Yesterday, I received this message from the Open Reading Group:
This spring, Dexter Sinister is busy morphing from a “just-in-time workshop and occasional bookstore” into an non-profit institution-of-sorts called The Serving Library. This involves incorporating (The Serving Library Company, Inc.), describing (A Statement of Intent) and fundraising (here):
The idea is to build on the haphazard, contingent clutter of activities assembled during the five-year lease of our basement space on Ludlow Street in New York (which expires just before the summer) towards a more explicit, coherent set of intentions that can be condensed into the following equation:
“The Serving Library is a cooperatively-built archive that assembles itself by publishing. It will consist of 1. an ambitious public website; 2. a small physical library space; 3. a publishing program which runs through #1 and #2.”
The longer story involves two collections of books and artifacts, an online and printed successor to Dot Dot Dot called Bulletins of The Serving Library, a speculative Foundation Course modeled on the Photoshop Toolbox, a rotating Guest Librarianship, and a 12-year Black Whisky. Further elaboration is offered in A Statement of Intent, available from our existing library:
“I don’t complain about institutions! I complain about institutions that I don’t like.” (Michelangelo Pistoletto)
Please circulate this announcement freely.
Regards, David Reinfurt, Stuart Bailey, Angie Keefer
Please give what you can — one Ben Franklin will go a long way toward supporting The Serving Library and will ensure your copy of the first issue of the library Bulletin.
One of America’s first pirates was a Philadelphia printer named Benjamin Franklin, who was born in Boston three years before England’s passage of copyright protection with the Statute of Anne in 1709. At 15, Franklin watched his brother James establish the colonies’ first independent newspaper, The New-England Courant. Franklin ran away two years later and soon found himself in London as an apprentice typesetter. By 1726, he had returned to America and found employment in Thomas Denham’s print shop.
For Franklin, piracy was a win-win: money for him, along with revolutionary ideas for a young republic. The scarcity of books in the colonies led Franklin to establish a book-sharing conversation group known as the Junto (or Leather Apron Club), and, later, the Library Company of Philadelphia in 1731. According to the US State Department’s Outline of American Literature, which is available as a free PDF from America.gov, “The unauthorized printing of foreign books was originally seen as a service to the colonies as well as a source of profit for printers like Franklin, who reprinted the works of the classics and great European books to educate the American public.”