Fun police snip Berkeley yarn bomber

Some people are real buzzkills. Apparently the librarians in charge of the north branch of the Berkeley Public Library are among them.

An anonymous street artist known as Streetcolor thought she could make Saturday’s re-opening of the branch more exciting by adding an artistic touch.

Streetcolor knitted and carefully installed custom sleeves for the new circular bike racks outside the building on Friday night. The colorful colorings were quickly removed before Saturday’s ceremony by librarians who clearly didn’t share Streetcolor’s ideas about art and beauty.

What Streetcolor did at the library is known as yarn bombing.  It’s illegal, like many other forms of street art, though exactly why it’s illegal is an open question. Banning beautiful, harmless art makes about as much sense as banning kittens or rainbows.

Some parts of the city have embraced yarn bombing, or at least allowed it.  Often, when a spontaneous installation would arise, people would enjoy it for a few weeks before taking it down.

Still, the librarians weren’t impressed.  One suggested that Streetcolor should have asked permission first.

Streetcolor responded:

“Obviously yarn bombing would never have happened as a form of expression if we waited to be asked first.”

Perhaps to avoid being seen as fun-sucking grinches, the library has expressed an interest in talking with Streetcolor about putting her work back sometime in the future.

Berkeley Director of Library Services Donna Corbell told Berkeleyside:

“We explained to the woman that we would be glad to talk to her about putting it back up at a future date if she wished to.”