When I walked in the front door of the Santa Barbara Infoshop I found a warm, friendly atmosphere, and an environment intent on encouraging me to become involved. The front room was crowded with people gathered for the grand opening party of this public space. Some were browsing through the lending library full of magazines, movies, and classic and radical literature. Other people were listening to the live music or just hanging out. Whether they heard about the Infoshop from a friend, were involved in the organizing, or just happened to wander by, everyone I talked to was excited about it. “It’s something Santa Barbara desperately needs”, said Kelli M, a local artist.
So what exactly is an Infoshop? The Santa Barbara Infoshop is a “volunteer-run bookstore and community center for radical politics and culture Infoshops are safe spaces where community members are invited to hang out, talk, meet, play and organize,” according to the Infoshop website. One of the goals of the Infoshop, and those who organized it, is to foster Do It Yourself (DIY) culture for all aspects of life.
DIY isn’t limited to home repairs and handmade scarves, but can be applied to the way you get your food, have relationships, and view your local and global community. Those who have a DIY lifestyle prefer not to let others take control of their lives and communities, instead they acknowledge their own power and shape their environment to suit their desires. Rather than abdicating responsibility for a problem, DIY folks will use direct means to fix it instead of relying on a politician or corporation to do it for them. For example, if you don’t like having veggies with pesticides on them, or don’t trust the FDA, grow your own!
The Infoshop is a great resource for just about everything: from bike repairs and permaculture to politics, art and self-liberation. If you can’t find it in a book, magazine, or on the public computers, the staff are there to help.
For more information, check out sbinfoshop.org or stop by at 421 Alisos St, Downtown SB.