Iron Rail Book Collective
Iron Rail Book Collective was a volunteer-run radical library and anarchist bookstore in New Orleans, Louisiana. The original address was 511 Marigny St. from 2003 to mid-2011 and then 503 Barracks St. until February 2014. Currently only pop-up versions of the bookstore occasionally appear in various venues in New Orleans.
The Iron Rail's main focus was a lending library featuring a wide selection of books on topics including anarchism and socialism, fiction, gardening and philosophy. The Iron Rail also sold records, zines, local CDs and some miscellany. Events held at the Iron Rail included workshops and art presentations. The Iron Rail also contained the Above Ground Zine Library with a selection of thousands of zines, some very rare.
The Iron Rail featured a section of political and underground books for sale. Categories included feminism, anarchism, ecology and primitivism, prisons and police, Native American studies, labor struggles, globalization, capitalist exploitation and subcultures. There was also a selection of cheap used fiction.
The library contained an extensive collection of radical books on topics including feminism, anarchism, history, race relations, ecology, labor struggles, cultural studies, protest and activism as well as a wide array of other interesting topics like philosophy, art, language, health, fiction and parenting. The library contained over 5000 titles. There were two types of library memberships, one for residents and one for non-residents.
The Iron Rail was run by a group of police-hating volunteers working together to present a model for a non-authoritarian structure of organizing. The collective still meets once a week.
In addition to being a library and bookstore, the Iron Rail was also the hub of radical activism in New Orleans. It regularly featured lectures, talks, discussions and presentations by various travelers, in addition to being the meeting place for many other groups.