City neighborhoods that ebb and flow, grow and self-destruct, the library that almost became a heaping pile of debris is now a hub of activity for the free spirited thinkers, artists and musicians who live here.
New books are on the shelves and they’re organized by topic! A cafe welcomes guests and volunteers hang out there to make newcomers feel welcome.
There’s a buzz in the air and it’s not just what the librarians are smoking. The rebirth of the library is largely because of this amazing woman, Cornelius Vango. In the following video she explains how she found the library and what she’s doing here.
Anarchist libraries are hard to find. As Chief Librarian, Cornelius and her friends’ Lizard Tree revival is a feat that nobody in the last seven years has managed to do. There’s even a weekly Thursday night fireside poetry reading that brings in poets, musicians and people who just want to soak up the vibe.
The Internet has brainwashed many short-sighted people in this country into thinking that libraries are relics of the past. Who needs ’em when you have Google, right? Uh, wrong!
As this artist has demonstrated in little under a year, libraries of all types are vibrant sources of thinking, creativity and collaboration that this country desperately needs.
There’s no telling how long the revival will continue. Maybe the searing summer heat will drive her away, or the isolation of being in the hottest place on the continent in July. Who knows. All that really matters is this beautiful library resurrection is happening now and we’re enjoying being a part of it.
On behalf of library nerds like myself, thank you Cornelius and friends!