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Category Archives: The Commons

Prefixes in Uncertain Times: Reconfiguring the Human in the Human-Built World

One could be easily forgiven for thinking that the present is a troubling time to be human. The specter of catastrophic climate change looms larger by the week, rapidly appearing … Continue reading

June 8, 2016 · 3 Comments

Beyond the Prototype: Libraries as Convivial Tools in Action

How important are the technologies found in a library to the actual library? Are libraries simply places where various tools and technologies are used, or can libraries (themselves) be viewed … Continue reading

May 26, 2016 · 2 Comments

The Ground Beneath the Screens – A Review of Jussi Parikka’s A Geology of Media and The Anthrobscene

Despite the aura of ethereality that clings to the Internet, today’s technologies have not shed their material aspects. Digging into the materiality of such devices does much to trouble the … Continue reading

October 29, 2015 · Leave a comment

Treat Your Personal Library…Like a Library

Have you ever found yourself at a gathering at which a speaker says something along the lines of “it’s important to read”? Or perhaps you’ve found yourself at a gathering … Continue reading

August 27, 2015 · 3 Comments

“Walking Makes the Road” and the Library

It can be easy for librarians to take space for granted. After all, there are many issues with which libraries must contend, but generally the physical building itself can be … Continue reading

May 14, 2015 · 2 Comments

Rechargeable Ideology

Batteries are easily overlooked in our daily affairs, at least until they threaten to stop working. And when that moment arrives when (suddenly!) the little battery logo turns red or … Continue reading

May 5, 2015 · Leave a comment

But on the other hand…it’s a really nice day

“I do not believe that things will turn out well, but the idea that they might is of decisive importance.” – Max Horkheimer 1. Nice days can be disorienting. The … Continue reading

April 22, 2015 · 4 Comments

Where Are They Now? The People’s Library Today

For many librarians the experience of reminding patrons to “please, return the books when you’re finished with them” is fairly common. After all, the idea of a person returning a … Continue reading

March 19, 2015 · 2 Comments

Confused about Copyright and Fair Use? That’s Understandable…

The folk singer Woody Guthrie would frequently attach a serious warning regarding copyright to copies of his lyric sheets. This sobering statement informed one and all that: “This song is … Continue reading

February 26, 2015 · 3 Comments

The Speed of Snow

Snow has a remarkable ability to turn a speedy city into a stationary one. The societal imperative to always be on the move collapses when government officials start issuing warnings … Continue reading

January 28, 2015 · 1 Comment

How to Read a Large Book on Crowded Public Transit

At some point in your life you may find yourself waiting for some mode of public transit to arrive. When the aforementioned public conveyance finally comes you may feel a … Continue reading

January 14, 2015 · 11 Comments

Looking for the Best Deals on Black Friday? (try the library!)

Regardless of what the barrage of advertisements tells you to the contrary – you will not find the best deal in any store or on any website this Black Friday. … Continue reading

November 24, 2014 · Leave a comment

How to Avoid Ruining a Book

“The club had a lending library. I was delighted by a poster that described in detailed words and in pretty colored pictures how many ways there were to avoid ruining … Continue reading

November 13, 2014 · 30 Comments

Facing Reality – Reflections on the IFG’s Techno-Utopianism Teach-In

Occasionally, an acronym does the work of an entire argument. Case in point: FRED, which stands for Facing the Reality of Extinction and Doom. A good acronym need not be … Continue reading

October 28, 2014 · 7 Comments

Tilting at Windmills

To be critical of a society is to invite a variety of staid, boorish, and simply hostile responses. Common amongst these retorts are those that do not attempt to engage … Continue reading

September 30, 2014 · 5 Comments

“The Courage to Be Afraid”

Of the various emotions that we are alternately encouraged or discouraged from feeling – fear is one that occupies an odd position. After all, fear is a very powerful emotional … Continue reading

September 19, 2014 · 9 Comments

Speeding Towards a Slowdown

When things change quickly an appropriately speedy response may be warranted – especially in cases where delaying for too long may result in the opportunity to act being missed. The … Continue reading

September 9, 2014 · 4 Comments

Who Was Captain Swing?

General Ludd, and the army of redressers that gathered behind his name, has become something of an all-purpose avatar for any attitude towards technology that is less than fawning. Whether … Continue reading

August 28, 2014 · 6 Comments

The Luddite Response

Would it be fair to call those who advocate for online privacy Luddites? It seems a rather absurd question. After all, those who encourage people to use TOR, encryption, or … Continue reading

July 28, 2014 · 6 Comments

The Faucet Goes Dry in Detroit

It can be an immensely frustrating experience to turn on your computer only to find that your Internet connection is not working. Granted, this is probably not a life-threatening occurrence. … Continue reading

July 15, 2014 · 1 Comment

If You Want to See the Sharing Economy…Go to the Library

The value of sharing is one instilled in us from a young age: from the parental injunction to share with our siblings to the early socialization received in kindergarten. Sharing … Continue reading

July 10, 2014 · 7 Comments

Fall in Line…or else!

Let us begin with a somewhat contrarian premise: major Internet platforms owe much of their success to work that is only tangentially related to the actual platform. This is not … Continue reading

June 27, 2014 · 3 Comments

“We Still Carry On Thinking…”

There is something quietly terrible about spending time with people who have reached similar conclusions as you. The previous sentence raises the question about what manner of “conclusions” are being … Continue reading

June 24, 2014 · 7 Comments

Who’s Afraid of General Ludd?

When a person – or a group of persons – dares to oppose a new technological development it is inevitable that somebody will call them a “Luddite(s).” The application of … Continue reading

June 17, 2014 · 19 Comments

Yosemite as an OS? The Planet is the Operating System

With its picturesque cliffs, mountains, waterfalls, canyons, and wooded groves – Yosemite National Park is an iconic place. A preserved and protected enclave to which visitors can come to experience … Continue reading

June 6, 2014 · 1 Comment

Modeling a Different World – The Library and PreFigurative Activism

From Madrid’s Puerta del Sol to Turkey’s Gezi Park to Occupy encampments across the USA and Canada to Egypt’s Tahrir Square to Ukraine’s Euromaidan protests in Kiev – libraries have … Continue reading

June 2, 2014 · 10 Comments

Google Glass in Libraries – Disruption or just Disruptive?

Libraries are highly technological places. From books to microfilm readers to computers – a library that is free of technology is an oxymoron. Granted, there is a difference between a … Continue reading

May 23, 2014 · 5 Comments

Or is it? – a review of Astra Taylor’s “The People’s Platform”

Imagine not using the Internet for twenty-four hours. Really: no Internet from dawn to dawn. Take a moment to think through the wide range of devices you would have to … Continue reading

May 20, 2014 · 10 Comments

Guest Post: The Strange Life of the Collected Works of Marx & Engels

Pirates, today we have a guest post from friend of the LibrarianShipwreck Ryan Moore. Ryan is assistant professor of sociology at CUNY-Queensborough Community College. He is the author of Sells … Continue reading

April 30, 2014 · 1 Comment

Make Your Library the Protest

It is an exciting time to be a librarian. No, really. Whether it is a result of potentially positive changes or due to worrisome occurrences (budget cuts) libraries (and by … Continue reading

April 23, 2014 · 7 Comments

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