Poetry News

OWS Library Updates: Bloomberg Attends NYPL Gala, Is Called On to Replace Damaged Books, People's Library Goes Mobile

By Harriet Staff

Despite near-constant setbacks, the OWS Library is still truckin. Poet and translator Ian Dreiblatt stopped by to help out yesterday, and had this to say about the situation:

[T]hey're driving the library folks crazy. this morning the brookfield trolls had told them they couldn't bring books in without a cart to roll them in. the library team, who are a volcano, went out, got a bunch of carts donated, & loaded the entire library into librarian-neat cartloads, which they promptly wheeled up to the First Amendment Memorial Zuccotti Entry Ramp And Probeway one now takes inside. when they got to the gate, they were told they could bring in all the books they wanted, just as long as they didn't try to bring in any carts. & so we carried them in in stacks. Steven Boyer has started wearing the occupy wall street poetry anthology around his neck, rather than leave it. I thought of Nadezhda Mandelstam.

The People's Library has more help in the form of “nonpartisan, nonprofit advocacy organization” Common Cause, which has called on Bloomberg to "Open [His] Wallet” to replace the books lost in the raid on Zuccotti Park. Common Cause just released a statement for the Mayor:

“To the extent that the books lost can be accounted for, the city should replace each title, buying two new copies for each one destroyed,” [he continued] “And for whatever number is unaccounted for, the city should provide Occupy’s librarians with funds sufficient to buy twice as many.”

The press release continues:

“Indeed, an attack on books is an attack on rights protected by the First Amendment. People who would ransack and trash a library or a book collection put themselves on the moral level of book-burners. Their actions are intolerable.”

The blog itself has a great slideshow with photos documenting yesterday's Day of Action (surely you saw the 99% bat signal projected onto the Verizon building last night -- if not, read an interview with the maker here) as well as the library's attempts at rebuilding. You can spot Boyer with the carts, as Dreiblatt mentioned. They also tweeted this photo, which gives us an idea of the damage ("Destroyed #OWSLibrary books pulled out of the dumpster at the Sanitation Garage"). As for the current state of things; it looks to be mobile:

We had our online and off-site folks in charge of keeping the blog and twitter updated and running info for those who were on the street. We were marching; setting up the library at Liberty, Union Square, Foley Square and on the Brooklyn Bridge; running mobile libraries from carts; coming up with awesome chants; meeting people and taking donations; telling our story and so much more.

No response from Bloomberg to Common Cause. For now, enjoy the lovely image of the Mayor wining and dining at at a recent NYPL LIBRARY GALA held on November 7. At top, he poses with Brookfield Properties board member (and girlfriend) Diana Taylor. Collage by the People's Library. They write of the occasion:

On Monday, November 7, 2011 Mayor Michael Bloomberg was in attendance at one of New York City’s top cultural and social events: The New York Public Library’s Library Lions gala. The individuals honored as Library Lions are, according to nypl.org, “distinguished individuals who have made significant cultural and educational achievements to increase our understanding of the world around us.” The 2011 honorees included such literary luminaries as Tony Kushner, Isabel Wilkerson, Jonathan Franzen, Stacy Schiff, Ian McEwan, and the songwriter Natalie Merchant.

On Monday, November 15, 2011 the books of many of those Library Lions mingled with broken shelves, ripped tents, and smashed computers in the aftermath of the raid on Zuccotti Park. The raid, authorized by Mayor Bloomberg, saw, among other things, the OWS People’s Library thrown in the trash. Perhaps, as Mayor Bloomberg enjoyed the library festivities on the 7th he was already planning the action that would destroy a different library on the 15th, or perhaps he was just enjoying the photo opportunity as he exchanged pleasantries with the authors who he held in high enough esteem as to have their works tossed into garbage trucks.

As always, keep up with the progress of the Occupy Wall Street Library right here.

Originally Published: November 18th, 2011