They came they occupied – preliminary comments 2

2011/12/13

A few quick follow up comments about the Occupy event before moving onto other things. The teach-in led to a couple of interviews, an article on our event in the student newspaper (in which unfortunately we were not interviewed or quoted) and an invitation to help and participate in a separate panel event hosted by undergrad student societies in Political Science and Sociology.  Can’t remember a ‘how to use the library catalogue’ workshop  ever generating such enthusiasm! Anyway, apologies for the note-like post, but I haven’t time to produce something more polished.

1) I am  really liking the turn about of inviting guest professors into OUR house, with librarians establishing the curricular frame. There’s something both satisfying and kind of balancing about this – reminding faculty and ourselves that we have concerns and research issues which we want discussed as well, and that a little quid pro quo on the guest lecturing is reasonable.

2) If we are going to keep hosting controversial workshops/panels/teach-ins – we are going to need further training and thinking in regards to handling disputes in the classroom.

3) The fear of not occupying a podium turned out to be over-rated… our students were more than willing to speak when you give them something interesting to talk about.

4) Our institution, as a commuter campus with very limited student space may have unique demands/thirst for a public library type space or spaces.

5) The Occupy research guide deserves a whole separate post, but suffice it to say for now that it has been updated regularly, and we’ve had at least 2 people suggest new links for it.  The page visits have been really high (for a subject guide), and a few people have linked to us, shared and ‘liked’ the guide on Facebook and Twitter etc.

6) One of the unintended consequences of hosting this event and building this guide is that it forced us to learn about a lot more about #occupy, radicalized us, and helped us to listen to others who were both for and against the movement. Is this perhaps one of the many benefits of focusing on issues and events in library instruction rather than tools and skills? These activities broaden one’s own political horizons and deepens one’s own personal civic engagement.

7)Quite independently of us, our institution decided to donate 150 already deaccessioned books to the Toronto People’s Library.  And that was really cool.

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