Category Archives: Michael

Occupy Libraries in the News

Occupy Mobile has a library! But they’re facing a deadline set by the Mayor to vacate Spanish Plaza by Wednesday. With talk of crowding at OWS here and the coming winter, maybe some folks would like to go down and join the occupation in warm Alabama? Occupy Freedom Riders perhaps?

The Wall Street Journal’s Washington Wire covers the Occupy D.C. library. I guess WSJ couldn’t be bothered to take a photo of Occupy D.C.’s library so they used one of ours. But, hey Occupy D.C.! Send us one and we’ll post it.

And here in NYC, It looks like Anthony Marx, the president of the New York Public Library, might be occupying some time away from the bottle after he was charged with drunken driving. You won’t find the president of our library hitting parked cars in Harlem. Not because we’re teetotalers but rather because we’re leaderless, of course.

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11/6/11 Meeting Minutes

November 6, 2011, 6 pm, People’s Library

Jaime=facilitator, Charlie=stack tacker, Betsy=minutes

present: Jaime, Bill, Charlie, Michelle, Stephen B., Megan, Betsy, Hristo, Frances, Hamaz (sorry if I missed anybody)

Setting the Agenda

  • ALA conference in January

Jaime & Betsy: Who’s going and who wants to go, details. Betsy was invited by the ALA Conference Planning Manager to present at this year’s Midwinter conference. Betsy negotiated w/ALA to pay airfare & hotel for more of us to attend & present collaboratively. Betsy, Mandy and Zach are all scheduled to attend. We want to talk about who else wants to go, how to pay for it and to co-ordinate flight & hotel information so we can go together if possible. The conference is in Dallas from Jan 20-24, 2012. Our panel is scheduled for 8:30-9:30 am on Saturday Jan. 21st. I’ll email the group my flight details & hope Mandy & Zach can do the same. We decided to table this issue to discuss later because a lot of people were missing from the meeting.

  • library-specific safety training
  • spokes council orientation report-back

Frances: Monday night’s spokes council meeting at Murry Bergtraum High School 411 PEARL STREET (Just East of City Hall) at 7:30PM will determine whether groups are operational groups or movement groups. We discussed the differences between the two and worked on filling out the form we need to submit tomorrow at spokes council. Basically, operational groups handle day-to-day operations within the park and are different from movement groups which address/represent concerns that are movement-wide. We consensed (is that really a word?) that we are an operational group. It is essential that our space exists within the park, we serve a vital function & take up space in a way that is very similar to comfort or kitchen. We provide a safe, welcoming open space within the park. Being a caucus with other groups (like info or media) doesn’t mean that we lose power, it’s just a change in position within the spokes council. We agreed that becoming an operational group is the way to go & if that’s not possible for some reason, we would like to be an independent caucus. We occupy a lot of park real estate & have a lot of stuff. The library serves as a support to other caucuses.

  • announcements

Hristo proposed we all get matching tattoos. Tabled for later discussion.

Bill reports that he was approached recently by someone offering the library office space. That person should be contacting us soon via email. We discussed and agreed that it would be nice to have a place to get some work done out of the cold as long as it’s within walking distance. SIS doesn’t really want us in their space anymore, even for cataloging.

Michelle: the Melville marathon reading is coming up Thursday at 3 pm at 60 Wall street. Let’s promote it. She’s going to make fliers.

Hamaz: there’s a Jazz club in Brooklyn at the Senior Citizens center that’s got a lot of civil rights activists involved. 966 Fulton Friday night. He proposes a field trip. C train to Clinton-Washington

Stephen B: the poetry anthology is now being printed, bound and sold at cost. It will be $10 plus shipping & handling and will be printed as ordered. It will be available in the library in the next couple of days. He would like help with setting up a link to a paypal account on the website. Also, he’s been invited to speak/read on Sirius satellite radio the night before Thanksgiving and would like people to send him 1 line of gratitude: what you’re thankful for to his email address so he can read it out on the show. stephenjboyer AT gmail DOT com

Frances: is making a library guide in google docs and would like everyone’s input. It will be a basic guide for people who are new to the library for our practices and ways they can help when they arrive. Please add ideas. Also, Frances will be occupying the Magic Kingdom for the next week.

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Your Library In the News

At Inside Higher Ed, Scott McLemee discusses our meterological challenges, the blog, our upcoming visit to the American Library Association mid-year meeting and talks with two of our folks, Mandy and Steve, in his post Guerrilla Librarians in Our Midst.

Bloomberg continues to grasp desperately to find some way to frame the movement as hurting New York City, this time claiming that OWS is hurting NY families. Of course, he doesn’t mention the library or any of the working groups, and is ignoring all the small, family owned, local businesses that we work with at the library – not to mention the food carts around the square and other places throughout the city that we’re buying supplies and equipment from.

In Occupy Wall Street at Valley Forge, Tom Engelhardt captures the way the library seduces many of our volunteers who end up coming back again and again to help out:

 “. . . on arriving for the first time at your encampment in Zuccotti Park and taking that tiny set of steps down from Broadway, I was moved to find myself in, of all things, an informal open-air library. The People’s Library no less, even if books sorted by category in plastic bins on tables isn’t exactly the way I once imagined The Library.

Still, it couldn’t be more appropriate for Occupy Wall Street, with its long, open-air meetings, its invited speakers and experts, its visiting authors, its constant debates and arguments, that feeling when you’re there that you can talk to anyone.”

Damian Ghigliotty, who I spent some time talking to when he first visited the library writes about how involvement in Occupy Wall Street can actually turn out to be great for folks careers in The Career Road of Occupy Wall Street. He’s writing for the Wall Street Journal, which is News Corp, but he’s really got a fair take on it and it’s worth reading.

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Occupied Wall Street Journal: Online

The Occupied Wall Street Journal, the un-official newspaper of Occupy Wall Street, has launched their online version of the journal at occupiedmedia.com. All issues are available for download and all current articles can be read on the site. We are also archiving the issues here, you can always find them by looking at posts under the OWS Journal category.

Head on over and read their latest article about us, “The People’s Library: Occupy Your Mind.”

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OWS Journal (Issue #3)

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n+1 Gazette: Occupy!

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State of affairs

A quiet moment in The People’s Library, just past midnight October 23, 2011

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Tools of the trade

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10/22/11 Meeting Minutes

Following are the meeting minutes for the October 22nd Library Working Group Meeting. The agenda items are listed first, and the minutes are after the fold (click “continue reading” to see the minutes in full).

  1. Finances, expenditures, and internal procedures regarding money, Up/Down vote on joining with GA finances (per consensus to do this at last meeting) (with GUEST from Finance)
  2. On site electricity (partly a matter of item 1, so it will depend how the procedures issue is settled—Eric is invited to comment on how he wants this phrased)
  3. Town Planning and the Library (with GUEST from Town Planning)
  4. Guest speakers in the library (this is my thing, which I’d love to discuss, but I can table it if more important matters come to the fore)
  5. Weather preparedness/library structures (possibly related to item 3)
  6. Spokes Council and how it affects the library (please read the proposal in advance at http://www.nycga.net/spokes-council/) (with GUEST from Structure)
  7. Occupy Wall Street Library at ALA Midwinter in Dallas January 21, 2012: who’s going, where’s the money coming from, our goals while there
  8. Internet issues, the nycga site and Library, the Internet Working Group possibly hosting our site
  9. Thaddeus and our policy on leaflets, zines, fliers, handouts, photocopied articles, and other forms of loose paper
  10. Silent reading technology

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“. . . and Beyond”

I’m thrilled that the New York Times covered the opening of #OccupyBoston’s library. It’s an important story, worth being written about – in fact we wrote about it back when it happened. What I can’t figure out is how the New York Times has managed to do such an amazing job of dismissing the occupation of Liberty Plaza right here in their own back yard?

From the start, their first coverage of #OccupyWallStreet was dismissive, historically ignorant, shallow, pompous and to borrow a phrase from the Portland Mercury describing the same writers’ work on another story: “awesomely out-of-touch.”

And now, they have actually printed a claim that our library is disorganized. We stand in complete solidarity with #OccupyBoston and their library, we love them – they’re family. But that claim is just silly, and the Times has a responsibility to look into claims like that and offer their own reporting before they print misinformation. Here are some facts to help them out.

Here at The People’s Library, we have over 2,000 books. The majority of which are out in the stacks. And all of them are organized by categories such as: Labor, Finance, International Relations, Anthropology, Political Science, Philosophy, Economics, Human Rights, Activism, Religion, Queer Theory, Graphic Novels, Children’s, CDs/DVDs, Anarchist Zines, and more.

Some books are still in our storage unit awaiting the intake process, as we’re receiving donations from individuals and massive shipments from publishers all over the country. Yes intake process. This is because we have an online catalog, and we scan the barcodes of every book we receive, or add the ISBN to a list, or photograph the cover and enter them into a database to produce a historical record of what we’ve been given. That incoming list runs as a feed on our blog, on the sidebar.

We also photograph and document all books donated by authors and their families, and photograph the inscriptions along with images of the daily life of the library, which we upload here. We have reached out to the libraries forming around the country at other occupation sites and have even sent boxes of books to several to help them build their collections.

Since the early days we’ve been setting aside one copy of every zine, pamphlet or artist’s-style edition we receive for archiving – and we’re continuing to host collection boxes for the broader #OccupyWallStreet archives project. We host the Occupy Wall Street Poetry group, and our staff are publishing anthologies of their poetry. Now, we have had to struggle with two impedements to structural development, the NYPD says we aren’t allowed to have “tents” or “structures” so we’ve improvised, and it’s pretty clear our hardworking volunteers have done a damn fine job.

Our work at the library has been covered by American Libraries (the Magazine of the ALA), School Library Journal, the London Review of Books,The Chronicle of Higher Education, and many mainstream media outlets, blogs and sites including local papers like the New York Daily News.

We have a reference desk, and laptops and wireless internet for patrons and we’re expanding every day. We host author readings regularly, and if you come browse our stacks there’s a good chance you’ll run into one of them. But somehow, the New York Times didn’t notice – and our hometown paper went all the way to Boston instead for a story about OccupyLibraries. Maybe they still feel guilty about dismissing the movement and failing to cover it for weeks, and were too ashamed to come by. That’s understandable. So now I just want to say: New York Times, it’s OK, we can forgive you.

Here are driving directions, but I suggest you take the A,C,E from Port Authority or the 1,2,3 from Times Square. Come on down to the “beyond” sometime and say hi. I think you’ll like us.

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“Which three books would you have taken?”

Since I began working at the #OccupyWallStreet library three weeks ago, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about “The Time Machine”  by H.G. Wells and a specific scene in the 1960 film inspired by the book. *Spoiler here* In the film, George returns to the future with three books from his shelf to rebuild civilization. When those he’s left behind notice the books missing, they’re fascinated and ask: Which three books would you have taken?

So, which three books would you bring with you, if you were going to travel into the distant future in a time machine and try to rebuild society on earth. Post in the comments.

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Filed under Michael, OccupyLibraries, Reference, Technology, Time Travel

#OccupyTheory

Dear Occupiers and supporters:

I am currently organizing a project to bring together articles from political philosophers, ethicists, and other related theorists into a book which will be printed and delivered directly to #Occupations nationwide. The working title is “#OccupyTheory,” and the book is motivated by the idea that we, in our professional expertise as philosophers, scholars, and theorists, have the ability to contribute in valuable ways to the conversations going on with #OWS and, through our contribution, help the movement. We want to get this book written, printed, and out in the streets as soon as possible, and ASAP is actually pretty soon, if we do this the right way.

Printing and distribution will be paid for through Kickstarter, unless we end up working with a large publisher who’ll ship a large number to #Occupations nationwide pro bono. No matter what, though, the book (1) will be available online for free in pdf and ereader formats, (2) a significant number will be provided for free in hard copy to some of the larger #Occupations, (3) the book will be available to be carried by bookstores, and (4) will be available on a Print-on-Demand basis through Amazon.

My question for you at this stage in the project:
As someone involved with or interested in #OWS, what do you think we, as political philosophers and related scholars, can best contribute to the movement? If you could have us write about any topic or on any question, what would it be?

We have our own agenda individually, just like everyone else involved in #OWS, and each of us will write what we think is important and what we think is the most valuable and helpful thing that we can contribute. So your answer to the above won’t determine what we write on, but I will use your responses to help write the Call for Papers that goes out, so if there’s something you want to hear from us, ask it, and there’s a good chance that a scholar somewhere will decide to write on it.

We’ll also be doing an online open peer review process, and would like to invite not only academics, but also anyone involved in #OWS to contribute to the review process. We’ll post information about how to participate in peer review here, when the time is right.

Please reply as a comment to this post. Thanks!

D.E. Wittkower
Department of Philosophy
Old Dominion University

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Harmonious

“Amid one of the most dynamic political events in recent American history lies one of the most harmonious of places – a library.

Occupy Wall Street has become known for its animated protests and run-ins with police, but walk inside Zuccotti Park – the movement’s unofficial headquarters – and you get a different story. Organizers have created a medical center, food station, and donation drop-off point. But it’s “The People’s Library” that has become an example of the group’s mission and outside support.” Read more…

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The Power of Information

One of the questions we’re asked everyday by media and visitors is “Why a library at #OccupyWallStreet?”

Well, information matters and it’s powerful. But what does that mean? In her October 4th post about working at the library, Sophia wrote “There is a library because we are here and knowledge is necessary for survival.” More recently, Steve S. explained “we are almost as important as the kitchen, the kitchen feeds them, we feed them books . . . libraries are there to provide you the means in order to articulate your rationale. we think through books, we think through the ideas of others, we don’t exist in isolation, we need to communicate, correspond and experience intersubjective exchange of information and ideas in order to know where we stand . . .”

As a library, we’re here to provide information. To collect and make available information as freely as possible. And sometimes information is literally mind-blowing, some information changes the way you think about the economy and the world around you and about fairness. This is a list of sourced economic facts that did that for me. Want to learn more? We have a boxes of books about economics, corporate citizenship, globalization and more. Come down and get some power.

The 10 Worst Corporate Income Tax Avoiders (as of March 2011)

1)  Exxon Mobil made $19 billion in profits in 2009.  Exxon not only paid no federal income taxes, it actually received a $156 million rebate from the IRS, according to its SEC filings.  (Source: Exxon Mobil’s 2009 shareholder report filed with the SEC here.)

2)  Bank of America received a $1.9 billion tax refund from the IRS last year, although it made $4.4 billion in profits and received a bailout from the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department of nearly $1 trillion. (Source: Forbes.com here, ProPublica here and Treasuryhere.)

3)  Over the past five years, while General Electric made $26 billion in profits in the United States, it received a $4.1 billion refund from the IRS. (Source: Citizens for Tax Justice here and The New York Times here.  Note: despite rumors to the contrary, the Times has stood by its story.)

4)  Chevron received a $19 million refund from the IRS last year after it made $10 billion in profits in 2009.  (Source: See 2009 Chevron annual report here.  Note 15 on page FS-46 of this report shows a U.S. federal income tax liability of $128 million, but that it was able to defer $147 million for a U.S. federal income tax liability of $-19 million)

5)  Boeing, which received a $30 billion contract from the Pentagon to build 179 airborne tankers, got a $124 million refund from the IRS last year.  (Source: Paul Buchheit, professor, DePaul University, here and Citizens for Tax Justice here.)

6)  Valero Energy, the 25th largest company in America with $68 billion in sales last year received a $157 million tax refund check from the IRS and, over the past three years, it received a $134 million tax break from the oil and gas manufacturing tax deduction. (Source: the company’s 2009 annual report, pg. 112, here.)

7)  Goldman Sachs in 2008 only paid 1.1 percent of its income in taxes even though it earned a profit of $2.3 billion and received an almost $800 billion from the Federal Reserve and U.S. Treasury Department.  (Source: Bloomberg News here, ProPublica here, Treasury Department here.)

8)  Citigroup last year made more than $4 billion in profits but paid no federal income taxes. It received a $2.5 trillion bailout from the Federal Reserve and U.S. Treasury. (Source: Paul Buchheit, professor, DePaul University, here, ProPublica here, Treasury Department here.)

9)  ConocoPhillips, the fifth largest oil company in the United States, made $16 billion in profits from 2006 through 2009, but received $451 million in tax breaks through the oil and gas manufacturing deduction.  (Sources: Profits can be found here.  The deduction can be found on the company’s 2010 SEC 10-K report to shareholders on 2009 finances, pg. 127, here)

10)  Over the past five years, Carnival Cruise Lines made more than $11 billion in profits, but its federal income tax rate during those years was just 1.1 percent.  (Source: The New York Times here)

List compiled by Sen. Bernie Sanders.

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Your Library in the News

Dan Berrett at The Chronicle of Higher Education writes about the intellectual roots of the movement, links to our catalog and mentions that we’re missing “The Price of Civilization” by Jeffrey D. Sachs. Jeffrey, send us some copies!

Berrett also points out that one of our volunteer librarians Eric was interviewed by Esquire. I hadn’t seen this yet.

We posted the video, but there’s an accompanying article as well! NY Daily news posted their profile of Steve here.

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NY Daily News Profiles Steve S.

The NY Daily News profiles our volunteer librarian/knight in shining armor, Steve. Also, a great video to see how things work at the library. You’ll see many of us in there looking very busy, but be sure to have the sound on, as Steve is eloquent, as always, in his explanation of what’s going on and why we’re there.

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Letter of Solidarity from Acampada Sol Library, Madrid

Today we received this letter of solidarity from the public library of the spanish occupation of Puerta del Sol Square in Madrid. These are the folks that started the occupation model that the NYC General Assembly and #OccupyWallStreet are based on

——

To : owspeopleslibrary@gmail.com

Peoples Library at Zucotti Square – Occupy Wall Street

Hi Peoples Library!

Cheers from the public library of the Spanish revolution occupation at Madrid!

We are the Acampada Sol Library, The library that was formed during the occupation of  the Puerta del Sol Square here in Madrid- Spain last May. We have been following  OWS from the very first day and let´s say we are glad to see that you found the way out to organise you up almost in the same way we did while we were camping at the city hall square in Madrid at Puerta del Sol.

What we saw at the pics of OWS was quite impressive, but you couldn’t imagine how surprised we were when we realized that OWS has also a library. It may sound stupid but when we knew that, we celebrated it as the born of a new one in the family.

Why? well, it´s difficult to explain but during the nearly seven weeks we lived there hearing the rain fall over the piece of plastic that barely covered our books (not us) we had a lot of time to think about what we were going trough. The media described us as bums, the government as the most dangerous kind of terrorists (the pacifist’s kind) and we slept always waiting for the final police riot that would throw everything down. We had time for joy and also for despair. We never knew what we were doing, we only knew that it was right. People said it was useless to demand a U turn in local politics in a country with a globalized economy. We replied if so, that we expected to make our demands go global then, they said it was a childish dream and they laughed..

We only want to thank all of you to be there, because may be you don´t realize it, but you’re making our dream come true… Obviously to do the right thing, far from being a utopia or related to culture is a matter of common sense.

We should say that none of us decided to open up a library during our occupation, it appeared by itself. People who came to support us wanted us to have some of their books, they wanted us to read and to take care of them. We started out only with forty titles. People came up to rest from the everyday routines, trying to find a shelter in the written words under our blue tent, poets showed up to red them their works and free thinkers their essays. Authors showed up to dedicate us their recent publications, unknown writers from everywhere found inspiration on what they saw at the occupation and brought us their thoughts in paper asking us to publish it, and we did so. The manager of one mayor corporate library in town gave us book-carts and everything we needed. “Just don’t tell anyone” he asked. One donation come after another and  in a few weeks we reached nearly four thousands titles at our outdoor library. A funny heritage to save considering that we were waiting to be bludgeoned and evicted from one minute to other.

Happily the police hadn´t the chance to destroy our library as some of their predecessors accomplished two thousand years ago in Alexandria. (They wouldn’t mind, I’m sure) This time the classics were moved to a safe place. As a strategy, the occupation ended up  on June 12th. We found a new shelter for our creatures at a squatted social centre where we have our spot. and actually we are working to give people what  government can not, a free of charge public library. We expect our opening within a month or so.

We love to hear from you to know how all of you guys are going and we hope you’ll  find inspiration in our little story to realise that you are not alone in this.

Thank You!

Pd: Sorry for our lousy English.

Bibliosol – Biblioteca de Acampada Sol

Mail : biblioacampadasol@gmail.com

Facebook: Biblioteca Acampada Sol (BiblioSol)

http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002439800241 

https://bibliosol.wordpress.com/
http://bibliosolcreaciones.wordpress.com/
BiblioSol en Facebook
BiblioSol en n-1.cc
Literatura 15M


			

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Occupy Boston Library Opens

Occupy Boston announced the opening of their library yesterday, read the announcement here. They’re asking for some help, so if you’re in Boston here’s what they need:

“Currently, the library needs daily newspapers, floorboards, extension cords, clamp-style and portable lights, and internet-ready laptops.”

There is also a listing for the library on the Occupy Boston wiki.

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Inside the Occupy Portland Library

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Library Working Group Meets

On Saturday we had our first formal working group meeting at the library. Prior to this meeting, our decision making process has been to reach consensus within the group who are on the ground at the library or through conversations on this blog. On Saturday, we put the same process used by the General Assembly into use and spent three hours discussing the items on our agenda (agenda items were posted in advance here). Minutes from our meeting will be posted soon, in the meantime, here are photos of the process in action at your library.

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While the General Assembly meetings serve as a forum for participation, decision making and announcements about the movement and occupation as a whole (as well as report-backs from working groups), a working group is a decision making body for a specific project within the occupation of Liberty Plaza. Both General Assemblies and Working Groups use the same process for conducting meetings. The meeting is facilitated by a facilitator and a stack keeper. People are also responsible for checking the vibe (the feeling and response of the group) as well as taking minutes.

The process involves many tools for giving everyone a voice, for respecting speaking and listening and for using hand signals. This video on YouTube is a good introduction to how it works.

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