When choosing a suitable venue for our event, we decided to ask Leeszaal (in Dutch “Reading Hall”) to host our workshops. Situated
in a busy, multicultural area of Rotterdam, Leeszaal exemplifies many values we sympathise with, particularly open access to knowledge, and a focus on the community that uses the space, not just for reading but for many other social purposes. These values we recognise (somewhat nostalgically) as reminiscent of public libraries of yesteryear. However, the landscape today is quite different, with huge online commercial repositories of texts (e.g. JSTOR), protected by paywalls which limit access to them, and in response the emergence of “shadow libraries”.
In the following pages we invite you to wander through the di- lemmas, outcomes and reflections that came out of our three different workshops, and interviews with people whose work is at the centre of the issues that each workshop uncovers.
Knowledge In Action explores the roles and activities within libraries, such as selection and inclusion of books. Interviews with: Dubravka Sekulić & Ronny and Laura, two Leeszaal staff.
Blurry Boundaries reveals the hidden processes and labour between the publishing and distribution of physical and digital books. Interview with: Dušan Barok.