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Poetry in The Branches (PiTB)

Librarians in the Poets House Library

Poetry in The Branches Provides Services in Public Libraries

Poetry in The Branches (PITB) was developed as a model for building poetry audiences in local communities by providing poetry services in public libraries. Millions of people have experienced poetry because of the training librarians have received through Poetry in The Branches. Starting in 1995, in first library branches served by PITB, poetry circulation tripled by creating a synergy between books, events, writing workshops and professional training for librarians.

Over the years, this on-the-ground experiment that made selected branches into community poetry laboratories has yielded "a best-of-practice training" that can be effectively presented at professional library in-service trainings. Through the many iterations of Poetry in The Branches, Poets House has trained hundreds of librarians nationally, reached thousands of new poetry readers, and changed the way branch libraries participating in the program provide poetry services and develop poetry audiences and collections. Philip Levine, now U.S. Poet Laureate, presented the first PITB event on June 5 in 1995, at the 96th Street Branch in the New York Public Library (NYPL).

Poetry in The Branches makes this model available nationwide through:
  • The Poetry in The Branches National Institute — a weekend-long intensive training in the PITB model held at Poets House. Immersed in the rich world of poetry, librarians connect personally with guest poets, learn how to empower their visitors through poetry and develop a practical plan for integrating poetry into their libraries.

    Click here to listen to the 2005 National Institute Keynote Address by former Poet Laureate Robert Hass

  • The Poetry in The Branches Sourcebook — a step-by-step guide to the PiTB model for librarians, supplemented with bibliographies for collection development, tip sheets to help integrate poetry into every aspect of a library and resource lists to help find the resources. The Sourcebook is available for $35 ($28 plus $7 shipping and handling to anywhere in the U.S. Contact us regarding overseas shipping.)

  • PITB Services — On-site trainings at your local library

  • Other PITB programs include:

    • The Language of Conservation (Poetry in the Zoos) — Designed to deepen public awareness of environmental issues through poetry, the program features poetry installations in zoos, complemented by poetry, nature and conservation resources and programs at public libraries. The Language of Conservation is made possible with funding from the Institute for Museum and Library Services.

    • One City, Many Poems, an initiative developed during Immigrant Heritage Week which trains librarians in leading poetry-based discussion groups based on our curriculum of poems about diversity and immigration.

    • Special events to inspire and support librarians such as a reading and talk with recent Poet Laureate W.S. Merwin.

Read more about the PITB Model here

Questions about Poetry In The Branches can be directed to Reggie Harris at (212) 431-7920 x2842 or