The Collective Library is a self-managed collection with a wide range of printed materials on social and political movements. The main language of the library is German with much content also in English and Spanish. However there can also be found literature in other languages, such as Italian, French, Catalan or Greek.
The project was founded in 1992, initially conceived as a home library, in Brunnenstraße 6/7, which was occupied in 1990 and legalized in 1991 Here it moved from one space to another within the huge complex and operated under a variety of different names, such as Autonomous Reading Library or Community Library. In 2006 it moved to the south wing of the former Bethanien Hospital in Berlin-Kreuzberg and became part of the socio-cultural, political and artistic centre New Yorck in Bethanien, which was occupied in 2005 and legalized in 2009. Thus, since its foundation it has always belonged to a self-organized political context.
Currently we are trying to complete various specific archives and collections of periodical magazines from all over the world, as well as creating new collections through materials that we obtain, receive as donations or buy. One of our goals is to be able to catalogue all the material in the library in order that people can have easy access to it. Another special feature is our collection of posters on various social and political issues spanning the last decades, which comprises several thousand copies; we also have a small collection of stickers.
Due to the networks built up over the years with other groups and individuals, we speak of our project as a „living library“. For us this concept is the result of the exchange that arises from all the people who enrich it through their visits, contributions and knowledge. For this reason, the stock of leaflets, posters, pamphlets and self-printed materials is growing every day. At the same time the library also aims to be an open space for research, making history accessible and offering people the opportunity to rewrite it – a difficult task for our organized movements.
Since December 2012, for example, the library has regularly organized book readings and presented film screenings, sometimes in collaboration with the Schwarze Risse bookshop or the Anarchistisches Infocafé. We have also collaborated with Berlin Besetzt on an illustrated map about squatting in Berlin.
In addition, the Poster Archive regularly participates in exhibitions on urban resistance and other social and political issues by lending posters or co-organizing events directly. In 2015 we participated in Kämpfende Hütten; in 2020 in the Entsichern-Kongress at Mehringhof; in the same year we collaborated in the exhibition Poröse Stadt – Grenzgänge des Urbanen at Kunstraum Bethanien, and later in Besetzen Sowieso! – Besetzte Häuser in Ostberlin, which took place in various locations.
We are currently immersed in a process of development and improvement- we have a lot of ideas and a desire to move the project forward. However we need the support of more people to make this possible. Therefore, we are looking for a new space to call home, where we can spread the material we have as well as improving access and welcoming everyone in a space that serves as a bridge in strengthening and forming networks of solidarity and mutual support through past, present and future history.
If you would like to receive information about new books or activities you can send an e-mail to the following address: firstname.lastname@example.org