Parallel Library – presentation and workshop

Simon Browne will introduce his project the bootleg library and run a workshop on building a parallel library for CSNI and The Photographers’ Gallery on the networked image. Book a place at

Presentation: The Bootleg Library, Thursday 26th November, 18:00-19:30
(Recording of the talk can be found here.)

The “bootleg library” is a particular, situated social infrastructure that operates from the understanding that the library is a collection of texts and readers. The bootleg library consists of 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.

Workshop: A Parallel Library, Friday 27th November, 10:00-12:00, 14:00-16:00

Join Simon Browne for a full-day workshop in which we will create a digital library and determine its particular system, together. The workshop is divided into a morning and afternoon session; each with its own focus. First we will explore the technical setup of the library, and secondly shape the collection. The workshop is planned for CSNI researchers but you can register your interest by sending an email to 

Simon Browne (AU) 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.

image: The bootleg library, available through the browser.