St. Francis of Assisi Church

1131 SE Oak
Portland, Oregon 97214
(971) 258-1393


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Lownsdale Park

November 2011

        N October 6, 2011 activists set up their
tents and began building Occupy Portland, starting
with a handful of books and zines on a cardboard
desk in Chapman Square. By the night of the 7th,
the library had a tent- books made their way onto
shelves, workshopswere held on the ground, and
art supplies abounded. The library was a stone
soup experiment sustained by volunteers and
donated materials.
     Donations surged in, volunteers catalogued
books with the Dewey Decimal System, and they
were lent outon an honor system. Local librarians
offered their time and skills, even making us a
library stamp to prevent our books from being
resold. As camp expanded, so did the library,
claiming prime real estate on Lownsdale Square for
a robust library tent with two workshop tents and
art across the way. Requests were made for books
on law, politics, economics, the environment,
homesteading; science fiction overflow stabilized
shelves. Zines and fliers found homes in the
pockets of a door-sized shoe rack, and supplies
were stored in a donated dresser.
     As the Occupation progressed, the meaning of
the library expanded beyond a place to access
information to an organization that facilitates
learning. Braintrust meetings developed, calling
attention to the educational needs of the movement
and how to foster an environment that respects a
diversity of learning needs. Workshops took a
central role, and more than seventy presenters
shared their knowledge about topics ranging from
tax reform to pottery making to GMO's. We
renamed the library repeatedly, finally settling on
Our School.
     During the last weeks of camp, we began
preparing to bring workshops out into the
community, assembling panel speakers, and thinking
beyond the physical Occupation. At eviction time,
volunteers moved our 1,500 books to storage,
which are available again to the community at the
Che Room at St. Francis. Our School has focused
primarily on providing education panels to schools
and groups curious about Occupy since the
eviction. We are excited to begin offering
workshops again, facilitating the flow of
information and ideas, cultivating learning and
teaching opportunities for all.



Our entire online collection can be viewed on:

an historical collection from the Lowensdale &
Chapman Square Occupation

Lending Policy & Use


     Our School maintains a free lending library. We
do not make residency or the disclosure of
personal information a prerequisit for borrowing
our books and periodicals. Our entire collection is
available free of due dates and fines. Our School's
library has adopted an "on your honor" return
policy. We are always accepting book donations.
Our shelving space is currently limited so we ask
that you only bring books you yourself have read
and find valuable for enacting social change. Our
list of requested reading material is always changing.
Currently we are in need of:
       • Law Books
       • Text Books
       • Homesteading Books

External Resources


Rose City Resource

Rose City Resource Guide:
      Addiction & Recovery
      Counseling & Meditation
      Day Access Centers
      Dental Care
      Domestic Violence
      Employment & Training
      Financial Assistance
      Food Boxes
      Food Stamps
      Health Care
      HIV & Aids
      Hospital & Emergency
      Legal Services & Rights
      Pet Care
      Public Restrooms
      Renter's Resources
      Syringe Exchange
      Transitional Housing
      Utility Assistance
      Veterans Services
      Voting in Oregon
      Youth Services


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