We are happy to announce the launch of Special Issue #9: The Library Is Open.

Date: Thursday June 20th, 2019
Location: Leeszaal West | Rijnhoudtplein 3 | Rotterdam
Time: 13:30-18:00


13:30 Introduction
14:00 Session 1
15:00 Break
15:30 Session 2
16:30 Sharing moment and wrap up
17:00 End

*Registration is not necessary, as on arrival you will be assigned to two workshops. After the first session there will be a short break, after which the second session of workshops will begin. At the end of the event we’ll have a moment to share the outcomes of the workshops all together. We’d like you to attend both sessions if possible, in order to maximise the experience.

The event is divided into three parallel workshops which will be held twice, giving participants the opportunity to encounter different experiences:


The Library Is Open invites you to an afternoon of workshops that make the operations within libraries visible. Join us in exploring the actions and roles of legal and extra-legal libraries (municipal, pirate, academic, +++), their custodians, and the public that form a community around collections of texts.

The event is divided into three parallel workshops which will be held twice, giving participants the opportunity to encounter different experiences:

Marginal Conversations

We read texts, and write notes in the margins; usually in private, isolated from other readers. We come across texts with others’ notes on them; the author unknown, their thoughts obscure. What happens when we share our notes, vocalise and perform them?

In this workshop… we’ll read, annotate and discuss an open letter which asks for pirate library practices to come out from the shadows. We’ll read aloud and perform parts of the text, enriched by our doubts, sympathies, tensions and diverse understandings. We’ll personalise the text, opening it up for collective conversations. Our voices will occupy the space and leave traces on the text and in the library.

Knowledge in Action

Through role play you will perform the activities crucial to the sustenance of libraries. You will interpret and reimagine the actors that take part in knowledge production and distribution, such as the librarian, the researcher, the pirate, the publisher, the reader, the writer, the student, the copyist, the printer.

The workshop consists of three activities where different scenarios shift your accustomed perspective to start common dialogues. Put yourselves in the shoes of the librarian, imagine together a reading space, and contest the morality of knowledge proprietization.

Blurry boundaries

Select, annotate, analyze, scan, correct, digitize, print, read, transfer, erase, encode, curate, hack, interface, work, copy…

How do we reveal the hidden labour involved in these processes? What libraries become possible when you transform physical books into digital files, and vice versa?

In this workshop you will be a librarian converting books into machine readable files, a process involving tools, time and choices.

The Library Is Open is a participatory event developed by the Piet Zwart Institute’s Experimental Publishing program as part of the research project Special Issue #9: Interfacing the Law, in partnership with Constant. Interfacing the Law is a recurring thematic project which looks at how publishing practices develop in accordance, or in dissonance with legal frameworks.


Simon Browne, Tancredi Di Giovanni, Paloma García, Rita Graça, Artemis Gryllaki, Pedro Sá Couto, Femke Snelting, Biyi Wen, Bohye Woo

Special thanks to:

Bodó Balázs, Dušan Barok, Anita Burato, André Castro, Aymeric Mansoux, Michael Murtaugh, Martino Morandi, Leslie Robbins, Steve Rushton, Amy Suo Wu, Eva Weinmayr

Special Issues