July 18, 2012

“Library of Immediacy” comes to Governors Island this summer


The Occupy Wall Street People’s Library is getting a second wind after recovering from last year’s Zuccotti eviction and a lawsuit against the destruction of the books. The library has popped up at various actions around the city, made appearances at OWS Town Square events, and is the subject of an ebook project to document the history of the library. Most recently, the collection has been moved to the new Paul Robeson Freedom School, a summer camp with Occupy themes that was the subject of a recent New York Times article.

This summer, a small portion of the library—People’s Library organizer Betsy Fagin calls it “something of a satellite branch”—will be on display in an outdoor space on Governor’s Island from July 21st through September 23rd. The OWS Librarians partnered with the nonprofit Superfront, artist collective DADDY, and the Bed-Stuy-based arts group FOKUS to hold a design contest to create an architecturally designed structure for the books, which also encourages visitors to bring books and objects to the site. The contest winners are the architectural duo Amy Chang and Seo Young Shin, who are known as saA. Their project is called “PUBLIC SUMMER: The Library of Immediacy” and will be located next to the FIGMENT interactive sculpture garden on the parade grounds at Governors Island.

The press release for the “Library of Immediacy” also mentions a simultaneous purpose of the display:

“concurrent with The Library of Immediacy, DADDY presents #LOANER, a democratically curated, anecdotal, and didactic display of objects. Viewers are asked to present and create wall text for personal items; objects may be loaned if replaced with a similar object for display. The collection will be subsequently archived through social media and an oversized log book. Through this mediated accumulation, an index emerges that supersedes the importance of the individual.”

An opening party with music and performances will be held on Saturday, July 21st from 2-5pm, where attendees will have the opportunity to “choose one of 88 sonnets to read through a megaphone.” A schedule of events for the rest of the summer has been posted, which includes a “Radical Read Out” with David Graeber, author of Debt, a performance from the Occupy Puppet Guild, and a miniature book making session.


Claire Kelley is a the former Director of Library and Academic Marketing.