Wednesday, April 17, 2013

What’s so radical about peace, love and librarianship?

On April 5th, Lisa Sloniowski and Patti Ryan and I spoke at the 2013 LACUNY Institute which was dedicated to Libraries, Information, and the Right to the City.  It was a great day and the conference gave much food for thought. (Thanks to those involved).

This is the abstract of the talk we gave:

Grinding the Gears: Academic Librarians and Civic Responsibility

Corporate encroachments are transforming universities into  edu-factories which are designed to produce servants of the state rather than engaged citizens. Academic librarians have a duty to resist the machineries of the institution. This panel will survey the  revolutionary potential inherent in the open source  movement, feminist porn collections, and critical information literacy.

If you are curious how we brought such seemingly disparate subjects together, the text our of talk will be available in an upcoming special issue of Urban Library Journal.

Stories related to the Occupy Wall Street Library came up frequently that day. And almost a year previous to the conference, Lisa and I had written an article together that began with this observation:

In the fall of 2011 when the Occupy Movement invaded our collective consciousness, many of us were a bit taken aback to discover that most of the occupation sites included a self-described “People’s Library.” We were fascinated by this upstart movement and in particular why libraries were so central to it in a time when we seem to be continually told that our “brand” is no longer compelling. One librarian, in response to a tweet by one of the authors of this article, asked a simple question that still lingers in our thoughts. She asked why did Occupy Wall Street need a people’s library when there was a public library around the corner?

That article is entitled Social Justice Librarianship for the 21st Century and it's now available online on the Research for Citizenship website as well as the Ontario Library Association Access Magazine website [pdf]. Much thanks goes to Mike Ridley for the opportunity to have been a part of this endeavour.

Another library is possible.

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