Monday, October 24, 2011

Matthew Battles on Reading, Libraries and Occupations

This video by Matthew Battles discusses the idea of libraries and occupations. He asks the perfect question of "Why do we need libraries for an occupation/movement?"  Battles draws parallels between the occupy movement and the Chartist movement of 19th century Britain. (If you're not familiar with the Chartist movement, don't worry neither was I. Battles gives a nice explanation.) More importantly Battles describes an interaction with an occupy library, perhaps better described as a reading room, as possessing "...a wonderful energy of charged contemplation". This idea of "charged contemplation" is  very much what I was thinking, and couldn't quite get to, with my previous post. That there is a very particular and meaningful reason for using these resources it seems that it's not just the people who are charged with contemplative meaning but the materials themselves. I like Battles' highlight of the 19th century reading room concept as it seems to be more applicable to this particular constellation of collected items. Regardless the occupy movement has one and, I think, it has interesting implications for doing library work and especially outreach.

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