ALA Council

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Occupy Wall Street Library - Resolution 

Nov 17, 2011 02:42 PM

Whereas; Libraries serve as a cornerstone of our democracy and must be safeguarded. An informed public constitutes the very foundation of a democracy, and public, academic, government, special, and particularly unofficially constituted or "guerilla" libraries ensure that every citizen has free access to a wide range of information.

Whereas; The Occupy Wall Street (OWS) People’s Library in New York City's Zuccotti Park served as an example of a "guerilla" library as well as a reminder that libraries are an organic part of all communities, not just those that are officially sanctioned by larger institutions such as governments or businesses.

Whereas; Libraries serve the needs of community members and preserve the record of community history.  

Whereas; In the case of the People’s Library, this includes irreplaceable records and archival material related to the OWS movement and the temporary community that it represents. Every library collection is entitled to exist and be protected regardless of supporters or detractors.

Whereas; “We support the librarians and volunteers of the OWS movement Library Working Group as they re-establish the People’s Library.”    

Be it resolved; “The American Library Association deplores the destruction of the OWS movement People's Library, all libraries, all library collections and property, and the disruption of the educational purpose by that act, whether it be done by governments or governmental agencies, individuals or groups of individuals and whether it be in the name of honest dissent, the desire to control or limit thought or ideas, or for any other purpose.”

Mover: Patrick Sweeney

Seconder: Aaron Dobbs, Stephanie Braunstein, Bobbi Newman, Charles Kratz, Mike Marlin,  Et Al. (feel free to add your name to the list of co-sponsors ;)


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Aug 02, 2012 03:48 PM

Ladies and Gentlemen


I like this OWS resolution and I was in New Orleans when the OWS people were empaneled before an audience and there is only one little thing I think we out to consider with this resolution, as part of or an extension of... something to wit:

"Whereas the library is the backbone of democracy we hold that when all other institutions fall, the library alone can keep this country running."

While this IS intended to be humorous, it IS also dead serious.  How this could be part of this resolution I do not know, but it certainly plays to both reality and our stregnths.

Jun 17, 2012 08:01 PM


I remained interested in seeing some additional proactive response by the Association on this issue. It remains timely given the recently-announced lawsuit against NYPD ( Although ALA issued a press release at the time (, I think some sort of additional action may be appropriate in support of the lawsuit; or at the very least in solidarity with those working to provide library services in the face of violent opposition by law enforcement. Not sure a resolution is the most effective or relevant action at this point, but I'll be encouraging discussion of the issue at IFC and would welcome hearing from other concerned ALA members on this issue.

What do you think?


Jim Kuhn

Dec 07, 2011 08:18 PM

I like it.  Sorry I'm late in contributing.  Great ideas moving forth.

Nov 23, 2011 04:30 PM

This is a comment from a member of COL that I am just passing along.




Gurman, Diane



Wed, Nov 23, 2011 at 1:58 PM

RE: [alacol2] Fwd: RE: resolution being considered by ALA Council

Hi Diedre.


I sent my comment to Molly Raphael, per Lynne's advice, but in case you're a better conduit, here it is:

Hi Molly.

I’m the current intern for the Committee on Legislation, and was wondering if I could make a comment about the draft resolution deploring the destruction of the OWS Library. Let me preface my comment by saying that I fully support the Occupy movement, and have donated books to the Occupy Los Angeles Library.

That said, I was wondering if the 2nd “Whereas” clause (The very existence of the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement People’s Library in New York City's Zuccotti Park demonstrates that libraries are an organic part of all communities) might be modified or restated. To me, it doesn’t follow logically that the existence of one library in one community demonstrates anything about libraries in all communities. I do think the OWS library shows that where a need for information exists, libraries and librarians can be counted on to rise to the challenge and meet that need.



Diane Gurman

Scholarly Communication and Licensing Librarian



Nov 21, 2011 11:47 PM

Irregardless is an informal term commonly used in place of regardless or irrespective, which has caused controversy since it first appeared in the early twentieth century. Most dictionaries list it as "nonstandard" or "incorrect".


(ps I had to cite the wikipedia just for the fun of the informal dictionaries mention)

Nov 21, 2011 08:50 PM

I changed "withstanding" to "regardless" after consulting with Janet Swan Hill. She pointed out "irregardless" is not a word, "it is a conflation of "regardless" and "irrespective"."

Nov 21, 2011 07:13 PM

I solicited comments from ACRL leaders and here are some editorial suggestions:

I see it says "withstanding" .  Maybe someone wants to check the definition of this word?  It means "to stand up against."      Maybe what you mean is "irregardless of its supporters or detractors" -- which is really the meaning and intention of the sentence as I read it.

 Correct the spelling of the park to:  Zuccotti Park

Initial reaction is very positive for the resolution.

Thank you for working on this!

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