Libraries in the Context of Capitalism

Libraries in the Context of Capitalism: A Symposium

With our move into METRO’s new state-of-the-art space, we transitioned from planning one big multi-track conversations each year into running multiple smaller, more intimate conversation around topics that are urgent to our field.

I developed, designed, planned, and facilitated a conversation on capitalism and its impact on libraries and archives. The event was held at METRO Library Council on February 1 and 2, 2018. I’m grateful for the time and energy of our planning committee: Charlotte Price and Emily Miranker.

What does it mean for libraries, archives, and museums to serve the public interest in a cultural environment in which profit is all-important? What pressures do we face in a money-driven world, on an institutional level and as individuals?

In 2018, METRO will host a series of symposia to discuss pressing issues in our field, starting with a day-and-a-half long conversation on Libraries in the Context of Capitalism. Taking place at METRO on Thursday, February 1 and Friday, February 2, this event seeks to unpack the tensions that exist for libraries and archives as cost centers in a neoliberal economic climate.

Watch our youtube playlist.

Thursday, February 1
2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. : Keynote and Q & A
This is Why We CAN Have Nice Things: The radical promise of libraries, presented by Barbara Fister

3:00 p.m. – 3:15 p.m. : Break

3:15 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.: Operating in Context
How Income Inequality Affects Where Libraries, Museums, and Arts Organizations are Located, presented by Miriam Musco, Ed.D.

John Kenneth Galbraith’s 1979 Commandments to Librarians: Still Relevant?, presented by Jonathan Cope, The College of Staten Island, CUNY

4:00 p.m. – 4:15 p.m.: Break

4:15 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. : Tales from the Trenches
Applying not-for-profit philosophies in a for-profit school, presented by Jill Goldstein (@JillGoldstein6)

For-Profit Research: Reference Work in an Art Gallery, presented by Arielle Cohen, Gagosian Gallery

Using the Library to Empower Diverse Community College Students, presented by Carrie Salazar

5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.: Happy Hour
Snacks and beverages provided by METRO

Friday, February 2
10:00 a.m. – 11:15 a.m. : Neoliberalism in the Academy
Ending the Neoliberal Nightmare: How Library Publishing Cooperatives can Revolutionize Scholarly Communication, presented by Dave Ghamandi, University of Virginia

Reproducing and Resisting Capitalism through Information Literacy, panel discussion with:

  • Eamon Tewell, Long Island University Brooklyn
  • Nora Almeida, New York City College of Technology
  • Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Romel Espinel, Stevens Institute of Technology

11:15 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. : Break

11:30 a.m. – 12:45 p.m. : Labor & Its Discontents

Friction in the (Unpaid Internship) Machine: An Organizing Brainstorm, presented by Jeanne Swadosh, dues-paying member of the Archivists Round Table of Metropolitan New York

Reproducing Contingency: Grant-funded labor in digital libraries, panel discussion with:

  • Sandy Rodriguez, University of Missouri-Kansas City
  • Amy Wickner, University of Maryland
  • Ruth Kitchin Tillman, Penn State University

12:45 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. : Lunch : Off-site

2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. : Values & Power
Rethinking Value in Academic Libraries, presented by Roxanne Shirazi, The Graduate Center, CUNY

Organizing for Opposition: How to Build Power to Contest Power, presented by Emily Drabinski, Long Island University, Brooklyn

3:00 p.m. – 3:15 p.m.: Break

3:15 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. : Speculative Design Session: The Future From Here

4:00 p.m. – 4:15 p.m.: Break

4:15 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. Closing Keynote
Organizing the Library and Its Contradictions: Reproduction, Technology, and Hope, presented by Dan Greene, Postdoctoral Researcher @ The Social Media Collective