So Mayor Bloomberg: where is the People’s Library?

I’ve been waiting a few days to post anything. There have been conflicting reports on what happened to the Occupy Wall Street People’s Library when Zuccotti Park was raided and people in the Occupy Wall Street occupation were removed, sometimes forcibly. There were reports that the 5000+ books from the OWS Library had been tossed in a dumpster. Then there were reports that the materials were removed but not disposed of. The feeling that I got was that your impression of what happened to the stuff was shaped largely by which side of the project you sympathized with the most, but I was holding out hope that the OWS People’s Library materials would be found safe, even if I didn’t personally believe that would be the case. Today I have been reading the official reports from the people who had been working in the library and it seems that while some of their stuff is okay, much of it has been destroyed or missing. This is the current post that is being updated about the state of their stuff and the state of the people who were arrested inside the library [as of now, one appears to be out, one is still being held]. If you’re in the area, they’d appreciate some help sorting through things and especially transporting them.

update: very good overview about yesterday’s activities by Rachel Maddow. Nice shoutout to LibraryThing!

The temporary autonomous library at Occupy Boston, an interview with Kristin Parker


all photos courtesy of Kristin Parker, please do not reproduce without permission

I have friends working in the various Occupy X libraries. We don’t have a very big Occupy presence near me in Vermont and I was curious how things work there. Kristin Parker (@parkivist) is an anthropologist who received an MS (Simmons) with a concentration in archives management. She worked for twelve years managing the collections exhibits and archives at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and is now managing the art collection at the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis. She’s a newish associate of the Boston Radical Reference Collective and is one of the people who has been organizing and staffing the A to Z (Audre Lorde to Howard Zinn) Library at Occupy Boston. I asked her a few questions over email. She writes…

“The A-Z Library is a partnership made up of the Boston Radical Reference Collective, the Progressive Librarians Guild of Simmons College and Metacomet Books of Plymouth, MA, run by John Ford who recognized a need for a durable setting for books at Dewey Square (the Occupy Boston site). He graciously installed a military tent and brought in a third of his own personal book collection. Other donations soon arrived through the librarians and members of the public. The library has been up and running for more than 2 weeks now. Every day we receive donations – it’s amazing. Books are organized according to subject, in plastic milk crates and wooden cranberry bog crates, for easy transporting and shifting. As described in the statement (link below): ‘The library aims to provide high-quality, accurate information to all interested parties. The collection contains material on topics such as political thought and social movements, activism, history, philosophy, religion, finance, consumerism, gender, race, as well as a large fiction section.’”

What your role is with the Occupy library in Boston and could you suggest a few links for people interested in the Occupy Library System generally? (more…)