You Get All Sorts of People in the Library

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You get all sorts of people in the library, and the librarian gets it all.

Terry Pratchett

Knowledge equals power…

The string was important. After a while the Librarian stopped. He concentrated all his powers of librarianship.

Power equals energy…

People were stupid, sometimes. They thought the Library was a dangerous place because of all the magical books, which was true enough, but what made it really one of the most dangerous places there could ever be was the simple fact that it was a library.

Energy equals matter…

He swung into an avenue of shelving that was apparently a few feet long and walked along it briskly for half an hour.

Matter equals mass.

And mass distorts space. It distorts it into polyfractal L-space.

So, while the Dewey system has its fine points, when you’re setting out to look something up in the multidimensional folds of L-space what you really need is a ball of string.

Terry Pratchett, Guards! Guards!
An orangutan climbs library shelves with a book in hand
Oook” by Chris Wild is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Oook.

The Librarian

At Stimpunks, we’re building a knowledge commons and a space of openness, at the edges.

For me this space of radical openness is a margin a profound edge. Locating oneself there is difficult yet necessary. It is not a “safe” place. One is always at risk. One needs a community of resistance.

Living as we did on the edge we developed a particular way of seeing reality. We looked both from the outside in and from the inside out. We focused our attention on the centre as well as on the margin. We understood both.

 Choosing the Margin as a Space of Radical Openness, bell hooks 

We’re contributing to a library economy.

We Need A Library Economy

A library economy would require a vast reorientation of our priorities from the centrality of capital and competition to the centrality of humanity and cooperation, which brings us to the final core concept for a library economy: complementarity.

We Need A Library Economy – YouTube

Here are some books of the edges we recommend. We provide WorldCat links and embed Amazon previews. The Librarian, visiting us from Discworld via L-space, will guide your journey with the alacrity offered by prehensile hands and feet.

Rainbow Punk orangutan holding book in discworld library, Geometric, Manga, Colored Pencil
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We’d like to grow our library into something like The Bi Pan Library with synopses, selected quotes, contextualization, and more. Interested in helping?

I’m a writer at least partly because I had access to public libraries.

I am also a product of librarians who read stories to groups of avid little kids.

Octavia Butler

Libraries, with their grand stacks and hidden carrels, were more than a safe space for Butler: They provided possibilities.

Sitting in the hushed cocoon of the library gave shape and structure to her days. It gave her a role. It gave her purpose.

Whenever Butler felt dispirited — about not having a mentor or a steady income or a clear path forward — she’d remind herself that she always had two things: her desire and access to aisle upon aisle of books.

Octavia Butler’s Science Fiction Predicted the World We Live In – The New York Times
A young woman looks up toward images flowing from an open book with pages riffling
Image credit: “Neurodivergent #2: When visions leap off the page” by Betsy Selvam

Books bend space and time.

Guards! Guards!: A Novel of Discworld

NeuroTribes

Our community recommends NeuroTribes to everyone. NeuroTribes changed the conversation about what it is to be human. It is a history of the 20th Century through the lens of the dispossessed and misunderstood. It is a trip through anguish and horror and a celebration of the minds that survived to make modernity.

The idea of neurodiversity has inspired the creation of a rapidly growing civil rights movement based on the simple idea that the most astute interpreters of autistic behavior are autistic people themselves rather than their parents or doctors.

The notion that the cure for the most disabling aspects of autism will never be found in a pill, but in supportive communities, is one that parents have been coming to on their own for generations.

NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity

Take a trip through the pages of NeuroTribes with this talk from author Steve Silberman.

Why haven’t we built anything for them yet?
Build a structure that will enable autistic people and their families to live happier, healthier, more engaged, more productive, more creative, successful lives.

NeuroTribes and the Real History of Autism
2016 Neurodiversity High Tech Conference
orangutan with long rainbow fur gazing stoically at the camera
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New Releases in Our Own Voices

The tendency to force a meltdown upon an autistic person, and then to castigate them for acting in such a childish and ungrateful way, is a rhythm that most autistic adults will recognize and despise.

What I Want to Talk About How Autistic Special Interests Shape a Life
Black Disability Politics
Black Disability Politics

A lot of things remain that I want for me, and there are even more things I want for us. Manifestation requires desire, ambition, sensitivity, and creativity. Each book or story by a disabled person holds a piece of a spell…eventually when enough pieces come together and fit, there will be a collective harmonic conjuring. Ripples of energy propelled by momentum, our truths undeniable and irresistible, our messages reverberating far and wide with hidden frequencies just for us. By conjuring our power and manifesting infinite dreams together, the world will finally see us as we are.

Year of the Tiger: An Activist’s Life

I have spent over a decade unravelling myself, carefully turning over each piece shattered on the floor since my first breakdown, desperate to find one that I could recognise. I realised I had been camouflaging my whole life, that is, I’d been trying to mask my autistic traits and fit in with all the non-autistic people around me, desperate to always be liked and to never draw attention to myself. Underneath was an abyss of emptiness, a stream of tainted thoughts that didn’t belong to me. I was utterly lost, but little did I know that such a painful journey would lead to such an extraordinary rediscovery of myself and others.

Taking off the Mask: Practical Exercises to Help Understand and Minimise the Effects of Autistic Camouflaging

My first day of school was full of tears and utter terror as I desperately tried to cry out for my mum to return and take me home. But I had no words. While the teachers would say I refused to talk, even at the age of four I knew this wasn’t true. My words were stuck and I couldn’t talk.

Taking off the Mask: Practical Exercises to Help Understand and Minimise the Effects of Autistic Camouflaging

At the core of my work and life is the belief that disabled wisdom is the key to our survival and expansion. Crip genius is what will keep us all alive and bring us home to the just and survivable future we all need. If we have a chance in hell of getting there.

The Future Is Disabled : Prophecies, Love Notes and Mourning Songs

Yet a major way ableism works is to erase us from ideas of the future. The science fiction future, sure, but also the everyday future of having any idea of what a disabled adulthood or elderhood could look like. Ableism isolates and keeps disabled, Deaf, and neurodivergent people from finding disabled, Deaf, and neurodivergent communities. It’s common for parents or teachers to tell some disabled children they’re “not like the others,” for parents of autistic, Deaf, or disabled kids to deny our identities. Sometimes, especially for BIPOC people, this can be the best survival strategy we know, but being kept from each other also kills. Most people still draw a blank when you say the words “disabled community”—like, what is that? Autistic and disabled special-ed student Cole Sorensen writes, “Until I started college, I had never met an adult who was like me. I had other disabled friends, sure, but with no model of what my life could look like after graduation, I couldn’t imagine much of a future for myself at all.”6 This is why I believe some of disability justice’s most important work lies in how we’ve created space for BIPOC people (and, secondarily, Others) to identify as disabled, chronically ill, Deaf, or neurodivergent, through our creation of Black-and brown-centered disabled, sick, Deaf, and neurodivergent communities and politics. Community building isn’t always seen as “real activism” (whatever) but the work we do to create disabled Black and brown community spaces, online forums, hashtags, and artwork is lifesaving because it creates space for disabled BIPOC to come out as disabled. I mean big organized spaces, parties, and cultural events, and I also mean the disabled BIPOC version of “Hey, do you want some of my fries?”: one disabled BIPOC person being friendly and Initiating Hangout Space with another, who might not be ready to be out yet. It’s very difficult to organize for survival, power, and pleasure when people can’t even admit they go to this school, you know?

The Future Is Disabled : Prophecies, Love Notes and Mourning Songs

I wish I didn’t find it so hard to speak up.

But at school, when there’s so much going on at once, and so many sounds and tight clothes and new things?

I get overwhelmed.

So when I try to speak, I can never find the words.

Speak Up!

Before Mommy and I leave, I’m busy resting with my favorite super seat: Misty!

I have cerebral palsy, so I know that when my legs get tired I have to stop and sit.

Yesterday at the park, I overdid it on the swings, and my right leg still hurts a little.

Misty is the living room couch named after my favorite dancer, Misty Copeland. When we aren’t doing pirouettes before dance class, we play “I spy” and laugh at our silly answers. Misty loves to dance, and I know she loves me. She’s comfortable and graceful. That’s what makes her a super seat.

Sam’s Super Seats

Autistic people have built many niche communities from the ground up—both out of necessity and because our interests and modes of being are, well, weird.

Unmasking Autism: Discovering the New Faces of Neurodiversity (p. 218)
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Rainbow Punk orangutan libarian holding book in discworld library, Geometric, Manga, Colored Pencil
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Autistic Collaboration Trust

All books featured by the Autistic Collaboration Trust are written by members of the Autistic community and contribute to the co-creation of Autistic culture.

Covers of the books listed below.
  1. The Beauty of Collaboration at Human Scale (2021)
  2. Neuroqueer Heresies (2021)
  3. Autistic Community and the Neurodiversity Movement (2019)
  4. Being Autistic (2019)
  5. A Field Guide to Earthlings (2010)
  6. Through the Eyes of Aliens (1998)
  7. NeuroDiversity: The Birth of an Idea (1998)
  8. Don’t Mourn for Us (1993)

Source: Books | Autistic Collaboration

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rainbow orangutan librarian with books, Detailed and Intricate, Colored Pencil, Colorful, Dynamic Lighting
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Fundamental Texts of Progressive Pedagogy

Our friends at Human Restoration Project suggest that their community read these four “fundamental texts of progressive pedagogy” to understand their philosophy. These are great recommendations that also help understand our philosophy at Stimpunks.

When education is the practice of freedom, students are not the only ones who are asked to share, to confess. Engaged pedagogy does not seek simply to empower students. Any classroom that employs a holistic model of learning will also be a place where teachers grow, and are empowered by the process.

Teaching to Transgress : Education as the Practice of Freedom

When learning is allowed to be project, problem, and passion driven, then children learn because of their terroir, not disengage in spite of it. When we recognize biodiversity in our schools as healthy, then we increase the likelihood that our ecosystems will thrive.

To be contributors to educating children to live in a world that is increasingly challenging to negotiate, schools must be ​conceptualized as ecological communities, spaces for learning with the potential to embody all of the concepts of the ecosystem – interactivity, biodiversity, connections, adaptability, succession, and balance. 

Timeless Learning: How Imagination, Observation, and Zero-Based Thinking Change Schools

IF WE WANT to talk about schools in a way that matters, we have to talk about the people in schools. In fact, we have to make a habit of seeing things from the perspective of that student sitting right over there. You see her? She’s playing with her hair and wondering why the clock stops moving during math class. Meaningful educational reform requires us to understand her point of view: Can she connect at any level with what she just read?

As any number of studies have found, a child’s “thoughts and emotions while performing an action are more important in determining subsequent engagement than the actual outcome of that action.”

The Schools Our Children Deserve : Moving Beyond Traditional Classrooms and “Tougher Standards”

What all the essays in this book have in common is the belief that education is fundamental to democracy and that no democratic society can survive without a formative culture shaped by pedagogical practices capable of creating the conditions for producing citizens who are critical, self-reflective, knowledgeable, and willing to make moral judgments and act in a socially responsible way. I recognized early on in my career that critical pedagogy as a moral and political practice does more than emphasize the importance of critical analysis and moral judgments. It also provides tools to unsettle common-sense assumptions, theorize matters of self and social agency, and engage the ever-changing demands and promises of a democratic polity.

On Critical Pedagogy
Dr. Henry Giroux – Critical Pedagogy in a Time of Fascist Tyranny

Critical pedagogy takes as one of its central projects an attempt to be discerning and attentive to those places and practices in which social agency has been denied and produced.

On Critical Pedagogy
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Books Every Progressive Educator Should Read

Nick and Chris of Human Restoration Project list some of their favorite books for progressive educators.

I think a cornerstone of progressive education is understanding the connections between happiness and contentment and learning.

Schooling should be about creating a better world not preparing people for the world that exists.

Chris McNutt of Human Restoration Project

Hope is a platform for action.

What about our education is an inoculation against white supremacy and against white nationalism?

Good digital pedagogy is accessible to everyone.

Nick Covington of Human Restoration Project

Nick

Chris

Source: MINDFOOD I: Top 10 Books Every Progressive Educator Should Read – YouTube

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Autism Books For Parents and Clinicians

Steve Silberman offers a great list of autism books for parents and clinicians.

Source for this list: Resources – Steve Silberman

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Rainbow Punk orangutan in discworld library, Geometric, Manga, Colored Pencil
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For Autistic People, by Autistic People

Source for this list: Resources – Steve Silberman

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Rainbow Punk orangutan libarian holding book in discworld library, Geometric, Manga, Colored Pencil
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By Our Community

Kristina Daniele

Kristina Brooke Daniele is a Black, queer, neurodivergent homeschooling mom, educator, wife, and author of two books, (Civil Rights Then and Now and i wandered, lost: poems). Kristina has worked as an educator in some capacity for over 15 years- first as a classroom teacher, then as a homeschooling teacher, and currently, as an education consultant. She is passionate about collaborative projects centering on creating and maintaining safe-spaces for those who have for too long been pushed aside. During her time at Automattic, Kristina spearheaded the creation of the Employee Resource Group, Cocoamattic for Black employees at the company.

orange tabby cat lying on blue comforter
WIP
by Kristina Daniele

I’m in pain.
Mental. Physical.
The result’s the same.
Retreating into silence.
Resting my brain.
Taking deep breaths.
Trying to reframe.
Writing in my journal.
Listening to myself.
Trying to get centered
But drifting to the left.

I’m in pain.
Mental. Physical.
Emotionally, it’s the same.
Stimming to reset
Moving to get rest.
Blocking out the world,
And listening to myself.
Trying to get centered
But drifting to the left.
I'm a work in progress.
I'm not finished yet.
Resting rainbow colored orangutan drawn in colored pencil
The Librarian Rests
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Have you really read all these?

A good library is comprised in large part by books you haven’t read, making it something you can turn to when you don’t know something. He calls it: the Anti-Library.

The 5-Step Research Method I Used For Tim Ferriss, Robert Greene, and Tucker Max
discworld library, Geometric, Manga, Colored Pencil
discworld library, Geometric, Manga, Colored Pencil
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Someone walks into your house and sees your many books on your many bookshelves. Have you really read all these? they ask. This person does not understand knowledge. A good library is comprised in large part by books you haven’t read, making it something you can turn to when you don’t know something. He calls it: the Anti-Library.

I remember once in college, the pride I felt about being able to write an entire research paper with stuff from my own anti-library. We all have books and papers that we haven’t read yet. Instead of feeling guilty, you should see them as an opportunity: know they’re available to you if you ever need them.

This is the mark you must aim for as a researcher, to not only have enough material - and to know where the rest of what you haven’t read will be located - on hand to do your work. You must build a library and an anti-library now… before you have an emergency presentation or a shot at a popular guest post.

The 5-Step Research Method I Used For Tim Ferriss, Robert Greene, and Tucker Max

Libraries are Punk AF

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  1. Books are for use.
  2. Every person his or her book.
  3. Every book its reader.
  4. Save the time of the reader.
  5. A library is a growing organism.
Five laws of library science – Wikipedia
We rebuild what you destroy
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Librarians Rock

Libraries are the last place in America where you are valued for your personhood, rather than the contents of your wallet. At the library, you are a patron, not a customer.

As the public sphere has shrunk, libraries have expanded to pick up the slack. Librarians liase with social workers for their patrons, help them apply for emergency rental assistance, give them broadband onsite and to take home with them (the New York Public Library calls its wifi hospot program “lending out the entire internet”). Your library will loan you a suit for a job interviewtools to fix your home, or toys for your kid.

Librarians are kind of upside-down cops: public employees who are stepping in wherever the rest of our services have failed.

They Want to Kill Libraries. The Last Place in America Where You Are… | by Cory Doctorow | Nov, 2022 | Medium

Further explorations in L-space,

I leaned closer and whispered, “A librarian’s gotta do what a librarian’s gotta do.”

Libriomancer
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