Acasă Articole RTR Making Sense of Bookster: A Commercial Rental Library and Public Libraries in...

Making Sense of Bookster: A Commercial Rental Library and Public Libraries in Romanian Capitalist Realism

864
Rezumat

Abstract: This article employs Mark Fisher’s concept of capitalist realism to frame a discussion about the neoliberalisation of Romanian librarianship. Bookster, a Romanian online rental library that mainly services corporate employees and often advertises itself as public library, is taken here as a case study. Capitalist realism is reinforced in this particular case by the fact that a private, profit-driven company successfully assumes the identity of a public library, even mediating book rentals between state libraries and the platform’s own end-users. On the other hand, librarianship as academic discipline has distanced itself from the idea of the library (undergoing rebranding as ‘information science’), while public libraries in Romania and all over the world have been subjected to the most drastic neoliberal policies of commodification and privatization. This dynamic ultimately paints the very picture of capitalist realism, implying that the private sector alone is capable of successfully running libraries.

Keywords: neoliberalism, commodification, privatization, libraries, librarianship, platform capitalism

Bibliografie

Anghelescu, Hermina G. B., and Elena Chiaburu. “Regime Change in Romania: A Quarter-Century Impact on Libraries.” Library Trends 63, no. 4 (2015): 809–43. https://doi.org/10.1353/lib.2015.0020.

Anstice, Ian. “Public Libraries in the Age of Austerity: The Gloves Are Off.” In The Death of Public Knowledge?, edited by Aeron Davis, 133–40. London: Goldsmiths Press, 2017.

Ban, Cornel. Dependență și dezvoltare: economia politică a capitalismului românesc [Depencency and Development: The Political Economy of Romanian Capitalism]. Translated by Ciprian Şiulea. Colecția de stradă. București: Tact, 2014.

Birdsall, William F. “A Political Economy of Librarianship?”. Progressive Librarian, no. 18 (2001): 1–8.

Buckland, Michael. “Documentation, Information Science, and Library Science in the U.S.A.” Information Processing & Management – History of Information Science 32, no. 1 (January 1996): 63–76. https://doi.org/10.1016/0306-4573(95)00050-Q.

Budd, John M. “A Critique of Customer and Commodity.” College & Research Libraries 58, no. 4 (July 1997): 309–20. https://doi.org/10.5860/crl.58.4.309.

Buschman, John. “Public Libraries Are Doing Just Fine, Thank You: It’s the ‘Public’ in Public Libraries That Is Threatened / Les Bibliothèques Publiques Se Portent Très Bien, Merci : C’est Le  Public  Dans Les Bibliothèques Publiques Qui Est Menacé.” Canadian Journal of Information & Library Sciences 43, no. 2 (2020): 158–71. https://doi.org/10.3138/cjils.e10607.

D’Angelo, Ed. Barbarians at the Gates of the Public Library: How Postmodern Consumer Capitalism Threatens Democracy, Civil Education and the Public Good. Duluth, Minn: Library Juice Press, 2006.

Düren, Petra, Stéphane Goldstein, Ane Landøy, Angela Repanovici, and Jarmo Saarti. “Effects of the New Public Management (NPM) and Austerity in European Public and Academic Libraries.” Journal of Library Administration 59, no. 3 (April 2019): 342–57. https://doi.org/10.1080/01930826.2019.1583019.

Ellenwood, Dave. “‘Information Has Value’: The Political Economy of Information Capitalism.” In the Library with the Lead Pipe, September 2020.

Enright, Nathaniel F. “The Violence of Information Literacy: Neoliberalism and the Human as Capital.” In Information Literacy and Social Justice: Radical Professional Praxis, 15–38. Library Juice Press, 2013.

Fisher, Mark. Capitalist Realism: Is There No Alternative? Zero Books. Winchester, UK Washington, USA: Zero Books, 2009.

Fisher, Mark. Realism capitalist: Nu există nicio alternativă? Translated by Paul-Teodor Cristescu, introduction by Ștefan Baghiu. Cluj-Napoca: Tact, 2022.

Gog, Sorin, and Anca Simionca, eds. Noile subiectivități ale capitalismului global: spiritualitate, dezvoltare personală și transformări neoliberale în România [The New Subjectivities of Global Capitalism: Spirituality, Personal Development, and Neoliberal Transformations in Romania]. Cluj-Napoca: Tact & Presa Universitară Clujeană, 2020.

Greene, Margaret, and David McMenemy. “The Emergence and Impact of Neoliberal Ideology on UK Public Library Policy, 1997.” In Library and Information Science Trends and Research: Europe, edited by Amanda Spink and Jannica Heinström, 613–41. Library and Information Science. Emerald Group Publishing Limited, 2012. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1876-0562(2012)0000006005.

Ibekwe, Fidelia. European Origins of Library and Information Science. Studies in Information 13. Emerald Publishing, 2019.

Iovănel, Mihai. Istoria Literaturii Române Contemporane: 1990-2020 [The History of Contemporary Romanian Literature: 1990-2020]. Iași: Polirom, 2021.

Jameson, Fredric. Postmodernism, or, The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism. 2. print. in pbk. London: Verso, 2007.

Jameson, Fredric. Postmodernismul sau logica culturală a capitalismului târziu. Translated by Alex Văsieş and Vlad Pojoga. Sibiu: Editura ULBS, 2021.

Jerrard, Jane, Nancy M. Bolt, and Karen Strege. Privatizing Libraries. Chicago: American Library Association, 2012.

Kruk, Miroslaw. “Death of the Public Library: From ‘People’s University’ to ‘Public-Sector Leisure Centre’.” The Australian Library Journal 47, no. 2 (January 1998): 157–67. https://doi.org/10.1080/00049670.1998.10755842.

Lerner, Frederick Andrew. The Story of Libraries: From the Invention of Writing to the Computer Age. New York: Continuum, 1998.

Luthmann, Abigail. “Librarians, Professionalism and Image: Stereotype and Reality.” Edited by David McMenemy. Library Review 56, no. 9 (January 2007): 773–80. https://doi.org/10.1108/00242530710831211.

McMenemy, David. “What Is the True Value of a Public Library?” Library Review 56 (April 2007): 273–77. https://doi.org/10.1108/00242530710743471.

Micle, Maria. “Stereotypes Regarding Libraries and Librarians: An Approach of Romanian School and Academic Libraries.” Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, International Conference on Communication and Education in Knowledge Society, 163 (December 2014): 92–98. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sbspro.2014.12.291.

Nicolescu, Valentin Quintus, and Diana Elena Neaga. “Bringing the Market in, Letting the Science Out. Neoliberal Educational Reform in Romania.” Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, The Fourth International Conference on Adult Education, Romania 2014, 142 (August 2014): 104–10. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sbspro.2014.07.595.

Pavel, Sebastian-Raul. “Revoluție și competențe literate: România ostcomunistă.” Revista Transilvania 12 (April 20, 2021): 12-20. https://doi.org/10.51391/trva.2021.03.02.

Rassuli, Kathleen M., and Stanley C. Hollander. “Revolving, Not Revolutionary Books: The History of Rental Libraries Until 1960.” Journal of Macromarketing 21, no. 2 (December 2001): 123–34. https://doi.org/10.1177/0276146701212003.

Redacția. “Noutăți în Asociație.” BiblioMAGAZIN. Buletinul informativ al ANBPR 2, no. 24 (June 2018): 24.

Seale, Maura. “The Neoliberal Library.” In Information Literacy and Social Justice: Radical Professional Praxis, edited by Lua Gregory and Shana Higgins, 39–61. Library Juice Press, 2013.

Simionca, Anca. “Neoliberal Managerialism, Anti-communist Dogma and the Critical Employee in Contemporary Romania.” Studia Universitatis Babes-Bolyai – Sociologia 57, no. 1 (2012): 123–49.

Soudias, Dimitris. “Imagining the Commoning Library: Alter-Neoliberal Pedagogy in Informational Capitalism.” Journal of Digital Social Research 3, no. 1 (2021): 39–59. https://doi.org/10.31235/osf.io/g248q.

Srnicek, Nick. Platform Capitalism. Edited by Laurent De Sutter. Theory Redux. Cambridge, UK; Malden, MA: Polity, 2017.

Stan, Adriana, and Cosmin Borza. “Deetatization of Culture, Privatization of Politics: The Case of the Publishing Houses in Postcommunist Romania”. Studia Politica: Romanian Political Science Review 20, no. 3 (2020): 382–97.

Tarnoff, Ben. Internet for the People: The Fight for Our Digital Future. London ; New York: Verso, 2022.

Trifan, Elena. “‘Când te-ai gândit ultima oară la tine?’ – Dezvoltare personală și neoliberalism în România” [When Did You Last Think of Yourself? – Personal Development and Neoliberalism in Romania]. In Noile subiectivități ale capitalismului global. Spiritualitate, dezvoltare personală și transformări neoliberale în România, edited by Sorin Gog and Anca Simonica, 71–91. Colecția Atopos. Cluj-Napoca: Tact & Presa Universitară Clujeană, 2020.

DISTRIBUIȚI