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Information Wants to Be Free & So Do We
A Pop Up Library on Communication, Control & Mass Incarceration
Information Wants to Be Free & So Do We asks audiences to question the idea that social, emotional, and intellectual control are necessary for public safety, rehabilitation, and justice.
In 2019 there are seemingly limitless ways to connect with family, friends, and to participate in our communities, whether we are physically close to them or far away. Education and self-improvement are easy to access and we can set our own course for what we want to learn.
While many privileged Americans take this for granted and bemoan our constant state of connection, information is increasingly controlled and restricted in jails, prisons, detention, and throughout the justice system — including while awaiting trial and after release.
This Pop Up Library and programs aim to make these punitive and often arbitrary policies and their effects on individuals, their families, and communities visible through collections of work made by currently and formerly incarcerated youth and adults in Chicago; materials from Illinois Deaths in Custody Project; censored and returned communications between family and friends; books banned from prison libraries; information maps; and conversations and workshops with individuals and organizations working to change these policies and end mass incarceration.
Information Wants to be Free & So Do We has featured collaborative programs with Illinois Deaths in Custody Project, Moms United Against Violence and Incarceration, Black & Pink, Free Write and more, and is supported by an Envisioning Justice grant from Illinois Humanities.
About Read/Write Library
Read/Write Library collects, preserves, and provides access to Chicago community media in order to promote and inspire diverse forms of cultural production and civic engagement. We recognize the contributions that all community members make to co-creating a city — prioritizing those that have been left out of or suppressed from the record — and believe that learning to value these stories plays a vital role in building empathy, community pride, and the ability to see oneself as a change agent. Unlike a traditional read-only library, a “read/write” library makes the record rewritable, constantly adding material from Chicagoans of all ages, backgrounds, education levels, neighborhoods and languages. Through our public programs and free browsing hours, growing collection of over 6,000 publications, and open source catalog, we strive to raise the visibility of this work in order to reveal connective threads across neighborhoods, generations, and cultures and to encourage inquiry into and ownership of the historical record.
For more information, visit readwritelibrary.org.