Benson Memorial Library, Chattanooga Public Library, Chattanooga, TN, Libraries, Music, Portland, ME, The Beach Boys and Libraries, Titusville, PA

The Library Career Arc of Justin Hoenke As Told Through GIFS of Brian Wilson and The Beach Boys and Their Overall Career Arc

It lines up! You’ve gotta trust me!

1964 GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

2008-2012/2013: Cape May (NJ) County Library and Portland (ME) Public Library. Little stuff. Teen Librarian. Neat little programs. The surfing songs version of librarianship. Very basic ideas that were creative and at the same time hinted at the fact that I had some bigger ideas up my sleeve. People seem to dig it.

The Beach Boys GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

2013-2015: Chattanooga (TN) Public Library. Let’s do some neat stuff. Month long code camps (DEV DEV), sewing machines, 3D printers, maker and learning tables, one gigabit per second super fast internet, entire floors dedicated to creativity, thinking outside the box, and trying to reinvent the library. The PET SOUNDS and SMiLE of my library career. Like Brian Wilson, I was surrounded by some of the most creative and talented people I have ever met. The best of times. The most creative library experience ever.

The View Abc GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

2015-Present: Benson Memorial Library (Titusville, PA). Little stuff. Very focused to this tiny community. The equivalent of the bedroom tapes, SMILEY SMILE, FRIENDS, and other tiny little Beach Boys and Brian Wilson gems between 1967-1971. The songs don’t change the world, but if you hear them you like them and they bring you happiness. Good work. Out of the spotlight.

Beach Boys GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

A POSSIBLE FUTURE: A retreat. This stuff is wearing me down. I can’t please everyone and I do my best to make the experience a positive one for everyone, but the loud voices just keep getting louder. Do I want to use my time here on earth and my limited energy on battles? Do I have to change the world? I don’t. All that I have to do is take care of myself and my family and be myself. I can retreat. I don’t have to do this forever.

Music, The Beach Boys and Libraries

Random “Heroes and Villians” by The Beach Boys generator

Click on the image to hear your own random version of Heroes and Villians!

From the website:
That’s right folks! Strep right up and create your own version of The Beach Boys’ classic “Heroes and Villains” using a completely unpredictable, new and exciting construction that you’ve never before dreamed! All you have to do is click the media player above and -WALLAH!- 

You now have an amazing new Heroes and Villains!

This is just so cool that I may have to put this very cool resource in our catalog for patrons to discover!

Libraries, The Beach Boys and Libraries

The Beach Boys and Libraries PART 7 (END)

Being a librarian can be a really, really hard job.  There’s a lot to be expected from us…we’re community leaders, we’re experts on books/technology/social media/pop culture/history/etc, we’re managers, we’re performers, and so much more.  The list really never ends.

In my own personal journey in dealing with my professional identity as a librarian, I’ve turned towards many things to help me sort out who I am and who I want to be. But my recent obsession with The Beach Boys and their music and history has taught me so much about the journey I’ve taken to reach this point.

To sum up my posts, these were the points I highlighted:


When I re-read my posts, it dawned on me that all of the things I learned were very human things.  Going forward, I believe that this is where the libraries of the future will move ahead.  Human interactions are at the core of what we do.  They will trump any discussion on ebooks, content, materials, budgets, and more.

The patron that leaves with a smile are the best things we could have for us as we move forward.

Music, The Beach Boys and Libraries

The Beach Boys and Libraries PART 6

1977 saw the release of one of the most unique records in the Beach Boys catalog. That album, titled Love You, was full of chirping synthesizers, barely played drums, croaking voices, songs about Johnny Carson and the Solar System, and more.  The highlight of the album was that it featured 14 songs, all of which were either written or co-written by Brian Wilson himself.

By this point, Brian had been through the ringer.  He had the highs of the Beach Boys early successes, the lows of depression in the mid 70’s, and much much more.  However, on Love You, I hear the sound of a person full of excitement.

My favorite cut has to be “Mona”, which stomps along for just over two minutes, repeating the same chords and melody.  There’s just something so simple and lovely about it.

“Ding Dang” is a burst of energy which lasts even less than a minute but it’s packed full of energy.  I always smile when I hear this song…and then put it on again, and again, and again….

All of Love You blows me away.  The songs may have simple melodies, cheesy lyrics, and not appeal to everyone, but Love You taught me that those kinds of things don’t matter.  The emotions you pass along to the people in life are the only thing that’s important.

No matter how hard things get in your life you YOU NEVER LOSE YOUR GIFT.
Music, The Beach Boys and Libraries

The Beach Boys and Libraries PART 5

Brian Wilson was partially out of commission by the time that the Beach Boys reached 1973’s album Holland.  I say partially because he’s actually there for a moment or two.  His voice is only heard on one song (“California Saga: California”), and he also had a had in writing the two best songs on the album
(“Sail On Sailor” and “Funky Pretty”).

To me, the the real gem was hidden tucked away on a 45” single that was packaged with Holland.  Titled “Mt. Vernon and Fairway”, this standalone piece was a 12 minute musical fairy tale created by Brian Wilson.  Word has it that Brian wanted the whole piece to be featured on the album but the rest of the band vetoed him.  This action caused Brian to turn away from not only music but the real world.  He stayed away in his bed for many years, out of touch, depressed, and miserable.  Brian Wilson would never be the same.

“Mt. Vernon and Fairway” is not only a great marriage of music and story, but also a tale about when things don’t go as planned.  Brian’s vision for “Mt. Vernon and Fairway” didn’t play out as he wished, but it did get released and I know at least one person who was blown away by the story.  “Mt. Vernon and Fairway” taught me that EVEN IF THINGS DON’T GO AS PLANNED, IT’S NOT THE END OF THE WORLD.  If you follow through and at least get through to one person, you’ve still given something extraordinary to someone.

Think about your life as a librarian.  Sometimes you have a program that doesn’t go as well as you expected.  Sometimes you look back on what types of materials you collected and realized that they may not have been the best choices.  It’s easy to turn towards sadness and regret, but think about it this way: those decisions may not have been the best for you, but you may have changed someones life.

Music, The Beach Boys and Libraries

The Beach Boys and Libraries: PART 4

SMiLE could’ve been known the greatest album of all time.  Instead, it was never really finished, and Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys followed another path.  However, I’m not gonna focus on the fact that it was never completed due to (mental illness, peer pressure, drugs, emotional problems) but instead celebrate what it is.  SMiLE, even in its incomplete form, is a true masterwork, the sound of an artist pushing the boundaries and daring to try extremely radical new things.  SMiLE taught me to EXPERIMENT AND PUSH BOUNDARIES BECAUSE WHO KNOWS, YOU MAY END UP CREATING SOMETHING AMAZING.

*I must interject: this music may sound “normal” to us now, but think about it in the context of 1966, before the hippie movement, before Sgt. Pepper, and before any kind of musical freak out.  This was OUT THERE.*

As I listen to SMiLE, I hear a new type of music and an artist saying “ok, this is how we’re going to do it now.”  I see that in a lot of the work people are doing in libraries and what people are writing about on library blogs.  I feel a bit of “so, we didn’t do that before, but who cares, now we will!” in the air these days when it comes to libraries.  I like that.  It makes me think of this time when Brian Wilson was creating SMiLE.  Who cares what happened in the past?  Try somethig new.

Once SMiLE was aborted, focus turned towards a new album called Smiley Smile.  Don’t let the name fool you…Smiley Smile is not SMiLE, but at the same time has parts of SMiLE.  Confused?  Your best chance at understanding this is just listening to the two albums.

Smiley Smile may not be a great piece of work, but it reminded to ALWAYS REMEMBER TO LAUGH.  The Beach Boys sounded like they were sure having fun at these sessions.  Never take yourself too seriously.  Put a little bit of a giggle in everything you do.

And remember to SMiLE.

Libraries, Music, The Beach Boys and Libraries

The Beach Boys and Libraries: PART 3

If there’s a list of the top (some number) of albums recorded in the (20th Century/History of the World), there’s a strong chance that Pet Sounds is in the top five. Scratch that, I’d say there’s a strong chance that it’s in the top two. And there’s a good reason for that. Pet Sounds, which was released in 1966, is probably the most spiritual, love filled album. I’m not talking about spirituality in regards to religion, but just that overall feeling that there is some kind of grand force out there and that if you chose to recognize it, you can have some positivity in your life.

What did I get from Pet Sounds? The main thing I learned was that no matter what I’m, doing, ALWAYS PUT MY HEART INTO IT because love and happiness always shine through.

It’s hard pointing out one moment on Pet Sounds that sums it up, but I’ll go with “God Only Knows”. Never before have I heard a piece of music that so eloquently weaves music, production, lyrics, and feeling into 2 minutes and 51 seconds. It always seem to manage to fill my soul up with warmth and love.

Pet Sounds and specifically “God Only Knows” have taught me just how important it is to put my heart into anything that I do. On the most basic level, that means saying hello to as many of the patrons that I come into contact with on a daily basis. It means being kind to other library employees and understanding their roles in the library system and respecting that, yes, they are also very busy and have things to accomplish. On a more in depth level, it means that as a teen librarian, I have a duty to be there for my teen patrons. I have to open my heart to them and listen to their stories, their problems, their excitements, and their adventures. I have to be a listener with an open mind and an open heart. It helps with the socialization that most teens are going through. It will teach them that, unlike the stereotype suggests, all adults are not mean and selfish.

It is my hope that by putting my heart into everything that I do that I can hopefully put a smile on someone’s face and maybe, just maybe, have a positive impact on their life.