Streetwise Revisited: Library Resources

Follow us throughout the fall for posts which highlight library resources and information that supports the Tiny: Streetwise Revisited exhibit at the Central Library and its community programming.

Tiny Streetwise RevisitedThe Seattle Public Library is hosting the Streetwise Revisited: A 30-year Journey photography exhibit by Mary Ellen Mark exploring the lives of youth and families experiencing homelessness.

It begins next Thursday, September 15 through Thursday, November 3 at the Central Library in the Level 8 Gallery.  Public programs will take place in library and community locations.

For more information about the Exhibit and a calendar of the programs and film screenings, please visit the Streetwise Revisited page.

In 1983, the late Mary Ellen Mark (1940-2015) began photographing a group of homeless youth who were making their way on the streets of Seattle.  Her initial work was published in July of that same year in Life magazine.  There followed a 1984 documentary film called Streetwise by Mark’s husband, filmmaker Martin Bell.  Mark continued to photograph Erin Blackwell, whose street name was Tiny, and her family over a thirty year period.

Here’s a quote from one of Mark’s publications: “I will never forget the first time we saw our kids by the graffiti wall between First and Second on Pike Street.  We had driven past that wall many times before and it was always empty.  That particular day we drove by around four thirty in the afternoon and the wall was transformed into a meeting place for kids.  This is where we began our story on Seattle’s street children.”

Why care about Tiny and others who were or are homeless?  Consider checking out the Tiny: Streetwise Revisited book by Mark or visiting the Seattle Room at the Central Library to look at the book.  Search “streetwise revisited”, “erin blackwell” or “homelessness” on the Internet and, as Mary Ellen Mark and her colleagues learned in 1983 and in subsequent years, just visit parts of Pike and other streets in Seattle and you’ll see today’s homeless people of all ages.  I encourage you to find out why Tiny was dressed up the day that Mark took the striking photo which is on the book cover.

If you haven’t heard, what’s happening in Seattle?  Here’s just one fact of many.  According to the One Night Count on January 29, 2016, organized by the Seattle/King County Coalition on Homelessness, there were at least 4,505 men, women, and children without shelter during the three hour street count.

Library staff are passionate about helping people seek, discover, and use information; and about our city and its people.  Look for upcoming ShelfTalk posts about Mary Ellen Mark, fiction and Seattle in 1983-1984, memoirs and autobiographies by those who are or were homeless, street photography, homeless youth in fiction, queer youth facing homelessness, and more.

These lists were created by librarians at The Seattle Public Library for the “Streetwise Revisited: A 30-Year Journey” exhibit, September 15th through November 3rd, 2016 at the Central Library:

Discover the work of acclaimed documentary photographer Mary Ellen Mark in these books by and about her: Streetwise Revisited: Mary Ellen Mark, Eyeing Life 

Films about the lives of homeless and insecurely housed individuals, real and imagined: Streetwise Revisited: Reel Streets, Real and Unreal Lives 

Mary Ellen Mark’s arresting photographs documented lives at society’s margins that might otherwise be ignored. Discover other street and documentary photographers with a similar focus and learn more about the genre in these resources: Streetwise Revisited: Documentary and Street Photography

Learn what life on the streets is really like from those who have experienced it firsthand in these nonfiction works: Streetwise Revisited: Home is Where My Heart Is – Homelessness Written, Heard and Seen 

These fictional works feature homeless and insecurely housed characters from different backgrounds: Streetwise Revisited: Homelessness in Adult Fiction

The roots of homelessness are complex, interwoven, and deep, and the solutions must be the same. Here are print and online resources that illuminate this multifaceted phenomenon: Streetwise Revisited: Political and Social Aspects of Homelessness

These books depict the varied experiences of homeless and insecurely housed teens. Fictional works featuring homeless characters are listed first, followed by nonfiction titles: Streetwise Revisited: Teens and Homelessness

We’re here for you.  Stop by any location or use Ask a Librarian for suggestions on searching the catalog and using the online databases for magazine and newspaper articles, data, and other information.  Consider trying out Your Next Five Books, where you tell us about what you’d like to read about and we send you five recommendations.

What are you waiting for?  Plan to come to the Streetwise Revisited exhibit at the Central Library.  Bring a relative, friend or neighbor.  Attend a program or film screening.  Read up more about homelessness.  Look for the next ShelfTalk post in this series about Mary Ellen Mark, as well as the medium of documentary photography.

~posted by Marion S.

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