History of the Occupy Vancouver Library
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The First Forty Days: Life At the Occupy Vancouver Camp
The library sprung from the loins of one mythical beast by the name of Iain. What popped out were some course readings and a table.
(And at one point there wasn't even a table. Just a sign saying "Education Station" because nobody could have expected what Our Community did next!)
And Iain asked people to bring their own books and course readings and sit with him and convince people to read them.
But that was an utter failure. Instead people started bringing books and Iain immediately relented and accepted the mantle
Suddenly other, less ethereal beasts seeing the library ran home, and collected treasured books and unwanted bookshelves
and they brought themselves for a minute or an hour after work or school and we tried to fill a twelve hour day and before long the library was occupied 24 hours a day or more
The space grew roots and familiar burls: chairs, even a green leather sofa (imagine the labour); and branches like Renee and the Positivi-Teahouse next door
and then there was a whole onslaught of minutiae and gewgaws, like a croquetion station
and some knitting needles, a wooden horse and materials for producing masterpieces of art and literary persuasions (persuasive they were too; to embed political thought into the
that wandered in and pondered over them).
It was two weeks before we heard that the same thing happened in New York, and a month before we realized
we were part of a global phenomenon.
At the onset, it was a place that shut down for the evenings, until some of the nighthawks began to occupy the wee hours, until 3, or 4, filling the night air with debate and conversation
(as Goethe said, “Night is the other half of life, and the better half.”)
There were intense drunken chess duels at two in the morning,
there were impassioned poetry recitals as the feet of the sleeping lumps on the couch stirred,
there were debates over whether or not donated Ayn Rand books should be tossed in the trash; they ended up under the new section "Know Thy Enemy" along with a book by Bill Gates and works of the mendacious Milton Friedman.
During the day the library was a place of cramped communion, it was a place where people happened.
They came to get educated, or to educate and the best came to do both because they got it.
For initially the name by which the library went by was 'The Education Station', but was, a few weeks into the camp, renamed 'The People's Lovely Library' after
some bum at 4 in the morning, with cold fingers and coffee trembles decided to paint
a pretty sign.
Sometimes I wonder, of all of the Librarians who once called The Library "theirs" if just for a few hours and then never again--
I wonder if any of us ever said "thank you."