Dont Judge a Book by Its Cover: Librarians Swing at the BPL

Lost in the Stacks

An unusual group of musicians has been putting the stereotype of boring librarian up on the shelf for the past eight years since the founding of “Lost in the Stacks.”

Six librarians from the Brooklyn Public Library formed the band, which released its first album of original music last year and can be purchased for $10 on Facebook. The band is also known for its treatments of jazz and blues standards such as “All of Me,” Stormy Monday,” and “Someone to Watch Over Me.”

“Lost in the Stacks” plays mostly at book festivals and at branches around Brooklyn. Some of the promotional venues the band has performed at include “The Coney Island Blues Festival,” the “Literacy Banquet at the Central Library” and in City Hall Park in celebration of National Library Week.

The band was formed eight years ago by 65-year-old Jack McCleland who plays the guitar but is usually found at the Main Branch of the Brooklyn Public Library at Grand Army Plaza, fulfilling his responsibilities as the head librarian.

“There’s this stereotype of librarians being this older woman with her hair in a bun shushing everyone. We’re not like that. We have a lot of very hip and very cool people.”

The lead singer is 31-year-old Rita Meade. She works at the New Utrecht branch of the Brooklyn Public Library on 86th Street. Meade says that librarians can often be more artistic than what many people would expect.

“When people are surprised that we’re librarians I think we’re surprised,” said Meade. “There are a lot of us out there with hidden talents.”
A librarian from the Kensington branch of the library on Ditmas Avenue, Matt Cole, age 41, said the band of librarians proves to the world that times have certainly changed.

“We’re not your father’s and mother’s librarians,” said Cole. “A lot of us are the really creative types.”

A second album is on its way as soon as the group, consisting of nine members now, with one from Queens, can bring together the financial backing that the project needs. McCleland is hoping that the band will grow enough so that not just fellow book-lovers will listen to their special sound.
“We’re expanding,” said McCleland. “Our reach is going beyond the library. It’s very satisfying.”


Shari has certainly been around the block. As a teacher, writer, former CEO and present day master chef, Shari can cover a human interest story with a flare and style hard to match anywhere. Born and raised in the streets, schools and institutions of Brooklyn, Shari is the epitome of Brooklyn life. Contact Shari at shari(at)