Working Group Meeting Minutes 11/28/11

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Library Working Group Meeting minutes
28 November 2011 6:30 pm
Moonstruck Café 244 Madison Avenue, New York, NYC

present: Elena, Emilio, Nathan, Michele, Jaime, Danny, Scales, Betsy, Zach L., Catherine, James, Bill, Charlie, Laura, Amanda, Jenny, Stephen, Max, Briar
Facilitator = Frances, Stack = Zach, Time = Amanda, Minutes = Betsy

  • Set agenda
  • Introductions
  • Team
  • Book count
  • Legal update
  • Community accountability
  • Future

& more detailed introductions
Review of hand signals (ordering food)


Team (Danny)
who we are and what we’re doing. team building. fuses are getting shorter, email threads are getting nastier. we’ve braved arrest, faced legal issues, I don’t see strong team mind. I see that we’re all very different. our community breaks down very quickly. example of the dog. we’re supposed to be in it together. POI: she’s never been to a WG meeting. (people don’t want to talk about the dog example because of all the new folks at the meeting.) anything to be aggressive to each other isn’t advancing us.

(discussion breaks down a bit)
L: incident wasn’t library-related. (or was it?) we should have team spirit. keep solid. keep it open, keep talking.


Book count (Zach)
when processing new books, write the date at the top of the sheet along with ISBNs. Zach runs through numbers of books.

of 1275 books returned only 578 are ok

he’s separated personal books from OWS books. about 272 are personal property, not library. we only got back about 1000 books. after legal procedures, let’s put out a memo telling people we have personal books and we can try to return them.

Q: what about personal book requests? A: any requests that have already come in for personal books, you can forward to Zach or tell folks we’re processing the books for legal purposes. Q: is saying 80% of our books are gone are destroyed accurate? A: it’s probably more. 80% isn’t wrong. 85% missing or destroyed 15% usable. and that’s only books, not computers, archival material, infrastructure etc.

Legal update (Bill)

12 of us met with Norman Siegel to discuss how to follow up after our press conference last week.

Our demands:

  • acknowledgement from the city that what they did was wrong, and statement taking full responsibility for their actions
  • replacement of books and providing us a public space for the library
  • commitment that they won’t do it again.

Bill and Betsy nominated as point people for Siegel. We’re going to try to bring a civil case. there is no precedent. Sanitation department claims they gave us 3,000 books but they didn’t.

-Ginsberg Society is pissed that their donation was destroyed. -There is no case law on destroying everything. -Assuming a case is brought, is the library a legal entity? -There have been cases about particular books being destroyed, but not an entire library. -isn’t censorship of the entire movement? -not sure, we didn’t talk about it. we’re not propaganda for the movement. -maybe we can make the case that the library’s presence was an act of speech.


Community accountability (Michele)

drafted by several working groups. commit to consent, commit to anti-oppression, commit to conflict resolution and accountability. get back to Michele re: library’s support. -The occupation isn’t in park anymore is it still relevant? -OWS wants to reinforce principles. lead by example. it’s about the movement not the space. -timeline for this? -it’s still a draft. -I’ve been staying in public spaces and they are insane. people are stealing, touching, all sorts of inappropriate. there needs to be something. Safer Sapces did a great job. -even if it’s only in our own working group, we need to get our values out there. more important now in diaspora. -just because you’re not on the court doesn’t mean you’re not on the team. -doesn’t need to just be a library thing.


Future (Scales)

the library focus has shifted without physical infrastructure. discussion about our vision of what the library is, what the future is in order to develop new infrastructure. bookmobiles? physical space? the core needs to get consensus on what we as a library want to do and how to function without a park.

-easy for us to continue to have a presence at actions. Jaime is willing to work with DA to let us know when things are happening. -we need to be more on top of actions that are not ours. Q: to what extent have you tried to get space? A: we’ve written proposals, contacted a few downtown groups for space without success. investigating pop-up space and collaborations. we need space. -Zuccotti isn’t good. -SIS is unrealistic. doesn’t want to go through GA to get money. -mobile library. -winter is coming we need to prepare. need to think winter. Q: where are the books now? A: storage.

-mobile library is fun. Stephen’s writing an article for OWSJ. it was fun to give books out in front of Barnes & Noble. -Medics are squatting near Marcy Ave (J). -looking for places every day. Q: what about the Strand carts? A: Betsy spoke to them, they’re not cheap, they have a deal with the city. -We’ve got a lot of books coming in to SIS and we must keep legal books untouched. -Space: squat? bluestockings alliance? mobile library is great. Q: what’s a squat? is it illegal? A: yes, it is. no, it’s legal to squat in NY. -snow. we can be mobile and we need a place to store books. -squatters rights are strong here. -Bernadette Mayer says get a squat. -there’s a building off prospect ave (bklyn) that’s been vacant for 5 years. it has a garage. Frances suggests we take that house. -let’s make a proposal. squatting makes sense for the movement. we need space. -what about churches? -Zuccotti’s no good: lots of cops and stuff, lots of barricades and stuff. -what’s the space going to be like? constant access? storage only? -storage space is only $100/day, why don’t we just pay for one? -no good for recovered books because we have to keep an eye on them. -sleep-in storage facilities. -you can’t sleep in the storage facilities. -need for storage. (Hristo’s parents’ place) vs. need for library -Charas? -needs to be near Wall St. -the last big-city occupations are going down. we should push books out more effectively sharing our resources. -friend who knows squats. -occupywriters? is there a petition signed by writers who signed & donated their books? someone wants to organize that. please upload all photos of author signed books to the flickr stream. -People’s Library in residence. -mobile library should follow the weather patterns. -do as many of these things as you can do. if you squat, support will come. -multiple residences would make it easier to approach organizations. easier to ask would you like to house library in residence, one of many than to ask someone to take sole responsibility for it. proposal: 3 pursuits mobile, squatting, residency. all done in tandem. break into groups to bottomline this. mobile= scheduling carts, squatting=Scales & whoever, residency=Catherine. break into groups and reconvene.

Michele: storage and processing of new books. -we can use SIS at this moment. -shipping out. -continued donations? yes, but not access. -concern about spreading the library across different locations. most occupatons are in the same position as us, they can’t receive donations. our strength was having 4,000 books. it was a big library. if we keep breaking it up and making it smaller, it’s diminished. FA: choosing between squat or residency with mobile library. -don’t underestimate amount of goodwill. this is New York, center of this stuff. -re: person who’s going to take catalog. -agree with not breaking up the collection. mobile units can go out. ship out books, we still have a lot of publisher copies. not too much worry about breaking up collection. 4 components: SIS, mobile, squat, residency. residency might be a place that’s able to take donations. just one place during the winter. -multiple locations is a good idea. reach out to bluestockings in addition to squats. -re: different locations, ok if only a couple and if there’s always a librarian there to process ISBNs, always have a face attached.

-4 plans of action:

-squat for long term book, library housing,

-mobile bookmobile from that unit,



-who wants to just take responsibility for these? bottomlining these things -doesn’t like breaking into committees. -listserv -avoid redundancy.


spokescouncil, occupywriters, Tampa, Wilmington, DE=safest, most secure occupation. media mail is the cheapest way to mail. -Catherine made new bookmarks -GA reportback, printing press is a co-op owsprint AT gmail DOT com. Madrid, Acampade del Sol update—see their facebook page

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