Year One of For The People Leftist Library Project
And we're just getting started!
It’s hard to believe that we’ve come to the end of 2023. What a year it’s been for us at For The People Leftist Library Project (FTP). When our small steering group came together early this year, we wanted to encourage other leftists to join us in defending, protecting and expanding public libraries.
We had three primary goals:
To recruit and train leftist library board candidates.
To provide resources for library defenders.
To empower people to self-organize and take action.
Over the past few months, we’ve made good progress on each goal. Our work has engaged thousands of people through workshops, events, and this newsletter. Hundreds of volunteers have supported us in our data collection & other efforts. We will launch our first cohort of library board candidates in January 2024. We’re excited to continue building together in 2024. We welcome you to join us!
FTP is driven by volunteers. We raise funds for FTP through sales of our shirts. We use those funds to cover access costs for our events. If you’d like to support us, you can purchase shirts here.
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FTP Paid Internship Announcement
As we continue to work to empower people to self-organize and take action around their public libraries, we are looking for an intern to join our team. Specifically, we are looking for support in creating resources and opportunities for local communities to organize people’s assemblies focused on their local public libraries. We will accept applications on a rolling basis until January 5, 2024. Help us spread the word about this paid opportunity.
Data Collection Update
For The People is compiling the first-ever nationwide database of public library board seats to support leftists in running for, or seeking appointment to, office. Back in early March we launched our Data Collection Project Volunteer Task Force.
We’re now 84% done with Phase One of data collection (online research). Phase Two (direct outreach) is also progressing. You can still sign up for either phase at the link below, we have more need for Phase Two help than for Phase One help at the moment, but are always happy to have folx sign up for either! Phase One signups are being doubled-up so nobody is left waiting to help out.
FTP Data Collection Project Volunteer Scoreboard
Huge congratulations to our 1st place contributors, Lisa Schiff, and Anonymous Volunteer Extraordinaire and big thanks to our next most prolific contributor Anonymous Volunteer Extraordinaire as well. Winners will receive a prize package as described below.
We really appreciate all of the amazing volunteers who have helped out with this project so far. Sign up to help if you’d like to join the fun. The prizes are incredible, as you can see below:
The scoreboard is an opt-in situation, so volunteers are named "Anonymous Volunteer Extraordinaire" by default unless they explicitly agree to have their name or an alias included on the scoreboard.
In The News | Articles & Podcasts
File Under 'S' for Solidarity: Union Members Defend Local Library (Stephanie Luce for Convergence)
Struggle in the Stacks! Researching NYPL's Labor History (Nora Dolliver & Mia Bruner, New York Public Library Blog)
Campaign Against Prison Censorship and Book Banning (Zine Issue #1 – Winter/Spring 2023; this zine offers an introduction into the topic of censorship and book banning in U.S. prisons, as well as some ideas toward how to build a larger campaign and autonomous movement against it)
Montclair Public Library Allows JVP Open Conversation (Liz George for Montclair Local)
How Librarians Became American Free Speech Heroes (Madison Ingram for Zócalo Public Square)
Gaza’s Main Public Library Has Been Destroyed by Israeli Bombing (Dan Sheehan for Lithub)
Taking Back the Library: a Death Panel Podcast (Mariame Kaba and Melissa Gira Grant)
Why We Need Public Libraries Now More than Ever (Tom McGrath for Boston Magazine)
Why libraries are liberating spaces (Purnima Rao for The Indian Express)
Libraries should be treated as "critical infrastructure" in rural communities, advocates say (Brett McKay for St. Albert Gazette)
Niles library board approves first union contract for staff (Richard Requena for Chicago Tribune)
Virtual Paper: A Newsletter About Libraries and Freedom (Iron Librarian on Substack)
The Basics of Library Socialism (Shawn Vulliez on Medium)
Upcoming Events of Interest
11/29 - 12/05 - Read Palestine Week (Publishers for Palestine)
12/04 at 10am Eastern - Author Meets BookTok: Sim Kern and Rashid Khalidi on The Hundred Years’ War on Palestine (Librarians and Archivists with Palestine)
12/04 at 7pm Eastern - LFP Book Club: The Palestine Laboratory (Library Freedom Project)
12/04 at 9pm Eastern - The Great Book Robbery watchalong (Violet Fox)
12/06 at 7pm Eastern - LFP Webinar: Panel on Palestine Censorship (Library Freedom Project)
12/07 at 7pm Eastern - Publisher and Vendor Powermapping (Library Freedom Project)
And finally, please send us your ideas...
What are your favorite quotes about public libraries? - Please send them our way! We’re working on a fun new project for the new year.
We’ll be back in January with more, but in the meantime, thank you for everything you have done and are doing to defend public libraries - we’re so glad to be in community with you!