Essay on the librarians in the Occupy movement | Inside Higher Ed

3 Nov

Steven Syrek, a graduate student in English at Rutgers University, has been working at the OWS library since about the third week of the demonstration. “People talk about this movement like it’s a ragtag bunch of hippies,” he told me when we spoke by phone, “but the work we do is extremely well-organized.” The central commitment, Syrek says, is to create “a genuine clearinghouse for books and information.” Volunteers have adopted a slogan summing up what the library brings to the movement: “Literacy, Legitimacy, and Moral Authority.” . . .

As with the “book bloc” that formed during protests against education cuts in Italy and elsewhere some month back, the occupation libraries seem like a new development. …

But the libraries at the anti-Wall Street protests are not quite as novel as they first appear. They have a tradition going back the better part of two centuries. In a recent article, Matthew Battles, the author of Libraries: An Unquiet History (Norton, 2004), noted the similarity to the reading rooms that served the egalitarian Chartist movement in Britain.

via Essay on the librarians in the Occupy movement | Inside Higher Ed.

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