Occupying libraries

Libraries have historically been a marker of high civilization, thought, and advancement.

You live where? Oh, I know where that is, there’s a great library there!

When I first heard about the Occupy Wall Street movement, I was skeptical at its motives and reasoning. Their website was vague and their participants were just gaining come kind of patterned voice. Sidenote: I personally understand and endorse their outcry, but I worried that the lack of common voice would create less impact than they had hoped. What brought me back, despite the glittering of mottos, signage, and area of complaint was the initiation and structure of the OWS library.

The daily experience at OWS shifts between lectures, rallies, and good, old-fashioned downtime. During the lectures and the downtime is when the library shines. The OWS collection reflects both the needs AND the wants of its patrons, with its inventory ranging from deep philosophical political essays to regular trade fiction-anything and everything to keep their minds stimulated and at the ready for the next activity.

The diligence of the OWS librarians also deserves commendation. Not only are the various book genres portioned out for browsing ease, but those in charge have utilized the publisher’s barcodes into an easy and efficient cataloguing system, via the internet inventory site, LibraryThing. By tracking each book that gets added to the OWS library selection, the public, and more importantly, other Occupy sites have the opportunity to interact with the knowledge that’s being shared in New York. If that wasn’t enough to love, there are also lending and donation policies in place so that the ‘shelves’ aren’t overrun with too many Michael Moores, or not enough Marx.

You’re Occupying where? Oh, Wall Street! I know where that is, they have a great library there!

Want to learn more about the Occupying libraries? Check these out:

http://www.libraryjournal.com/lj/home/892578-264/why_the_occupy_wall_street.html.csp

http://www.librarything.com/blogs/librarything/2011/10/occupy-libraries/

http://peopleslibrary.wordpress.com/2011/10/28/occupy-libraries-guerrilla-librarianship-for-the-people/

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