I’m a proud member of the Austin Public Library Bibliofiles Book Cart Drill Team. Wait, that’s a thing? Oh yeah it is. Award-winning, even! My first performance was at the 2015 Texas Library Association… and that time we placed rather poorly, but that’s because they didn’t understand our art:
(I was part of the river.)
While performing was giggly nerve-wracking good fun, what I really enjoy is marching in parades. Our krewe dresses up, sometimes elaborately, and pushes book carts in choreographed patterns, waving to kids and dancing, either to our own music from an APL truck driving in front of us or to whatever music’s coming from nearby marching bands or floats.
Before I was an official member, I joined the Pride Parade as add-on staff to essentially be an extra. The theme was The Wonderful Land of Oz-tin for the 75th anniversary of the Wizard of Oz. All of the major characters were claimed so I went as the horse of a different color, cementing my reputation as a ridiculous force to be reckoned with.
I’ve since joined the Juneteenth Parade, Chuy’s Children’s Parade and the Honk!TX parade.
This shot is from a GoPro on our library bike during Honk!TX, the annual community street band festival in Austin. After the parade we did a pop-up library with the bike next to the band revue in Pan-Am Park.
It’s good fun and awesome community relations, particularly for the parades crammed with corporations. They’re part of our community too (along with the small businesses, churches and clubs) but our presence feels especially important as a neutral civic institution, where everyone is welcome and you don’t have to buy, believe or belong to anything to show up and engage, or show up and just be.