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Circus Conservatory of America Library Presentation

In August of 2014 I visited Portland, ME to see the Circus Conservatory of America and to present a proposal about the Library of the Circus Conservatory of America to a group of librarians. Those in attendance included librarians from University of Southern Maine, Maine College of Art, Portland Public Library, University of New England, Bates College, and Colby. The presentation consisted of a brief overview of circus arts, what types of materials the Library of the Circus Conservatory of America would collect, and a discussion about how the Circus Conservatory of America and the libraries at the presentation could collaborate to create a regional performing arts collection.

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Circus Conservatory of America Library Presentation

  1. 1. LIBRARY OF THE CIRCUS CONSERVATORY OF AMERICA Rainie Themer
  2. 2. ABOUT ME  Education • Master of Library and Information Science May 2015 Certificate in Special Collections and Rare Books University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana • Bachelor of Arts, English Dec. 2010 Illinois State University
  3. 3.  Milner Library • Student Intern, Special Collections (2009-2010) • Periodicals Assistant (2011- 2014) • Standing Orders Clerk (2014- Present)  Circus Now • Online Director (2013- Present) EXPERIENCE
  4. 4. OTHER EXPERIENCE  American Youth Circus Organization • Online Research and Journalism Intern (2012-2013) • Wrote feature article for Vol. 2, Issue 3 of Pyramid: The Journal of the American Youth Circus (Fall 2012)  Research Assistant (2011-2013) • “The Strobridge Lithographing Company, the Ringling Brothers, and Their Circuses” by Fred D. Pfening, III in The Amazing Circus Poster (2011) • The Ordinary Acrobat: A Journey into the Wondrous World of the Circus, Past and Present by Duncan Wall (2013) • The Bloomington-Normal Circus Legacy: The Golden Age of Aerialists by Maureen Brunsdale and Mark Schmitt (2013)  Bandwagon • Freelance Editor, edited ‘The Life and Times of William P. Hall” (2011)
  5. 5. TRADITIONAL VS. CONTEMPORARY CIRCUS Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey: Barnum Funundrum Photo: RBBB FB The Ricochet Project: Smoke and Mirrors Photo: Nancy Behall
  6. 6.  What most people think of when you say “circus” • Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey • Within a ring • Animal and human performances • Spectacle  Multiple acts performed within a ring  Travelling  Family run/taught  In the US this form of circus is considered entertainment TRADITIONAL CIRCUS Kelly Miller Circus Photo: Kelly Miller Circus FB
  7. 7.  Multidisciplinary • Combines traditional circus arts with dance, theater, music, visual arts, digital arts  Incorporates a narrative that is conveyed throughout performance  Can happen anywhere  Taught in schools and conservatories around the world  Is starting to be recognized as art CONTEMPORARY CIRCUS Ilmatila’s Muualla Photo: Chris Nash
  8. 8. THE LIBRARY OF THE CIRCUS CONSERVATORY OF AMERICA  Working Mission Statement: “The Library of the Circus Conservatory of America’s foremost objective is to acquire, preserve, organize, and make available information on the circus arts throughout time and to develop an academic collection that will both support and contribute to the educational mission of the Circus Conservatory of America. The Library of the Circus Conservatory of America also strives to aid and respond to the research needs of the greater circus arts community as a whole.”
  9. 9.  Books  Periodicals  Digital Resources  Audio Visual Materials  Posters, Handbills, Programs  Soundtracks  Circus Arts  Dance  Theater  Visual Arts  Music  Literature COLLECTION Possible Formats Possible Subjects
  10. 10.  Environment of learning  Space for students to stimulate their minds instead of bodies  Collaborative space  Place of inspiration LIBRARY SPACE Ecole Nationale de Cirque Library Photo: Rainie Themer
  11. 11. LIBRARY AS A WHOLE  Through its resources, both historical and current, and by providing an environment of learning, inspiration, and collaboration, the library strives to help aid students in enhancing their artistic and professional development as well as the development of their general education.
  12. 12. QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER  How can we build a partnership and a regional performing arts collection that benefits all of our patrons?  What strengths exist in each library’s current collections?  What are the needs of each library? Where are there gaps in the collection?

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