Abandoned East Oakland Library Reclaimed as Biblioteca Popular Victor Martinez

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Photo taken from the Biblioteca Popular Victor Martinez’s Facebook page.

On Monday, August 13th, garbage was cleared from the grounds of the long-abandoned building, donations of books poured in (“empty shelves at 7am, full of non fiction books and encyclopedias by noon”) and area children helped to start a community garden in a side lot. Occupy Oakland sponsored a potluck dinner before a speak-out in the evening. In less than 15 hours after it’s grand opening, however, OPD and the City Administrators Office deemed the occupation illegal and promptly raided the Community Library.  For more information, listen to the Audio Report from the Victor Martínez Popular Library in Oakland.

UPDATE: According to their Facebook page, “The library is out on the sidewalk, the kids are gardening, and our work continues despite the raid. Come down for a meal and community gathering! Potlucks are being held every night at the #peopleslibrary til further notice–bring food, books, ideas, gardening supplies to 1449 Miller Ave between six and seven.”

Media Alert for OWS Library Lawsuit: May 24, 2012

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The OWS Library “Once upon a time…” (Flickr User david_shankbone)

New York–A lawsuit was filed today May 24, in Manhattan Federal Court seeking redress for the destruction of books, materials and equipment from the popular and respected People’s Library of Occupy Wall Street (OWS). NYPD raided and forcibly evicted Occupy Wall Street, including the People’s Library, from its Liberty Square camp (also known as Zuccotti Park) on November 15, 2011.  A round-up of today’s lawsuit in the news can be seen here.

UPDATE 4/10/13

New York City Agrees to pay Occupy Wall Street $230,000 for Destruction of Library

Join the OWS Library and OccupyTucson in Supporting the Students and Teachers of Tucson Unified School District

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From the Occupy Wall Street Library’s Website: The Tucson Unified School District has dismantled its Mexican-American Studies program and removed the books used in that program from the classrooms of the district. Teachers and students have vehemently protested this move, including a student-led walkout and an Ethnic Studies School, arranged on the symbolically important 100th day of school. The day when the state counts heads to determine funding.

The books removed include:
Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed
Rodolfo Acuna’s Occupied America: A History of Chicanos
Bill Bigelow’s Rethinking Columbus: The Next 500 Years
Richard Delgado’s Critical Race Theory
Rodolfo Gonzales’s Message to AZTLAN
Elizabeth Martinez’s (ed) 500 Years of Chicano History in Pictures
Arturo Rosales’s Chicano! The History of the Mexican Civil Rights Movement

Acting in solidarity with OccupyTucson and the students, parents, and teachers of the Tucson Unified School District, the Occupy Wall Street Library is sending copies of the recently banned texts to Tucson for distribution. Lots of copies. As many copies as they can find and buy. Out of respect for the rights of authors and publishers, all copies will be completely legally purchased though an independent bookseller or directly from the publisher. Funds to do so will be collected here and donations of the these texts are, of course, welcomed.

tonight ReOccupy writers will help rebuild the library in a rally at the park

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Last night the NYPD loaded 5,554 books from the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) People’s Library into dump trucks as they evicted the New York City camp. Tonight at 6pm a group of ReOccupy Writers supporters will bring books back to the former OWS library site.

Occupy Wall Street librarians tweeted the eviction all night: “NYPD destroying american cultural history, they’re destroying the documents, the books, the artwork of an event in our nation’s history … Right now, the NYPD are throwing over 5,000 books from our library into a dumpster. Will they burn them?”

Since then, the Mayor’s Offices released some welcome news: “Property from #Zuccotti, incl #OWS library, safely stored @ 57th St Sanit Garage; can be picked up Weds” and it appears that some of the archival materials, including the OWS POETRY ANTHOLOGY, have been salvaged (see librarian Stephen Boyer’s account of last night’s eviction).

Tonight writers and readers from across New York City will gather in Liberty Plaza to reoccupy the space and rebuild the People’s Library. Come in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street and the 99%!

Greetings from the librarians of occupy wall street!

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By the end of the first week of Occupy Wall Street, a working group of more than 15 people was assembled for the organization, development and promotion of a library. These are the members of the library working group who make library decisions by consensus during regular working group meetings. The Occupy Wall Street Library currently needs help from physical donations to reference assistance. This is a free lending library operating on the honors system, so materials are coming and going rapidly. Books about resistance and people’s history, economics and finance books, contemporary philosophy and ecology, non-English books, and multiple copies are all welcome.  On a practical note, this is an outside library so there are some operational challenges (plastic boxes and tarps are being used to protect materials.) The library needs more boxes and more tarps to protect materials. The library also needs volunteers to market, sort, and shelf materials as well as to help folks find materials.

In NYC or coming this way? Add your availability to the calendar: The People’s Library Calender

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