The gathering of collective memory. A pre-literate notion of memory, in a communal way, something commemorative rather than putting a memory in a container. What we thought it was going to be changed completely. We are in that way changing our memory of what it was supposed to be. What are you able to collect? Memories? Objects? People? A collection of texts and people, collecting and composing each other? Somehow it's not even important that we have all the knowledge, what's important is the living, generative sense of the collection.

making it public/keeping it private

Simon Browne

making it public/keeping it private

see also human reading, inter-depending, scanning

The library depends on its public, just as the public depends on the library. Sharing of texts is the heart of library culture. A completely private collection lacks sociability. Libraries that operate outside of the law (shadow/extra-legal/pirate/+++) also depend on tactics to survive, such as password protection and invite-only systems for registering new users. In this context, publishing is not broadcasting, scattering seeds of information widely to encourage maximal distribution. The public sphere created by the library is limited by necessary measures designed to sustain it.


Image: Chained books at the medieval Hereford Library, an illustration from Streeter, B. H., The Chained Library; A Survey of Four Centuries in the Evolution of the English Library, B. Franklin : New York [1970]