Open Letter. LitMore Small Press Poetry Library Phase II: A call for staff and volunteers

To: LitMore Interactive Community and its supporters
From: Christophe Casamassima, Director, Small Press Poetry Library and Archives at LitMore
Greetings, friends and supporters of our growing poetry library at LitMore.

I’m very happy to announce that the LitMore Small Press Poetry Library is moving into phase two of its strategic plan: to establish a collaborative literary heritage site at LitMore that celebrates, promotes and preserves the rich and ongoing history of small press poetry publishing in Baltimore and the United States. In other words, we are on the verge of opening our collection to the public and providing browsing/research services for patrons interested in the long history of independent poetry publishing. We are inviting you to participate in these groundbreaking efforts, and to volunteer for the following opportunities:

• Organizing the physical collection in its entirety (including alphabetizing books and journals, electronic cataloging and archiving, monitoring book donations and donor information), (2) participating in literary events around the region to promote the library, collect potential member information and donations of books, (3) managing social media, including blogs, website programming announcements, media announcements and promotional materials, (4) conducting in-person and virtual interviews (audio, email, etc.) with poets from the Baltimore metropolitan region and recording audio of individual poets (for the Onthology/audio blog) and reading events happening around the Baltimore metropolitan region, and (5) keeping library hours at LitMore.
• Developing partnerships with like organizations in the region to help promote the library, its collection and its programs
• Volunteering on a board of influential culture workers and members of the literary community, including literary organizations and publishers
• Grant-writing and fund-raising

In the course of four short months, LitMore and its partners have moved the poetry collection (currently over 4000 titles) from Mt. Washington to Hampden, gathered and reorganized the collection to one location, built shelving and storage units for our books, chapbooks and ephemera, raised over $1600 for programming and collection building, and collected hundreds of donations of books from the public. This happened quickly and fluidly because the Baltimore literary community and its partners (including many of our friends who were excited to donate time and human-power to our cause) are ready to establish a literary heritage and preservation site at LitMore. I am confident that within the next 10 years we will have equal significance to The Poets House in New York City, the Poetry Foundation library and the University of Arizona Poetry Center. These are but a few the very important institutions in the United States that are making poetry available to the public and developing education programs for all.

If you have any questions about this letter, or wish to contact us about volunteering your time and talent, or know someone who might be interested, you can reach me at furniture.press.books@gmail.com, or call 410.718.6574. I’d be very happy to give you a tour of our collection and explain the project in more detail. We are grateful for all that you’ve done, and will do.
Thank you,
Christophe Casamassima

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