ABOUT BEYOND THE STACKS LLC
Beyond the Stacks LLC is one public librarian's labor of love (and just regular old economic labor!) to offer exceptional technology instruction, writing workshops, and community education experiences beyond the walls of any single institution. You may find a list of such class offerings on our website along with booking pricing and client testimonials. Schedule a class for your clients or a private tech help appointment for yourself and get ready to soar toward digital literacy! Contact our director Ery to request sliding scale pricing or other accommodations. Our major philanthropic project, the mobile social justice library, is also available upon request at your community event.
Please be aware that our available time and resources are limited. We encourage you to inform your library, senior center, assisted living facility, or other institution serving adult learners about our classes if you cannot access individual instruction. Thank you for your patience, understanding, and patronage.
MOBILE SOCIAL JUSTICE LIBRARY
We maintain a circulating collection of 250+ books and counting. We add new books regularly based on user requests and pre-approved donations. Everything we do is volunteer-run.
The mobile library is only available upon request as of 2023. Our collection of books serves one of two purposes:
(1) to provide education and further information about social justice issues including but not limited to race, racial identity, BIPOC community support & racism; colonialism & imperialism; indigenous cultures, history & movements; unions & labor organizing; gender and gender identity; reproductive rights & inclusive sex education; LGBTQ+ identities, movements & queer history; disability & neurodivergence; environmentalism & climate change;
(2) to highlight the personal narratives and stories of marginalized people in this oppressive culture with an emphasis on #OwnVoices and special attention to narratives of triumph, joy, wellbeing, and peace.
We collect books representing as wide a variety of genres, reading levels, and identities as possible for our available resources. This will always be a work in progress. This is true of any living being learning how to love better.
We purchase any books we add to the collection with a library discount, from a Black-owned bookstore, or through thrift store finds. Contact us to ask about donating materials you think would benefit our collection.
The mobile library project began in 2018 and was formalized in 2020 once its collection materialized were catalogued and able to circulate to individual library users. We have offered close to 100 books at protests, organizing meetings, conferences, and other community education events in our first 2 years of operation. We look forward to more!
OUR LIBRARIANSHIP PHILOSOPHY
Beyond the Stacks LLC began as a rallying cry for politically informed library services that understand we can no longer afford to suffer the status quo of profit-driven systems that treat life as disposable.
We not only affirm the fact that library services cannot be nonpartisan or apolitical; we embrace it gleefully.
We work in the service of the most vulnerable members of society and toward a grassroots vision of justice.
We seek a world in which all people have access to free information, education, healthcare, housing, and support.
We uncover the history, politics, and centuries of violence that have constructed the world as we know it.
We curate a mobile social justice library serving communities in Connecticut and Rhode Island.
We foster community through writing groups making space for authenticity and liberation through personal narrative.
We invite you to reach out with questions, to request books, and to conspire against empire wherever it stands.
Ery Caswell (he/him) is the founder of Beyond the Stacks and the mobile social justice library. He is a public librarian, technology instructor, and writing workshop leader who works as an Adult Services Programming Librarian at the Mystic & Noank Library. He has created several technology classes for adult learners and offered hundreds of one-on-one tech help appointments at libraries and outreach sites. The library work he's most proud of includes answering mail-in reference questions for incarcerated people around the country with the San Francisco Public Library's Department of Jail & Reentry Services, radicalizing the youth via spoken word and community gardening while working in teen services, and co-creating mental health workshops and webinars with Francine Figueroa, LCSW. Ery built the infrastructure for the mobile library's fully operational, keyword searchable catalog and circulating collection and has partnered with justice-minded organizations like Westerly Anti-Racism Coalition, Toward an Anti-Racist North Kingstown, PRISM, and Planned Parenthood to offer collection materials.
Ery received his MLIS from the University of Rhode Island in 2020 with a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Digital Information Literacy Instruction and is a member of the Beta Phi Mu international honor society for library and information studies. He received his BA in both Writing and Political Science from Ithaca College in 2016. Ery is Mental Health First Aid Certified for both adults and youth and integrates these perspectives into all of his work with patrons and clients, whether in leading technology classes or writing workshops. In 2023, Ery was awarded a fellowship from UCLA's California School of Rare Books to participate in their first-ever cohort of the Radical Librarianship Institute. He will work with various organizations in New London County, CT to implement the program he proposed to apply for the fellowship, Food Havens, a county-wide initiative to work toward food justice.
Outside of public librarianship, he is a poet and essayist whose research oscillates, naturally, between theories of empire, queer history, the inevitable collapse of global capitalism, and the aesthetics of the pop diva. He's been published in a number of literary journals and has attended craft workshops with such authors as Edward P. Jones, Julia Glass, Li Young Lee, Edgar Gomez, Sarah Manguso, Martha Southgate, and Kenny Fries. He has worked in the past as a freelance journalist, feature writer in marketing & communications, and writing teacher. Ask him about his latest research endeavor if you dare! This month: the imperial history of naval fashion.