Fmr. Assistant Director/Adult Services Librarian Walpole Public Library
Welcome to the BiblioUnderground, a grassroots Library & Information Science (LIS) social justice movement and aspiring nonprofit whose mission is to turn victims of domestic violence (DV) and intimate partner violence (IPV) into survivors by creating "Book-it 2 Freedom Kits" (Bi2FKs): prepaid phones, programmed by volunteer librarians with DV resources, hidden within discarded library books, and distributed in the most sensible way for each individual or community.
Most libraries routinely “weed” their collections of materials to create space for new items. Discards can be transformed into secret vessels that hold the key for many people who need an escape- a device that their abuser doesn’t know exists.
The phone is a literal beacon of hope; without unfettered access to the outside world many victims of DV remain trapped in highly controlled environments by their abusers. Preloading the phone with essential information and local contacts is one less obstacle in their path on their way out the door to freedom.
Librarians already have the knowledge and multiple infrastructures to craft and send out Bi2FKs, but without an independent organization to connect librarians, provide funding and streamline supplies (phones, postage, etc.) the network is offline.
In the meantime, this poster is meant to inspire libraries to be like Lithuanian "knygnešiaĩ" - book smuggling freedom fighters. Visitors to this poster session will hear the BiblioUnderground origin story, see sample Bi2FKs, learn how to make a book safe with takeaway DIY instructions, a list of resources about DV for librarians, plus talking points for stakeholders about opting into or developing a similar program in your community.