Working Group

The library staff is made up of volunteers working at the physical library in the northeast corner of Liberty Plaza, on this WordPress, and on our email account.  You are welcome to participate in any and all of these arenas.   First, we suggest reading the Library Ground Practices so you get an idea of how things are done.

Find out how to get more involved online here: Getting added to email and WordPress

Library Staff References:

Working Group Meeting Agenda – Page for collaboratively creating the meeting agenda.

Working Group Meeting Minutes – A whole page just for posting minutes

The People’s Library Calendar – Add your availability to the schedule by logging into the group email account. The above is a public read-only version of the calendar.

Library Ground Practices – Our practices and traditions as a library, to collect information that helps orient new members and records our methods as we build the library

Lending FAQ – There is also a link to this from the ‘About’ page.  This was separated from Library Ground Practices to make it easier for borrowers to find and ask new questions.

Allies of the People’s Library – Growing contact list of collaborating groups, individuals, and projects

Library Committee Discussions:

Catalog discussion – For the nuts and bolts of getting the catalog up and running

Technology Committee – For discussions on library and information services cyberinfrastructure

Library Finance – For the ethical and practical handling of the money

Collaborating Projects:

The Occupy Wall Street Archival Project – working in collaboration with the Tamiment Library at NYU to develop an archival collection of the material that has been generated during the Occupy Wall Street movement. Please contact Amy Roberts at or Jeremy Bold at  For the Occupy Wall Street Oral History Project, contact Senait Tesfai at

325 responses to “Working Group

  1. tiger paul

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  4. Woah What?!
    Hey Stephen,
    I love the OWS poetry anthology. It’s a beautiful project, but $40,000??? How does printing cost that much? and why?

    This is a blog post to say for the record that I don’t think it’s cool to put a request for $40,000 on the library site without consensus from the library working group. How about we meet and discuss this as a group before putting out a public appeal like this? I know I haven’t been returning calls & texts the last couple days–my bad, but this is a huge deal & not everyone’s cool with it.



  5. A Brooklyn cafe is interested in a poetry club meeting and a free lending library area. contact me if you guys are interested.

  6. “Tin soldiers and Bloomberg coming, we’re finally on our own”

    I just got back from the former Liberty Park. It was pretty depressing; the cops have the place on total lockdown, like an Attica prison yard after a riot. Our poor little library, like an orphan, waits expectantly for deliverance, but nothing is forthcoming. I saw Sean looking like a man without a country and Frances every bit the little match girl! What stalwarts, tho, you got to admire their determination!

    I can’t help wondering if we’d be in this position if we had kept our own donations and not kow-towed to the finance committee. We’d probably have a nest egg of at least a couple thousand by now. By the way, where IS the finance committee in our hour of need?
    Looks like we’re on our own. The Library must fend for itself. The donations intended for us are now warm and snuggly in a safe somewhere, as far from our reach and use as if they had been invested in an offshore bank account. Tough shit.

    Instead of griping, tho, let me offer a suggestion of something we did back in the 60’s to raise money that worked GREAT: armbands.

    Let’s design and make armbands and sell them on the street and online. I have a few of my ideas, but any design will essentially work. The armbands can represent the hibernating power of the people’s library—the people’s movement—and anyone can wear one to show solidarity with us even though we have lost the priceless park, our fountainhead of radical thought and discussion.

    In order to regain or rebuild, we need money and public awareness. Nothing says that like an armband! “I support the people’s library” can be said many ways—my generation used “STP” which meant “serve the people” but also meant “stop the police” (or “pigs” as we had correctly labeled them). It can be non-specific: how about “rise again”?

    As long as the library is crippled, our presence just serves to show people the face of defeat. We have to resuscitate ourselves for the sake of the ideal, and also for the reality of revolution. We cannot expect help to come from the GA, nor from the vanishing “unleadership” that controls the money already donated. We’re fucked unless we save ourselves.

    If you don’t like the armband idea, let’s come up with some kind of fundraising so we can survive this setback. Rise again!

    some examples:

  7. Santa or Scrooge?
    OWS is at a turning point. With winter—and the holiday season—upon us, its increasingly petulant message may lose its punch in the coming days. The power to call out the “99%” is not like flipping a switch. The consensus” that leads to solidarity and direct action, is a great achievement for them, but it’s faltering under the stresses of scrutiny and overuse. The people are looking for the next move. Although OWS seems like it wants to continue the same tactics of a month ago, the growing split between reformers and radicals is making this impossible. Meanwhile the finance “operations” group continues to pull in the spending belt tighter, cutting back on services and food disbursement.

    The anarchists suffer the same malady as any movement, right or left. If people basically disagree, no amount of finger twinkling can maintain solidarity. The OWS is refusing to look at class divisions as any more complicated then the 99-to-one formula. Yet, the anarchists made the sectarian bickering of the Left seem ridiculous. Socialists were caught with their pants down–the lack of depth of their message was so self-evident, that they literally vaporized away in front of the mass movement forming under their noses.

    Whether the Left accepts it or not, the mismanagement of the movement by OWS is more appealing, more REAL than all the socialist rhetoric. OWS added a rich tableau of color to the grey bones of the movement. They connected with people on an emotional level, even a spiritual level, with symbols, gestures, slogans. The Left had been using the leftovers from the 60s. However, the same sense impressions of the general public that gave OWS its allure will also cost them dearly as they change and harden against them. Aside from the slogans, and with the lack of a program, what does define OWS?

    In the first congruence of the movement, specific demands got lost in an all-cause no-holds-barred scramble for shelf space, the sectarian divisions melted away, and solidarity was reached, direct action was possible. But when you order action, you get it. Action—to the young– means confrontation, and with cops are on the other side of the barricades, we are always raising the violence ante if this is our sole means of existence.

    The split in the ranks of the anarchists is becoming clear. The Green capitalist-oriented anarchists want to remain in peaceful marching mode. The aims of this group are technical reforms, suggesting, ideally, a system similar to the European Left’s demand for a financial transaction tax. On the other side are the Blacks, who see the destruction of institutions and private property laws as the correct political action. They want to rush to the next, higher stage of class war. The cat-and-mouse tactics of today are the prelude to more serious street battles in the future. Oakland was a simulation game of urban warfare, set against the apocalyptic setting of the Port of Oakland graphics.

    The violent aspect of demonstrations is going to get to be more of a problem, not just because of media, but because as the crowds get younger, there’s more chance of confrontation. It would be a turning point if this was resolved by 1) the movement forming its own security to prevent destruction of property, or 2) dumping this strategy of endless marching, something the radical youth are obviously rejecting. They are literally BORED with marching. The weakness of the movement in dealing with this and other problems is losing it support among rank-and-file. This is all theater until someone is killed in one of these skirmishes.

    This dilemma actually is showing the way out. Repeated marching is stupid now, fast becoming a pointless exercise and waste of our combined efforts. Lately it just shows how weak we are, giving the enemy an opportunity to harass and control us. The smaller the marches, the more pathetic we look. The more pressure on our flanks to break the laws. If we suppress this street fighting element, our marches will take on the desultory look of a defeated army. Recent Leftie marches were more like Col. Bogie’s march into the death camp than a joyful celebration.

    Without marching how can the OWS still make an impact? Doing exactly what they now are looking down their noses at: establishing a “soup kitchen”. The number of things left on the plate is limited, and why not throw your whole heart and soul into helping the hungry? Forget the impenetrable concrete of Wall Street, show the world how a community of love can make something work, and establish a meaningful service to the community. The cops, according to the NY Daily News are already directing “derelicts” and “drunks” to Zucotti square, to the bum’s paradise, like the new incarnation of a hobo encampment from Grapes of Wrath. Why not deal with our closest reality? The politics and poverty of the camp itself have to be addressed, before we can have the audacity to tell others what to do with their problems.

    So, instead of shirking the job of providing social services, why not take it up? Providing food for thousands of people a day is a meaningful task. Operating other services, such as medical, comfort, legal aid and—yes, even a library, are magnificent objectives and all very doable. We can take up where municipalities, including New York, are falling behind in providing desperately needed help to the poor and destitute.

    Luckily—or not—the money to seed such projects is there, or where? Instead of putting more funding into the kitchen, OWS is cutting back on the kitchen budget and the hours. There’s even talk about ferreting out freeloaders and just letting “occupiers” eat. In short; because there is no leadership to direct us into this course of action, we are disintegrating into separate interest groups, whose contribution and services to the greater good—to the general public as well as ourselves, is shrinking, not expanding, as it should be.

    OWS’ obsession with process and the latest parliamentary patois—not to mention the hand signals—and not addressing the actual political nature of their movement, is causing it to flop around like a fish gasping for air. The finance group, the de facto leadership, is leading OWS on a very conservative path, squeaky clean enough for a future audit by the IRS, but completely ineffectual. They also are probably the voice behind the idea to cut back on free food—or free anything.

    Yet this is exactly what is needed. Like the Good Samaritans, we have to share our cloaks with the needy this winter. Can anyone, including the insect Bloomberg, deny us this role? It’s even LEGAL. The anarchists can become the darling of the Xmas season by showing the world how society should treat its downtrodden and destroyed. And why are we so surprised that there are so many people lining up to eat? Because hunger is REAL in New York, as a feature of disparity of wealth and also the massive inflation in the prices of food in the last year.

    OWS created a beautiful community, spontaneously. Now they are tinkering with the magic, hedging their bets, losing their energy. The march as a tactic for attention is played out. Now people want to see what the occupiers plan to do with their hard-fought Autonomous Zone. If the first act of the new society is to throw out the homeless, I’m out. If OWS becomes Scrooge in this morality play, they deserve to be mocked.

    Even though a return to the class system seems to be the prevailing wind, OWS can turn the tables on the problems of poverty they have unexpectedly encountered, and make it work! The OWS Soup Kitchen will make history. Can the same be said for all these marches? We can take it to the 1% and make them look even worse by comparison, because WE represent the true meaning of community, and the holiday season of giving.

    • SarahE

      Eric, your comments are a breath of fresh air and sanity!

      The great economic divide has existed for a long time, but nobody wanted to pay attention. I arrived in the US in the 1970s and it was clear to me that the struggling poor, whether jobless or with jobs, lived in a world of their own. Elizabeth Warren has become one of the sane voices – sympathetic to the struggling,and right on target with all the economic facts. At least people are paying attention now.

      “Occupy Wall Street” is not an effective slogan. Protesters are forgetting that huge percentages of people working in Wall Street have modest or moderate incomes. The protesters are fighting against their own brethren, which is including the hardships of small businesses in the Wall Street area.

      I worked in the banking industry for close to 30 years. The run to giant incomes started in the 1970s. A brilliant leading compensation expert was a solitary beacon, questioning the overpayment moneymakers and the systems of payment. He became a pariah in his own professional field because of his outspoken comment. He was the only one pointing out the truth. He set up his own consulting company. The banks had to meet the compensation patterns of the competing banks. They were supported by the major accounting companies, most of which are no longer in existence, because of their own illegal consulting practices.

      Protesters are forgetting that there are a substantial number of manufacturing and service companies who are pressured to reduce employee numbers.

      Finally, there are supporters ready to work with groups that:
      * Form political programs, to study and select new or existing industries that will be growing in the next couple of decades
      * Develop programs for new streams of education – new areas of education, improved programs for mathematics and related fields, improved training for critical thinking and analysis in all fields,
      * earlier exposure to industry for students, even in elementary grades.
      Introduce programs for new jobs. There are already programs like this, but more of them are needed
      * The whole issue of Health Care, how it can be managed so the budget(s) are met. Hospital and Medical Systems need to refine the systems , to improve the health delivery. They were slow in understanding the political systems while buried in medicine, and now they have to hurry up with both medical and poitical systems.

      And so on….

      I am sympathetic to so many of things that need to be changed, but some of the slogans, chanting, and just plain ignorance alienate a lot of people who would otherwise be helping.

      As the leadership changes, and there are specific goals for change that a lot more of us can embrace, the ultimate goals will be achieved.

      • II totally agree. The path to a broad based revolution is addressing the specific needs of ALREADY EXISTING organizations that have been battling alone. One of the biggest failures of OWS was its inability to connect with minorities and working people, not to mention immigrants. This is still not hopeless. With conscious effort, we can learn how we can help others, beyond the very narrow definitions of the OWS protest–now limited to essentially unemployed college kids and the homeless.
        With the resources OWS has accumulated–hundreds of thousands of dollars–and the energy of the youth who are whole-heartedly willing to fight for change. Thanks for your comments.

  8. Michael

    Three issues I want to bring up for discussion and consideration:

    1.We still don’t have any minutes from the 1st meeting or the 3rd meeting posted.
    2. I got the impression that a decision had been made to not post agendas online anymore.
    3. Exclusivity

    I’m concerned that we’re drifting away from some of our important commitments to transparency by not following protocols for open meetings. In my view, this doesn’t just harm us, it harms the movement as other libraries don’t get to see what we’re up to, it harms the donors and the ‘occasional’ volunteers who can’t get a sense of our process or learn about changes and decisions, it harms history as we don’t record what happens and therefore don’t have a voice in writing it. Question here is: Does the library still want to be transparent about our business?

    I understand some of this has to do with issues getting online from on-site once the generators were ‘taken.’ But I know Sean has been charging laptops and the wi-fi regularly and going online. It’s not only possible, but important for local occupiers to get online – so that they can post on the blog, so they can answer emails and do there own business and so that they have a role in production of the library’s voice.

    As we become more insulated and internal through the above changes, it makes me concerned about exclusivity. We have hundreds of emails in our inbox from people who want to get involved and want to help, and we have a small number of core folks who are doing most of the work. As we become more focused on our own projects within the library and start prioritizing those, and power becomes more concentrated in a few people in library, those of us who have been heavily involved from early on might want to ask what steps we can take to keep this The People’s Library.

    • I really appreciate this email. I am just an occasional volunteer, and much of what I do is take ISBNs home and enter them. Sometimes I come to the park and enter ISBNs (and give shoulder massages to library occupiers), but I can rarely stay for more than an hour or two. Recently I have posted two blog entries.

      I have appreciated the autonomy that the library working group gives its members–I like the idea that if I make a suggestion, I should be prepared to DO what I suggest. A month ago, when I first came by the library, I found it incredibly welcoming, and I still do. I think it’s an important physical space in the park both for volunteers and non-volunteers, and an important virtual space for those who aren’t coming to Zuccotti regularly, or at all.

      Autonomy and transparency are really hard things to achieve simultaneously. At the experimental college where I teach, faculty and students have historically had a lot of autonomy to do our own projects without a lot of administrative oversight (or money). Such autonomy has meant that there is a lot of inefficiency, lots of duplicated efforts, and a lot of opacity, and a lack of institutional memory. (And a lot of meetings.) In order to find out how things are done (like setting up an event, dealing with a problem student, proposing a new kind of course), you have to know the right people to ask. (Which definitely leads to exclusivity. Being a new faculty member there was not easy.) The positive side of our governance structure is that there is not a lot of bureaucracy; the downside is that it can FEEL like there is a lot of bureaucracy because workflows and processes are so opaque. Yet we strive for greater transparency, more consistent documentation, and clearer decision-making processes while maintaining what one of our faculty members called (in a manifesto) “deliberate inefficiency”.

      I see the library dealing with a similar problem of balancing autonomy and transparency. I’d love to talk about how the decision-making process of the working group could be made more clear while maintaining the ability for individual volunteers to take their own initiative with projects. When is the next working group meeting?

  9. I think that the time has come to unload the fantasy of a mass movement supporting the occupation. The utter failure of the anarchist leadership structure, as it were, to support its workgroups and peripheral affinity groups is glaringly obvious–not even providing bathrooms, nor any of the implements needed for everyday existence–means that the sooner we realize that we’re on our own, the better. We at the library represent a better chance of a continuing display of protest and organization than the rapidly disintegrating situation around us.

    I suggest that we start looking for an indoor space, along the lines of Charlotte’s, where we can provide the book exchange, show movies, provide internet services and also serve coffee, etc, to support ourselves. We should try to maintain a presence at Liberty Park as long as possible , the novelty of the open air book stalls is great, and if the cops would get off our backs, and could be maintained throughout most of the winter. We do need a central indoor spot for admin, computers and multi-media and to store the books not on display.

    I think we should petition the city for a legal space to have an outdoor book fair, independently of the OWS conundrum. We can be vendors of books, without the selling aspect, which should be OK. As a library, we have the high moral ground if we decide to expand as an independent organization. Up till now, the library has been an afterthought, an appendage to Media, as far as the Finance group and the GA are concerned, as shown by their complete indifference to our situation. Do we want to be swept away with the rest of the flotsam and jetsam? I think that the writing is on the wall, the situation is untenable. Tomorrow sleet and snow are forecast. Without tents, light, heat, bathrooms, showers or money, how long can we realistically hope to stay viable? It’s time for an organized retreat into some indoor or more protected environment. If the $1600 ever materialized from Finance, we should use it as seed money to find a place, and put the call out to raise funds for our continuous use of an indoor spot. We should all start looking around for space downtown. It can’t be that difficult, in some areas there’s only a 30% occupancy rate–it’s definitely an economically blighted neighborhood with plenty of empty storefronts.

    “Voluntary retreat brings good fortune” The sooner we can do this the easier it will be and we can come out of this as a lasting tribute to all the wonderful people and the great spirit of this movement. I have talked to some of our supporters, including Rooftop films, and they would like to join us in an effort of establish a place where we can deliver our community service without the constant dissembling of our own lack of leadership, and the advance of the cold weather and the cops. Any thoughts?

    • Mandy Henk

      I’m not there, so I can’t speak to the situation around the library right now. I will be there next week though, so I might have more thoughts then. That said, I do want the library to have a longer existence than the occupation of Zuccotti. For that to happen, we need to get serious about finding a longer term source of funding. There are a number of organizations I think we could approach–the international humanities center is the first place I would approach: They currently fund peacefuluprising and I think that relationship has worked well. I think there is also some possibility for funding from other sources– I’m happy to research that if the group wants to seek permanent funding.

      I would like to suggest that rather than a permanent space, we consider a bookmobile— really, I mean that. Here’s why: New York has tons of places to get awesome radical books. The rest of the country does not. With a bookmobile (yes, it is pricey and yes we would need insurance) we could travel the country (or at least the Northeast) bringing books to cool places. We could fundraise more easily since we’d be new to everyone we met, and we could maintain a larger base of support. Also, we could totally solve mysteries and that would be super cool.

      • Mandy Henk

        Just to clarify too, IHC does fiscal sponsorship, they support the businessy aspects of being a nonprofit– we would still need to get money. They facilitate that process. But I do think we could fundraise pretty easily. People like libraries and I suspect we’d get donations once we started seriously soliciting.

      • I like this idea, although I still think we’d need a central office somewhere. I’ve run a routine craigslist search and found suitable buses from $1500 to $3500. These are the wheel-chair accessible mini buses that you see everywhere. Adults can stand up in them. We can remove most of the seats and put book racks instead. They are all diesel so that we could at some future date convert them to bio fuel. I have some experience with buses and mechanical issues so if we got the funds I could help locate a bus in decent running shape. This is a viable idea.

        • Mandy Henk

          I say we go for that grant and try to find others too. We can do this if we have the will.

        • SarahE


          You have great ideas!

          Regarding bookmobiles: About 25 years ago, Aaron Lansky decided to collect Yiddish books, so that they would not disappear from the face of the planet. You might ask why take notice of Yiddish books. The essentials are the parallels for the bookmobile:
          * Create a grassroots network of people who will collect books for their general location.
          * Eventually find a space to store books in their region
          * Temporarily rent vans for select trips in their region, until they can create a bookmobile
          * Build a regular network of volunteers in specific areas, to catalogue, sort, and all the things that are happening in the current library.

          Aaron Lansky won a McArthur Prize for the astonishing breadth of building libraries of Yiddish books. He started in Amherst, Mass, was given land some land to build the Yiddish library at the University in Amherst. Excess books were part of a program to spread books to smaller communities – in Russia where they devised a truck trip to deliver books to communities, and communities in Latin America.

          Aaron Lansky would be very accessible and you could reach him through the Yiddish Book Center, University in Amherst. Sorry, I don’t have more details for you.

  10. Here’s my donation to the library in digital form. A little local New York noir for you freezing out in the rain with your laptops and kindles


  11. Michael

    So, I was thinking about our mission statement or whatevs… and I realized that the text under “about” is something that I wrote when I put up the site. It’s totally wasn’t the product of a collaborative effort, but I tried to be broad and inclusive – but I also just literally wanted to put something there, so I didn’t even run it past anyone (I’ve done that a lot on the web site). Anyway, I just wanted to say, if anyone has edits or suggestions for this, we could make it an agenda item, to craft this statement differently. I’m also happy to keep it as it is. I felt like I should bring this up, since I was just remembering that I said in the last meeting we should just use what was on the web site without remembering that I had written it.

    Here’s the text: “The People’s Library is the collective, public, open library of the Occupy Wall Street leaderless resistance movement. Located in the northeast corner of Liberty Plaza, the library provides free, open and unrestricted access to our collection of books, magazines, newspapers, ‘zines, pamphlets and other materials that have been donated, collected, gathered and discovered during the occupation.”

    • Mandy Henk

      I actually really like it, but I do think we could broaden it to talk about outreach through the web and online. I think that’s also an important part of what we do. We could also talk about how we are working to imagine a new kind of library– one without hierarchy that empowers both users and librarians.

  12. Briar

    I’m cleaning house and have deleted some pages for old project ideas that are either redundant or just taking up space. This comment was posted by Michael on October 3 on one of the pages I’m scrapping:

    The following email was forwarded to me tonight. Of course, we would love the author to come and speak at a GA, and let the community address his concerns. But until that happens, one approach might be to hold a teach-in or class on indigenous issues. I included that in my reply to two Hunter professors who are very qualified to do that – we could seek other resources as well, perhaps someone from a local tribe or rights organization or both. I’ve heard several native people speak at the plaza about these issues since the occupation started, though not in the GA. And just today, there was a long conversation going on by one speaker addressing the crowd about the very important fact that Wall St. is named after a wall which was built to keep out the indigenous people from their own land. Obviously occupying Wall Street takes on a range of meanings when considered in that light, and it needs to be problematized in that regard and that needs to happen transparently and with indigenous input.

    Here is the email, for consideration, and hopefully to start a conversation about it – (it was full of links behind passwords and formatting issues and I cleaned it up a bit, so please note that it’s gone through that filter):

    An Open Letter to the Occupy Wall Street Activists

    Thank you for your courage. Thank you for making an attempt to improve the situation in what is now called the United States. Thank you for your commitment to peace and non-violence. Thank you for the sacrifices you are making. Thank you.

    There’s just one thing. I am not one of the 99 percent that you refer to. And, that saddens me. Please don’t misunderstand me. I would like to be one of the 99 percent… but you’ve chosen to exclude me. Perhaps it was unintentional, but, I’ve been excluded by you. In fact, there are millions of us indigenous people who have been excluded from the Occupy Wall Street protest. Please know that I suspect that it was an unintentional exclusion on your part. That is why I’m writing to you. I believe that you can make this right. (I hope you’re still smiling.)

    It seems that ever since we indigenous people have discovered Europeans and invited them to visit with us here on our land, we’ve had to endure countless ‘-isms’ and religions and programs and social engineering that would “fix” us. Protestantism, Socialism, Communism, American Democracy, Christianity, Boarding Schools, Residential Schools,… well, you get the idea. And, it seems that these so-called enlightened strategies were nearly always enacted and implemented and pushed upon us without our consent. And, I’ll assume that you’re aware of how it turned out for us. Yes. Terribly.

    Which brings me back to your mostly-inspiring Occupy Wall Street activities. On September 22nd, with great excitement, I eagerly read your “one demand” statement. Hoping and believing that you enlightened folks fighting for justice and equality and an end to imperialism, etc., etc., would make mention of the fact that the very land upon which you are protesting does not belong to you – that you are guests upon that stolen indigenous land. I had hoped mention would be made of the indigenous nation whose land that is. I had hoped that you would address the centuries-long history that we indigenous peoples of this continent have endured being subject to the countless ‘-isms’ of do-gooders claiming to be building a “more just society,” a “better world,” a “land of freedom” on top of our indigenous societies, on our indigenous lands, while destroying and/or ignoring our ways of life. I had hoped that you would acknowledge that, since you are settlers on indigenous land, you need and want our indigenous consent to your building anything on our land – never mind an entire society. See where I’m going with this? I hope you’re still smiling.

    We’re still friends, so don’t sweat it. I believe your hearts are in the right place. I know that this whole genocide and colonization thing causes all of us lots of confusion sometimes. It just seems to me that you’re unknowingly doing the same thing to us that all the colonizers before you have done: you want to do stuff on our land without asking our permission.

    But, fear not my friends. We indigenous people have a sense of humor. So, I thought I might make a few friendly suggestions which may help to “fix” the pro-colonialism position in which you now (hopefully, unintentionally) find yourselves. (Please note my use of the word “fix” in the previous sentence. That’s an attempt at a joke. You can refer to the third paragraph if you’d like an explanation.)

    By the way, I’m just one indigenous person. I represent no one except myself. I’m acting alone in writing this letter. Perhaps none of my own Nishnaabe people will support me in having written this. Perhaps some will.
    I respect their opinions either way. I love my Nishnaabe people always. I am simply trying to do something good – same as all of you at the Occupy Wall Street protest in what is now called New York.

    So, here goes. (You’re still smiling, right?)

    1) Acknowledge that the United States of America is a colonial country, a country of settlers, built upon the land of indigenous nations; and/or…
    2) Demand immediate freedom for indigenous political prisoner Leonard Peltier
    3) Demand that the colonial government of the United States of America honor all treaties signed with all indigenous nations whose lands are now collectively referred to as the “United States of America”; and/or…
    4) Make some kind of mention that you are indeed aware that you are settlers and that you are not intending to repeat the mistakes of all of the settler do-gooders that have come before you. In other words, that you are willing to obtain the consent of indigenous people before you do anything on indigenous land.

    I hope you find this list useful. I eagerly await your response, my friends.

    Miigwech! ( ~”Thank you!” )

    • Michael

      Thanks for cleaning house, you’re the best! I’ve been wanting that to happen forever. My ocd has an avatar who has even worse ocd.

    • Tanya

      I agree that there needs to be a statement acknowledging the rights of indigenous people. This needs to happen! What’s the follow up on the statement?

  13. Occupy Wall Street is anxiously waiting to find out if it will recoup $144,000 in credit card donations that were rejected over three days when the group’s online account, which is handled by an external fiscal agent, was temporarily frozen due to human error.
    The Alliance For Global Justice, which was retained 10 days ago by Occupy Wall Street to manage the processing of online donations, first blamed one of the entities Occupy Wall Street is protesting –, owned by Visa — for the rejected donations and the freezing of another $40,000.
    “I can’t help but believe that politics must be involved somewhere,” said Kathy Hoyt, a founding member of AFGJ, in a statement posted online that has since been removed, after the group realized it was its own blunder.
    Chuck Kaufman, a national coordinator at AFGJ who is working hand-in-hand with the movement’s finance team, told today that his organization simply wasn’t used to processing so many donations.
    “Our group normally processes a dozen donations a week, so all of a sudden Occupy Wall Street took off and it was 400 per day,” Kaufman said. “We just didn’t understand the banking architecture. We’ve never done anything on this scale before. I guess we should have communicated this to E-Onlinedata in the beginning.”
    The sudden surge of activity acted as a red flag to E-Onlinedata, the company that acts as an intermediary between the cardholders and the banks. Kaufman said the company rejected $144,000 in donations and froze $40,000 that had already been donated but not yet pocketed by the group.
    “I don’t blame the credit card companies for wondering what was going on,” he said. “Essentially they’re liable for any donations they process, so I understand where they’re coming from.”
    E-Onlinedata did not return’s request for comment at the end of their business day.
    Kaufman’s group receives 7 percent of the Occupy Wall Street donations that it processes. Out of that, he estimated that 4 percent went to E-Onlinedata, leaving the Alliance for Global Justice with a total of 3 percent.
    He stressed it’s not a profit, though.
    “When Occupy Wall Street is gone in two years and the IRS comes knocking, we’re the ones who will provide the accounting,” he said.

  14. Occupy Wall Street is anxiously waiting to find out if it will recoup $144,000 in credit card donations that were rejected over three days when the group’s online account, which is handled by an external fiscal agent, was temporarily frozen due to human error.
    The Alliance For Global Justice, which was retained 10 days ago by Occupy Wall Street to manage the processing of online donations, first blamed one of the entities Occupy Wall Street is protesting –, owned by Visa — for the rejected donations and the freezing of another $40,000.
    “I can’t help but believe that politics must be involved somewhere,” said Kathy Hoyt, a founding member of AFGJ, in a statement posted online that has since been removed, after the group realized it was its own blunder.
    Chuck Kaufman, a national coordinator at AFGJ who is working hand-in-hand with the movement’s finance team, told today that his organization simply wasn’t used to processing so many donations.
    “Our group normally processes a dozen donations a week, so all of a sudden Occupy Wall Street took off and it was 400 per day,” Kaufman said. “We just didn’t understand the banking architecture. We’ve never done anything on this scale before. I guess we should have communicated this to E-Onlinedata in the beginning.”
    The sudden surge of activity acted as a red flag to E-Onlinedata, the company that acts as an intermediary between the cardholders and the banks. Kaufman said the company rejected $144,000 in donations and froze $40,000 that had already been donated but not yet pocketed by the group.
    “I don’t blame the credit card companies for wondering what was going on,” he said. “Essentially they’re liable for any donations they process, so I understand where they’re coming from.”
    E-Onlinedata did not return’s request for comment at the end of their business day.
    Kaufman’s group receives 7 percent of the Occupy Wall Street donations that it processes. Out of that, he estimated that 4 percent went to E-Onlinedata, leaving the Alliance for Global Justice with a total of 3 percent.
    He stressed it’s not a profit, though.
    “When Occupy Wall Street is gone in two years and the IRS comes knocking, we’re the ones who will provide the accounting,” he said.

  15. Michael

    Hi All, Let’s refrain from posting headlines in all caps, it’s known as SCREAMING on the internet. :)

  16. Pingback: Libraries Of Sorts | I'm Your Fan Club

  17. s1d3r3al

    New York — A neighborhood board has voted to pass a resolution that proposes two-hour time limits on loud noises, including drumming and chanting, at the Occupy Wall Street protest site in New York City.

    The community board that represents lower Manhattan passed the resolution Tuesday night. The resolution also proposes off-site portable bathrooms funded by local donors and the removal of some police barricades. The resolution asks all parties to come together to address the issues.

    Speakers at the meeting included residents fed up with the noise and filth at the half-acre Zuccotti Park and protesters who stressed the good that the movement is trying to accomplish.

    The park’s owner, Brookfield Office Properties, tried to push the protesters out two weeks ago to clean it but backed off after a public outcry.

  18. Occupy Wall Street has close to $500,000 in the bank — $483,663, to be exact — and those in charge of managing all that money have found that consensus process and anarchist principles don’t make for the most efficient financial governance. According to Bill Dobbs, a member of the media committee, as of Thursday, organization has spent $66,742 and a remaining balance of $483,663. The New York Post reported on Sunday that the money that’s been pouring in through donations online and at Zuccotti Park had started to lead to discontent among the occupiers, as factions within the encampment clamored for their fair share. But Dobbs explained to us, it’s not that the group’s financial committee is withholding that money or resisting participants’ requests for it — it’s just trying to account for all its expenses and approve them via its own agreed-upon process, just like any large organization trying to administer a half-million-dollar budget.

    The Post quoted an organizer of the Comfort working group (the subcommittee in charge of procuring clean clothes, sundries, and so on) who made a request from the finance group: “I was told to fill out paperwork. Paperwork! Are they the government now?” Dobbs explained to us that the paperwork was necessary in order to properly account for expenses. That quote, he said, “is a big clue” to the group’s sense of responsibility. “Of course you have to fill out paperwork… that’s the least that’s owed to donors,” he said. The group has registered as a 501(c)3, a member of its finance working group explained in an online budget discussion, and it’s trying to figure out how to post its revenue and expense reports online. “I guess it’s a question of whether to put them in categories or go all the way down to the receipt level,” Dobbs said.

    It’s also a question of manpower, and that brings up a problem with Occupy Wall Street’s fully egalitarian setup: In practice, even though all are welcome and respected at the camp, not all are welcome to handle the money. The finance committee requires background checks, according to the online discussion, which may be a good idea, as the New York Daily News points out the round-the-clock demonstration has become a haven for ex-cons and what it calls “takers.” But the background checks mean delays in getting more members, and therefore delays on getting the work done of posting the finances online. Finance group member Johana wrote, “we understand the urgent need to get all records computerized but we are all busy with the frequent business within the park, thus creating more transactions to be recorded minute by minute, while trying to create a financial structure that is PERFECT and easily tracked and reported on in a transparent way … Um, give us a minute?”

    • From: Atlantic Wire
      Occupy Wall Street’s Half-Million-Dollar Headache
      BY ADAM MARTIN   |   OCT 24, 2011

    • Anon

      This is the mess the library would have if we tried to be accountable to book donors for where the books went. The money is in surplus. It keeps coming in, like the books do. The thing for Finance to do is to say “I trust you with this, occupiers. Take it and do what you like with it – Read it, burn it, trade for stuff, whatever you need. It’s yours,” the same way we do. We don’t make the library patrons have a consensus meeting about who takes out what books. Imagine if Finance worked like a big communal People’s Change Cup on the street, and folks could give and take from it freely in whatever amounts they need, no questions asked. If people were simply empowered to use resources how they liked, sure some of it would go to cons, but the people handing it over would be empowered to use their judgment, too, and the sleeping bag issue would have been taken care of by now.

      I think I’m going to write a little op ed about this for the library blog while I’m mellowing out in the country.

      Autonomy trumps accountability.

      Expect us.

      • If I may, I think people are spending entirely too much time and getting entirely too exercised about money. We have plenty of money. Nobody is spending it. We don’t need to be waging constant internal ideological warfare against each other. We need to catalog and shelve books, prepare for the winter, communicate with the other working groups who can help us, and take other concrete steps toward ensuring the ongoing and future basic functioning of the library. If you want something for the library that requires funding, we can probably get it. But some person actually has to go out of their way to buy it. If it’s very expensive, we can have a group consensus about it and then either spend the money we’ve already gotten from the GA or ask for more. At the moment, very few people are buying anything. If anyone doesn’t like the way the GA has structured finance, please join the finance committee and work for change from within. The Library Working Group reached consensus about working with this process. Investing time and energy further on this issue when that time and energy could be better spent elsewhere, like on the actual needs of the library, doesn’t make sense to me. Lest this be interpreted as an attempt to silence discussion on this issue, it is not. It is simply my opinion. Anyone who feels the need to keep this an open issue or feels their voice isn’t being heard: by all means ensure you are participating. But I also feel it necessary to state, though I am loathe to do so, that those of us who have been working hard to keep the library running (not just me, I should point out: this is not meant to be a personal ego thing, and I have discussed it with others), to maintain friendly relations with the other working groups who also work their asses off to keep the occupation functioning, and who have dedicated a great deal of time toward reaching a consensus in the group on this issue along with our full participation as a working group in the processes of the larger occupation (which we at least tacitly agreed to cooperate with when we formed ourselves as a working group at a past GA) feel frustrated by the attempts to undo our good faith efforts. I don’t personally begrudge dissent or opposition, but I do feel that those who believe so passionately that the stakes for this and other issues are indeed so high should at least attempt to understand the broader context in which the library operates by going to meetings, talking to people, and otherwise approaching the situation with empathy, open-mindedness, and compassion. We’re not the only ones who are working hard. We’re also not the only ones who are frustrated. The direct democratic process we’re trying to establish will not always in every case work in our favor. This is perhaps in its nature. And the process is, indeed, sometimes aggravating because people are either misinformed, stubborn, or angry. The process is also opaque to many and more than a little bureaucratic. But what I’ve found in dealing with it over the past few weeks is a truism that cuts through all of our differences ideological and otherwise if we’re willing to treat each other with respect: the process is people. And we can work with people. I have, and in that department, whatever the policies or contingencies of the library, I can say I’ve met with nothing but resounding success. Just talking to people in the movement makes me feel better about the whole thing when these everyday stresses start to overwhelm. So let’s all keep talking to people! Isn’t that, after all, the whole point? Pardon me for being so verbose.

      • I agree. As utopian a vision as your suggestion sounds, it can’t be denied that it is working in the case of the Library. Therefore your assessment is correct and viable, and could work. Thanks for the input.
        It is increasing clear that the bottleneck to the release of funds is this unholy alliance between the cronyism of the finance people and the feckless inaction and contradiction of the GA. The finance people have literally pulled off a coup d’etat, all the while beating their chests because they can’t or won’t get anything through the GA process, on behalf of the working groups.

        Yet they managed to lay claim to all the money. Right under our noses. They managed to get the outrageous provision to do background checks. Or did they? Did the GA approve that monstrosity? I’m just as curious as you are as to how this new regime developed out of a broad-based people’s movement. It is like we spawned a little cabal of bankers right within our midst. In the corporate world, this is when the accounting dept begins to formulate policy on a de facto basis. It’s an axiom of self-destruction when you put the bean counters in charge, you are inhibiting growth. In fact, the accountants get to control only a dying entity, like the corporate undertaker. Since when are they in charge of a growing concern, that needs to use capital for growth expansion and R&R?

        History shows us that once a clique has power over the treasury they’ll never let it go. I think it is a fait accompli, the money is out of circulation, making money for others, while our workers are waiting for a trickle down! We have only to look at our own recent events to see where this is going. Putting the bankers in charge of the money is like putting the fox in charge of the henhouse.

        Yet those people who are hoarding it now will not be persuaded to let it go, however imperative the moral or practical reasons, especially now that they are filtering out people, beginning with a background check. How many of our brothers and sisters will be locked out of this process, which is class and race-based? I’m embarrassed for myself and all of us that we have to be judged by the same banker’s laws we are trying to overturn. Isn’t accountability and transparency enough to protect us against fraud? We needs this bourgeois selection process to tell us who to trust? The worst Wall street criminals, ironically, would PASS the background check with flying colors!

        It may be that the working groups may have to start again, to divest itself from the Finance group and begin again. After all, it was the combined efforts of all the working groups that made the conditions that made the money! The half-million is OUR money that has been snatched away from us by a few overlords and opaque charter signatories, who by all means intend to act like mini-bankers, yet taking it one step further by controlling our access to our own funds. We are not borrowing this money, wasting this money; we are equipping ourselves to continue the struggle, we are acting in the interests of our working group and its activities, Why should WE be suspect, and not Finance? We have a proven record of success and growth. The Finance group is unqualified and unequipped for such exclusive power. They can’t even deal efficiently with the simplest of their tasks–disbursement of our funds! They failed, they’re fired!

        If this is the will of the GA, I want a recount. If this is a result of the inability of the GA to effectively purchase and disburse money, then we should not give the GA that responsibility. The GA has shown itself in every way to be an unworkable purchasing agent. The working groups should control the finances in a reciprocal, democratic process, and then report to the finance (a thematic accountants group) and the GA. We have to acknowledge that the core of our movement is the working groups, not the GA or the finance group. The working groups combined strength is the movement! Why are we starving them to death?

        In our euphoria and loving trust of one another–a beautiful thing, and what makes us truly revolutionary, we have been distracted, so that the money has been sequestered away from us. We have no way to control our own destiny. The literal manifestation of our support, the money raised on our behalf, has been hijacked by an arrogant, all-powerful insular group of non-working, unelected, unfettered extranium. They are now introducing a system of patronage and influence peddling to replace our spontaneous outpouring of trust and self-actualizing. We are now as dependent on them as we are the corporate banking system and the government for handouts and money that has to wend itself through an eminently corruptible and unwieldy bureaucratic miasma. Can we change this before its too late?

        • I’m sorry, Eric, but as much as I respect you and your efforts on behalf of the library, this post is neither fair nor accurate. You are unnecessarily escalating a situation that is not nearly as bad as you make it out to be. Is this only about money? Because the library is not being infringed upon in any other way I can see, and we have plenty of money to do basically whatever we want. If this issue is going to remain an open topic of discussion, can we please base it on facts, not supposition and slander?

          • And if you want a tent, go over to finance and ask them for the money for one! It really isn’t that hard! We have $1600 cleared for our purchases. So why isn’t anyone getting the money and buying one? Comfort just got several thousand dollars approved for several hundred tents. Media got $25,000 for a television commercial and whatever else it is they do. Sanitation regularly gets thousands at a time for park clean-ups. Nobody is being stingy with the money.

            • And I personally stood up in front of the GA and asked and received $3000 for emergency laundry funding! It would take us quite awhile to raise that sort of money on our own. And as winter approaches, do you really think the donations will keep pouring in?

            • Where is the tent money? Finance told me they had “more important” things to go with the money and then I had to beg for the $100 allowance to buy a used tent off craigslist. Slander? I’m trying to keep our books and our workers dry when it pours down on a predicted drenching day on thursday. Are you? Is Finance or the GA going to keep us dry? Get real.

              • When it comes to funding, Some animals are more equal than others.

                • Daniel Norton

                  What was the ultimate outcome of Media’s acquisition of our generator and gasoline? I made the attempt to resurrect the Children’s Library before going to work yesterday, though we have certainly ceded more square footage to Media’s stronghold. I wanted very much to remain present during the library’s interaction with them on this front, as I was the one present when they started placing library items on the ground and literally ignoring my diplomatic outreach for understanding their intent and process, but I was running late by the time Eric arrived on scene and pointed out that it was actually our generator and supplies they were making space for. — How’d all that work out?

              • Can we please keep this civil? I hear your concerns, and I’m trying to address them, but I feel like you’re being extremely aggressive all the time about this, and it makes me feel uncomfortable. I also don’t feel like you’re giving the process a chance to work. I’m not there this week, so I don’t know what exactly is going on—that’s a fact. But I don’t know what you’re talking about regarding Finance, either. I’m in touch with them regularly, and the money should be readily available. Who did you speak to? And you really had to beg? This doesn’t sound right, and I will look into it. But I do not appreciate your insinuations. I do not deserve them. I also think it’s worth pointing out that if we truly are a People’s Library, the people should have some say in how we operate. If we aren’t participating in the GA process, flawed though it may be, than it isn’t the People’s Library, it’s OUR library, and WE’RE the cabal that runs it. Of course it would be more convenient to do things ourselves without going through the GA. But then we’re in charge despite what we think and just a little hypocritical about the whole anti-authority thing. I don’t understand why you’re so angry when it comes to this money issue. Shouldn’t we be directing our passion outward, to the real financial criminals, and not inward, toward each other? Or will our movement fall apart like most every other “leftist” cause due to infighting and petty accusations? Because we’re only just barely surviving that possibility at the moment. I know the Finance people pretty well, and they’ve been nothing but kind and cooperative with me. But I’m also kind and cooperative with them. And I will contact them today to find out what is going on with the tent money, etc. We can disagree, but can’t we do it reasonably? I think we’re all on the same team even if we’re not always on the same page.

              • I spoke to Finance. I was told that you approached them in an angry, aggressive, condescending manner. They’re only a few people, and that day they were having logistical problems because of some emergencies going on around the park. They also had run out of cash and didn’t have anyone on hand to run to the bank to get more. The person you spoke to in particular had also not been informed of our $1600 allotment from last week, and he said that you didn’t mention that, either. It sounds like it was a hectic day, and he was under a great deal of stress. You might have approached him with a more compassionate spirit. He’s just a guy trying to do his best like all of us are. He works 12+ hour days and sleeps down there like may others. Just because he handles the money doesn’t make him a member of some nefarious conspiracy. I’m really trying hard not to be critical here, and to solve this problem, but people from library have to stop approaching other working groups with such a hostile, negative attitude. Anyway, the money is available, you can get it, and I am going to join the Finance committee when I get back to help them with their collection duties if I can. Everybody likes to scream and yell at Finance, but nobody wants to help them do their jobs better. Conditions at Liberty Plaza are not exactly ideal for anybody. These guys just happen to be lightning rods. How would we feel if people came up to us on a daily basis ranting and raving about how we don’t have the book they want?

                • Please understand I did not approach him in a hostile manner. After he told me he had no money and the library was low on the totem of important expenditures, THEN I got hostile. I thought we were to get a $100 allowance but I had to explain the whole tent situation while he was texting. Then he gave me the runaround about the “200 donated tents” which anyway is rerelevant to our needs to cover the work tables, etc. He was condescending to me and I don’t appreciate that. Why am I an ogre for trying to find shelter? I am acting on behalf of the consensus to protect the library from weather I am just doing that as best I know how.

  19. Michael

    Did some housekeeping tonight on Digital Archives. We were linking to online versions of the OWS Journal that were on other scribd accounts, so I downloaded them and uploaded to our account that I set up ( Also added the n+1 Gazette. As a best practice, I suggest that any time we post some form of digital media, we BOTH link to the source site and download the material and upload it to our scribd account so that we have a copy and don’t lose it if the original is taken down. Questions, just ask.

  20. Great news. Dan Nuxoll, program director of Rooftop Films wants to bring his projection equipment and screen to the park, preferably the library area, to show indie films and other movies and documentaries. I gave him tentative permission, based on discussions the working group has had before about introducing other media, so he is going to bring his tech guy around tomorrow to check on the practical problems in setting up his screen, etc. We could have a film night, in much the same way we have a poetry night. His one concern was amplification, still ostensibly outlawed by the cops, but also a problem with the roar and tumult of the GA meeting that takes place next to us on the steps. We discussed having a closed caption option if sound proves to be a problem. I know this was one of our planned improvements, so having him come forth and put the plan into action is a great step forward! If there are no objections, I will coordinate with him in the next few days to help him get started. His email is, if you have questions.

  21. Hello library folks! Talked to some of you last night at the park, but wanted to put out a wider call for action here. I’d love to start a new library project: OWS Recommended Reading List – a very tightly curated (perhaps publicly voted on from larger submitted list?) set of books that provide the clearest explanation on how we got here / how we get out (maybe ten books for each side of the topic?). these books can then have a dedicated Reference box location, so we can point people to them at all times.

    For those of us on the inside, it may seem obvious why we’re here, but i feel like a concise reading list is a great place to point people who don’t know why OWS is happening or don’t fully understand how our current system has let us down. and even for those of us who understand the why, the “what now” is still a pressing question, and i know there are books out there that can provide some guidance.

    once we have the lists, it also opens up the possibility of having an OWS book club, possibly with authors coming down to the park to lead discussion groups. doug rushkoff & naomi klein have been down already, for example — wouldn’t it be great to actually have a sit-down session with them in the library area with all who want to learn more?

    hit me back here, via twitter, facebook or email. i run in my non-OWS time, so you can reach me through there. some of you have met me in the park — until last week, i had fire-colored yarn in my hair, and was helping pack up the library overnight in the rain when we almost got evicted.

    • We actually have a reference section where we put the sort of books you’re talking about. You may be suggesting we create a list that is separate from that, however, which may include books we don’t currently have in our collection. I think this is a good item to put on our next meeting agenda. I’d be eager to hear what the actual librarians among us think about recommending specific books. I imagine librarians do this all the time. But we are trying to be somewhat neutral with regard to reading material, too. So it’s a good discussion to have. As for reading groups, I’m working on that!

      • Michele

        What about something like a “librarians’ favorites” section rather than recommendations of the library per se?

  22. Michael

    Just updated the info on our finance page to reflect the reality of the decision at the GA tonight. Long, long, long story short – the GA approved our request for one-time $600 cost of purchasing a tent, and our request for a $1000 per week budget was blocked. We amended the request to $1000 for the first week with the intention of addressing it again in the future. That was accepted.

    So, we have $1000 for the next week, plus $100 petty cash per day. Plus $600 for the tent. I spent the first bit of that tonight on domain names, details are on:

    • stevenimbus

      I spoke with the blocker at great length today. His concern was that we were getting a blank check of $1000/week. It was not clear to him that we had itemized our expected expenses, even though we did (though perhaps not to what would have been his satisfaction). I am optimistic that we can get the money we need, but we should probably be responsible about what we do actually need. With $700/week available as petty cash, it’s only major expenses that even need approval by the GA. If the Spokes Council is approved, it will be easy to get a larger budget. But our needs may not, in fact, exceed $700/week. We’ll just have to see. I believe the $1600 we secured last night is not time sensitive, though I said “for the next week.” I doubt very much Finance is going to hold us to that, since it doesn’t make any sense to do so. So we’re in good shape, I think, to make some major capital expenses now and for adequate resupply in the future. We can discuss an amended budget proposal next week. If we ask for a larger lump sum for a month, it may be more effective than asking for a weekly budget, but we can consult with Finance. I think most people who object to these things at the GA, misinformed or not, just want to guard against redundancy and waste in the spending of money, and they have a point.

      • Sean

        The blocker spoke to me after his conversation with Steve. And he expressed the concerns stated above.
        We ARE in good shape!
        And I agree that with the approval of spokes counsel, things will only get more efficient.

      • Michael

        Steve, you are doing amazing work on our behalf and I love you for it. You and Sean were amazing at the GA, absolutely incredible. Thank you for doing it, and putting so much of your hearts into it.

        To be blunt, what happened in the GA last night completely pisses me off and is a sign that some people there do not have the best interests of the movement in mind. That was pure and simple about ego. And a herd mentality took over all the guys surrounding him on the second temp check, and they all switched their response to negative when they were positive before. Cult of personality.

        And I actually don’t think he had a point at all. He didn’t even understand the proposal that he was blocking. That’s irresponsible, and it’s why we have a “humanitarian crisis” as comfort has stated, and why they are having to “duct tape sweaters together” to keep people warm.

        I see a vocal minority coming to the GA to protect money – and hording piles of meaningless paper isn’t going to get the occupiers outfitted with winter gear or help us weatherize the library or help anyone move forward. Folks don’t go to nycga web site and hit donate because they’re hoping that we’ll sit on the cash – they give to empower us to make immediate improvements in the facilities and the health and welfare of the individuals who are sleeping in the park. It’s our responsibility to fight to do just that.

        One of the things the library needs is independence from editorial oversight. We all agreed to that in our two meetings about finance and it was the condition on which many of us supported the idea of joining GA finance. We need a weekly budget, pre-approved so that no governing body can step in and remove our funds if they don’t like what we’re doing. This is VITAL to our mission of uncensored information distribution. And I think we should go back and ask for it again until we get it and if we don’t, then I support pursuing non-GA finance options.

        • Right on, Michael! The working groups need to jointly control money decisions and then report to the GA, a very obdurate, unpredictable bunch and more of an exculpatory ideological body than a managerial group. I support everything you have said, and we must quickly implement these steps before winter bites! Prevarication at this point can destroy all of our gains.

        • Patience, my friends. We either respect the process or we don’t, and the process does not always work in one’s favor. Does it make sense to give up on it just because we don’t get what we want every time? I know you’re not saying that. I just want tempers to remain calm. I am willing to shoulder some of the blame for what happened at the GA. I wrote up the proposal, and I suppose I could have made it clearer and explained it better to Sean. Also, facilitation was a bit weak that night, because the team had never done it before, and I might have forced a 9/10 modified consensus check, but I didn’t push for that forcefully enough. I want to remind everyone that last week, we didn’t spend any money at all. And now that we’re handing over money to finance, we have the right to ask for $100/day, which is nothing to sniff at. As winter approaches, we have to expect daily donations to decline with fewer people visiting the park. By cooperating with the finance process, however, we are at least protected against that to the tune of the daily petty cash limit. I think this is a necessary cushion for us. We may very well need more money on a weekly basis on top of that, but it does behoove us to actually demonstrate that. $700/week is a lot. I think it’s time to start thinking about a more comprehensive and specific budget in advance of our next meeting. I have been contemplating asking to raise the daily limit to $200, and that’s also a possibility. Finally, I want to caution against us becoming too overeager with the spending and too reliant on this so far constant supply of cash. We do have $500,000, but that won’t last forever with many hands in the pot, and we don’t know what the future will hold. We need to husband this resource carefully. I was at Occupy Chicago yesterday, and they only have $13,000 in their account. Total. That’s really humbling. I’d argue that distributing some of OWS’s money to other occupations in need around the country is a better investment in our movement than, e.g., 4G hotspots, television commercials, biodiesel generators, and other expensive frills. The bigger the other movements get, the more money total they will all attract, if money is any indication of outside support. So far, New York is getting the lion’s share of attention, and we’ve become a bit spoiled by it. To sum up, there’s something to be said for being obligated to keep spending within reasonable limits and not exhaust our resources on a daily or weekly basis. We will go back to GA if necessary and try this again, but let’s be responsible, reasonable, and cooperative about what we’re doing, unlike the people who forced us into the park to begin with. If the Spokes Council goes through, so much the better. In the meantime, we’re not exactly starving.

  23. At last, we are electrified with a new generator. Michael is powering up our donated laptops with open source Ubuntu as we speak. Our reference desk is almost a reality. Internet-enabled laptops will be available for community and public use starting tomorrow. Thank you for all your donations which made this possible!

  24. rockaway tiger paul schubert

    use weza foot crank generator for power needs on liberty patk for web la-ptops cell phones make 120 watts has battery storage thy rockaway tiger community advocate 347 772 7067 email

  25. *Nonviolent Communication training daily 12-2 at 60 Wall Street atrium*

    Steve S. & I attended the nonviolent communication training today & I think it would really benefit the whole working group if more of us have this background. I would love it if we could build our abilities to communicate with each other (& outside groups) in a way that respects all of our needs and promotes the effectiveness of the library team.

    The woman who ran the training is from WA and will only be here through Monday. There will probably be more trainings in the future, but nothing’s guaranteed. If it’s at all possible for folks to get to this training, I really encourage everyone to do it– 12-2 pm at 60 Wall Street atrium.

  26. Notes from the 10/19 Co-ordinators meeting.
    I wasn’t there for the whole meeting, but caught some important info from the structure group. It looks like the spokes-council model is going into effect and things are going to be transformed utterly. Instead of a daily GA, there will be a GA on weekends only as a way to draw in the folks who drop by on weekends but aren’t necessarily very active in the movement. The spokes-council will meet on Mondays Wednesdays and Fridays at 7 pm. It is important that we have a library rep at these meetings. On Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7 there will be Education/Cultural events.

    There’s also proposal that the spokes will take the form of clusters. At the moment they’ve put Library in the Education & Empowerment cluster. I can see why they did this, but I think we need to have stronger ties to Information Sharing (O/S, Internet etc) rather than to Education which may end up being a catch-all for all the thematic & affinity groups.

    The proposal for the spokes-council will be presented at tonights GA at 7pm.
    While it’s not a perfect system (& we all see that and have discussed it), it does look like it will dramatically improve the ability of groups to make decisions and co-ordinate effectively so I’m all for it.

    One thing the library needs to do is compose a charter that has our mission and contact info to make available to everyone.

    • Hi there, My name is Peter Gallo, and I would love to speak to someone from the working group about participating on a small panel about the occupation, next wednesday 10/26.

      If you’re interested, please reach out via email ( or via phone (774.255.0267).

      I will also be at Liberty Plaza tonight around 8pm if you care to chat then.


      • Hi Peter,
        can you tell us more information about what the panel is & where? Many of us connect through the website & are not at camp 24/7. Thanks!

  27. Michael

    The Working Group Agenda page is up now here:

    Post your additions in the comments and then add them to the page. If you make changes, please also post in the comments what you changed and why.

  28. stevenimbus

    Agenda for Saturday, October 22, 1 pm meeting of the People’s Library Working Group, in no particular order:

    1. Finances, expenditures, and internal procedures regarding money
    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
    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)

    Please add your own agenda items! Also remember that last week’s meeting took 3 hours.

    Guests have been invited to the meeting to facilitate (I hope Sade will come again) and offer support. There should be people there from finance, town planning, and non-violent communication (because they’re such sweethearts). If you want other guests, no problem. We’re open and transparent, so everyone is welcome.

    • Right now I think our top priority is weather related. We have to have better rain protection. In spite of the 2 donated umbrellas we got at the last minute (thanks Jesse & Jomal) we aren’t aquequately protecting our books supplies and most important our PEOPLE especially those who courageously stay overnight, Steve S and Bill to name a couple. We all agreed at the last minute that we should make the job there less tortuous! We strung the tarps over the umbrellas and at least provided some protection from the rain. For all I know the wind has swept away the whole flimsy structure as I speak! We’ve got to be prepared for the next rain and the cold weather. We can’t wait around for anyone to help us that is obviously not happening. We have to solve this problem by ourselves! I would like to get a “vendor canopy” like you see all over street fairs and flea markets. We would have to risk the cops seeing these as structures, although this rule has been breached already so I think we can pile in. As far as the generator, I am still in favor of eating my mistake with the cheapo piece if shit Generac machine and buying a Honda or Subaru. We actually have the money right now to do this! Why am I so adamant about this? Lights! Laptops! Charging! Heat! Camera! Action! Let’s do it gang!

      • I love the idea of posting photos, interviews, etc. with library volunteers as well as long-time park stayers (people who are living there , etc.). We should have just as much as that as coverage of celebs, I think that would be in spirit with the movement.

        Perhaps weatherizing should go on the agenda as a general topic?


      • Michael

        Eric, the canopy and the generator sound like great additions for the agenda on Saturday. I’m with you on the vendor canopy, the one I was thinking of that I mentioned is what they’re using for the LA library, some bookshelves under those would be ideal – we could have roll-down tarps for the sides in case of really heavy rain/wind.

        I think we need a project page for working Agenda discussions which we can use each time and then clear again. I’ll set one up and post a link to it.

        Also, we still don’t have minutes from our last meeting – all those who took minutes, any update?

      • Danny

        Agree on all points here.

        I believe that the library, from outside perception, is in the best position to defend reasons for having “structures” and I believe that each of us is eloquent and articulate enough to handle inquisition related to our intent in erecting anything of that nature.

        Vendor tents are a phenomenal idea.

        Also, having spent 16 years in Alaska and witnessing the fall of many generators (many homes run off generator, cell and solar power), I will assert that it was our attempts to muffle the noise of the generator that burned it out. Covering the intake with blankets and such will kill even the respected brands. — Something to consider.

        Sent from my iPhone

        • stevenimbus

          I love the idea of a separate agenda page. But there are people, like Steven B. (who, unlike me despite Eric’s kind mention, sleeps at the plaza) who never check this page or their email. So we need to be vigilant about including them in agenda preparation. I am, as always, all for weather preparedness. I was just discussing the topic in conjunction with bookcases… the vendor tent is fine too. I thought having bookcases would provide a natural framework for a roof, but a vendor tent or whatever would be sturdier, I presume, though more likely be construed as a structure. But I agree about following other groups’ lead and putting one up and seeing what happens. Fortune favors the bold?

  29. We were up till 3 am trying to build a shelter out of our two donated umbrellas and all the tarps. We were able to put together a fortress-like structure with the stacks of plastic book crates, and then stretched the tarps over them. The result looked like a huge beetle with a gaping mouth. Hope it keeps our group members dry and protects all the books. Also we collected another $410 yesterday. Today am going to try to transfer the funds to a credit union.

    As far as the umbrellas, I am wondering why the finance committee isn’t buying the working groups umbrellas? The cops are not raising objections–in fact, a couple cops offered helpful suggestions when we were building our shelter. I notice that media has one, and the medical work group was able to build a (beautiful) white tent, which they successfully defended against the cops, along with Jesse Jackson, who happened to be there. BTW Alec Baldwin showed up around 2 AM for an impromptu discussion session at the Library.

    • stevenimbus

      I have been in contact with Finance on an intensive basis over the past few days. I am going to post something lengthy about it as soon as I can, but to keep things short, they aren’t responsible for buying things. If we want an umbrella, we have to make a proposal for one, pass a budget, or pay for it out of petty cash—this all assuming we cooperate with the GA financing system. Finance doesn’t make decisions. Anyway, someone donated 5 of the info type umbrellas to the occupation, and I put in a request for one of them. We’ll see what happens. I’m sorry I missed Alec! I guess that’s one of the perks of staying overnight. Neat.

    • Michael

      Was it 3? I could have sworn we were there until 4:30 and I wasn’t asleep until 5:30 – that OWS adrenaline is hard to calm down. Thanks for the ride home!

      No doubt on the finance question. Now that the numbers reported are getting even higher – They’re reporting today that we have $435,000. Before we know it, we’ll have $1 million and will they still be sitting on it? Let’s come up with a concrete proposal. I suggest a kit for everyone who occupies to make them peaceful-soldiers of the occupation including: a winter sleeping bag, tarps, sleeping pad, backpack, rain cover for the backpack, rain jacket, synthetic clothing, and boots. We could get them in bulk from someone like EMS.

      • stevenimbus

        Lest what I think Michael is saying be misconstrued, I want to be clear that finance isn’t preventing anyone from getting money. They’re sitting on it, because people aren’t asking for it (partly because they don’t understand how, which finance is aware of and also frustrated about). They themselves are not terribly happy with the processes that exist for dispensing it, particularly with the facilitation process. But Finance has no power to make decisions about what to do with money, and they don’t want that power thrust upon them, either. I assume Michael, you meant that *we* need to get some concrete plans together to present to them, which is correct, not that finance needs to do anything (because they can’t). Everyone involved in the logistics of the movement should be given some slack, in my opinion. They went from $0 to $100,000 in about a week and suddenly had to come up with collection/disbursement procedures and accounting systems. I encourage everyone with reservations or complaints about facilitation, the GA, or financing—and there are legitimate reservations that even people in those working groups share—to go to the meetings and talk to people. There are certainly problems, but the democratic process we have in place at OWS means they aren’t going to be resolved quickly and definitely not by fiat. Everybody is stressed out, but if we’re all patient and cooperative, we are likely to get a fair portion of what we want. Having said that, I am now on my way downtown.

      • yes and yes, a well equipped peace army

  30. Michael

    I love the author photos, and I think we should take them and post them to the Flickr group and keep putting them on the blog (maybe one of each person who visits?). I’m also thinking maybe we could start posting photos and mini-interviews with our library volunteers, with occupiers who are living in the park, with folks from other working groups, with patrons who visit the library who don’t happen to be famous. I’m just as guilty, so I’m pointing a collective finger, but I’m feeling like we’re broadcasting a bit of celeb-chasing.

    • Danny

      I like this idea! Having others express why the library is important to the movement would be awesome, and I believe that interviewing the library volunteers would do wonders for the inquisitive librarians nation-wide who are interested in what’s taking place here.

      Sent from my iPhone

    • stevenimbus

      I will start doing this. Good idea. Puts a human face on the library. I do get excited about authors, though.

  31. As regards the rain coming tomorrow I have an emergency request of the group: In accordance with our consensus about trying to make life a little easier for our workers on site I propose getting a patio umbrella for the reference desk. I scored an old one for free, but it has no base or lower pole, so I though, why don’t we buy a new one with all the parts since we have the $?. It would cost about $200. I polled the crew onsite by text, and they agree.

    Also, the consensus is that we all hate Bank of America, where our donations are presently deposited–only for the convenience, and because I haven’t had time to organize. I hate BoA, too, so I will transfer our funds ASAP!!!

  32. Briar

    Hi, everyone.

    I see some more murmurs about Finance, so I’d like to post publicly that I’ve chosen to work from home this week researching independent, alternative finance options for the Library to discuss at the working group meeting on Saturday at 1PM. This way, instead of “GA Finance or nothing,” the argument can be “GA Finance or something else.”

    Find updates on my proposal planning on the Finance page.

  33. Our brand X generator may take a week or more to repair, but it’s still under warranty, it won’t cost us anything. My feeling is that we should buy a Honda or a Subaru (same motor, different case) for $800 and have power tomorrow. We can keep the old unit for emergencies, or give it to another work group. Maybe the kitchen or an info desk could use it, where it wouldn’t be running all day. It was my fault that we bought a cheaper brand, I’m sorry I misjudged that. I don’t think we should be without power just because I blew it. We will have the funds, our donations are high, and I think we can get the $800 generator and still have enough for tables, chairs and bins, our other main expenses. Any thoughts?

    • stevenimbus

      I think for an expenditure of this amount, it behooves us to put it on the agenda for Saturday’s meeting. In fact, perhaps I will start the agenda thread now (above).

  34. Another record day of donations: newest banked total as of tonight, $676. Other news: Our generator blew out. The motor runs but the electric output is dead. I think it overheated because the intake vents were clogged with gunk. Since its still under warranty I am taking it to a place in New Jersey that claims it will repair it. More on this later. Having had electricity makes it now feel essential. I am doing the best I can to restore it. I feel I made a mistake in purchasing a cheap off brand generator, which was attractive at almost 1/3 the price of a Honda or Subaru, the two top manufacturers. Maybe we should just go ahead and get a better one, at about $800, which would be noticeably less noisy and smelly. If we manage to get the cheap one repaired we could donate it to another work group, or another occupy site. I await some feedback on this.

    Other purchases today include 10 more plastic bins from Costco, courtesy of Emily, who makes a weekly run for us, and will deliver them tomorrow. We got a donated folding table. It is a nice one, and we could use 2 more just like it!. Steve B now has a box of petty cash to have on site for immediate purchases.

    It seems that the numbers of visitors is growing, and doesn’t diminish at all, even after the weekend crush. We cannot wait for some grand plan to extend our perimeter. We obviously need more room, and giving us more room is a good investment for the community because we both attract and reassure new people who arrive on the occupy site and provide a great service to which almost anyone can relate. Whatever extra space we take will be well utilized, and let’s face it: we deserve it!

    Since we are squeezed for room to the West by media, a wall to the north and the stairs on the East side, we can only expand South, which I think we should do, considering the congestion around the library at present, and the huge number of books that are coming in. If we are cramped, it inhibits the benefits of a library–which should be a nice place to find a book without jostling or being jammed like sardines. Also, soon we will have a table of laptops, and we’ll have to have additional space for that. We need growing room. Another idea would be to create a “discussion area” where people who want to stand around and gab can do it away from the (book) stacks area and so give library patrons (?) or maybe browsers, more room to browse.

    BTW Frances did a superb job organizing everything, so now we can actually find the supplies when we need them! Thanks to all the work group, who, like Zachary, worked like draft horses to keep up with logging in and cataloging the onslaught of books.

    • Briar

      Selections from an email from Frances 10-16-2011:

      “Hey y’all. It was a busy, busy day today at the people’s library. Here’s the run down from my perspective.
      *Some new bins were organized. These include:
      -Library Supplies/ (it’s back!) a black and grey bin by the library table
      -Rain Tarps/ a large blue bin on the wall behind the shelves
      -Three Black Tote Bags/ on the wall behind the library table labeled Trash Bags/Recycling Bags/Tote bags
      -Library Staff Bin/ under the library table.”

    • Briar

      Email from Danny, 10-16-11:

      “I would like to second the sentiment regarding the eyeing of donations. There was also a small amount of territorial behavior encountered when moving belongings of the resident homeless. A new occupier has set up camp facing the reference desk and I witnessed sanitation (or a volunteer with a garbage bag) having trouble with them when trying to clear the trash that accumulated around him. — There’s also the issue of Media encroachment. We very quickly tapped out in terms of space with only the two shipments and my heart goes out to the remaining team who must find an accessible/browsable place for the next shipment.

      Cataloged 7 written pages today! — Thank you Briar for assuming Library Thing input duties. — There is an established black bin that is labeled within that contains materials lacking ISBN, ISSN, LCC and require photo documentation.”

  35. Notes from the 10/17 co-ordinators meeting. Comprehensive notes are available at but here are some things of interest for the library.

    – Justin @ SIS-proposed storing our duplicates in a special place in storage. We agreed to that & Zach moved things there today. We keep 2 or 3 copies of things but if we received 10+ copies, they can be distributed to other #occupy libraries or put in this dedicated space. his email = We packed up some boxes for Philly & Providence today.

    – there’s a minutes group who’d like our minutes sent to

    – I announced that the library is to stay on site at all times as per our consensus. people liked that a lot.

    – if there’s anything we need or want, send a very specific request to and it will magically appear. maybe.

    – Jake from internet talked about the new website. it’s live at
    there was some talk about the owners of Jake said he could “neither confirm nor deny that they are douchebags” but we get the feeling they are, encouraged everyone to move away from using that domain. someone else chimed in on googlemail being read & told folks to check out in-q-tel ( and their CIA connections. that’s just an interesting aside.

    – finance talked about why they’re so slow and were very apologetic. daily meetings with a CPA, an independent auditing team etc.

    – mediation has non-violent communication workshops every day from 12-2 at their table behind the kitchen. the more we know, the more tools we have, the more effective we become. cld be useful for folks to attend. (I was about to, but being such a fascist, I bailed.) if we’re interested we can schedule a group training just for the library. email =

    • Michael is owned by adbusters! who could, for all I know, be total, um.. ‘douchebags.’

      fascist, LOL.

      So, under the minutes for the meeting, when it says “library – maxine” does that mean they confused betsy with maxine? I wonder if there are any court reporters out of work, we could hire them to do minutes for these groups. :)

  36. FYI we now have $576 in donations

  37. Good news is that over $340 in donations was collected on Sunday. This is a record amount. Great job by our diligent crew who collected, recorded, and guarded these funds! Thanks to Frances for bringing in a lockbox.

    • Michael

      Woo-hoo! That’s great news. In other news, did you see the reporting that the GA has 300k? I wonder if the press got it right and Finance got it wrong or vice versa?

      • I can’t believe how shady the whole finance thing sounds to me. Is this really a question of money corrupts? Or a prank? Why is this thing so difficult? Is it really “mo money, mo problems?” Seems specious. Nothing true seems to come out of them. Media hype aside, they could clear it up in a second.

  38. Pingback: Library Working Group Meets | Occupy Wall Street Library

  39. Michael

    Post meeting orders of business:

    1. Whenever those who took notes yesterday are able to get them typed up, I propose that we create one new Front Page Post that contains the notes from each of you, in sections. This should provide a good overall view of the minutes for the working group meeting.

    2. One of the points we reached consensus on yesterday was that over this week we would engage in fact finding, and post the information we discover on the blog. After a week of this, we would then have an up/down vote on Saturday about joining the GA finance process. All of that information should be posted on our Finance page, as comments. That page is here:

  40. stevenimbus

    Great meeting yesterday, everyone! I hope we can continue to meet regularly in the future. I may or may not be available next Saturday. I promised a friend I would help plant trees in Queens, but I may be able to help her another day. I’ll be away for quite a few weekends in November, so I want to try to make whatever meetings we have while I am still in New York. One suggestion/question: would it be possible or desirable for whoever happens to be at the library each day to also have a (possibly relatively informal) meeting at a designated time? I realize many people will be left out of these, so my notion isn’t for it to be a meeting where binding decisions are made, just a chance for librarians at the library that day to touch base on whatever is going on that day. As you all know, events move fast at the library, and anything we can do to streamline coordination/cooperation/dialogue is helpful. We could certainly keep minutes (and keep it brief). Just to keep dialogue open. Most working groups meet more than once a week, after all, and it’s hard to keep up with all the online activity, too. Just a thought. Upsparkles?

    Thanks again to our facilitator (and frequent patron), Sade!

    • stevenimbus

      PS – Fix from Media/PR/Finance emailed a map of the new town plan to me. I think a few of you already have it, but I thought I would post it here. Would it make sense to post it to the front page of the blog or mail it out over the email list? My version isn’t very high res so perhaps someone has a better version? I spoke to Mike at Town Planning, and I believe he’s keen to talk to us about future usage of space for the library. There’s apparently some talk going on about “giving back” part of the plaza to local residents in the form of a combination real cafe with coffee and pastries/internet cafe/reading area or something (giving back, that is, by creating an area friendlier to the general public, as a gesture, since we *are* occupying public open space—this is what I was told). He said this is something the library may be interested in cooperating with. It sounds intriguing to me so long as they don’t issue edicts about it, but this is just meant to be informational. So far, I think Town Planning wants to help us use our space to maximum effectiveness, but we’ll have to hear the full story from him, perhaps at the next meeting. Bre from finance was also extremely apologetic about not making it to yesterday’s meeting (she’s been sleeping at the plaza and found a bed in Brooklyn for the night—hard to blame her). I hope next week there will be a face from finance at the meeting.

      • Michael

        Thanks Steve – I would love to see the map – can you email it to the group? When we get a high res version, I suggest we post it.

    • Briar

      Basically, the procedure for a long time running now has been this: The librarians at the table talk to one another and update newcomers as they come to the table. People who find out important things or make decisions or spend money record it in the ground journal or post on the blog.

  41. It’s spelled “calendar”, not “calender.”

    • Michael

      Well…. Are you sure? Did you click through to check that we don’t in fact have a People’s Series of Hard Pressure Rollers for making our own personal stock of paper and glassine?

      Thanks for noticing! :)

  42. Briar

    Report on the night of 10-13, morning of 10-14:

    Sanitation, with an authoritarian attitude, forced us to choose between defending our own territory and following the GA’s police cooperation strategy. They wanted to evacuate us and began dismantling the tarped pile of book boxes and people’s things. Steve Boyer wanted us to stand our ground but got frustrated and left me and Scales. Scales felt strongly that we should have evacuated the books prior and occupied only with our bodies. I felt like we might have done something like spread the boxes out flat under tarps since we knew the police had issues with “structures,” but I understand what Steve Boyer was getting at. Lauren? from sanitation was so insistent on acting immediately instead of talking, drawing so much attention from keyed up volunteers, taking apart the structure, and wouldn’t let the Librarians have a moment to confer with one another, or maybe we could have gotten more input from Boyer. I noticed that other panicked volunteers were making moves on behalf of the library – trying to find spaces and trucks and having folks move our boxes around everywhere, etc – and that if we didn’t take action on our own, we would be outnumbered and someone else would swoop in to move the books out of the plaza to Buddha knows where. In hindsight, we had a library solidarity fail. Next time, Boyer can duct tape me to the books. xoxo

    But he didn’t, and Scales and I had a crisis to deal with. Scales and I found someone named Alisha? through a guy named Eli (646-208-7150) with a space in Jersey City and put out calls for the library to get a truck independently so that the GA or its associated panicked mob of non-library folks didn’t jerk us around with transportation or just up and take them if the books were indeed going to go. I sent an urgent email to the library crew, and Scales got Steve S. on the phone to arrange transportation.

    Scales talked to some cops to find a legal place to put the books, park, and load the truck. Scales got approval from a blue shirt to load the library in front of Trinity Church. Eric and Hristo joined us on the ground as some freaked out volunteers helped move the boxes to Trinity. Steve S. came to the rescue with a rented pickup and took the first load to Jersey City with Hristo and Scales. Eric and I stayed with the volunteer mob and the rest of the books. A white shirt came and told us we couldn’t be there along Broadway with the books and that we should go around the corner. We went on Thames with the boxes and called Hristo to give them directions. Steve S. pulled up to the curb with enough room for cars to pass down the one-way street while we loaded the rest. Just as we were loading the last two boxes, a police van pulled up behind us and six or seven cops got out to talk to us. Steve S. and Eric explained what we were doing and that we were leaving, but the cops gave Steve S. a ticket.

    Steve S. and Scales took the rest of the books to Jersey City. We took the red newspaper rack and the black desk back to Liberty Plaza. I have the contents of the desk drawer, including the purple library ground journal, which may soon be obsolete anyway.

    Had the rain not been an issue, we could have been dealing with transparent boxes that were visibly full of books for all cameras and cops concerned about them, but that wasn’t the case. I propose that next time, we hold our ground by sitting calmly in low, accessible stacks of protected book boxes. Tie them in clear plastic bags? Mark each bag with a stripe of matching brightly colored duct tape so that we can identify them as library property?

    Throughout this drama, there was the issue of people’s personal belongings – some very valuable – being in the Library’s structure. My own plaid backpack is gone. The question of the library’s responsibility to people’s personal things was raised. I think we’re responsible for anything another librarian agrees to be charged with, but that each librarian is free to turn down requests to watch more things. Thoughts from the group?

  43. Hi guys, at home with a sinus infection today :( wish I could be out there.

    Been working on a handout regarding OWS issues. Specifically, this lists quotes from the Rushkoff book (Life, Inc.) and a report on the dying middle class.

    Here is a pdf form, but I’ll email it as a word document just in case anyone wants to make formatting changes. The two columns could be back-to-back in order to make more copies and conserve paper. How do we feel about copying this and getting it out there? Let’s go beyond the plaza and distribute this all over the city!

  44. The great event of this morning actually cost us over $300, mostly due a sudden change in strategy from leaving all our books and peoples personal belongings in a tarp protected 5-foot-high heap with defiant placards on it, to having them in placed in garbage bag covered smaller heaps, and being shipped to NJ in a moment of ingenuity spawned by desperation. Apparently this was sanitation’s decision, not any of our’s and I don’t know what their reasoning was on this. The fact that our strategy changed from business as usual to feverish flight was the change in sanitation’s strategy, which occurred at about 2:30 AM. Were they afraid that the structure-like mound would attract the cops? Did they feel that the Park couldn’t be held, and advised us to get our stuff our of the park? I don’t know. I have paid out of donations $200 towards the rental of a pickup truck, with a balance of a police ticket of $115. Normally we could have used these donations for added services, and I regret that I wasn’t present at the 2 AM shakedown to have in some way figured out a better move than self-eviction.

    .Any thoughts?

    • I should mention that the costs to us to get these belongings and our books from NJ could be another $200 to bring them back.
      I think most groups experienced a real jolt of reality when facing a confrontation. We should have an analysis on some forum so that we can examine what we did wrong and what we did right, because you can be sure we will be faced with this same type of threat again, and soon.

  45. Someone stopped by from Chelsea Green publishers today asking whether we’d received their donation–apparently their donation is 1500 new books!
    I saw a lot of boxes that came in at the storage space, maybe on Saturday we can start getting these out into the park.

    • Michael

      I corresponded with them by email, they requested we “create a section focused on Money / Monetary system & Monetary reform” for them.

  46. Tomorrow (Sat. @ 1pm) will be our first ever working group meeting,
    we should have an agenda.

    I propose that we discuss

    -What went down last night at camp
    -Finance & the library–what relationship do we want to have with Finance, what do we want to do with our money
    -Library representation at meetings

    please add/change items etc.

    • Michael

      I would like to add a single agenda item to get some feedback and reach consensus on some technology questions:
      -Blog Upkeep, hosting, URL, future?
      -Social media password sharing?
      -Electronic calendar scheduling?
      -Email address options, new from GA or continue with current?
      -Making laptops available for patrons?
      -Power sources?
      -Catalog entry?

  47. I’d like to propose as our next service a Vonnage telephone account ($30 a month) which will give us a central number for the library, we we can also use as an information line to give and receive information, updates, and contacts. We would need extra workers to answer the phone. We could have it up and running within 2 days. Any thoughts? see Eric.

    • Michael

      I think this is a good idea, I would suggest that we consider getting a 4G hotspot that can serve more devices. Assuming we set up a reference table with the laptops we’re getting, it would be good to be able to connect more devices at higher speeds:

      • the 4G connection is desirable, but the 4G plans are data limited and involve lengthy contracts and other fees, except for a $60 SIMple mobile plan However, the Simple Plan works through your smart phone and is limited to one connection. I went with Virgin because it does 3G for 5 YFI connections WITHOUT a 2 year contract for $50 a month. I hate the idea of paying for every MB over the talk, data, text and download limits. This could add up to a lot of money, and other people who have limited plans I have spoke to hate it.

        • stevenimbus

          Can we all work on making sure the library actually continues to exist before making ambitious plans for expansion and the future? The ideas are all great, but they’re piling up and distracting us from immediate concerns. It’s hard to keep up with all the electronic back and forth from down at the library itself, and it sounds often like so many decisions are being considered here before anyone down at the plaza has had time to reflect. Once we’re past the current emergency, I think we should consider all of these ideas in an organized manner and not just do everything at once–poorly. Right now, there is not library except in theory. By Saturday, I anticipate we’ll be up and running and better than ever, but that’s requiring more than a little optimism given the mayor’s stance, etc. On a sunnier note, I accepted a donation of 5 laptops today. I don’t personally think we should just put them out for people to use. Table space is mostly useful for book display, and watching people not steal our laptops is not something I for one care to do. Instead, why don’t we just loan them out on a per request basis at the reference table? We have a bit more table space available anyway. But this can wait for the meeting… where perhaps we can start to think about designating responsibilities and diversifying our labor pool? Going ahead with the Saturday meeting might be a good idea despite what’s going on, but we should keep it short and focused on the present, in my opinion, since we do need to actually set the whole thing back up again–the prettier the better!

          • Michael

            The point of the laptops is to provide a service to the occupiers who can’t just go home each night and get online. And lots of the occupiers can barely send an email on their phones, they don’t have laptops and iPads.

            In my day job, I work in academic technology in a university library and I plan, build and manage computer labs. It is something I care to do and I think it’s important, which is why I tried so hard to get the laptops. Of course, we should figure out what to do as a group and decide as a group. And if we don’t set them up, and assuming we’re all still there after tomorrow, we can always give them to another working group that is trying to provide these services.

            There’s no harm in thinking big. If we hadn’t been doing that all this time, we never would have a web site, we never would have started cataloging, we wouldn’t have a generator or wi-fi or over 1000 books.

            • stevenimbus

              I don’t mind thinking big, I just want to deal with the immediate situation. Today was really crazy! I also don’t want to create a bunch of projects that require people to do immense amounts of work. Our staff during the weekdays is pretty modest even with occasional volunteer drop-ins. There’s no harm in proceeding somewhat more slowly is there? Kensington locks or something like that should help with security for laptops. If we don’t watch over them, they may get stolen. I’m not saying we shouldn’t provide them. All I’m saying is we have to do in a practical way so they aren’t going to get taken and we don’t have to monitor them and they aren’t taking up space we need for books. I’m perhaps hesitant about these things because of what’s been going on the past two days, but if I didn’t believe in the computers, I wouldn’t have arranged for us to get them, contacted the dude who had them, and met him for their storage. We’re really lucky, but many of us have become exhausted by the last few days of foul weather, long days, and preparing for tomorrow morning’s possible crackdown (at 4 am, perhaps). On another note, regarding laptops, I’ve arranged with a librarian at Columbia for ILL service (and other librarians have offered it), so we can get any article for anyone. We’re practically a research library!

              • Michael

                I was arranging to have them delivered on Sat or Sun exactly so that I would have time to prepare the usb live drives and get the locks and create a plan to secure them. That was my intention from the moment that I asked the folks at 2600 to put out the call to get us some laptops, I’ve had a plan all along that is pretty reasonable and slow and deliberate, and I’ve communicated it through emails and on the blog. : )

                So, actually, I think you may be the one who got ahead of ourselves here. But I still love you. Y’know in that librarian on librarian kind of way.

                • stevenimbus

                  Maybe we’re talking about different laptops? The person who contacted Emmanuel and then emailed OWSL… John? I wrote to him with my number, he called, and we arranged delivery. He’s gone all weekend, so wouldn’t have been able to drop them off. Today was the only option, or else next week I suppose, but everything happened quickly. I wouldn’t have accepted them if we didn’t have the secure storage space, so they’re fine. John also offered further supplies and assistance with tech if we need it. Did I mention that today was insane? I will attempt to be more zen.

      • Oops, sorry Michael, just looked at the CLEAR plan, and it’s cheaper ($99) for the device, has 8 connections, and is unlimited data for $45! Wish I had checked it out before I got the Virgin plan.

  48. Last night a member of Medical came by wondering if we had books on health, wellness, medical issues, etc., for refence-y materials and self-education for the Occupeople. I said we did, and that on a non-rainy day, we’d be glad to introduce him to them.

    We don’t have very many books on these kinds of subjects, however. So, we could add that to the litany of things we have specific needs for, when people ask us such questions.


    • Michael

      This is a great idea. Simple first aid books, home remedy, and naturopathic herbal books could go a long way.

    • This an excellent suggestion. I think that we might cull books that might be pertinent to the needs of other working groups—and make mini libraries for working groups that might be interested. Unfortunately, I went over to the medical area last week with several books about nutrition and vitamin therapies, and was told that they did not “have time” for reading, which of course was missing the point. If you approach them with this idea again, we can help to assemble a small mini library for their use and further education.

      • It would be best to assess their needs and then flag whatever books we select to suit said needs with DO NOT REMOVE and make them official reference books for the library. This way, we’re handling all of the information requirements in-house and other working groups can utilize them at their leisure.

        Would also be cool to set up an OWSL bookmobile to cart around to the various working group sites.

  49. Michael

    Are we all still planning to have our first official working group meeting Saturday? I suggest we do an up or down vote at that meeting on joining the GA funding pool. Temp check?

  50. As of now we have $90 in funds. The internet connection cost $218 for a Virgin mobile hotspot, with unlimited download, and no contract. Cords, and other accessories cost $70. We could use a couple of clip-on lamps if anyone has one to donate.

    We have paid off most of the outstanding balance to those who advanced us cash for supplies and chairs. Our next purchase is a hand held, USB laser scanner so we can log in books more quickly. This is now being done by hand and is very labor intensive.

    Our donations, which average about $100 a day. With rain in the forecast, this amount may decrease, as we have as much display time. I’ll keep you posted.

  51. We have electricity at our new reference desk! Our generator powers lights, laptops, cell phones. Our internet hotspot connection (owslibrary) is also up and running and we can handle five computers at a time and have an unlimited download 3G connection. If you have a legitimate need for juice, or can help us log in books, or otherwise want to network with other occupations and libraries, come over to the only library in New York that’s open all night! . .

  52. Hey librades
    We are temporarily in the red, as far as funds. Please hold off on further purchases (unless emergency) until we can pick up some donations and pay off the people who have used their own money to buy chairs and other supplies. If we can, let’s try to purchase USED furniture instead of new, we can save a lot of money that way! The generator should be up and running this evening. Great job by everyone involved, keep up the good work!

  53. Briar

    Update on other ground organizing on 10-10-11:

    Others of us also had a full day of collecting and considering intel. Yesterday, Scales briefed me, Danny, and Hristo on his experiences at the morning meeting while Steve Boyer attended further meetings with Elisa from New Orleans. Scales’s account of the first meeting corroborates with Stephen’s. The four of us put our heads together over some concerns, later polling other occupiers around the camp:

    -Finance may exclude the Library from the discussion of what to do with the money if we do not pool our resources with them. That move would silence the views and needs of a whole sector of the community who sit at a physical crossroads of information and liberation exchange. The Library and the needs it responds to have a right to be a part of the conversation, and we need not capitulate to their model to have a voice.

    -The GA is being audited by the IRS. Scales and I asked Finance about it, and they said “It’s probably true.” The GA is being sponsored by a not-for-profit called the Alliance for Global Justice. The GA is accountable to them for every penny it spends- the extra push for bureaucratic handling of money. Set up by someone named Heather?

    -There is now an Accountability and Transparency group. Our problem is that the accountability/transparency issue is only half of it. The other half is the issue of true leaderlessness. We see not only problems of information availability but also of power imbalance in this potential method of organizing.

    -The spokesperson model does not allow for occupiers not affiliated with any large working group to have a clear and independent voice – Having a spokesperson speak for all residents is unfair – Why should the people sleeping on the park and the people only eating on the park not get a seat at the big discussion table? It’s their money, too. They are the 99%.

    -There is concern from multiple sources about Media and Finance being barricaded in the center of the park together. Sanitation says Media Team may have closed, off-site meetings. Scales and I spoke to someone from Democracy Now! who can’t get a word in edgewise with anyone on the Media team or the Finance team. He wants to know if the Library will support the efforts of independent journalists. We took his info.

    -Kitchen is understaffed and just relieved to let Finance take care of the money. They are getting a really good deal out of it and running a surplus.

    -Sanitation’s economic needs are few but immediate, and they are not being addressed.

    -Water/Beverage is independent!!!! It’s 1-3 folks consistently who have a donation $ jar and shout really loud for people to help make water runs! :D They have an HR surplus and economic and infrastructure needs. They have been saving a small but growing emergency backup supply of water bottles. They’d also like more of those thermoses and another table just for cups. Can anyone help them take care of that? They’re overworked and need these things sooner rather than later.

    -Someone named Josh at the Medics is purported to have said something about organizing independent Finance options on-site for working groups who don’t like the people barricaded in with Media. A person named Captain with long dark hair at the Medics is interested in organizing with us, but we have to go physically find him at the medic area SW of Kitchen.

    -There is a creepy guy named Dave – short with greasy brown hair, last we saw him, he was covering his neck and face with a black scarf – who was removed from the park and thrown in jail for sexual assault and then dumped back here. Legal is trying to get a restraining order and looking for testimony from anyone he may have assaulted.

    -Elisa Miller from Finance and also from Facilitation and also from New Orleans is staying in town a little longer to help us organize!

    -Scales, Hristo, and I collected contact info from other folks with concerns about our new local government – Comfort is among them. I am sending them emails and texts directing them to this blog and to our reference desk so that they can join our organizing.

    • Michael

      1. None of this info would be accessible online if it weren’t for us posting it here. Thank you for continuing to take amazing notes and for posting it all.

      2. The Media situation really speaks to the need to provide a digital media center in the library.

    • Briar

      In addition, Finance is running an HR crisis, as are some other groups. An HR Working Group arose to direct volunteers to places that could use their help. They are gathering intel independently, going to each group and asking, as we are, what they need. We asked them for an emergency rain crew and people to help with books, possibly legal and finance?

  54. Gd morning campers. Fed Ex says our geneRator is on the truck for delivery today. This is especially propitious since the media center generator is down since last night.

    • Mandy Henk

      Just wanted to check in– it looks like I’ll be arriving late Sunday night and leaving on Thursday. So, I’ll be there most of next week to help out.

      I stil have time to do a demco (library vendor) order if we need one. They’re good for labels, pockets,etc. Is there anything like that I could bring with me? I know at one time there was talk of using genre labels . . . Thanks! Mandy

      Mandy Henk Access Services Librarian with rank of Assistant Professor Roy O. West Library DePauw University (IDU) office 765-658-4656 mobile 765-337-8762

  55. Briar

    Shift report posted on behalf of Steve Boyer with editing/info help from Elisa Miller:

    “Pertinent Information for the People of the People’s Library for Monday October 10th, 2011

    First, the library has nearly doubled in size over the weekend! It’s been an incredibly busy and always inspiring few days. We’ve gotten almost all the books into plastic bins and more thoroughly sorted than ever before. It’s been nice and sunny so we’ve been able to get lots of work done before the rain comes later this week. The library is worried about the rain and we are hoping to compile a list of people that could spring into action at a moment’s notice to protect the library.

    Today I went to two meetings that involved all communities of Occupy Wall Street and that are open to anyone that wishes to attend them as they meet regularly and are trying to better advance the goals of Occupy. The first meeting addressed the proposal of the Spokes Person’s Counsel. The S.P.C. would help the many working groups at Occupy Wall Street that are completely reliant on the General Assembly meetings. Lately the overflow of new people that has flooded the General Assembly Meetings make it hard to have efficient communication and many working groups want alternative ways of accessing money and passing proposals.

    As of now the Library is an autonomous entity in the park as are some of the other working groups. This means we collect our own donations and more or less live independently of the other groups. Meanwhile, Sanitation for instance, gets most of its money through the General Assembly and must make a proposal for purchases they need. Sanitation’s major complaint today is that the Mass Media is criticizing O.W.S. for being a mess and a public health hazard so last night they petitioned for items that would help them reduce the amount of garbage in the park. Instead of being able to go buy these items they were blocked (they were told to use Craigslist and if they haven’t found what they need within two days time then they would get the funds). Occupy is trying to establish a best practice of using donations of materials and/or second hand items first, then tapping into a self set group budget because each group is supposed to set their own budget. And then if donations, second hand items and the budget aren’t enough groups can receive $100 petty cash a day. If Occupy Wall Street puts into practice the Spoke Person’s Assembly purchases under $2000 would no longer go to the General Assembly. All purchases between $100-$2000 would be proposed to and decided by the Spoke Person’s Counsel. The S.P.C. would meet everyday and it would be mandatory that one person from every Working Group attend the meeting and members rotate people so not one person becomes “the person”. The S.P.C. is a way of overcoming the problems that arise with separate groups and would be a space for W.G. to meet, share resources, air grievances, educate each other on the work they are doing and be a place for everyone to engage in how money is being spent. It could be a great way of creating a more cohesive community and it’s open to all members of every working group including one spokesperson of non working group people.

    If the Spoke Person’s Assembly goes into affect and if the People’s Library joins it then the library will be required to give all monetary donations to the Occupy Wall Street general fund and the library will no longer have financial autonomy. However, the library pulls in far fewer donations than the rest of Occupy and would be able to make proposals for things we cannot now afford. In discussions at the library some of us have shared our fears of giving up autonomy. Some of us are worried about the transparency and how much accountability we can expect from centralizing finances. One idea we’ve had is demanding that all donations be posted on a screen posted in the park that shows at all times money coming in and purchases made. Some of us also want there to be multiple people or even people from every working group on a centralized bank account so finance doesn’t have complete control and couldn’t (GOD FORBID) take the money and run. Pulling general group management problems from the G.A. and giving them to the people committed to the individual groups could really help unify us on larger issues which will help as the cold weather sets in. It’s a tricky subject and would be an act of trust on all our parts.

    The second meeting I went to was the Facilitation Meeting. The facilitation meeting is open to all Occupy Wall Street people and meets at the tree near the drum circle at 4pm then walks to Greenwich Street. I’d recommend everyone involved with the library go to a Facilitation Training meeting as it provides more nuanced appreciation of all the groups working together to occupy Liberty Plaza and it helps people know how to more effectively give their time to the community. Then we should send people to the Facilitation Meeting everyday so we have a voice in every aspect of Occupy Wall Street.

    If you want to talk more in-depth about this feel free to contact me, Stephen Boyer ( ( Oh and tomorrow I will be printing the first edition of the Occupied Poetry Anthology! If you want to include a poem email me! I’ll be adding to it weekly. Poetry Assembly happens every Friday night, it starts around 9:30pm and poets are encouraged not to read more than 3 minutes. All poem’s welcome!!!

    I’ve had so much fun joining the People’s Library and want to extend a major THANK YOU to everyone who I’ve met down here and for all the wonderful support! And thanks again for all your donations! The People’s Library is the coolest library ever!”

    • stevenimbus

      Thanks for posting this, Briar! Great report. Thanks to the other Steve (I mean the other, other Steve, not me or the other Steve, in no particular order). Really captures the essence of what’s going on and the issues we face without passing judgment. Congratulations on the poetry journal, too! If you want, the library now has chairs enough for a poetry meeting, but Poetry Assembly sounds like a needs or merits a bigger space than even the People’s Library can provide? Whatever you want, man! I look forward to working out our weather issues in the coming days. Maybe finance, too!

  56. Michael

    Catalog FYI: In the Gmail account, there are 35 lists of barcodes that need to be uploaded into LibraryThing, and 14 batches of photos that need to be looked at and entered manually. These emails can be found by clicking the appropriate labels. They are not in the inbox. Please, anyone who has time, enter them into LibraryThing using the process outlined here:

    We have (or have had) a ton more books than are currently in the catalog, but the catalog is getting lots of press, so let’s get it updated!

    • Michael

      Ok, clarification – do always clear the queue when it’s done processing and you have checked all the failed ISBNs. Do NOT clear the queue when it is still processing, otherwise you delete the books that the system is currently looking up. Thanks!

  57. Michael

    Just set up a twitter account for us, for anyone who wants to post there, details on the technology committee page:

  58. a meet-up! a meet-up! there’s so much going on: cataloging, lawyers, finance, generators & so many more people involved in different ways.I propose we set a time to try to call a meeting of this library working group so we can check in with each other and share all the information we’re storing up as individuals. How’s some time next Saturday?

    • Michael

      *Finger Wiggle* Saturday is good for me. Afternoon is best – we can pile around in a circle and just do it! I’m sure we’ll get lots of spectators and participants, which is a good thing (however challenging it makes meeting, as we discovered yesterday).

    • stevenimbus

      I agree that a meeting is a good idea. We have a great deal to discuss. Saturday is fine with me. Most days are probably fine for me. Perhaps we should prepare an agenda in advance of the meeting to promote efficiency and encourage participation? I don’t mind facilitating or co-facilitating that with someone else. We could also just meet and see how it goes, but I propose some sort of organization or else it could go on forever, and these long meetings are taking us away from pressing library business—such as preparing for inclement weather. Forecast is sunny for Saturday, though!

  59. Hi Everyone.

    My name is Andy Stepanian. A small working group of 5-10 of my friends have reached out to the call to action working group to collaborate to print/distribute the first declaration of the GA as a 16 page 8″ x 4.25″ booklet complete with illustrations, etc. We have been fundraising using paypal.

    We would love to work along with the librarians at liberty square.

    Here are two links explaining where we are at.

    sparrow website-


    Lastly we have a page at the back of the booklet that will be used as a resource for occupiers. If you would like to contribute to that page we would love to get an email from you. We are on a tight deadline to print this by next week. We hope to send the final files off sometime tomorrow.

    My email is and my cell is 631.291.3010 feel free to reach out to me at any point.

    All the best,

  60. I am allocating some funds towards the purchase of
    1) gas can and breaker bars etc for generator <$40
    2) tables $20 and bungee cords $5 for leaflets

    Any blocks or comments?

      • Michael

        Awesome Eric – finger wiggle on those purchases. Just a heads up on some folks from 2600, the Hacker magazine, who are bringing by some books today -and may be able to help us get the laptops. Be sure to chat with them if you have a chance – they’re an amazing resource to be in touch with.

    • stevenimbus

      I think we should discuss the generator proposal. I like the idea in theory, but having to power something with gasoline, something which will make noise and produce fumes, is an idea we should talk about at greater length. I think I myself was initially excited, but I’ve also come to have doubts about the whole laptop thing, too. I would like to point out that OccupySF has a pedal-powered generator, and I think having one of those would be GREAT. Relying on gasoline? Not so great.

      I don’t think we need another table. We have two now, including a big one, and a whole bunch of chairs (6 new ones today alone), so isn’t really a place to put it as yet. But of course we can discuss further.

      I have no problem with bungee cords but we don’t generally accept leaflets, and we’re beginning to have problems storing all the paper. If it starts to become a sanitation issue, which there are rumblings of in other quarters, we’re going to have to limit how much extra paper we take in. But they may be useful for zines or packing.

      • Michael

        I agree about the gasoline. though That’s what they’re using at Media and Kitchen currently. I think longer term goals of more sustainable power are really important, so I agree with that too.

        I think Eric’s idea was a good one which was to set up a table/study/reading area across from the library by the trash/tree/bench area – so that we really start to take up that whole space as the library. I don’t see any reason we should be shy to expand in that direction, there’s a pretty good series of ‘natural’ barriers creating a nice library room if we fill it with furniture – that way we’re not stuck clinging to that wall and just expanding down it. So assuming we expand deeper toward the centerline of the park, I could see us having laptops on a table over there, locked down with kensington locks. If they’re donated and we can get a ton of them, we can easily put them all out and not worry too much about the chance of losing one.

        • stevenimbus

          FYI, we bought 6 new chairs today and Steve and I (yes two Steves) taped down a further section of plaza to “claim” for the library. The chairs altogether create a nice walled off area from the long table down to a tree. So we have a nice space in that direction. We could conceivably stick a table down there, but it’s getting tight and we should look at it. As for laptops, I have to say, sentiment is starting to sour about the idea. This could be an expensive proposition, for one, when we haven’t even taken enough steps to ensure our permanence, which is where much of our money should be going in my opinion. Also, the library was a spontaneous creation, so perhaps the computer situate should also be spontaneous. If we get donated laptops, that would be great. If people bring their own, even better. On that latter note, I don’t mind having a hotspot. But I am leaning toward thinking laptops are more trouble than they’re worth, and given all the places Internet is already available (in general), I don’t quite see why we need it. I’m not totally hardened against the idea, but I insist we discuss it, not just go ahead and keep making major additions to the library ad hoc. I mean, I think it will be better for the library to discuss, plan, have consensus, etc. I’m not the only one who feels this way about the computers. I just want to talk about it. The generator, too… I’m liking it less… and a pedal-powered one would be SO COOL. We could offer exercise to the masses and they would create POWER! How about that? We have more lights, by the way, and I created affinity with Sanitation and the Kitchen with money, food, water, and compliments.

          • Michael

            To clarify, the generator was already purchased. We had all discussed and worked through that issue last week, I believe it was. But i totally concur about trying to move to sustainable solutions. As I posted earlier on the FP, 2600 put out a call for laptops for us, and they’re essentially the gods of the tech-hacker world, so I have no doubt we’ll be getting some really amazing tech coming our way. I would argue that no contemporary library is complete without that kind of technology. But then again, I manage all the Apple technology for a university, so I’m biased. :)

  61. Michael

    I have to step away for the day – and spend some time this week on school. Before I do, I’d like to propose one action that we can all take while we’re at the library, encourage all the volunteers to get on the blog. We can give them author accounts easily, they can post about their experiences and thoughts – and even without accounts, they can join in on the conversations here. I feel strongly it’s important that we get as many voices as possible here. <3

  62. Michael

    Hi all, we’ve been approached with the following proposal, I’m quoting the email here. A patron is interested in:

    “having a chapter from Douglas Rushkoff’s book, Life, Inc. copied for distribution. I would pay for the copies myself, but unfortunately I do not have the money to pay for it. Michael kindly told me to email you to ask for your collective agreement in helping me get this copied.

    Below is a link to the book:

    I do not know Rushkoff personally, so that is not a promotional move. I simply read this book after reading Rushkoff’s writings on regarding a new theory on business and employment for the 21st century. (Here is an amazing article where Rushkoff responds to the media’s condescension to the Occupy movement:

    I think the last chapter of this book really summarizes how many of us are feeling. Because it is the conclusion to a comprehensive socio-economic study, it also offers a new vocabulary and new solutions for the de-corporatization of our lives. I especially advocate the distribution of this chapter because it is accessible, not esoteric, and could be a great conversation-starter among people invested in the movement.

    There are copies of this chapter in the reference section of the library. I will be by later today with more copies should anyone want to take a look. Overall I would be happy to do the leg work on this process, I just basically need funding.”

    I spoke with him for some time, and his selfless passion for distributing/publishing this excerpt really struck me as the kind of thing I’d like to promote. Temp check?

    • Why don’t we set up a page and make some space at the PL for “Staff picks” or “Staff recommends” and kick in money to keep stocked.

      • Michael

        Cool idea. We could certainly budget for volunteer picks, patron requests, and so forth. I’m really starting to think that as long as we can get some concessions on the autonomy question and ensure a large budget, that we could make great use of the GA money. Right now, for example, we could order some barcode scanners and a huge pile of great books, and laptops, etc.

    • stevenimbus

      I have no problem with this in theory, but I have to reiterate that the amount of paper we’re taking in is tremendous and increasing every day. So not to introduce practicalities without offering an alternative (as I agree with Michael on the passion issue), I suggest this gentleman set up a time to discuss the chapter in question at the library. We have plenty of chairs now, and I’m trying to get such discussions going anyway (more on that elsewhere). If he’s really that passionate, this should delight him, and he can hand out the excerpts then and there, which I really think would result in higher distribution. With all the other paper around, if he just leaves a pile, they may be overlooked and his efforts will be wasted. If we have him do a discussion, on the other hand, we don’t have to stock extra paper AND we get another person more involved—more involved than just dropping stuff off, which is always better, no?

  63. Michael

    I’d like to suggest that we get involved in this project. It could be the first thing that we help publish:

    I chatted with them, and they are in touch with GA, and they’re giving the Call to Action Working group final editorial say on what they print. We could put a funding request to the GA, and/or give them some of our funds?

    • I like their webpage. Our funds are: $208.37 How much do you think we should send? I also think the hand held scanner is important.we also will need a hotspot.

      • Michael

        I was thinking more along the lines of (if they’re even interested) bringing a proposal to finance to ask them for a big pile of money to pay for as much of publishing the book as possible.

    • stevenimbus

      100% on this one! We should be a principal distribution node. Do they need our money? Will our money taint the project somehow, given all the financial wheelings and dealings lately? Should we not care? I think someone should contribute an item. I think they made that offer… I will try to follow up. By the by, I spent almost $500 today on supplies… but I don’t need to be paid back immediately, and not necessarily in entirety, as I’m doing lots of ad hoc spending (though generally with the support and assistance of other volunteers. But now we have more chairs and more crates, which is the majority of our spending (and we always need more crates). Hey, the hardware store even gave us a solidarity discount! Staples, on the other hand, said we had to go through corporate channels to get one. But I digress… I do think further discussion of the major purchases on the table is a must.

      • Michael

        Btw, if you have more writing energy to spare, please post about your day the front page, and include all of those adorable photos you guys took, I saw them in the flickr group. The world must see.

  64. Michael

    Steven got us some No Smoking signs the other day. Which we put up. But I want to check the temperature on the idea that we actually try to ask library volunteers and visitors to refrain from smoking in the library. It didn’t bother me too much last night, there were 2-3 people around the reference desk smoking. But I realized when I got home that everything I was wearing reeked of cigs, and that it gave me a sore throat to be around the smoke. So, if we consider kids visiting the library, or patrons with asthma or other issues – and the safety of the books, it seems wise to me. Thoughts?

    • Briar

      I don’t think we should structure that at all since it’s so personal. The people who happen to be standing by the library at a given moment should work that out on their own. If you and I are manning the table and don’t mind if someone smokes, we shouldn’t be surrounded by no smoking signs. On the other hand, if someone working the table is bothered by smoking, they should feel free to put up signs since since they have to sit there. Browsers with complaints can work that out amongst themselves without our authoritative intervention.

    • Briar

      Aren’t we both supposed to be off today? ;D

      • Michael

        I know… I’m just trying to get things down to a reasonable level so I can feel ok about checking out for the week to focus on school.

    • Mandy Henk

      I think it’s a totally reasonable request. The library needs to be pleasant for everyone and it can’t be if some people are smoking in it. Thanks! Mandy

      • Briar

        One-sided argument. How does the smoker feel? Maybe a smoker needs to smoke to have a pleasant time reading a book, and if it’s not bothering anyone around at that moment, it shouldn’t be a problem.

        • Michael

          I think it’s a good conversation to have – to get a temp check from the working group. The GA is in the process now of designating non-smoking sleeping areas, so I imagine the conversation can’t be far off for other areas like kitchen, media, etc. Aside from the individuals affected, isn’t cig smoke really bad for books?

          • Mandy Henk

            Yes, it is. We regularly have to air out books returned by smokers. Smoking and library books don’t mix since it make it really unpleasant for the next user. And I’m saying this as someone whose love for nicotine (though I don’t regularly smoke anymore!) is deep and powerful.

        • Mandy Henk

          I disagree. It’s OK to set boundaries in common areas, in fact it’s important to set those boundaries and communicate them.

          I know I would hesitate to approach our library if people were smoking there and I were with my kids. I would not feel comfortable asking someone to stop smoking. I’m very non-confrontational and we would just leave rather than risk the unpredictable reactions of a stranger, especially with my children around.

          I am occasional smoker and I think people expect limits on where they can smoke. It’s about creating an environment that’s welcoming for everyone, not just the outspoken and bold. Thanks, Mandy

    • I think we should have a no smoking, quiet zone. We are not infringing, we are accommodating a legitimate complaint and making sense environmentally and economically. Would we allow a coke machine in a library?

    • stevenimbus

      I should point out, since it seems relevant, that the signs actually read “Thank You for Not Smoking” since I am grateful when people don’t smoke. As for making it a “rule” that people don’t smoke, I’ve been asking people not to smoke at the reference table when I’m there, because it’s making me sick. My girlfriend hasn’t come down, because she’s allergic to cigarette smoke. I understand that people are going to smoke, but it makes the environment extremely unpleasant for non-smokers, and that’s a legitimate counter to arguments of liberty. Smokers generally flick their ashes and drop their butts everywhere. Is that the sort of behavior that’s going to prevent the city from kicking us for sanitation violations? Finally, the point raised about our young visitors is apt: children shouldn’t be exposed to cigarette smoke. All that said, I’ve only been asking people not to do it because I don’t like it. I don’t say it’s not allowed. Seems like a better tactic, but I agree that we can collectively determine the boundaries in our common areas. This has been going on for quite some time everywhere in Liberty Plaza. What if some other group suddenly decided to take over a significant portion of the library for themselves? I don’t think we’d be cool with that. You can see I’m using this occasion to burn off all the writing energy I’m not spending on my dissertation. Thanks, Michael! You convinced me to participate more here!

  65. Good news, Bad news
    according to FedEx the generator wont be here until tomorrow. Good news, this gives us a chance to do some extra planning, as far as space, etc. I propose a “quiet zone”, across the main path, perhaps reserved for people to sit and read. The extra day will also give us time for additional fundraising for the laptop. We are also getting a Hotspot WFI and a scanner to log in books. Maybe someone can bring in a printer. We’ll get some cable to wire the hardware together and chain it all to some bikes or something (legal!) to make a snatch-and grab more difficult. We can also provide a safe charging area for cells, where people could get a chip like a coat check idea for the phone. The more services we provide the more we can strengthen our solidarity and our purpose.

    • Michael

      Finger Wiggle for the quiet zone – power station is a great idea. I’m concerned about us being responsible for people’s phones though. It’s hard enough already keeping a collective eye on our personal stuff. Totally in favor of picking up a printer (laser would be best for the cost of ink and the environment), hotspot, laptops, scanners, etc. Agree on providing services. Full service library, here we come!

      • stevenimbus

        I really think, very strongly, that we need to discuss these purchases. I like all the ideas for “areas for such and such” but we really don’t have that much space. Where are we going to put laptops? I’m thinking that offering a hotspot is nice (if it’s really worth the contractual hassle), but laptops are going to create administrative problems we haven’t discussed. Are we going to limit people’s use so others get a chance? Are we going to get sucked into them rather than doing our chat and catalog thing? Do we have to watch them all the time? And, to repeat, we have nowhere to put them. Sorry for sounding so negative today, but so much happened, the library is looking beautiful, and I think we need to grow with some amount of measured control lest we descend into chaos as a result of our suddenly enormous, though no doubt well-intentioned, ambitions.

  66. Briar

    Hi, everyone! The library team welcomes Senait, who is now working on the Occupy Wall Street Oral History Project. She’s starting with us, so sign up with her, pretty please :)

  67. I think we need a REAL scanner so we can log in books more quickly and not have to tie up people’s phones! more professional and we can do it all day/nite long $70 if anyone wants to block or has other ideas let me know

    • Sorry, “me” is Eric 347-891-4342

    • The world coverage for #OWS now should be redirected, thats my word of the day, extended into the neighborhoods with already EXISTING groups, who knows, we could support other libraries that would like to connect with us. We should explore the places the other media never goes except to report crime Not to mention we have a moral and essential obligation to reach out to struggling neighborhoods and spread SHARE the resources that are now being collected and, it would seem—hoarded by a select unelected few! We cannot falter now under the strain of our own success.

    • Michael

      I think this is a great idea – we put out some requests for barcode scanner donation through the email account. If nothing comes up we could just buy some. This is the type we need because it works wirelessly:

      Also, if we’re going to use anything with batteries (like a scanner), I propose we get some high quality rechargeables (like Eneloop) which will reduce costs and waste. I use them at home for everything and they last forever.

    • stevenimbus

      A real scanner would be awesome! Thumbs up.

  68. Michael

    FYI: Occupy Together is creating a directory of all occupations/working groups. I submitted a form for us.

  69. Briar

    Find the Finance meeting minutes on the Library Finance page under the “Library Committee Discussions” section of this Working Group page, aka here:

  70. Michael


    So, back on Oct. 5th (, Briar reported about how it filled out a form for the Info Group about us. I went over and chatted with them at their new outreach table tonight to make sure they had all the info they needed about the library – and they didn’t. They didn’t have us on their list at all. So, I filled out ANOTHER form for us…. So, we’ll see if that one also goes into a black hole.

    Today was amazing. As all the days are in Liberty Plaza. I brought a folding chair for us. Eric picked up a table, Steve picked up some cool LED lights – and so by the end of the day, we had a reference desk and illuminated books. I’ll post photos. Eve Ensler, author of The Vagina Monologues, facilitated a talk in the library tonight, which grew and grew.

    We continued the scanning project – it looks like, at this point, just about everything in the collection has been scanned or photographed. As a result, now we only have to worry about scanning or recording the ISBNs (or info) for all incoming donations – and getting all the data we’ve created uploaded into Library Thing. See you tomorrow!

  71. Briar

    I know, you all want to hear about Finance.

    So, I had a long day of gathering information overload from Info; Finance; Incoming Shipping/Storage/Inventory; and new volunteers. After taking stock, I cleaned house a little here. Stay tuned for the following upcoming new pages to be published on the Working Group page:

    -Under ‘Library Committee Discussions:’ Library Finance – For the ethical and practical handling of the money

    -Under ‘Library Committee Discussions:’ Library Outreach – Public facilitation between the email-sending/answering contingent and the WordPress. This is a place for teams and operations to have dialogue with email folks about the contents and wording of calls to action and other PR matters. This public intermediary space is especially important because email folks have the power to speak for the library and must be accountable to the entire library and its rightful owners, i.e. everyone.

    -Under ‘Library Staff References:’ Affiliated Parties – Growing contact list of groups and individuals collaborating with the People’s Library

    -Under ‘Library Project Operations:’ The Occupy Wall Street Oral History Project – Description to come

  72. Michael

    We had our first meeting with finance tonight. Briar took great notes. I suggest we gather all the information and present it to everyone here to get a feeling. I see benefits to using the non-profit status, and downsides to loosing the freedoms we have now. The attending library working group members were divided. I also have some concerns about the way authority is being organized and deployed. We did get a bit of an ultimatum from them. However, having access to the large funds could be useful.

  73. I propose a new tab/page for the library in the news/press. It’s so hard to keep up with all the links on the blog & email, nice to have them in one place to refer people to, no? I’m going to start one. if someone wants to block, just delete.

  74. We need to discuss this with the finance group. Victoria’s the only name I know, but there are at least 2 other people. Also, there’s now a donations working group–again, I didn’t catch any names but if someone could go to info desk & explain our situation, I think we could get it sorted fairly quickly.

    • Briar

      Sorry, discuss what? This post is a little naked/out of context. Was this meant to be a reply? / Has someone taken care of this?

      • it was meant to be a reply to the WePay thing.
        although other people are using it in their working grps, it’s not cool to attach it to any of our personal accts–for legal & tax reasons.

        • Briar

          Sorry, are you saying we should not use WePay at the library? What is a personal act in that sentence?

          And still unclear about what needed to be solved with info.

        • Michael

          Our current process is less transparent – the wepay is def more transparent – but the hurdle is that personal account thing. Currently, Eric is taking our cash donations and putting them in a savings account of his and making purchases for us.

          I wonder if we can’t just open an account at a credit union and add a bunch of us to it or something? Does everything ‘have’ to go through the GA finance folks? We could also designate a % that we always give to them, which we’ve kind of been doing anyway.

          • Honestly, I think it’s _safer_ for us to do most of it through GA finance, but there are no hard & fast rules here. There will be audits, there has to be as much transparency as possible.

            @Briar–I meant personal account

            • Briar

              Okay, thanks for clarifying the problem – I’m going down today and can liaise with Info to find out more about how finances are being divided.

    • Briar

      Dug through my email and found the conversation in question, and again, P-O-P, aside from the initial stuff with the account info, email organizing ≠ transparent and open. We want anyone with info, on the email list or off, to have access to the discussion. We also want others to be able to look back on a tidy stream of our planning conversations and get as complete a picture of our evolving processes as they can – Y’all saw the call for horizontal working group communication with other Occupy cities? It’s easy to forget that the WORLD is looking to us for ideas. I am already in contact with a librarian from Occupy Pittsburgh who is using this blog as a reference.

  75. New Slogan, as suggested by

    “Cancel debt
    Reboot, reset”
    Catchy, huh?

  76. Heads up! Our generator is shipped and on its way! Let’s start coming up with ways to use it. Love to all

    • Briar

      XOXO. Good to hear from you, comrade!

      • sophia marisa

        Eric! Thanks for everything you are doing. Hope to see you tomorrow! xx

        *sophia marisa n. lucas * *c.** **617.285.62**81* *h**. **718.447.0818* MA candidate, Art History Hunter College

    • Michael

      I seriously think we should send an ‘official’ letter to Google asking them to donate 4 Chrome notebooks with 3G for our patrons to use as reference stations.

      And, I also suggest we get an electric kettle so we can make tea and coffee. :)

      • Briar

        I have friends at Google, who may or may not be helpful in that regard. I’ll ask them what they think they can do with or for the cause of Google donation solicitations.

      • Briar

        Okay, from my friend at Google: “I’m looking into it. As you’d expect, there’s a group that takes proposals and meets to discuss whether to act on them. One tricky bit is that the Chromebooks 3G plan only covers 100MB/month of data usage; if there’s normally wi-fi around then that’s not a problem (also the wi-fi only models are a bit cheaper)”

        My response: “Thanks! LibraryThing is comping us a free lifetime account. *hint, hint* We have no wi-fi.”

        • Michael

          If the Wi-Fi vs 3G is a dealbreaker, we can easily use some of our donation money to purchase a 4G hotspot and use the wifi from that – so we would be THRILLED to get the wi-fi versions. :)

  77. Mandy Henk

    I’m procasti-writing this afternoon (that’s writing something *new* *fun* *not what you should be writing*) and I thought I would do a piece for Kos and the blog on what “Information is liberation” means. If anyone wants to collaborate let me know.
    –who really should be writing something else

    • Briar

      I was having some ‘thoughts for students’ on the information/liberation privilege knapsack this morning; let me shoot you a little draft.

    • Michael

      Great topic! I’m going to be away from the computer – but if you want to pick my brain on this, I’ve written around the idea here:

      and here:

      • Mandy Henk

        Great writing Michael. Thanks so much. I’ve struggled with this very issue in my own work. Maybe when I’m up again we can chat in person.

    • annewood4freedom

      I look forward to reading it Mandy! :)

      A few years ago, when the internet was taking off, I heard someone (sorry, can’t remember who) give a brief description that I found intriguing about the historic shifts in information technology. It went something like this…

      For most of human history, information was passed verbally from person to person, and at most from one to a few. Then writing/reading was developed and used by an “educated” few to pass on information to the few who could read that information. While it was a major step forward technologically, it was still basically a few communicating with a few.

      Then the printing press was developed — setting the stage for an explosion in literacy — and it became possible for one person to reach many people. At this point though, it was essentially a one-way flow of information, from the publisher/writer to the masses. The invention of radio and television made it possible for that “publishing” elite to reach more people in new ways, but it was still essentially a one-way flow of information from few to many.

      And then the internet came on the scene. For the first time in human history masses of people could easily communicate with other masses of people. Information flows now from many to many! When we look at the huge social shifts that have followed previous improvements in information flow (from few-to-few, then few-to-many), it’s mind-boggling to see what’s unfolding now and imagine the social shifts this new ability to communicate many-to-many will bring!

      Anyhoo, this may or may not be useful for what you’re thinking about — it’s just what popped to mind regarding this topic. :-) Happy procrasti-writing!!

  78. Thank you guys for this BEAUTIFUL website! I’m so proud of you, us!!

  79. Michael

    A quick heads up on the FB page – I’ve set it to automatically pull each new blog post from here and post on the page there – there’s a delay, but it does post them automatically.

    • Mandy Henk

      Oh, cool! Ill stop posting them then. Thanks! Mandy

      Mandy Henk Access Services Librarian with rank of Assistant Professor Roy O. West Library DePauw University (IDU) office 765-658-4656 mobile 765-337-8762

  80. Briar

    I’d like to direct Michael’s attention especially to the top of this Working Group page, where I have added a link to a new page devoted to getting people added to the email and wordpress. There is also a link to this from the volunteer section of the Contribute page.

    • Michael

      Thanks for setting that page up Briar! – one concern that comes up, do you think people will want to post their emails publicly? If not, perhaps we could say something like: or email us?

      • Briar

        That’s a really good idea. The remaining comments would constitute a feed of volunteers willing to post their contact information publicly.

  81. Michael

    We’re getting so many visitors and people asking about making donations so I put up a donate button and opened an account at WePay. We can move to another site or format if people would like, but this was fast and easy. If anyone is interested in managing finances, perhaps create a project page and email me for details.

    • Mandy Henk

      Oh, thanks for the heads up. I was confused by that email. Thanks! Mandy

      Mandy Henk Access Services Librarian with rank of Assistant Professor Roy O. West Library DePauw University (IDU) office 765-658-4656 mobile 765-337-8762

  82. Michael

    Evening all – er, rather morning. I added some photos to the History page – it’s fun to see the development of the library over time. Also did some cleaning up of categories. I deleted the “uncategorized” category and changed the default to announcements. I added a new cat. for Mandy and tagged your posts, Mandy and RedGranny, which is a nickname I just made up because I’m too tired to type the whole thing. ‘night.

  83. Redstocking Grandma

    Do we have a twitter hashtag?

  84. Michael

    If anyone feels inclined, we may want to reach out to the Town Planning Committee and talk to them – if there is a decision to re-organize the plaza, we’ll want to make sure that we have some input in the process and/or don’t get surprised by the outcome.

    • Briar

      I nominate Eric as Town Planning liaison, if he’s up for it, since he sleeps on the plaza more than the rest of us, is probably most available to find time for their meetings, and typically has an up-to-date sense of the physical collection, growth rate, and park layout. Is he on the WordPress yet? Michael, can you take this proposal to him directly?

      • Michael

        I second that suggestion. I don’t think he’s in touch with us on FB, email or here. Can someone ask him if they see him today? I won’t be back until tomorrow afternoon.

        • I third that nomination. I think it’s because he *is* there that he’s not online that frequently. I’ve sent him a group invitation. I don’t think I’m going to be able to get back down there again tonight.

    • Hey guys I now logged on this page. Big news: Our wish is realized, since we had enough money, ($310) to buy a 800 watt inverter generator to bring electricity to our area. This means our Resource Desk idea should be up and running by Monday. This also means we can charge phones, and have a light at night.


      • Michael

        Awesome!! Thanks Eric – that is outstanding news. Maybe we can get a simple string of LEDs to run above the books to use little power but light it all up? I’ll be back this afternoon (Friday) so maybe I’ll see you then. Also, I’ll make you an admin on here now.

      • Michael

        Oh – send your email address that you want to use for your blog account to

  85. Michael

    SHIFT REPORT: What a day… After defending the library from a big-media-camera-takeover, and with the wonderful solidarity and hard work of Eric, Briar, Jamie, Hristo, Claudia, Joe and others – we held our ground and kept the library open all day. The police have decided that we can’t cover the books with tarps/plastic up on the ledge, but can cover them with tarps if we take them off and put them on the ground. Whatever, so that’s what we’re going to need to do now. We had boxes and boxes of donations, so many amazing visitors, patrons and friends.

    I just left and am home now, watching a livestream from the paddywagon. There are lots of arrests going on at the moment. Many stories of police brutality, people being beaten up, boots in the face, broken noses, many injuries of those arrested who marched this evening on Wall Street. Knowing this, what then? We continue.

  86. Working Librarian

    Yikes. Speaking of Matt Taibbi: This just out in Rolling Stone. The next big bank bailout is in the works:

  87. Working Librarian

    What if all of Occupy Wall Street read the same book? I suggest Griftopia by Matt Taibbi.

  88. I had an idea for an ongoing project–interviewing people about what books, magazines, blogs, etc. have led them to Occupy Wall Street. I am a librarian who is dubious about devoting time and energy to cataloging for a library that is not permanent. Recommended readings, excellent displays seem much more to the point.

    • Briar

      It’s only impermanent if we stop doing what we’re doing. There has been talk about keeping the collection together and possibly finding it a permanent home, perhaps with the help of In Our Hearts. Activism is optimism.

      • Thank you, Redstocking Grandma. I think that’s an excellent suggestion. We’re doing our best with the displays given the space restrictions. Can you share with us what books led you to Occupy Wall Street? Maybe you can get us going.

      • If you find a permanent home, I would love to be a permanent librarian. I wrote imprecisely. What I meant by impermanent was that people don’t have to return the materials. A lifelong challenge for librarians is to defeat our obsessive compulsiveness and not get bogged down in clerical work, which cataloging can be.. My vision of a successful library is lots of empty shelves because all the books are out.

  89. Michael

    I see they’ve added new groups to the working group list, but haven’t added the Library yet ( Anyone have contact info for the internet team or the web team?

    • Briar

      The middle Info table has been having representatives of all working groups fill out FORMS!!! :D with contact information, websites, missions, etc. I filled out one such form for the Occupy Wall Street People’s Library yesterday.

      My Info point person of choice, Kevin (who often wears a green jacket and brown fedora and is, to my understanding, the most ‘together’ of the bunch and as of now the most informed about the library) assures me that as soon as he gets the Internet Working Group to fill out THEIR Info form, he will pass on ALL of the other group info forms to them so that they can do a mass update of the Groups tab on the NYCGA website. I will continue periodically checking on this with Kevin personally.

      The only phone number I had to give Info on this form was my own. I have been working closely and often with Info for some time and am, in true teenage fashion, glued to my phone (and this WordPress) 24/7 – Are folks okay with me serving as our Info phone contact? For everyone’s reference, my number is (412) 420-0248.

      Additionally, I think this WordPress ought to have its very own contact info page, not only for our own contact information, but also/more importantly for things like our preferred point people from: Community Relations (which, to my knowledge, handles receiving – they have dropped off book shipments to us before); Info (Kevin); Radical Reference; Revolution Books (Quetzal); the Education Group* (Julia?); Outreach; In Our Hearts (Thadeaus); NYU Tamiment Library (Diana); etc.

      *See “The People’s University” for more info on emerging contacts with the Education Group.

  90. Silly question, how do I add myself to the calendar?

  91. Hello! An hour or so ago, I posted to this group’s FB page that I just ordered 28 copies of a comic book called “We the People” — A Call to Take Back America” that will be delivered to The UPS Store on Fulton Street, Attn: Occupy Wall Street, People’s Library. My post no longer appears on the FB page, so I figured I’d leave a note here to let you all know these books are coming and perhaps someone could keep an eye out for them.

    BTW, I didn’t intend to spam the FB page promoting the book; my apologies if that was how it seemed. I’m simply interested in supporting the movement, and have personally been very inspired by this easy-to-read book about the corruption of our system by corporate power and thought others might enjoy reading it as well.

    Thanks a million for everything you folks are doing!!

    • whitehotfire

      Hi All, I’ve had a couple of the folks from Progressive Librarians Guild ask if I could post my letter to the blog so they could more easily share it. Any idea how I do that? Or who could do that? Thanks! Mandy

      Mandy Henk Access Services Librarian with rank of Assistant Professor Roy O. West Library DePauw University (IDU) office 765-658-4656 mobile 765-337-8762

    • Michael

      Thanks Anne! We really appreciate your generous donation! I’m not sure what happened on the FB page, sorry about that, it may have been any number of things. But at any rate, it’s so kind of you to contribute!

      • Briar

        I didn’t know we had a Facebook page, which is curious, because I sort of Internet stalk this library. Can we have a link to that on the About page? “Find us on Facebook here: __.”

  92. I closed down the library last night around 3am when it was time for me to get some rest. I and others been bringing by a number of In Our Hearts printed zines and pamphlets. Yesterday we brought about 400 copies.I plan to do so ago again today. In Our Hearts is a local anarchist organization I work with. Twice we’ve operated a lending library out of spaces in Brooklyn. In Our Hearts also brought a number of books the first week that have our info stamped or written on the inside so that hopefully they will be returned if the occupation ends. In that event we may have a long term space available to us for a library.

    It may be helpful to try and get a display rack and also order a 500 or more copies of this anarchist primer. The primer is free, but they charge for shipping. Another Idea is that we get in touch with the Tamiment Library at NYU. They often get donations of many radical publications and already have copies.

    • Hi Thadeaus, I think we might have met for a hot second earlier this afternoon. Thank you for bringing so much great stuff to the library. I remember seeing a lot of books from In Our Hearts & wondering who/what they were–glad to meet you! Mandy & I had the pleasure of meeting Diana this weekend, an NYU Librarian who’s got the Tamiment Library hookup. We’re totally working with them, I think Mandy can fill in the details about that.

      • whitehotfire

        Yep, we’re coordinating with Shella Weber to donate my pile of ephemera. I should hear back from her soon! Thanks! Mandy

        Mandy Henk Access Services Librarian with rank of Assistant Professor Roy O. West Library DePauw University (IDU) office 765-658-4656 mobile 765-337-8762

  93. Michael

    ADDENDUM to SHIFT REPORT: Forgot to share this earlier with everyone. Representatives from the Info Table came and talked to me this afternoon. They’re setting a policy that when someone comes to them with flyers (not pamphlets, zines, etc, but single page or less flyers) that they are asking the person to distribute their own flyers. Previously they were directing them to the Library, but as we all know, that usually results in the flyers just getting blown away, knocked over and then wet and then trashed. So they asked if we would also agree that anyone giving us stacks of flyers, that we ask that person to walk the plaza and distribute their own flyers. I agree with this and think it’s a good approach – especially since almost every time I open the library after it’s been closed, I spend a good deal of time cleaning up piles of soggy flyers (and gross wet cardboard piled in the corner by the donation box, but that corner is like a magnet for that stuff somehow).

    Another suggestion we got today was that we use some of our funds to purchase a rotating zine rack. I think this is a great idea, we need a better way to display them – and we could throw a plastic bag over it easily.

  94. ilovethesmellofnewbooks

    excellent resource – thank you.
    can you please add a page to this blog, if not too much trouble, listing titles/materials you need more of (literacy, non-english language, etc.), specific titles you are looking for multiple copies of, titles/materials that are no longer needed?

    • Michael

      Thanks! Have a look below at Mandy’s draft email to librarians:

      At the moment we’re gladly accepting everything – as she notes we have frequent requests at the library for People’s History. We have basically no literacy materials as of yet. Our law collection is growing, but could still use more books specifically applicable to the occupation. Others may have more suggestions.

      • Briar

        How about a more comprehensive outline of things we need more of on the “Contribute” page under the Donations section?

  95. Michael

    SHIFT REPORT: I was there from around 3-9:30. I picked up new tarps and three more plastic bins and two more rolls of duct tape on the way. I also purchased two pairs of work gloves, one Large and one Medium, they’re in the supply box if anyone needs to use them. Sophia and Eric were there when I arrived. After Sophia left, Eric and I removed all the existing plastic and replaced it with new tarps, we used the wooden dowels for the new tarps. We put the word LIBRARY on the front of the tarps as well. Eric reported that the police had previously removed all the tarps from the Library stating that they had to because they didn’t know what was under there and it “could be bombs.” Absurd of course, but now, hopefully the sign will help them understand it’s just books.

    One of the occupiers named Boots came over and helped tonight with processing new donations. Thaddeus returned with lots more of his zines which were very popular. A young man came by and said he wanted to bring us many copies of documentary films on DVD. And the book donation box was filled tonight with new donations that need to be sorted. We received $72 in cash donations today. $40 was given to the kitchen. The rest was held for the Library General Fund, pending a consensus from the working group on what to do with it.

    I left the library with Thaddeus and he said when he left he would close up the tarps in case of rain later.

  96. Re cash: I’ve been putting it all into the central donations. Once I took $10 to buy some sharpies and tape. Let’s discuss. I’ve been hoping to get some archival-quality boxes (or something else?) to start building up the print archive. I’ve been bringing copies of some docs home to keep dry & safe.

  97. just got to my computer.
    2nd paragraph 1st sentence needs a subject (right now WE/the library need/s).

    This is a great statement, but I don’t know what PLG & SRRT are.
    Also, I’m really happy with the pace we’re going, but I am concerned that there’s suddenly been a great deal of academic focus. I worry about that getting out of balance with the people part. Academia is part of, but not the entirety (by any means) of the 99%. If we are reaching out to the academic community in this way, I want to be sure that we are also reaching out to other marginalized &/or disenfranchised members of the book community.

    Also, the pace worries me in terms of keeping with our commitment to only move forward when we achieve consensus within the group. I’m as eager as everyone else is, but we’re supposed to be all in it together. I’m not trying to block moving forward with sending out the message, but I honor the process & don’t want to lose sight of the larger goals here.

    Thanks for all your work on this, Mandy–the statement looks great. Maybe it should be signed not just from you, but from the group as a whole. Or from you as representative of the working group.

    • Briar

      I think the beauty of Mandy’s statement is that it calls for all the things we’ve been calling for already (new book/bin donations and volunteer help) – so no new info for the group to approve – but is worded to more directly address a community that Mandy has access to and who will listen to her. Instead of asking folks to wait for group approval for every individual communication, we should be encouraging everyone to take the initiative of asking their communities for the things we’ve already decided we need and request openly as a group on our donations page.

      See ‘Ongoing Projects’ vs. ‘Project Proposals’ above for examples of the kinds of things I think need group approval or more support before advancing publicly, vs. the kinds of things I think we are already in agreement about and should be working on steadily with whatever resources we each possess.

      Instead of saying “we don’t want academics,” can you think of ways to incorporate more sectors of the population? (See People’s University ideas section?)

      • Michael

        A agree. I emailed two professors at Hunter tonight, in response to a forward about indigenous people not being mentioned in the GA declaration – and suggested that they work with us to organize a teach-in on indigenous issues. I think we should definitely reach out to our communities wherever we can. Of course, if someone would like feedback, edits and help drafting something – no harm in posting and asking for that.

      • Briar, I agree (& I did say) that it’s a great statement. very concise. I didn’t at all say ‘we don’t want academics,’ and I also tried to make it clear that I wasn’t trying to block or interfere with the momentum. I’m sorry it was interpreted that way. When I said I was worried with the pace…consensus among the group, I didn’t mean for each individual communication. It’s just that we haven’t even met as a proper working group yet and I didn’t feel that we had established what was ok to do solo & what needed group approval.

        • Michael

          I would love it if we focused all of our initial outreach efforts on things like literacy, and marginalized members of the community. What could be more important! :)

        • Briar

          The question of our decision-making process is a totally valid one. That all of this has developed organically without us ever having met as a “proper” consensus group speaks to this key issue: The library is a 24-hour, ongoing operation, with new resources, connections, information, ideas, and needs coming in constantly.

          As a result of this AND limited/conflicting availability of volunteers, the library staff is in constant flux and operates at different times of the day and week. Library volunteers are often folks who just happen to notice that it’s raining and somebody had better get the books covered. That’s us. We reached out and found each other and started building something. Each person in the Occupy Wall Street movement should feel similarly empowered to be a librarian, to add to the conversation, to make changes that they feel would make collaboration go more smoothly, to update our list of needs, and to propose new things related to the library for interested parties to work on together.

          To me, that means NOT defining us as a “group” with “members.” If whoever “we” are ever reach consensus, we are STILL reaching consensus that does not include everyone.

          Instead of trying to get everyone together for a consensus meeting (and if you can’t make it, tough luck), what we should be doing is setting up ways for people to get in contact and add their voices to the Library body on their time-frame. See bottom of Traditions section.

          • Michael

            I suggest that the people who show up, the people who contribute time to the library, in all its forms are by default the working group. This is how all the other working groups, and how the general assembly is functioning. Just the other night in the GA, someone said “if you don’t show up to the GA, tough luck, we can’t help you.” We can try to make it easier for people to get involved, but if they’re not in the square and they’re not contacting us asking to be involved, we can’t force them. But we can use the resources, energy and willingness of the constantly growing group we do have here. I agree that everyone in the movement should be empowered to act as a librarian. Every time I’m there and someone asks me what to do, or how to do something, I say “here’s what I think, what do you think? it’s your library.”

            I also think that we can only ever reach a consensus with those who choose to participate. And since participating is as easy as showing up at the library, or emailing us through this site (which will be available through the OWS site and the GA site and by asking at the Info Tables) then people who want to get involved aren’t being blocked from doing so.

            I don’t see any problems with modeling the library working group on the existing working groups who have meetings and then bring proposals and statements and queries to the GA. But I fully support us talking about it and deciding how those of us who are currently involved want to proceed.

          • Briar

            Agreed. I am not in any way anti-meeting; Janos, Eric, others, and I have come up with some really good solutions for things by working together face-to-face, and I would love to make a habit of getting folks together on the ground as much as possible. What I do have a problem with is the notion that anyone should hold off on doing things they think are in the best interest of the library until they have approval from some decision-making body. If people want support for their actions, they are free to seek it out. If some of us decide we have something to say to the GA about the library, we should feel free to do so. If some of us with jobs and school and limited MetroCard funds want to lurk on the WordPress and brainstorm together about ways to expand the library and make it more accessible without ever setting foot on Liberty Plaza, we should feel free to do that, too.

  98. Michael

    Looks great Mandy! Perhaps we can also make a version that we send to any and all librarians – especially of all the university libraries here in NYC – because I have a feeling they would come down, send materials and spread the word. This also brings up the naming question: Are we the Occupy Wall Street Library? The People’s Library of the Occupy Wall Street Movement? The Library Working Group of the General Assembly? There are so many ways to refer to us. People’s Library came up because it’s easier and faster to write on signs. I like it because it reflects the 99% – in that we are open to not just the occupiers, but anyone who would like to come. Historically we have been the Liberty Square Library, The Occupy Wall Street Library and The People’s Library. Perhaps in that case, we can be known as the Library Working Group – and our project is the library of the Occupy Wall Street movement in Liberty Plaza, known as the People’s Library. Thoughts?

    • Briar

      I have been calling us the “Occupy Wall Street People’s Library.” Why? Because our email is; also because the books are marked Occupy Wall Street Library, but the WordPress address is peopleslibrary, and “People’s Occupy Wall Street Library” sounds silly. OWSPL = [larger movement affiliation], then [target audience, mission], then [direct function]. Makes sense to me. African Wildlife Foundation, American Farmland Trust

      • Michael

        Sounds great. :)

        • The PLG is the Progressive Librarians Guild and SRRT is the ALA’s social responsibilities roundtable. I think the email can go to any group of librarians though. The PLG and the SRRT happened to come to mind because they are likely to be sympathetic. I’ll send it out and feel free to take it and modify and use as you wish.

          • I’ve also sent it out to Radical Reference & the Spectrum Scholars (ALA).
            Let’s post this call on its own page so we can refer people to it & as mentioned somewhere above start up a comprehensive wish list under Contribute.

            • whitehotfire

              That’s a great idea. Who can post to the blog? Also, I thinkI’ll be back on Oct 17th for three days with the best library assistant in the world! In Solidarity, Mandy

              • Michael

                Everyone is an admin – you can all create new pages, modify existing ones, etc. You could also turn the comments back on for the contribution page, but I was worried that if we had comments on each of those pages it could turn into a lot of work to always check each page and keep up the conversations. But I’m open to whatever ya’ll think.

                • sophia marisa

                  I think organizing the comments in one place is brilliant. I think the whole point of using the blog was to avoid the crazy-making task of fielding multiple emails, and so this is a great way to simplify.

            • whitehotfire

              All, How do you want to handle the Library Journal reporter? I don’t read LJ, but I know it is widely read so I think we’d be giving good publicity to the movement if we can manage a good article from them.

              Also, I was thinking it might be a good idea to ask sympathic publishers for donations. What do the folks on the ground think of that idea? I’m sure someone like New Society or Seven Stories would send something. Mandy

  99. I’m also working on my blog post. it should be done soon.

  100. All,
    Here is the draft for outreach to the profession– what do you thnk?

    Dear PLG and SRRT Colleagues,

    Greetings from the librarians of #occupywallstreet!

    We write today to invite you to help build the People’s Library. We are working together to build a library for both the people of the city and for those who have joined the occupation. We are a mixed bunch of librarians and library-loving individuals who strongly support the #occupy movement and who also know that information is liberation. We liberate through knowledge. If you want to know more about #occupywallstreet and the #occupy movement please read the Principles of Solidarity and read the blog.

    Right now need many different kinds of donations. We need books of resistance and people’s history. We need economics and finance books. We need contemporary philosophy and ecology. We especially need non-English books and materials for low literacy readers. Think Wobbly type materials–the little red songbook for example. Print outs of free stuff from the web are valuable to us– I personally handed out at least two copies of Citizens United on Saturday before the march. Also, we’re a free lending library operating on the honors system, so our materials come and go rather rapidly; multiple copies are always welcome. On that note, we need as many copies of “A People’s History of the United States” by Zinn as possible. We simply can’t keep a copy in stock and there are so many people who want to read it.

    On a practical note, we are an outside library so we have some operational challenges. We are using plastic boxes and tarps to protect our materials. However, our collection is growing by leaps and bounds each day and we need more boxes and more tarps to protect our materials. Any you can send us would be welcome and put to good use.

    We also need you. Our collection is growing rapidly and we need help organizing it and keeping it orderly. We want to save the time of our readers, but to do that we need help marking, sorting, and shelving materials. We need help building our catalog and writing our history. Our readers are enthusiastic and some of them need help finding the right book. The right book for the right reader is fundamental to successful librarianship, so we need public services folks to come out and conduct reference interviews with people and help them find “their” book.

    You can send donations to:
    The UPS Store
    Re: Occupy Wall Street/Library Committee
    118A Fulton St. #205
    New York, NY 10038

    In Solidarity,

  101. Michael

    Here’s what I’ve been saying to people who ask those kinds of questions: The Occupy Wall Street movement is engaging in direct participatory democracy. This doesn’t create soundbites and bullet points, rather it’s a process to come up with new solutions and new ways of approaching the problems we’re all facing. It is revolutionary in approach. It’s slow, but deliberate and it allows everyone to be involved.

    Anyone making the argument that there isn’t a goal and that the movement doesn’t have direction just isn’t paying attention. The NY General Assembly web site is where you need to look for minutes of each meeting, minutes of all the working groups, and for the “Declaration of the Occupation of New York City.” (

    The movement is incredibly diverse because the goal is to give voice to the 99% of the population who don’t have access to lobbyists, who can’t buy politicians. As a result, the message is also full of diverse ideas. This is a good thing, and it’s by design.

    Thanks for sticking it out as long as you did though! Sounds like we need to make donations of more plastic bins a priority.

  102. “Intolerance of ambiguity is the mark of an authoritarian personality.” (Adorno)

    Dear everybody,
    we lost a few more books today. Those bins with the fold-top flaps are not watertight and need to be sealed with tape against the rain.

    I had to leave early today because I felt really rattled by some interviewers. I found their questions to be alternately bullying and condescending. I did my best to speak generously from an open-hearted place as an autonomous individual representing the library, but they made a great deal of effort to pigeonhole me and use leading questions to get the responses they were after for their story. I’m not sure if this is the place to relay this information or not, but I wanted to let you all know about. For all the time they spent trying to get my name (I said I didn’t want to give it repeatedly), I should have made a point to get theirs. They said they were from NPR.

    I also attended a co-ordinators meeting this morning, though I failed to take comprehensive notes. They happen every day at 9 am and it would be great if we could rotate who attends–the goal is to have 1 or 2 representatives from each working group.

  103. Michael

    FYI: I’m moving the Traditions section into a new project page.

  104. Michael

    Also, if you have another gmail calendar you use, you can go into the group gmail calendar and give your other account permission to edit it, if you want to set that up. To do so, go to the groups gmail account, click Calendar, click the gear in the upper right hand corner and choose Calendar settings, then click the Calendars tab, and under People’s Library choose “Shared: Edit settings” and add your account under “Share with Specific People.”

  105. Michael

    B – you can edit the calendar by going to the gmail account for the group and clicking on Calendar from there. The link here is to the publicly visible one, it seems that even if you’re signed in to gmail and you click this link, it doesn’t let you edit – but if you click from gmail it will.

  106. calendar problems: I finally found the settings & it’s set as view only for me. does anybody know how to change that so I can edit also? or am I meant to just put my availability into my own calendar & it will somehow magically transfer over?
    I’ll be at the library next week 9-2 M,T, Th, F and W 11-2.

  107. Michael

    Cool – thanks Briar! The reason I put Traditions here was so we could work on it and discuss it as our first “project” – kind of working out what sort of basic information we want to have written down to pass on to new members of the group as they join up – like our cultural practices, which are of course totally fluid and collectively written and re-written.

    In practice, we’ve been writing “OWS Library” because “Occupy Wall Street Library” won’t fit. That’s the only reason. Thank you so much for writing up answers in the FAQ section. What you wrote is totally in line with what Janos and I (who have happened by chance to be there often at the same time) have been saying to people, so it sounds like we’re all on the same page. (Terrible and unintentional pun…)

  108. Briar

    Edited Donation Traditions and FAQ to be in-line with tagging practices discussed with Betsy via email (“Occupy Wall Street,” not “OWS”) / denial of private property ownership consistent with the movement. Feel like that whole Traditions section really belongs on the About tab. Webmaster?

  109. Thanks so much for setting this up, Michael. And for the suggestion to move it public, Briar there’s nothing secret about what we’re doing here.
    Cheers everybody!

  110. Michael

    I added a link to the google calendar associated with our email account. If everyone adds their availability to the calendar (which you can do within the gmail account), we can get a sense of when people are able to be at the Library to keep it open and running.

  111. Michael

    I agree completely, let’s make it all transparent and open. The email address was really just established b/c wordpress needed one and I wanted it to be an address that we all have access to – and so that people could email us. I support the suggestion that we move all conversations to the blog. *finger wiggles*

    We could also move the blog posts to another tab and make a ‘home page’ tab that is just for guiding people to the different resources and pages if y’all would like.

  112. Briar

    I like these sub-pages for ongoing projects a lot. My reasoning: The home tab should serve to orient folks who may not be intimately involved in the library’s projects but want to get a quick overview of what we’re working on, news, thoughts, resources we offer, and resources we’d like. That way, folks won’t have to fish through all of our long, nuts-and-bolts organizational discussions like this one to get the lowdown. Similarly, I loved Michael’s editorial, but it belongs right where he put it, not in the middle of a technical discussion like this one. And we ourselves will want to have access to different threads of the discussion as what we do expands and diversifies and we get more people involved on and off the ground.

    I also have an issue with discussing group activity via email, because it is less inclusive than posting it publicly here. So general thoughts and proposals here, splinter groups with links as they emerge?

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