Blinken OSA Archivum Concrete Exhibition, 2008, detail.
Photo : © Márta Rácz

The Library and the Reconstruction of Discarded History

Olindo Caso
Zsófia Bene
In its contemporary form, the library is an ever-changing “platform,”1 1 - Richard David Lankes, Expect More: Demanding Better Libraries for Today’s Complex World (Jamesville: Riland Press, 2012). a “social infrastructure”2 2 - Shannon Mattern, “Library as Infrastructure,” Places Journal (June 2014), accessed August 23, 2016, that supports people, communities, and self-directed creativity from the bottom up. In their physical form, library collections are becoming less of a determining factor in the library’s value. However these collections still house materials that feed individual explorations, both as content and as objects. The contemporary public library’s mission includes four typical areas: learning space (explore), inspiration space (excite), meeting space (participate), and performative space (create).3 3 - Henrik Jochumsen, Casper Hvenegaard Rasmussen, and Dorte Skot-Hansen, “The Four Spaces — A New Model for the Public Library,” New Library World 113, no. 11/12 (2012): 586 — 97. The performative area has been booming in the last decade in response to the rise of the “maker movement” (including makerspaces and fab labs), a phenomenon encapsulated within the broader socio-economic turn toward a culture-embedded economy centred on design and creativity.4 4 - Scott Lash and John Urry, Economies of Signs and Space (London: Sage, 1994); Pier Luigi Sacco, “Culture 3.0: A New Perspective for the EU 2014 — 2020 Structural Funds Programming,” EENC — European Expert Network on Culture (Brussels: European Commission, 2011), accessed August 23, 2016, % E2 % 80 % 93-a-new-perspective-for-the-eu-2014-2020-structural-funds-programming; George Ritzer, Paul Dean, and Nathan Jurgenson, “The Coming of the Age of the Prosumer,” American Behavioral Scientist 56, no. 4 (2012): 379 — 98.

Accordingly, knowledge consumers become at the same time knowledge producers (“prosumers”), who are increasingly finding the public library to be an ideal environment for their creations. Notably, this is not limited to high technologies and digital literacy alone. Although it is fundamental to the process of making accessible to many a range of (almost professional) apps for inventing, managing, and exploiting, it also applies to handcrafting, reading, writing, painting, and playing music. The valence of contemporary libraries as performative spaces also lies in their enabling the convergence of a diversity of expressive tools, encouraging experimentation and “hybridization” across different forms of creativity, producing new personal content that can be shared with the community.5 5 - Lawrence Lessig, Remix: Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy (London: Bloomsbury, 2008).

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This article also appears in the issue 89 – Library - Library

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