Water-damaged book
Librarians from the Occupy Wall Street protest have claimed that as many as 4,000 books were destroyed by police. Image: Flickr / dno1967b / CC-BY-SA

Two months in, the Occupy Wall Street protests in New York City are still proving controversial. After being evicted from Zuccotti Park, self-appointed Occupy Wall Street Librarians are claiming that thousands of books may have been destroyed by police.

The Occupy Wall Street library

During the first few weeks of the Occupy Wall Street protest, the community developed a collection they referred to as “The People’s Library.” The collection contained between 3,000 and 5,000 books, wifi devices, tables, posters and laptops. The library was free-lending, and was a part of the camp in Zucotti Park.

Library a part of the clear-out

When Bloomberg ordered that Zuccotti park be evacuated and police carried out the order, the library and all personal belongings were supposedly gathered up and stored in a police-controlled garage. After the raid, the office of the mayor sent out a tweet that said “Property from #Zuccotti, incl #OWS library, safely stored @ 57th St Sanit Garage; can be picked up Weds.” The round-up of property included not only the People’s Library, but tents, sleeping bags, food preparation equipment and personal belongings. All seized property was reportedly cataloged by the police and stored at the garage. Reportedly, police continued to seize library books that protestors had with them on Nov. 16 after protestors began returning to the park under a court order that they be allowed back into the park.

Protestors report books missing

Representatives from Occupy Wall Street, after checking out the garage where property of the park was supposedly stored, report that the “People’s Library” is still missing between 2,000 and 4,000 books, several laptops and magazines, among other things. Representatives also report that the books that are at the garage were treated very badly, bent, ripped and destroyed. Though books have been destroyed, protestors are converting what books have been recovered into mobile libraries that are included in walk-outs and protest marches.

Sources

MediaBistro: http://www.mediabistro.com/galleycat/occupy-wall-street-confiscated-once-again_b42509
People’s Library Blog: http://peopleslibrary.wordpress.com/2011/11/17/n17-day-of-direct-action-resources/
Occupy Wall Street photo gallery: https://picasaweb.google.com/116984432019943722401/OWSLibrary#5675725239930691618
LA Times: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/jacketcopy/2011/11/lost-ows-library-books-stored-ny-garage.html
Slate: http://slatest.slate.com/posts/2011/11/16/ows_library_reports_missing_books_property_.html

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