A Legacy of #LAFE

It is hard for me to fully express what the Libraries Are For Everyone campaign has meant to me. Hitting 100 languages this week has really made me pause and reflect on this experience. When I’ve been asked to talk about it, I find that I can’t because it is so deeply moving to me, and I will start to cry.

A decade ago, my life collapsed, and I felt like I had failed in everything. Back then if you would have told me that in a handful of years I would impact lives around the world with my art? I likely would have thought you were being cruel.

But the reality is that with the help of many-many people, there will be a legacy of #LAFE. We did this together.

Thank you to every person who worked to bring me translations.

Thank you to everyone who has spread the #LAFE message.

This is why #LAFE exists: Arkansas’ Library Advocacy Day 2017! Julie Syler (not pictured) had reached out to me with an initial #LAFE design that she was wanting feedback on – and heck yeah – I was inspired by what she’d created.
Canada: represent! Librarians at the University of the Fraser Valley in Abbotsford, British Columbia shared one of the loveliest creations using #LAFE signs. It makes my heart sing every time that I see this.
The Tacoma Community College Library shared their framed #LAFEs next to the Library Bill of Rights. Hooray!
MY ART HAS BEEN ON A CAKE!!! PEOPLE LITERALLY ATE MY ART!!! I can’t help but smile when I see these pictures from Mount Holyoke College. Mmmm…#LAFE cake…
This is Lauren Seaver, a Library Assistant at Fairport Public Library. Our friendship began when she sent me this picture of herself rocking a #LAFE bad that she made for herself. I never imagined that my art would lead to so many amazing friendships – it still blows my mind (in a good way).
This photo is one of a set that patron named Jason sent me. This was my first email from a patron sharing the #LAFE love. He and his kids really loved the printing workshop that was held at Appleton Public Library.
This is the stunning exterior of La Crosse Public Library in Wisconsin.
To quote Beck, “Like, WOW.”
Inside they also have large #LAFE banners hanging from a second floor balcony.
Miss Meg’s #LAFE flag served as a great virtual storytime background.
This is all of the Library Helpers at Rochester International Academy in New York. This picture gets me right in the feels every time.
Corey Flynn, a Library Assistant at the King Philip Regional Middle School in MA shared this wall that is tiled with #LAFE. YAY!!!
> I received a lovely email from Molly Moss, the Assistant Director/Patron Services Librarian at Forbes Library in Northampton, MA. Those fabulous librarians marched in their town’s Pride parade, and she sent me a thank you along with this photo. ::happy tears::
Kayla L Martin-Grant shared these three awesome pillars in her Mississippi library.
Becky Ferguson, the Communications Coordinator at Vernon Area Public Library let me know about some signs that they created. When I went to grab a link from VAPL’s website for this post, I discovered what’s in the next picture, and I may have cried a wee bit.
THIS WAS ON THEIR FRONT PAGE. And when you opt to READ MORE – the first thing you seen on that page is:
EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!
Sandra Lopez, the Head of Outreach Services for the Round Lake Area Public Library District, sent me some photos featuring her team using #LAFE to decorate their booth at the Lake County Fair!
Colleen Sanders, Reference & Instruction Librarian at Clackamas Community College in Oregon, sent me this pic of their circ desk. LOVE. IT.
It takes all kinds to make the world go ’round, and representation of this world’s diversity matters. A lot.
Janice Perkuchin shared this bold bulletin board.
Someone at Lee’s Summit Highschool in MO sent me this photo of the display outside of their library.
I believe it was Justin the Librarian who sent me this shot outside of a New Zealand library.
If I’m miscrediting, then please reach out and let me know.
Here’s a partial exterior shot of Morton Memorial Library’s wood-mounted #LAFE signs that adorn their railing.
Cool decal at Delta Township Library.
Several state chapters of the ALA reached out to let me know that their conference theme would be #LAFE-based. The NYLA’s Youth Service Section conference was a real highlight as they invited me to be their morning speaker. It was truly a magical experience in many ways.

All of these photos are so very precious to me, and so are all the emails or messages that people have sent to me over the years. I know that there are some photos that I couldn’t find (I know there’s a bookmobile with #LAFE out there somewhere), so if you’re feeling left-out, then please re-send yours either to my email ([email protected]) or through Facebook. I’ll happily add them to this post.

Finally, I wanted to highlight the following posts and pictures because these make my heart…it’s a feeling that I can’t put into words. These are the things that I have printed out and put at my desk for those days when I struggle with negative feelings about myself. These are my lifelines to know that something I did during my time on this planet has meant something special to others.

This is the first image shared with me that made me cry (in a good way).
My heart, too.
This is the sign that the Jefferson Madison Regional Library in Charlottesville, VA proudly put out in front of their building in August of 2017.
The impetus for creating my diverse patrons was because S Bryce Kozla taught me a lesson about how the disability community is sick-and-tired of being represented by someone in an old-fashioned wheelchair. I took this lesson to heart, and wanted to show others that hey – there’s a beautiful rainbow of people out there who are marginalized and not represented in art or design.
And they both can and should be.
My soul.
This is a selfie of my parents, taken in their home. Over a decade ago they took me in and gave me back my strength and determination to do good things with my life. I would never have found myself in the library-world without them. And for them to be so proud of me? #LAFE would have never happened without their love and support.

I will let the poster of this Instagram picture taken at Vernon Area Public Library have the final word on #LAFE. I look at this beautiful baby and hope that she gets to live in a better world.

I hope America will re-find its path of accepting all, without discriminating between race, religion, language & color. You have to change with the changing world, sometimes drastically, but your history, ideals & philosophy define you. Change can be less violent & traumatic. Thank you @vernonlibrary for the beautiful message advocating inclusivity. This was an inspiration.

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