Occupy Wall Street Library

A LIBRARY has formed organically in New York City in the middle of the Occupy Wall Street movement! They have a blog here. Apparently, after people started camping in the park books started turning up, someone began to organize them, and librarians answered the call to duty and began sorting, cataloging, and weather-proofing. It’s fascinating that a physical collection formed organically in less than a month. From what I can tell the collection is primarily books and pamphlets, and they are busy fielding reference questions spanning from the difference between terrorism and anarchy to where the bathrooms are. Clearly a reliable information center was needed, and I’m so impressed by the librarians and supporters who are making this happen. The blog talks about how the library was formed and is currently maintained, but I don’t see any obvious links to digital resources. I wonder how many unemployed, non-librarian protestors find this experience an inspiration to go to library school… 😉

Reading about all of this has me wondering whether this has happened before in history. I’ve been poking around LISA and looking for relevant Library of Congress Subject Headings, but unfortunately there does not seem to be a magical subject heading like, “spontaneous library generation” for me to start with. Intriguing research question! It will take some digging, but I’ll keep posting anything I find.

EDIT/UPDATE: Their catalog is now on Library Thing!

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2 Responses to Occupy Wall Street Library

  1. Betsy Fagin says:

    Hi, thanks for posting about the library! You haven’t seen links to digital resources, but it’s just because we’re so busy on the ground. Hopefully they will be coming soon.

    One of our immediate goals is to get some kind of catalog going to represent what’s moving through the library–books come and go every day. Everything about it is fluid. Perhaps that’s why there’s no LC Subject Heading for us yet.

    Happily, we’re about to get a generator and hook up some laptops so we’ll be able to do online stuff from the library as well as offer public access to laptops & phone charging stations.

    • awickes says:

      This is all so cool, and thanks for your comment! I’m really enjoying reading your blog and seeing how things progress. 🙂

      -Abigail

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