What does it mean to be a contingent librarian? Simon Browne explains it, by presenting two of his works.
The bootleg library is a particular, situated social infrastructure. It operates from the understanding that the library is a collection; a collection of the texts contained within it, and the readers collected around them. A reciprocal, self-reflexive relationship between the texts and the readers produces sociability. A bootleg is an homage, an unauthorised copy of a source publication; bootlegging is a strategy by which texts are diversified through use and multiplied in form, resisting singularity and representing readers.
The bootleg library sessions, Simon Browne, Flyers, 2020.
Temporary Indexing is an experimental tool for printing, reading and sharing our personal library collections. It makes PDFs of print-ready catalogue cards from database files produced by installations of Calibre. It is intended to be used in print parties, social events where we make indices and share our collections in an intimate, one-to-one setting. The tool encourages us to read and edit our libraries as an index made in a moment of printing, sharing, meeting, reading, making public.
Simon Browne is an artist, designer, experimental publisher, researcher and a contingent librarian. 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. He is a member of the Rotterdam based collective Varia.