This is part one of a two part series.
"As a People’s Library librarian one question I get asked over and over again is why we don’t offer a digital library for our readers. It’s a good question and one I think is worth exploring in some detail.
To start, we have to address the question of what a digital library is— is it an institutional repository or archive? Is it a search engine for curated links? Or is it a virtual library? It’s an open question and one that I think different people can reasonably answer in radically different, but still valid, ways. A digital library can be and is all of those things.
And if by digital library you mean archive, there is one, and probably there are plenty more I don’t know about. OWS also has its own Archives group working to preserve the ephemera and other documents of the movement. So, in that sense, there is a digital library for Occupy Wall Street. But that doesn’t answer the question about bringing content to our readers.
The next question then is what the People’s Library takes as its mission. As a leaderless library, the question of mission is tough to answer; the mission is fluid depending on who is asking and who is answering. The simplest answer is that the People’s Library and the other occupation libraries exist to support both the full-time activists who live at the various occupations and the Occupy movement as a whole. We also exist to serve the local communities surrounding the occupations, whether in lower Manhattan, LA, or Washington, DC. Given that, a digital library seems a perfectly legitimate undertaking, especially after the raid and seizure of the books."