Coopting Government Resources- Public Libraries

Eric Sharp
Jan 7, 2013 at 5:38 PM

readActivism can take many forms. Communication is very important and many activists make effective use of social media, but few think to influence that older low-tech media hub: the local government library.

Is is libertarian to even use a government library? We are forced to pay for it's upkeep the same way we are forced to pay for roads and public utilities, so it is natural to make use of services we are forced to pay for and have few or no other alternatives.

Library activism is this: use the materials request form to fill your local library with as much pro-liberty reading material as you can! Whether it is the Bastiat Collection, Our Enemy the State, or a documentary DVD like American Drug War, stocking the shelves with this material changes what information your community is exposed to and has access to.

Not everyone has access to the Internet and many people still frequently check out books from libraries to enjoy and to do research. If they search "free market" and the first item that comes up is Capitalism: A Love Story, then you have a problem.

One might object that librarians won't want to purchase libertarian materials. But this has not been my personal experience. My local library has a copy of A Foreign Policy of Freedom by Ron Paul and LvMI's Bastiat Collection Pocket Edition simply because I requested them. Of course, not all my requests have been met, but it still makes a big difference. Librarians probably chiefly care about keeping their library stocked with relevant materials, not with running an agenda. They most likely get very very few materials requests and are likely to seriously consider yours.

Your library's materials request form might look like this one. It will ask for basic information like title, author, price and ISBN number. These are easy to look up and the more information you provide the better.

Doing this alone won't win the day but it will take lots of radical creative thinking to gain back our liberty. Influencing what is available to read can be a part of that mission.