Daily Archives: October 17, 2011


“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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Filed under Reference, Rob

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.


Filed under Media, Rob, Steve S., Video

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)


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Literatura 15M



Filed under 15M, OccupyLibraries, Rob, Solidarity

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.


Filed under #OccupyBoston, OccupyLibraries, Rob, Solidarity