Lizzie Oswalt is a library and information science graduate student at UW–Madison. Currently, she is completing her practicum as an intern at the Arts + Literature Laboratory, working in the smALL Press Library — Wisconsin’s only lending library of works from small publishers. She received her undergraduate degree in English and business administration from Augustana College before moving to Madison in 2022.
What do you think is the biggest challenge our community faces?
A problem that is faced in the arts and literature community in this area is that not everyone seems to care if we don’t have a lot of fiscal support— [Arts + Literature Lab is] a nonprofit, so we have to do our own advertising and find ways to apply for grants and whatnot. Getting the word out, mass-scale, is kind of an issue.
What do you wish people in our community understood better?
I wish they knew the amount of resources that they have at their fingertips. Madison has a lot of programming going on, through nonprofits like [Art + Lit Lab] or their local libraries.
What is one change you would make if you could that would make life better for people in our community?
Accessibility is a big problem for a lot of people here — accessibility of WiFi, or food, or housing. I think that causes a barrier for people who want to explore things like creative writing or arts.
What in our community gives you hope?
Places like [Art + Lit Lab]. There are people that are willing to put in the time and a lot of work to create spaces that anyone can just come and be a part of, without the expectation of having to spend money.