Those Occupy Wall Street librarians or “librarians” or whatever you want to call them just won’t quit. Last week they set up another library in Union Square Park.
The library in Zuccotti Park at least lasted a few weeks. This time the library didn’t even last a day. The police cleared almost the whole library out by the end of the day.
According to the protesting tweets, “Once again the #NYPD has destroyed The People’s Library.” “Once again.” What a surprise. One of their “librarians” was even arrested, and can now feel very morally superior indeed.
At this point, it’s more amusing than anything else that these ragtag “librarians” think they are accomplishing anything by putting some books up on a table in a park and calling it “The People’s Library.”
These poor rebels are rebelling by providing a service absolutely no one in the city needs. “Look, we have a pile of free books on a table!” they say.
“Look, we have millions of free books throughout the city,” the NYPL could reply. “And we’re the REAL people’s library!”
It’s not even astonishing anymore to watch the police dismantle such a library, and that’s a shame. By replaying the same tired scene of piling books on a table for no real purpose, the further dismantling just desensitizes us to something that we shouldn’t be desensitized to, all without accomplishing anything.
But at least they got to tweet a new chant: “People got sold out, Books got thrown out!” Very inspiring!
The “people’s librarians” were throwing out books as soon as they set them up in the park. If they didn’t know that’s what they were doing, then they’re hopelessly naive, which wouldn’t surprise me.
If they’re real librarians, they probably read the Annoyed Librarian, and I have some advice for them. Two pieces of advice, really.
First, please stop taking advantage of the good names of “library” and “librarian” during these shenanigans. Everybody loves a library, except maybe ebook publishers, but what you have there isn’t a library. It’s a pile of books in a park.
And you’re not librarians. Librarians preserve their collections, not put them in parks where they know they’ll get knocked over and kicked around by police. That’s especially true if you believe the police are jackbooted thugs. Jackbooted thugs don’t respect books. You should know this by now.
Second, if you want to protest and show what caring people you are and feel good about yourselves, that’s one thing. But if you want to make a difference, piling up books in a park is the wrong way to do it. Books go up. Police knock books down. Bad police oppressing the 99%. We get it. It changes nothing.
For better or worse, the first round of Occupy Wall Street protests galvanized the world community, spawned similar protests around the country and the world, and sparked a conversation about the distribution of wealth in America.
That it’s now reduced to yet again piling books in a park that you know are going to be removed and then complaining when they’re removed makes the OWS movement look weak and ineffectual.
Libraries are one of the few public services that most communities manage to provide for everyone, including the poor. Why try to duplicate something that’s already successful when there is so much more that could be done?
This people’s “library” is accomplishing nothing. Surprise us. Try something new.