Herstory Belongs To Everybody or The Miracle: A Queer Mobile Memory Project
“This presentation will discuss the history and future of an archival and artistic queer memory project known as The Miracle Bookmobile. The Miracle is a community-based bookmobile which has involved dozens of volunteers, hundreds of donors, and thousands of readers over its decade of operation at community events and spaces in Los Angeles and Oakland. By collecting and redistributing free literature, The Miracle reclaims public space, nurtures an anti-capitalist gifting culture, and makes radical queer and feminist literature accessible to communities across our Golden State.
The Miracle’s intervention turns public places into ad hoc community spaces to commemorate loss, erasure, and absence due to political and economic exploitation (e.g., gentrification, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids, transexclusionary policies).The second major theme of The Miracle’s work is “distribution/redistribution.” While this idea does not pertain only to books, it holds that all members of the community deserve access to information, literature, culture, and space.”
Kelly Besser works as a processing archivist and provides reference services for UCLA Library Special Collections. In addition to UCLA, Besser has processed collections for the African American Firefighter Museum, the Mayme A. Clayton Library and Museum, the Yosemite National Park Service Archives, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Tom of Finland Foundation. In 2006, she co-founded The Miracle Bookmobile, a donation-driven community-based project that redistributes free literature in Los Angeles and Oakland. Besser holds an MLIS with an Archival Studies specialization from UCLA.
The Miracle is a community-based bookmobile which has redistributed thousands of zines, books, and comics over the last decade at community events and spaces in Los Angeles and Oakland. By collecting and redistributing free literature, The Miracle reclaims public space, nurtures an anti-capital gifting culture, and makes radical queer and feminist literature accessible to communities across the Golden State.
Kelly will be speaking on day 3 of the conference