Librarians and Archivists with Palestine Box Set
Librarians and Archivists with Palestine Box Set
Photo, Silkscreen, Xerox
Box set, Loose pages, Stapled
20.25 × 14.25 × 1.75 in
2 in stock
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Libraries
University of California, Irvine (UCI)
University of California, San Diego (UCSD)
University of Connecticut (UCONN)
Librarians and Archivists with Palestine (LAP) is a network of self-defined librarians, archivists, and information workers in solidarity with the Palestinian struggle for self-determination. This network grew out of Librarians and Archivists to Palestine, a June 2013 delegation of sixteen librarians and archivists who met with Palestinians throughout the West Bank and Israel. The delegation aimed to explore how information about Palestine reaches us, or does not, and the ways in which this information is suppressed, censored, or misrepresented. We also aimed to learn how Palestinians access or are denied access to information and their own material culture. We sought to connect with Palestinian colleagues in order to exchange ideas, share skills, and develop concrete connections based on mutual solidarity. In all our travels and work, we respected the Palestinian civil society call for boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) against Israel and did not partner with any organization that violates this call.
Everywhere we went, we witnessed the realities of life under occupation as well as ongoing resistance. We were privileged to meet with activists and representatives of academic libraries, public libraries, museums, and cultural centers throughout the West Bank and Israel, and we learned about their projects and their struggles. We discussed issues we have in common and gained a deeper understanding of issues specific to Palestine, including barriers to information access.
It is crucial to understand that the Israeli state’s destruction and appropriation of Palestinian material culture is part of a continuum of ethnic cleansing, one that is ongoing. In response, there is a strong drive to uncover, preserve, collect, and make accessible the materials people have managed to personally save, to digitize documents such as court cases and land deeds that serve as evidence against historic theft, and to record the oral histories of older generations. Alongside these activities, there is also a tension regarding how history is told, and whether the preservation of material culture is being carried out in ways that serve the people or serve government interests and state-building. Regardless, the preservation of Palestinian culture is part of an ongoing process of resistance, which in all its myriad forms resoundingly refutes the notion that Palestine does not exist.
While the delegation has ended, our work goes on, and we are committed to sharing what we learned, publicizing projects we visited, and otherwise breaking down barriers to information access in any way we can. This box set is a reflection of our experiences but is by no means a complete picture. Hopefully, it is a useful starting point for anyone who wants to begin their own critical examination.
– Librarians and Archivists with Palestine, 2014
BOX SET CONTENTS
Informational booklet with artist and contributor bios, image captions, and historical background on the LAP trip
8 fine art screen prints:
DS128.4, Josh MacPhee, 18 x 11.5 inches, 2014
There Was No Farewell, Molly Fair, 2014, 18.5 x 12 inches, 2014
Umm (Mother), Molly Fair, 18.5 x 12 inches, 2014
Kites Over Palestine, Molly Fair, 18.5 x 12 inches, 2014
Qalandiya Checkpoint, Bronwen Densmore, 18.5 x 12.5 inches, 2014
Open Shuhada Street, Josh MacPhee, 18 x 11.5 inches, 2014
BDS Megaphone, Rachel Mattson, 18.5 x 12 inches, 2014
Stay Human, Bekezela Mguni and Leslie Stem, 21 x 16.5 inches, 2014
6 digital photo prints:
Nabi Saleh, Andrea Miller-Nesbitt, 8 x 10 inches, 2013
Orient House, Maggie Schreiner, 8 x 10 inches, 2013
Prisoners’ Collection, Nablus Public Library, Molly Fair, 8 x 10 inches, 2013
Aida Refugee Camp, Maggie Schreiner, 8 x 10 inches, 2013
Stones in Saffourieh, Maggie Schreiner, 8 x 10 inches, 2013
Madaa Silwan Creative Center, Molly Fair, 8 x 10 inches, 2013
6 zines, various dimensions:
Overdue Books: Returning Palestine’s ‘Abandoned Property’ of 1948, Hannah Mermelstein, 8.5 x 5.5 inches, 18 pages, 2014
Through narrative, photographs, and analysis, this zine tells the story of privately-owned Palestinian books that were taken by Israel and now reside in Israel’s National Library, with no acknowledgment of former ownership or attempt to return the books. Hannah describes a handful of books that she studied for identifying information (names, dedications, book stamps), looks at the return of Nazi-looted Jewish material as a model, and offers suggestions for next steps and further resources.
Handala, Josh MacPhee, 5.5 x 4.25 inches, 31 pages, 2014
One of the most universally popular symbols amongst Palestinians in the Occupied Territories, within 1948-borders Israel, in refugee camps, and in the diaspora is the cartoon image of Handala. The only image more likely to be seen is the Palestinian flag. Handala is a young Palestinian refugee, tattered and backturned, refusing to grow up until he can return to his homeland. He is seen as a symbol of popular defiance, and appears in graffiti, on t-shirts, key chains, car decals, and in shop windows. Handala was created by Naji al-Ali, a Palestinian cartoonist who was exiled in 1948 (at age 10), and murdered in 1987.
Human Geography in Nablus, ‘Mountain of Fire,’ Melissa Morrone, with photos by various delegates, 4.25 x 5.5 inches, 14 pages, 2014
This zine pairs the original text of an essay written by Brooklyn librarian and LAP delegate Melissa Morrone with photographs taken by librarian and archivist delegates in the city of Nablus. The zine walks the reader through several sites and conversations from the trip, including the Nablus Public Library and its collection of prisoners’ books and notebooks; the old city; Balata refugee camp; and a dinner with geographer and activist Saed Abu Hijleh. Designed by Vani Natarajan.
Prisoners’ Books at the Nablus Public Library, Maggie Schreiner, 5.5 x 4.25 inches, 14 pages, 2014
This zine discusses a collection of prisoners’ books and notebooks currently held by the Nablus Municipal Public Library. The collection combines the libraries of two prisons that were closed during the 1990s. The books speak to the intellectual and cultural interests of Palestinian prisoners and the role of education in the struggle against the Israeli occupation. Current access to books for Palestinian prisoners is also discussed.
Wall: Palestine, Josh MacPhee with various delegates, 8.5 x 7 inches, 47 pages, 2014
This zine is a collection of photographs of walls taken across cities in the West Bank and Israel from June 23–July 4, 2013. Walls play a complicated role in Palestine. While urban walls are a popular site of much communication between both individuals and political factions, they sit in the shadow of THE wall, the giant Apartheid Wall that Israel has built around the West Bank and Gaza. That wall is also covered with graffiti and messaging, although there is debate amongst Palestinians about the efficacy of decorating it. Some feel it is best left blank, the giant sheets of concrete saying far more about Israel and its policies than any graffiti ever could. The artists of almost all of the graffiti and murals are unknown. Designed by Josh MacPhee with photos from librarian and archivist delegation members.
The ABCs of Occupation & Resistance, Rachel Mattson, 8.5 x 5.5, 18 pages, 2014
This zine is an alphabetic intervention. Letter by letter, it offers a primer in the legal, military, & bureaucratic details of the Israeli occupation of Palestine— and the resistance that Palestinians and their allies are waging against it.
Librarians and Archivists to Palestine: Map of Places We Visited, Vani Natarajan and Bronwen Densmore, xerox, 8.5 x 11 inches, 2014
This map visualizes the itinerary of the librarians’ and archivists’ travels through cities, villages, and refugee camps in the West Bank and ’48 territories in a single-page, foldout format. The map shows sites paired with hand drawings, with descriptive text on the reverse-side panels.
Catalog Cards, Vani Natarajan, digital print on card stock, 2014
“Catalog Cards” revisits an analog form familiar to many librarians and library lovers. Each card in the 16-piece set covers a work of literature, film, or music by a Palestinian artist, with original type done on an IBM Wheelwriter electric typewriter.
“Palestinian Kitchen” potholders, Hannah Mermelstein, digital print on cloth, hand-sewn, 8 x 8 inches
Potholders with recipes printed on one side from the “Palestinian Kitchen,” a cookbook compiled by the women’s group at the Madaa Creative Center in Silwan. The cookbook is a project to celebrate and preserve Palestinian heritage. Our delegation got copies of the book when we visited Madaa Creative Center and the Wadi Hilweh Information Center in Silwan, where residents of the neighborhood create grassroots media about the settler violence they experience on a daily basis.
My First Book, Tamer Institute, various years and dimensions
Children’s book published by the Tamer Institute for Community Education, as part of their annual “My First Book” contest. Written and illustrated by children.
USB drive with the following digital information:
Issue of The Bulletin (Vol. 33, No. 2, December 2013) featuring “A Report on the Librarians and Archivists to Palestine Delegation, June 23-July 4, 2013” by Blair Kuntz (PDF)
Issue of the Feliciter (Vol. 59, No. 6, December 2013) featuring “Librarians and Archivists to Palestine” by Andrea Miller-Nesbitt and Maggie Schreiner (PDF)
Excerpt from Jerusalem Quarterly (Vol. 43, Autumn 2011) featuring “Overdue Books: Returning Palestine’s ‘Abandoned Property’ of 1948,” by Hanna Mermelstein (PDF)
KCSB interview with Molly Fair and Vani Natarajan—July 24, 2013 (MP3)
CKUT Montreal interview with Maggie Schreiner and Andrea Miller-Nesbitt – August 22, 2013
WBAI Asia Pacific Forum interview with Maggie Schreiner and Vani Natarajan —October 28, 2013 (MP3)
130 images (JPG) with captions / descriptions (PDF)
This box set was supported in part by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council, and by Occuprint.
Published by Booklyn and LAP in Brooklyn, NY
Screenprints printed by Kevin Caplicki at the Brooklyn Print Lab
Translations by Mezna Qato, Blair Kuntz, and Hannah Mermelstein