The Public Library as InfoShop | Brian James Schill | TEDxGrandForks by TEDx Talks   3 years ago

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Libraries are changing in profound ways in the 21st Century. But even as public libraries move from being silent spaces to multimedia, multiuse spaces for information producers, they are doing so in the wake of an interest group which in many ways was there first: Anarchists. Developing collaborative, independent multimedia spaces known as InfoShops since at least the 1980s, the global anarchist community paved the way for what has become a trend in 21st Century library design—spaces that promote not only media for lending but hands-on arts space, performance space, alternative education, DIY culture, and civic engagement.

In this talk Brian James Schill discusses libraries’ “incidental” appropriation of the InfoShop, arguing that more libraries should be modeling themselves on InfoShops both to recuperate the public space that is vanishing rapidly in democracies around the world and help breathe new life into a public sphere that has found itself deflating for decades in the U.S.

Brian James Schill has been teaching interdisciplinary courses for the University of North Dakota Honors Program since 2005. Putting into practice his background in punk rock, Media Studies, Literary Theory and Criticism, and Comparative Religious Studies, Schill has published several articles in the academic and trade press on popular music, prairie subculture, and something called “postanarchism.” His forthcoming book is entitled Lusty Scrips: A Literary History of Punk and Postpunk (Indiana University Press, 2016). A North Dakota native, Schill has been President of the Grand Forks Public Library Board of Directors since 2011.

This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at

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