Don’t Take the library!

Amid all the news about the eviction of the Occupy Wall Street protesters from Zuccotti Park was the rumor that the protestors’ library had been destroyed. Commentors all over the internet were up in arms – and for good reason.

Books = Knowledge = Power

The OWS library was, from what I’ve heard, remarkably well organized and staffed by actual librarians. Books were donated from all kinds of sources, from individuals to publishers. There’s something incredibly sinister about the government coming in and confiscating (and possibly destroying) all of that reading material.

Well, it turns out that the books were not destroyed. (Update: No, it looks like a good portion of them were.) However, the exact sequence of events makes me wonder if the public outrage over the library and comparisons to totalitarian regimes played some part in Mayor Bloomberg’s decision to refrain from having the books destroyed. I suppose we’ll never know. I have heard that this eviction, and the disruption of the library in particular, have led people to actively support the movement. These are people how may have leaned towards support before, but hadn’t taken an active or vocal role.

One lesson? Don’t mess with the books.

stacks books from Occupy Wall Street library
Stacks of books from the #OWS Library

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