Carolyn Guertin


“Wanderbibliotheken: Traveling Books and DIY Libraries”

The wanderbibliotheken or traveling libraries of the last four centuries were an infectious idea designed for free access to books that made possible not just free public libraries, but also concepts like interlibrary loan, bookmobiles, and the eBook. Libraries are usually official institutions designed to enable experts to control information, but alternative libraries are spontaneous and spring up for a moment, a space, a group, or a movement. Important tools for local activism, alternative libraries often collect nontraditional objects, and speak against the grain. They are “sites of discursive resistance,” to use Michel Foucault’s terminology (38), and DIY political spaces that allow for new discourses and the thinking of new possibilities (Radford 264). By using two particular protest libraries, The Reanimation Library and the OWS People’s Library, as case studies, I will discuss how the mobile library can function as a pedagogical tool, a site of resistance and transformation for copyrighted materials, and as raw material for political change.

Carolyn Guertin is Professor of Digital Technologies and Adult Education in the Faculty of Education at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, and a faculty member in the MFA/PhD program at Transart Institute in Berlin, Germany. She is author of Digital Prohibition: Piracy and Authorship in New Media Art (Continuum, 2012) and guest editor of the special issue of Convergence on ‘New Media, Global Activism and Politics’ (2014). She was Senior McLuhan Fellow and SHRCC Postdoctoral Fellow at the McLuhan Program in Culture and Technology at the University of Toronto, and the inaugural recipient of the Outstanding Early Career Award from the Canadian Society for Digital Humanities.