amateur librarian in Bodo 2015

ic/scientific books, which started an
independent life under the name of Kolkhoz. Kolkhoz, which borrowed its name from the commons
based agricultural cooperative of the early Soviet era, was both a collection of scientific texts, and a
community of amateur librarians, who curated, managed and expanded the collection.
Moshkov and his library introduced several important norms into the bottom-up, decentralized, often
anarchic digital library movement that swept through the Russian internet in the late 1990’s, ea

amateur librarian in Bodo 2016

ly contested. Take, for example, another group of self-appointed
protectors of culture, also collecting and safeguarding, in the name of
humanity, valuable items circulating in the cultural gray/black markets. For
the last decade Russian scientists, amateur librarians, and volunteers have
been collecting millions of copyrighted scientific monographs and hundreds of
millions of scientific articles in piratical shadow libraries and making them
freely available to anyone and everyone, without any charge or limitatio

amateur librarian in Constant 2016

ook/un livre irradiant/een
irradiërend boek
◦ Property:Person (agents + actors)
◦ EN Introduction
◦ FR Préface
◦ NL Inleiding
• Embedded hierarchies
◦ FR+NL+EN A radiating interview/Un entrevue irradiant/Een irradiërend gesprek
◦ EN Amateur Librarian - A Course in Critical Pedagogy TOMISLAV MEDAK &
MARCELL MARS (Public Library project)
◦ FR Bibliothécaire amateur - un cours de pédagogie critique TOMISLAV MEDAK


A bag but is language nothing of words MIC



7. Marcel Dieu dit Hem Day

Tomislav Medak & Marcell Mars (Public Library project)

A proposal for a curriculum in amateur librarianship, developed through the
activities and exigencies of the Public Library project. Drawing from a historic
genealogy of public library as the institution of access to knowledge, the
proletarian tradition of really useful knowledge and the amateur ag

opment, the curriculum covers a range of segments from
immediately applicable workflows for scanning, sharing and using e-books,
over politics and tactics around custodianship of online libraries, to applied
media theory implicit in the practices of amateur librarianship. The proposal is
made with further development, complexification and testing in mind during the
future activities of the Public Library and affiliated organizations.

Public libraries have historically achiev

again to counteract the contraction of spaces of exemption that
have been shrunk by austerity and commodity.
The project Public Library was initiated with the counteraction in mind. To help everyone
learn to use simple tools to be able to act as an Amateur Librarian – to digitize, to collect, to
share, to preserve books and articles that were unaffordable, unavailable, undesirable in the
troubled corners of the Earth we hail from.
Amateur Librarian played an important role in the narrative of Public Library. And it seems
it was successful. People easily join the project by 'becoming' a librarian using Calibre[7] and
[let’s share books].[8] Other aspects of the Public Library narrative add a political articulation
to that simple yet disobedient act. Public Library detects an institutional crisis in education,
an economic deadlock of austerity and a domination of commodity logic in the form of
copyright. It conjures up the amateur librarians’ practice of sharing books/catalogues as a
relevant challenge against the convergence of that crisis, deadlock and copyright regime.
To understand the political and technological assumptions and further develop the strategies
that lie behind the counteractions of amateur librarians, we propose a curriculum that is
indebted to a tradition of critical pedagogy. Critical pedagogy is a productive and theoretical
practice rejecting an understanding of educational process that reduces it to a technique of
imparting knowledge and a n

that a small number of commercial publishers draws from
the free labour of scientists who write, review and edit
contributions and the extortive prices their institutional
libraries have to pay for subscriptions. It is thus here that
the amateur librarianship attains its poignancy for a
critical pedagogy, inviting us to closer formulate and
unfold its practices in a shared process of discovery.

Public library is:
• free access to books for every member of society,
• library catalogue,
• librarian.

The curriculum in amateur librarianship develops aspects
and implications of this definition. Parts of this curriculum
have evolved over a number of workshops and talks
previously held within the Public Library project, parts of
it are yet to evolve from a process of future research,

espaces d'exemption réduits par l'austérité et la commodification. Le projet
Public Library a été initié dans l'idée de contrer ce phénomène. Pour aider tout le monde à
apprendre l'utilisation d'outils simples permettant d'agir en tant qu'Amateur Librarian :
numériser, rassembler, partager, préserver des livres, des articles onéreux, introuvables ou
indésirables dans les coins mouvementés de notre planète.
Amateur Librarian a joué un rôle important dans le système narratif de Public Library. Un
rôle qui semble avoir porté ses fruits. Les gens rejoignent facilement le projet en « devenant »
bibliothécaire grâce à l'outil Calibre[7] et [let’s share books].[8]

s are URLs with
timestamps and geostamps in the form of IP address. Google, GCHQ, JStor, Elsevier –
each maintains its own searchable corpus of texts. The decisions about who, to which
sections and under which conditions is to be admitted are
From Amateur Librarian - A Course
informed by a mix of copyright laws, corporate agendas,
in Critical Pedagogy:
management hierarchies, and national security issues.
As books became more easily massVarious sets of these conditions that are at work in a
produced, the commer

amateur librarian in Graziano, Mars & Medak 2019

to lived
social reality. Situating our own stakes as both activists and academics in the present
debate, we explore some ways in which the radical politics of #Syllabus could be supported to grow and develop as an articulation of solidarity between amateur librarians
and radical educators.
#Syllabus in Historical Context: Social Movements and Self-Education
When Professor Chatelain launched her call for #FergusonSyllabus, she was mainly
addressing a community of fellow educators:
I knew Ferguson would be a chall

us produced new suggestions. These forks
become a family tree where one can follow branches and trace epistemological
It is in line with this vision, which we share with the HyperReadings crew, and in line
with our analysis, that we, as amateur librarians, activists, and educators, make our
promise beyond the limits of this text.
The workflow that we are bootstrapping here will keep in mind every aspect of the media object syllabus (order, timestamp, contributor, version changes), allowing diversity

amateur librarian in Hamerman 2015

librarianship has been given an opportunity… to include thousands of amateur
librarians who will, together with the experts, build a distributed peer-to-peer network to care for the catalog of available knowledge.”

Public Library frames amateur librarianship as a free, collaboratively
maintained and democratic activity, drawing upon the language of the French
Revolution and extending it for the 21st century. While these practices are
democratic in form, they are not necessarily democratic in the popu

amateur librarian in Kelty, Bodo & Allen 2018

stically reducing global asymmetries in the process.


This radicalization of access has changed how publications
travel across time and space. Digital archiving, cataloging and
sharing is transforming what we once considered as private
libraries. Amateur librarianship is becoming public shadow
librarianship. Hybrid use, as poetically unpacked in Balazs
Bodo's reflection on his own personal library, is now entangling
print and digital in novel ways. And, as he warns, the terrain
of antagonism is shifting. While

amateur librarian in Mars & Medak 2019

Tomislav Medak is a doctoral student at the Centre for Postdigital Cultures at Coventry
University. Medak is a member of the theory and publishing team of the Multimedia
Institute/MAMA in Zagreb, as well as an amateur librarian for the Memory of the
World/Public Library project. His research focuses on technologies, capitalist
development, and postcapitalist transition, particularly on economies of intellectual
property and unevenness of technoscience. He authored two short

amateur librarian in Mars & Medak 2017

ivities. In that regard, these projects stand closer to mutualist,
anarchist and communist traditions where collective autonomy is the foundation of
individual freedom.
Our work stands in that lineage. Therefore, we invoke two collective figures –
amateur librarian and custodian. These figures highlight the labor of communizing
knowledge and maintaining infrastructures of access, refuse to leave the commons
to the authority of professions, and create openings where technologies and
infrastructures can be re-cla

e mainstream. How do you go about this problem? Should these
projects try and align with the mainstream, or act as subversions of the mainstream,
or both? Why?
MM & TM: We are currently developing a more fine-tuned approach to
educational aspects of amateur librarianship. The forms of custodianship over
knowledge commons that underpin the practices behind Monoskop, Public Library,
Aaaaarg, Ubu, Library Genesis, and Science Hub are part and parcel of our
contemporary world – whether you are a non-academic with n

d maintaining the catalog easy.


Our vision is to make sharing, aggregating and accessing catalogs easy and
playful. We like the idea that every rendered catalog is stored on a local hard disk,
that an amateur librarian can choose when to share, and that when she decides to
share, the catalog gets aggregated into a library together with the collections of
other fellow amateur librarians (at For the
purpose of sharing we wrote the Calibre plugin named let’s share books and set up
the related server infrastructure – both of which are easily replicable and
deployable into distributed clones.

Croatian public libraries
during ideological cleansing of the 1990s Written-off (2015), and the collection of
books selected by the Black Panther Herman Wallace as his dream library for
political education (Memory of the World, 2016b).
In our view, amateur librarians are complementary to professional librarians,
and there is so much to learn and share between each other. Amateur librarians care
about books which are not (yet) digitally curated with curiosity, passion and love;
they dare to disobey in pursuit for the emancipatory vision of the world which is
now under threat. If we, amateur librarians, ever succeed in our pursuits – that
should secure the existing jobs of professional librarians and open up many new
and exciting positions. When knowledge is easily accessed, (re)produced and
shared, there will be so much to follow up upon.

amateur librarian in Medak, Mars & WHW 2015

M. Zarroug • T. Medak

With the emergence of the internet and software
tools such as Calibre and “[let’s share books],”20 librarianship has been given an opportunity, similar to astronomy and the project SETI@home21, to
include thousands of amateur librarians who will,
together with the experts, build a distributed peerto-peer network to care for the catalog of available
knowledge, because
a public library is:
— free access to books for every member of society
— library catalog
— librarian
With boo

amateur librarian in Sollfrank 2018

cting the concerns of the
individual authors and artists for a moment was a necessary precondition in
order to make space for rethinking the future of cultural production.

Special thanks to Eric Steinhauer and all the artists and amateur librarians
who are taking care of our cultural memory.

1 Festival program online: Onassis Cultural Centre, “Shadow Libraries: UbuWeb
in Athens,” (accessed on Sept. 30, 2018).
2 _UbuWeb_ is a massive online archive of ava

amateur librarian in Tenen & Foxman 2014

rimary commitment is to the
preservation of the archive as a whole. Thus what starts as a true peer
production project, may, in the end, grow to erect solid walls to
peering. This dynamic is already embodied in the history of public
libraries, where amateur librarians of the late 19th century eventually
gave way to their modern degree-holding counterparts. The conflicting
logistics of access and preservation may lead digital library
development along a similar path.

The expression of this dual push and pull dyna


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