Skip to content


CLIR: The Third Library and the Commons

The Third Library and the Commons

“The idea of the “commons” is often invoked in discussions of the academic library’s future, but these references are usually vague and rhetorical. What exactly does it mean for the library to be organized as a commons, and what might such a library look like? Does the concept of the commons offer a useful lens for identifying the library’s injustices or shortcomings? How might we draw on the concept of the commons to see beyond the horizon of the contemporary library, toward a “Third Library” that truly advances decolonial and democratic ends?

This essay engages with such questions and explores how the constituent elements of the academic library—its knowledge assets, its workers, and its physical spaces—might be reoriented toward the commons. It argues that such an orientation might facilitate the emergence of a Third Library that is able to organize resistance to contemporary capitalism’s impetus toward the privatization and enclosure of knowledge, and to help recover a democratic conception of knowledge as a public good.”

Section One: The Library and the Knowledge Commons

Section Two: The Library as a Workplace Commons

Section Three: Space, and The Library as a Physical Commons

A word cloud that summarizes frequently recurring words occuring in R1 Library strategic plans; the word "library" is the largest word at the center. Other keywords are arrayed around it, in different colors

Posted on: January 28, 2022, 6:45 am Category: Uncategorized

0 Responses

Stay in touch with the conversation, subscribe to the RSS feed for comments on this post.