Listening in…at the Library is a project in which artists, library staff and visitors are invited to listen in to the space in and around Sefton Libraries.
The project uses internet radio to make a space for the act of eavesdropping — but not in the conventional sense of online snooping or surveillance. Instead, it asks how our libraries, often associated with quietness, can act as platforms from which things can be invited to make noise, and which others can overhear.
Listening in… tries to extend our ears into places they cannot get to, to listen to voices that we might not ordinarily hear, unburdened by preconceptions around how things look.
Listening in… is important as it suggests inhabiting the thing listened to, just for a moment. Ordinarily, this might be eavesdropping on a conversation on the bus and becoming fleetingly intertwined with the lives of others. It could also be listening to the wind blowing across a beach, or radio frequencies carried on the air, allowing us to tune into the overlooked things happening around us. It can, potentially, bring us into the worlds of other people, places, things or whole environments, and provides an opportunity to imagine how we might collectively pay attention to other less conventional voices.
Listening in… uses the sites of Sefton Libraries as the starting point for this over hearing, providing access to scenes that offer different perspectives. These perspectives, in turn, help us to understand and empathise with the many different ways in which things relate to the world and each other.