Western Mass. Radical Reference Collective April 4, 2009 meeting notes

**Next meeting Saturday May 9th at Amherst Brewing Company (upstairs) at 5pm.**

Notes from the Western Massachusetts Radical Reference Meeting
Saturday, April 4th, 2009 Potluck at Dena's place


1. Introductions
2. Agenda review, facilitators, notes
3. Process, web/communication issues
4. Project discussion
5. Announcements
6. Next meeting

1. 6 people attended. Members of the meeting each brought food to share. We gave formal introductions at the start of the meeting.

2. We reviewed the agenda and added elements to the agenda. Members of the meeting volunteered to act as facilitator and note taker.

3. During the meeting, the group decided that decisions will be made by consensus. We will also post the link to our listserv on Western MA Rad Ref's Facebook page along with our current web site. Rad Ref will also continue to post meeting times to other listservs such as the ACRL website, WMRLS listerv, etc.

4. We discussed the purpose of Facebook. Our Facebook page provided a inviting, public space. We will use Facebook in addition to our other means of communication (website, listserv, etc) to post meeting schedules and other content.

Points about librarian turf came to the surface. For instance, attending events at UMass or on Amherst Common, either of which could be covered by librarians from the nearby institutions. This turned into a larger discussion of the mission of Rad Ref and how it differs from the traditional reference services of formal libraries. In brief,

* Rad Ref provides street reference services not necessarily in the mission of established institutions
* Rad Ref also acts as a specialized reference service for the activist community. We discussed the prospect of working with local activist groups or non-profits such as the Prison Book Project, Western Mass Independent Media Center, UMass anti-war group. We would aid those groups by:

- fact checking (possibly in the form of a workshop)
- act as a connection between activist organizations
- provide information on local niche issues. In order to provide reference service to the activist and/or non-profit community the group proposed to collect the names of organizations each member is interested in and share their list at the next meeting. In this way, Western MA Rad Ref can start contacting organizations we are interested in aiding.

The idea was also put forward to create our own content in the form of a website. The website would cover local issues and events. Western MA Rad Ref would also consider working with the local chapter of the IMC wmass.indymedia.org and provide fact checking for the content put up on the Western MA IMC website.

5. The Anarchist Book Fair took place in New York City on April 11th. anarchistbookfair.net

6. We decided the next meeting would be held on Sat. May 9th at Amherst Brewing Company (upstairs) at 5pm. It was also pointed out that having meetings in public places may increase attendance. ABC is in a central location and more inviting than someone's home. For the most part, future meetings will be held in public spaces.


7. 16 people have joined the listserv and 18 joined our Facebook group.

8. Clarification of answer to the question asked about what Radical Reference is:

* share info on the national listserv.
* answer reference questions submitted online, at events, etc.
* provide info/content through reference guides on different subjects which are posted to the reference shelf. www.radicalreference.info/readyref
* Some of the local collectives do workshops including fact-checking, archives for grassroots organizations, researching corporations, etc. Others support local activists/groups like Portland Rad Ref working with Bitch magazine, etc.