Why the Occupy Wall Street Movement Had Libraries

photo of Occupy Wall Street People's Library In honor of the tenth anniversary of Occupy Wall Street, I’m reposting a piece from Library JournalĀ from when I wrote a weekly column that was open access but is now a bunch of 404: Not Founds. Thank you, Internet Archive, for saving it! And congratulations on your 25th anniversary.

Why the Occupy Wall Street Movement Has Libraries | Peer to Peer Review

Oct 27, 2011

In the first news stories, the fact that Occupy Wall Street had a library seemed a bit whimsical, sort of like that iconic photo of a dancer perched on the back of the equally iconic statue of a charging bull. How funny! A library for a group that has no leaders and no rules? It seemed to some a contradiction in terms. Aren’t libraries all about rules and organization?

Well . . . no. Libraries are fundamentally about something quite different. It seems natural to me that a social movement that springs up locally and without any centralized organizing body or criteria for membership would create a library. This is an impulse so ingrained in the idea of books that people are creating tiny lending libraries to put in public places as signals that sharing books is an important act, something that creates community.

Continue reading “Why the Occupy Wall Street Movement Had Libraries”