open library

open library graphic 2

wondering if we can access the full potential of a library‘s unique opportunity: equity .. everyone getting a go everyday

imagining the library as a means to quit putting people on (bureaucratic) hold.. by facilitating whatever it is that people need.. today..  ie: a book, a home, a hit, .. could we use tech as it could be to facilitate ourselves back/to the natural sync of an undisturbed ecosystem..? – (beyond youmedia ness – even beyond Chera Kowalski‘s a life line ness)

imagining the library with all the incredible things they already have.. plus (most below are home less heavy.. because equity):

  • check out a person/mentor (for all the things.. but thinking esp for home less trying to cut thru so many bureaucratic hoops to get answers.. not so much about what’s available.. but more.. what do you need.. here’s where that is.. or.. let’s find that.. someone who’s familiar with all the red tape or at least how it feels to have their life/day put on hold because of it.. ie: perhaps a match dot com data base for short term free air bnb ness)
  • musical instruments (piano/strings)
  • washer/dryer.. shower
  • bikes
  • wifi – devices

some (most) of these already exist as community centers et al.. but not accessible to all.. ie: have to pay; have to be put in some data set; .. so big thing would be no fines.. everything accessible to everyone

[this isn’t a handout or charity .. it’s being human. it’s getting us back to meadow’s undisturbed ecosystem.. it’s how we garner eudaimoniative surplus (some call this social capital.. but usually there are strings attached.. so we never really see the thing.. the art.. that the artist can’t not do).. what we need most.. is the energy of 7bn alive people.. doing/being their art – we don’t question/inspect what that is.. or inspect it.. or measure it.. or charge for it.. or even exchange for it.. if we let go enough.. none of those things will matter..  equity (everyone getting a go everyday) makes so many things irrelevant.. and it’s the only way the dance will dance]

some of these already exist in libraries.. see below

ie: from Travis Lupick‘s fighting for space


plan was for 200 maybe 300 to attend.. 800 showed up.. lasted all day..  all of a sudden these totally radical and crazy ideas were no longer crazy or radical.. they were things that other people had done.. 


80+ of them now.. [denmark]

open library

..allows users to access the library space in principle 24/7 and serve them- selves with loans and return materials. And use the computers, read or maybe even set up a meeting or an event, if the space allows it. In the first instance the term ‘open library’ was chosen as the concept was implemented in libraries that had typically been branches with short – and often inconvenient – opening hours. And ‘open library’ is also a term preferable to ‘self service library’, as this concept requires another kind of professional support enabling the users to complete the necessary transactions themselves and to find their way in the library.

In a few years this concept has spread to 80 libraries in Denmark and more are planned.

ie (image below links to pdf):

nordic public libraries

pp 80 ff – libraries.. wherever there are people… move with the people…


adding to open ness – to open ideas.. the human library..

human library


to open library and library as hub and maker/hacker space ness..

I think the most prominent example of a democratic institution is the public library. The point about the public library is, first of all, it is professionally organized. It is not a random collection of books and learning resources. Professionally trained people properly organize it, but the professional activity stops there, at the point of having organized the places where books and things are available in a systematic way. The librarians then say, “It is over to you now, you are the learner, here are the resources, we have organized it for you. You choose what you want to learn, when you want to learn it and take the books away, or read them here. We shall not be testing you, we are not keeping records of what you are learning and it is your private business what you learn.

From Natural Born Learners by Beatrice Ekwa Ekoko, Carlo Ricci


walmart turned library


10 weirdest libraries


not to be confused with open library (dot) org

[or maybe so…]


city ness


Larry Ferlazzo (@Larryferlazzo) tweeted at 5:38 AM – 27 Oct 2016 :

Video: “A Library For Portland’s Homeless People” (


KevinHodgson (@dogtrax) tweeted at 5:38 AM – 25 Nov 2016 :

A Bronx Librarian Keen on Teaching Homeless Children a Lasting Love of Books, via @nytimes (


british library fighting loneliness w public living room


Matt Haig (@matthaig1) tweeted at 11:43 PM – 1 Aug 2017 :

Libraries aren’t just about books. They are almost the only public space we have left which don’t like our wallets more than us. (


Tim C (@floatingtim) tweeted at 10:11 PM – 10 Aug 2017 :

A reminder that library fines are bad practice. If your library still has them, offer your copy of #payingtheprice to lib director #DigPed (


Chera Kowalski – a life line


(@schmidtphi) tweeted at 4:57 AM – 13 Jul 2018 :

Good example for the libraries’ commitment to providing public services to their communities. #beyondbooks (

parked in front of library at 11:30pm.. to use wifi

______________ (@davewiner) tweeted at 6:20 AM on Mon, Jul 23, 2018:
Libraries have a purpose I’ve never seen written up — as sanctuaries for children of troubled households. As a child, there was a safe place I could go at night, when things were crazy at home. A place they cared about kids, as people.


via deb kauffman rt

Rosanna Leo  (@LeoRosanna) tweeted at 10:40 AM – 28 Jul 2018 :
Today at our library, one of our regulars came in, an elderly man with dementia. He likes to colour the colouring sheets, and considers it his job. He will sit here quietly for hours at a time, and his wife knows he’s safe here.
But tell me again why libraries don’t matter? (



My preferred option:

1.Run that report of kids who are ineligible to check items out.

2.Change their status to allow them to check items out.

3. That’s all.

Original Tweet:


Neil Gaiman‘s 20 page images on library and reading ness

 (@schmidtphi) tweeted at 5:11 AM on Fri, Sep 07, 2018:
I hadn’t seen this before. Really great collection of 20 illustrations about imagination, empathy, and freedom. And libraries of course.

p 6 – gaiman read law


paywall (doc)

3 min – nathan hall (@prof_nch): even though people not in academia may not be reading a lot of these articles.. may not find them useful.. they are still paying for them.. your tax dollars go toward govts who then subsidize uni’s who then provide funds to libraries.. who pay publishers thru subscriptions fees.. the journals and the publishers are getting your money.. everyone is paying into the system.. and the people benefitting the most are publishers

5 min – stuart shieber (@pmphlt): here’s a problem in the market.. the market exhibits what sometimes called a moral hazard.. doesn’t really have anything to do with morality.. but an econ term.. moral hazard comes about when the purchasers of a good are not the consumers of the good.. what is the good here in a traditional publishing market – it’s access.. readership access.. the consumers are people like me who want to read the articles.. the purchasers though are not me.. i don’t tend to subscribe to journals.. the harvard library spends huge amounts of money subscribing to a huge range of journals.. so i’m pricing sensitive to these journals.. because i don’t have to pay the bill

library ness.. open it up for us.. but part of the money bin perpetuation

9 min – lars bjornshauge (@elbjoern0603): students graduate.. get their masters.. flow into those spin-off co’s.. and suddenly they discover that they could not get access to the research results that they needed.. because they were no longer affiliated w the uni.. they came knocking on my door.. and i had to tell them that as a librarian i was in this awkward position that i had to block non affiliated users for access to publicly funded research and that is completely contrary to the mission of a library and a librarian.. so that was an eye opener

moten abolition law

library ness


books/reading/library ness for incarcerateds:


Molly Crabapple (@mollycrabapple) tweeted at 3:47 PM – 28 Sep 2018 :
The Pennsylvania Department is Corrections is banning prisoners from receiving books.
Instead, they can buy a $149 e-reader, and pay between $2-$29 for e-books of work largely in the public domain. There are no dictionaries available (


Helene Meisler (@hmeisler) tweeted at 5:21 AM – 10 Oct 2018 :
I love the library!
Need a Handbag or a Tie to Land Your First Job? Borrow One With a Library Card (


though the fact that we think we need to earn a living and that we get those job opps by having handbags and ties.. ridiculous


Nancy Kerr

seed library.png

pic is blurry.. but free seeds.. all kinds of food

longmont home less ness



NationSwell (@NationSwell) tweeted at 5:03 AM – 25 Oct 2018 :
#Libraries are becoming hubs for shelter, opportunity, and even healthcare. (

Some of these patrons are homeless and are looking for a safe place to stay for the day. Others are actively looking for resources, such as showers and food, or just a place to warm up for a while.

No matter their need, Esguerra embraces them all. “Public libraries are sometimes called the last bastion of democracy,” she says. “It’s a community living room where everyone is welcome.”

Esguerra is the nation’s first official library social worker.

Almost a decade later, Esguerra is still at the main branch of the San Francisco library. And as the number of homeless patrons has ticked up, so has her staff — Esguerra currently oversees a team of seven people who are employed as part-time health-and-safety associates, all of whom have some experience with homelessness themselves.

Similar library-outreach programs have sprung up in other big cities over the past few years, among them Denver, New York, Philadelphia and San Diego, as well as in smaller communities like Pima County, Arizona, and Georgetown, Texas.

Maurice Freedman, a former president of the American Library Association, echoes that sentiment. “Libraries are the great democratic equalizer, as anyone can just walk in and sit down,” he says. “It’s the only public service agency that’s not interested in your name and address.”

huge… space sans bureaucracy

“There was a great need in the community to be able to sit down one-on-one and talk [to an expert on healthcare], to find options tailored to them,” Moultrie says. “We found that in addition to people needing info about the market, some people also needed help with signing up for food stamps, housing or getting bus tickets so they could look for jobs. If they come through our doors, we do our best to help them.”

The library also loans out bicycles, hosts live music events and has a “mobile library” for patrons who have mobility issues.

The San Francisco library has partnered with organizations like Lava Mae, which brings buses outfitted with free showers to the library every week, and they also organize a “pop-up village” every two months where people can get access to resources like free dental care, glasses and the like.

“It’s all about our community, and right now our community is in need,” Keys says. “So we let people know that they have some place to go.”


ReadingasfastasIcan (@melisapressley) tweeted at 8:32 AM – 19 Nov 2018 :
At my library we have an upright piano that the public can “checkout” for 2 hours. There’s a homeless patron playing the most beautiful concerto–he told me that he misses his piano most of all. Never underestimate the resources your local library has to offer. #librarylife (


Jarrett Lerner (@Jarrett_Lerner) tweeted at 8:25 PM on Fri, Nov 23, 2018:
I just learned that a library in the city next to mine has a Library of Thingsdepartment, filled with expensive kitchen appliances and household tools and gadgets that you sometimes REALLY need but rarely need often. So you can just BORROW them.
Another reason I love libraries.


1 hr convo – Eric Klinenberg and Dorian Warren discuss his new book – palaces for the people –  at strand bookstore


18 min – if we didn’t have the library today.. it’s not the kind of thing we’d create in this time when we trust market/tech.. to spend money building beautiful buildings and giving people stuff for free.. i don’t know if library could exist if not invented already


carl on a public library in india

Carl Malamud (@carlmalamud) tweeted at 6:08 AM – 26 Dec 2018 :
I’ll be speaking about a Public Library of India on Friday at 4pm at the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore.


Larry Ferlazzo (@Larryferlazzo) tweeted at 6:28 AM – 6 Jan 2019 :
How the Chicago Public Library Is Bringing Story Time to the Laundromat (

imagining landromats at libraries


map of fine free libraries (collins, windsor, berthoud on there..).. and how to go about becoming one


library as public square


Scott Heiferman (@heif) tweeted at 6:05 AM – 7 Apr 2019 :
1. Love when systems/networks to connect people work this way
2. Seeing others jump in to pay for others’ books: People have so much to give, they’ll help and care when given a way
3. What Would @AnandWrites Say? Why does this take charity? Where are the (modern) libraries?


Dr Theresa Cullen (@DrTerriC) tweeted at 5:07 AM – 27 Jun 2019 :
I love this at the @discoverPHL airport what a great service and partnership. Imagine if we had this in OK. @vperezy @Fly_okc @FreeLibrary (


PLA (@ALA_PLA) tweeted at 7:49 AM – 18 Jul 2019 :
Great piece from @NPR on the growing trend of #SocialWork services in #Public Libraries as well as PLA’s efforts, through its Social Worker Task Force, to help public libraries address the social service needs of their patrons. #PLAInitiatives (

Your Local Library May Have A New Offering In Stock: A Resident Social Worker

About three dozen public libraries across the U.S. have followed San Francisco’s lead in the decade since Esguerra was brought on, including those in DenverGeorgetown, Texas, and Perez’s library in Long Branch, N.J. And that number only has only accelerated in recent years.

But Esguerra says the idea of bringing social workers into libraries isn’t just meant to help librarians; it encourages people in need to take advantage of the services the library-based social workers offer.

“Coming to the library is not attached with any stigma, unlike coming to, like, you know, other traditional settings,” she explains. “So public libraries really are the best places to reach out to the population and be effective at it.”..t


Co.Design (@FastCoDesign) tweeted at 5:37 AM – 12 Aug 2019 :
The community hub of the future isn’t a library or a shopping center. It’s city hall

city sketchup.. et al

super.. but perhaps what matters most is that people are free.. in whatever spaces (library or wherever).. begs we focus on fittingness.. by listening to every voice everyday (as it could be via 2 convers as infra) .. first.. before we even venture to any physical spaces..


Oliver Sacks on libraries (bottom of his page)


from cory

@locusmag: “There’s a name for societies where a small elite own property and everyone else rents that prop­erty from them: it’s called feudalism.” A new article by @doctorow!

sept 2 2019 article

Or libraries: libraries often pay higher costs for ebooks than they do for print books, and on top of that, publishers impose ridiculous conditions on the ebooks they sell to libraries, like making them self-destruct after a few lendings (Harpercollins) or just not making ebooks available to libraries at all until the hardcover is no longer a new release (Tor). Again: like print books, only worse. And more expensive.



Elizabeth Acevedo (@AcevedoWrites) tweeted at 2:06 PM on Sat, Jan 18, 2020:
Side note: I think libraries are some of the most radical spaces in American life. At its core it is anti-capitalist. Where not only knowledge, but resources are are there to be borrowed without the expectation of transaction.

w/o expectation of transaction

cool and probably closest to it.. but not truly w/o expectation.. ie: cb’s limited access et al

we need unconditional ness for it to work for all


emergency library during virus ness

Archive, in San Francisco, announced—and, in the blink of an eye, opened—the National Emergency Library, a digital collection of 1.4 million books. Until June


in notes from david graeber‘s utopia of rules:


26\ a friend gives me the ie of master’s degrees in library science, which are no req’d for all public library jobs, despite the fact that the yearlong course os study generally provides no essential info that couldn’t be obtained by a week or two of on the job training.. the main result is to ensure that for the first decade or two of a new librarian’s career, 20-30% of he/her income is redirected to repaying loans – in the case of my friend, $1000 a month about half of which goes to uni (principal) and half to loan provider (interest)



social control


anarchist library