By Kate Adler, Director of Library Services

At this time, more serious and more strange than any of us may ever know, we need deeply to rely on one another. Our communities – in whatever form – are our greatest source of strength, all the more so as they become radically and jarringly redefined due to social distancing. They are all we have to keep us well in body, mind, and spirit. 

Research Tip of the Day 

D.I.Y. Resource Sharing: Often, especially at moments such as these, our neighbors and various communities provide the best sources of crucial information in the face of change. At such times, many also seek to share and document their experiences and observations as part of a larger communal experience. With all that in mind, we have created this  MCNY Library Shared Resources & Experiences Spreadsheet. Please add in any resources you are finding helpful or simply experiences, thoughts, observations you want to share. The spreadsheet will be both an immediate source of useful information and an archive of the moment. 

Community Resources 

Yes, some things we need will come through government (local, federal) and through business (did you know that a number of internet service providers are providing free WiFi access?). However, today we are going to talk about Mutual Aid Projects. 

Think about how the Black Panthers or the Young Lords supported their communities by providing free breakfast or healthcare.  Disability and Transformative Justice writer Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha describes “webs of care” that center practical, mutual aid, interdependence, where folks save one another, time and time again, when the state has no interest in doing so. 

At the MCNY Library, we like to think of libraries themselves as aligned with this kind of work. That’s why it made so much sense to us last month to have our Pizza and Conversation Roundtable Discussions about the Cooperative Economy. Check out Natalia’s description of those events on our blog!  

Did you know that there have been public libraries founded by low-income people of color run by and for the community–by Black Panthers and single mothers in Queens, by “welfare mothers” (to use the  language that they did, to describe themselves at the time)  in West Las Vegas? That’s just to say that at the MCNY Library – and our Learning Commons — we hope to align ourselves deeply with a spirit of Mutual Aid. We believe in supporting our communities by harnessing all the skills and smarts and strengths and compassion and wisdom they bring to bear. We hope that you join us in this time and turn toward resources grounded in Mutual Aid.  

To learn more about Mutual Aid in general, take a look at the Big Door Brigade and their “Mutual Aid Toolbox.” The resources below are courtesy of  The Interference Archive, a really cool community archive devoted to social movements, located in Park Slope, Brooklyn 

Compiled lists: 

Mutual Aid: 

Campaigns to support: 

Things to read and take action on: 

For Students: 

For Caregivers and Kids: