Talks and Events
Thu 26 Nov 2020

The Bootleg Library

18.00 GMT (on Zoom)
In collaboration with the Centre for the Study of the Networked Image

Simon Browne will introduce "The Bootleg Library", a travelling box of reprinted, handmade books, a digital library running on a self-hosted server and sessions in which readers meet to edit the collection together. It encourages readers to become writers; producing texts by uploading files and writing metadata that determines how texts are described, classified and catalogued, and by extension how they are encountered in the library.

Librarianship is shared between readers who determine rules together; The Bootleg Library is an intimate bureaucracy in which administration is a shared privilege and responsibility. The library gives access to knowledge and produces sociability within its collection of texts and publisher/librarians. It demonstrates that publishing is making things public and also making publics; the texts and the readers are inter-dependent, producing each other.

The printed bootleg library, set up at a bootleg library session at Varia (Rotterdam), February 2020


Simon Browne is an artist and researcher, a Contingent Librarian, and a recent graduate  of Experimental Publishing at the Piet Zwart Institute. He is the initiator of the "bootleg library", a collection of republished texts and the readers collected around them. His practice engages with the social dimension of publishing, free software and infrastructure that supports interpersonal knowledge-sharing networks.

Simon Browne will be leading a workshop on Friday 27th in which participants will create a digital library and determine its particular system together. The workshop is planned for CSNI researchers but you can register your interest sending an email to 

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