The most vibrant libraries we visited exist as spaces within healthy ecosystems of researchers, artists, writers, designers, and other types of amazing people. This is in part because if how cultural activism works in Java, but it is also something about the ability of good libraries to respond to diverse needs. The library at Gudang Sarinah Ekosystem is a the most obvious example because it is a deliberate, curated, evolving, relational space. In front of Kombucha Hotel, I ran into my friend Rio from Padang. He was with his friend Wa Ode Wulan Ratnam whose work I knew from the ABC series Crossing Boundaries: New Voices from Indonesia Her story La Rundama is here.
Similarly, at C2O, we met the amazing Anitha Silvia, who by taking us on a walking tour of Surabaya, was able to help us contextualise the good work of C2O within the specific context of this city.
These relations are not exactly serendipitous. Rather, they demonstrate the ways libraries can operate as both auxiliaries to activist communities, and anchor points for diverse forms of cultural activism.