The IRL collective started because we wanted to challenge the commodification of libraries, whether government, university, or council based. We see a mass production of a certain type of thinking which reproduces the structures of oppression that we live under.
We use the word radical in its original sense—to get to the root of something. We are defined by an affiliation with critical and experience-based perspectives of the world. We see intentional spaces such as this as essential meeting places to develop community. Incendium is for anyone who’s interested in critical literature or a comfortable space to read.
The current collection is curated based on our own personal interests and projects, as well as the interests of previous radical libraries that have built the collection over the years, from Barricade bookshop; Loophole, HOP and Hotshots community centres; and the Incendium mobile library. We prioritise materials that center the voices of marginalised communities and individuals, and that document and support social change.
We hold reading groups and free courses in the space, and are open to anyone who wants to hold events there, or who just wants to drop by for a chat and a tea/coffee. We have extensive zine and journal archives for browsing, and have a clear, up-to-date catalogue that’s all online with a free service for borrowing via post.
Fire to the non-profit industrial complex!
- All books may be borrowed, unless specified.
- Items in our zine collection and journal archive are not available for loan. But there are zines available to keep.
- All books have a one month loan period. Books may be renewed as many times as needed, but please let us know so we can officially renew the title and not assume the book has disappeared.
- There are no overdue fines. We hope that the books will be treated with respect and returned so that others in the community may have access to them.
- We request that lost items be replaced. If you are low on cash then please advise us that the book has been lost so that we can replace it.
- There is no membership fee to join the library. However, we are happy to accept financial donations, and will use them to buy more books!
We happily accept books in good condition, and if they are in keeping with the purposes of the library. If the books are not within our defined purpose, we will look to sell them (to buy more books) or they will make their way to the local op-shops.
Please drop books at IRL (situated upstairs at Hotshots, 20 Buckley street, Footscray). Or email us at email@example.com if you have a large amount and we can arrange to pick them up.
The library is not wheelchair accessible. There are two flights of stairs up one storey to access the space.
The reason we went with Hotshots was due to the low rent (50 a month), as well as lighting and location. Members of the collective had tried to secure spaces that were accessible but were unable to negotiate rent that was affordable. The IRL collective has been talking seriously about this barrier since the beginning and all consider it to be problematic (this does however comes from a collective in which every member can utilise the stairs). To address some of the issues we decided to ensure that all the books were available on an online catalogue, and we provide free postage for peoples unable to access the library. But this does little to address exclusion from events in the space itself.
Some other stuff the collective has discussed:
- Moving the library if a more accessible and affordable space became available
- Have events downstairs in Hotshots, have zines, books and journals downstairs once a month etc (although downstairs at Hotshots also has accessibility issues as toilets are not wheelchair accessible)
- Developing links with other radical libraries which are accessible
- The library has a mobile component, so continue to take books to events
It is something that unfortunately came out of financial reasons and we do hope that an affordable space becomes available.
Donating money to IRL means we can buy more books for the library. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to make a donation.
Joining the collective:
Email us if you have an interest (and commitment) in joining the collective.