The Circulation of Knowledge Archive

Comprised of many iterative co-existing parts, The Circulation of Knowledge Archive was a collaboration with the Santa Cruz County Public Library system. First initiated through the production of a site specific video installation at the Garfield Park Branch Public Library, the collaboration quickly led to working with Outreach Services. Outreach Services is best known for the Bookmobile, but whether in the Bookmobile or not Outreach Staff systematically serve numerous disenfranchised communities, such as farm labour camps, low income neighborhoods, the county jails, senior living facilities, and home bound seniors to name just a few.

In an attempt to account for the many complexities of a civic and cultural institution that engages such a disparate array of populations we produced an oral history archive. While any given interview contains a wealth of personal and anecdotal stories all the interviews have been indexed through their relationship to the Bookmobile and/or Outreach Services. This means the individual’s relationship to the Bookmobile becomes the entry point into thematic and narrative connections with other interviews, or the entry point into that individual’s extended personal narrative.

Simultaneously while the work with Outreach Services was being developed the political climate surrounding the public library system heated up because of funding issues. The Joint Powers Board that directs the library system commissioned a task force to come up with solutions for restructuring the library system. Two of the four options involved closing three to four of the ten branches. What followed was a series of public hearing where hundreds of concerned citizens came out to voice their concerns. We went to all the public hearings and documented all of the comments by both the public and the board members, then I translated the task force document that had defined the terms of the conflict into a website that allows users to quickly compare the details of the different options and watch corresponding arguments from the public hearings. Users can leave comments and vote on each of the options.

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