Party in the stacks

Every night at the library is a party. But tonight, it’s official.

Participators compete in the music trivia during the Book It event Thursday at the James J. Hill Reference Library in St. Paul.

Anthony Kwan

Participators compete in the music trivia during the Book It event Thursday at the James J. Hill Reference Library in St. Paul.

Sarah Harper

What: Book It: The Party. Moderated by Jeff Kamin, performance by Murzik.

When: Trivia at 7:05 p.m., music at âÄô:âÄù5 p.m., Thursday

Where: James J. Hill Reference Library,
80 W. Fourth St. W., St. Paul

Cost: $15 for non-members, $10 for members

Arthur taught cartoon fans a valuable lesson about library cards back in ’98 Having fun isn’t hard when you’ve got one.

No worries if you never took the aardvark’s smash hit, “Library Card,”to heart. You’ll learn your lesson tonight at the James J. Hill Reference Library, where your knowledge key will double as your ticket to a free bottle of Summit.

No, the librarians aren’t engaging in some bizarre booze giveaway. Rather, the Friends of the St. Paul Public Library are teaching us another lesson with their series of Book It parties: There ain’t no party like a library party âÄî because a library party will probably be over before your bedtime and might include some Miley Cyrus.

Before local band Murzik takes over with tuneskies, Jeff Kamin of Minnesota Public Radio will lead teams through goofball music trivia, quizzing players on everything from Pixies to Beastie Boys.

With his background in improv comedy and eight years of experience as the Books & Bars host, Kamin is more than fit to blast Blondie in a reference library.

“For me, it’s a funny way to come in and be a DJ. Instead of worrying about making people dance, I can make people laugh,” Kamin said. “Not that I’m playing, like, Weird Al.”

The giggles will come from Kamin’s expert on-mic banter âÄî he tells personal stories and interacts with the crowd.

“I just end up doing stand-up,” he said.

Trivia competitors don’t have to worry about sucky music, and they don’t have to worry about having to listen to a bunch of deep cuts. Kamin calls the Current his wheelhouse, and he’s not afraid to play something like “Oh Sherrie” by Steve Perry.

“I don’t play something I don’t like. There’s something I like about it, even if it’s cheesy or a one-hit-wonder,” said Kamin, who has gigs and gigs of music on various hard drives.

Each of these four Book It events will follow the same schedule: Kamin’s interactive show will be followed up by a performance from a local band hand-picked by Alayne Hopkins, the Friends’ program coordinator. At the end, Kamin and the crowd will jam out to their favorite songs from the trivia, replaying whatever they want to hear more than just a snippet of.

Tonight, Murzik will soothe the bitter-hearted with their folk, which has a Eastern European feel to it.

“We are all avid readers and like to support local libraries. We’re excited to play here âÄî it’s a cool spot,” said Bryan Steenerson of Murzik.

The large, open hall is a popular place for weddings. Each of its three stories are stacked with colorful volumes and punctuated with marble columns.

Black Blondie played last Thursday, filling the space with soulful vocals and kicky bass. The Chastity Brown Band and We Became Actors are slated to follow up in the coming weeks.

The Friends started doing Book It events about two years ago. The event took various forms, including an Oktoberfest themed bash and a riverboat show with Don Shelby.

This rock ‘n’ roll string of Book It parties will span into the beginning of March. Over the course of any given year, the Friends do between âÄô0 and âÄù00 free cultural events in the library, Hopkins said.

“People need to support their local libraries. More and more these days, people are turning toward the Internet as their main source of material for reading and information,”Steenerson said. “Which is great, the Internet is free and gives you access at home âĦ but it’s just not the same.”

And duh, the Internet doesn’t give you a free drink.