Radical Reference volunteers live and work across the US, and around the world. In some cities where there are enough Radical Reference volunteers they have formed local collectives.
Click on a page above to find out more about a local group or contact info at radicalreference.info to learn more about the project as a whole.
Our first local collective outside the United States!
Stay tuned for information about Radical Reference participants in India.
September 26, 2013
Boston Radical Reference Collective night at Prison Book Program
Prison Book Program is an organization that sends free books to incarcerated people, who frequently lack access to reading material. They asked us to do another Radical Reference volunteer night next Thursday to help sort through more of their donated books. Join other radical library workers and library school students for a night of action that makes a difference in the lives of others. No experience necessary. We'll meet there and talk through what we'll be doing.
What: Boston Radical Reference Collective night at Prison Book Program
When: September 26
6:30-9 pm (it's okay if you can't be there the whole time)
Where: Basement of the United First Parish Church
1306 Hancock Street
Click here for directions.
Closest T stop: Red Line (Braintree Line) to the Quincy Center stop
We have an email list for announcements, discussions, and organizing meetings, activities, and projects. If you'd like to join, you can do so here.
November 17, 2012
FREE to attend, please register here.
For more information, click here.
November 9-11, 2012
Boston Anarchist Bookfair
We need you! Got some time to spare over the weekend to represent Boston Radical Reference Collective? We'll be offering reciprocal reference service (ask us questions on the spot & tell us about your favorite resources).
Sign up for a time here.
No experience necessary.
Even if you don't sign up for a shift, please come by, say hello, and share information and resources with fellow Bookfair participants!
Facebook page for the Anarchist Bookfair.
November 1, 2012
Boston Radical Reference Collective General Meeting
When: Thursday, November 1, 2012 7:00pm
Where: Lucy Parsons Center, 358 Centre Street Jamaica Plain, MA 02130
April 17, 2012
There's been renewed interest at volunteering with the Prison Book Program, located in Quincy. Come out for a night of action that makes a difference in the lives of others.
What: The Prison Book Program sends free books to prisoners. On Tuesday and Thursday evenings, volunteers gather in the basement of the United First Parish Church in Quincy to select books and package them for shipping to prisoners all around the country. It's very informal and a lot of fun.
More details are available here: More about Prison book program
When: April 17th 6:30-9ish
Where: Basement of the United First Parish Church (1306 Hancock St., Quincy, MA)
March 25, 2012
When: Sunday, March 25, 2012 2:00pm until 4:00pm
Where: Community Change Inc
14 Beacon Street #605, Boston, MA 02108
10am - 6pm, Saturday & Sunday, Nov. 12-13
The Boston Radical Reference Collective will have a table at the Boston Anarchist Bookfair this weekend. You can find us next to the Simmons College Progressive Librarians Guild's table on Saturday and Sunday.
We'll be offering reciprocal reference service (ask us questions on the spot & tell us about your favorite resources), and will have crates of books you can browse -- and borrow! -- from two libraries we're working with: the Audre Lorde to Howard Zinn Library at Occupy Boston, and the Yvonne Pappenheim Library on Antiracism at Community Change.
Please come by, say hello, and share information and resources with fellow Bookfair participants!
The Boston Radical Reference Collective is collaborating with Metacomet Books and the Simmons College Progressive Librarians Guide to support a new, leaderless, collective library in the Tent City at the Occupy Boston encampment in Dewey Square. The A-Z Library is open to the public 24 hours a day and will be serviced by librarians whenever possible.
The library aims to provide high-quality, accurate information to all interested parties. The collection contains material on topics such as political theory, social movements, activism, history, philosophy, religion, finance, consumerism, gender, and race, as well as a large fiction section.
The library has an open lending policy and visitors are encouraged to borrow materials and use them in and out of the library. Borrowers are also strongly encouraged to return books when they are finished with them so the information can be shared with other people.
Donations are welcome, particularly of works on political theory, social movements, activist handbooks, and other material relevant to the Occupy Boston movement.
Currently, the library needs daily newspapers, floorboards, extension cords, clamp-style and portable lights, and internet-ready laptops.
Visit the A-Z Library page on the Occupy Boston Wiki for more information.
June 20, 2011
Boston Radical Reference has partnered with Community Change, Inc. to host a free anti-racism training for librarians, library staff and library school students this coming Monday evening, June 20th from 5-8pm.
Please join us if you can, and spread the word to colleagues.
Although the event is free, we would appreciate an RSVP to set the room for everyone. Please RSVP on Facebook, or to susie_husted at yahoo.com.
Anti-Racism Training for librarians, library staff and students
Monday, June 20, 2011
Community Change, Inc.
14 Beacon Street, Suite 605
Boston, MA 02108
Just for librarians, library staff and students -- Community Change Executive Director, Paul Marcus is offering a FREE training on anti-racism methods for your workplace, community and at home. All librarians, library staff and students are welcome.
ABOUT Paul Marcus:
Paul Marcus is a white anti-racist activist, educator and consultant. A biology teacher for sixteen years, Paul combined science with concern for anti-racism and multicultural education in independent schools. He has had extensive experience planning and conducting workshops and trainings for wide variety of non-profit and corporate clients. Together with organizers and educators from all across the country, he works to understand and challenge the role white people play in perpetuating and maintaining white supremacy, racism and white privilege. He taught the “History of Racism in the United States of America” at Boston College for many years. A master teacher for the Critical Skills/Education by Design program at Antioch New England Graduate School, Paul trains teachers to develop a collaborative learning community methodology.
For more on programs and resources at Community Change, visit http://www.communitychangeinc.org/
May 21-22, 2011
Play-Jurisms is a 2-day series geared towards creatives. Over the weekend of May 21 and 22, 2011, we'll have a number of events that address these important, and often confusing issues. On Sunday afternoon, members of the Boston Radical Reference Collective will facilitate a discussion about go-to sources for media/texts to repurpose & adapt; your favorite places to share work; and online spaces for extra-institutional, textual resource-sharing & interaction. Participants will collaborate with BRRC members to create a resource guide for Play-Jurisms participants & other interested folks.
To visit the Play-Jurisms resource-guide-in-process, click here.
April 16, 2011
Ask Us: Members of the Boston Radical Reference Collective & Progressive Librarians Guild will staff an on-site reference desk to answer any question Skillshare participants bring to -- or have during -- the event. Librarians at the desk can help you find information for projects you've been working on, or look for resources you're trying to find, etc.
Tell Us: We're also interested in creating an online resource guide for d.i.y. folks, and would love to hear about your favorite go-to resources (library & otherwise), so we can collect them and create an awesome & helpful set of resources for local skillsharers.
March 18, 2011
141 Green St.
Jamaica Plain, MA 02130
Friday, March 18
7:30 pm meet and greet and refreshments
8 p.m. presentation followed by discussion
Alana Kumbier and Heather McCann of the Boston Radical Reference Collective (BRRC) will facilitate a discussion about libraries, freely available online research resources and ways the BRRC and others interested in libraries and research can collaborate locally with artists and others.
For researchers: You don't have to be a librarian, or a member of Radical Reference, to participate! We're hoping to create a space in which all kinds of researchers -- librarians, data & GIS specialists, journalists, government document sleuths, grad students, and intellectually-curious intrepid investigators -- can meet local artists, and each other, and explore future collaborations.
For artists: This event will be especially relevant to artists whose work & creative practice engages specific social issues, employs audio or visual media, is in some way community- or locally-oriented, or just requires access to information, data, or research resources beyond their area of expertise.
Our host for the event is Axiom Gallery. Axiom is a non-profit center whose mission is to support and nurture cutting-edge contemporary art practice through exhibitions, events, education and collaboration. The Axiom Group is a collaboratively managed collective of artists who curate exhibitions and events, provide educational programming, exhibit their own work, and participate in day-to-day operations. In 2010, Axiom merged with Boston Cyberarts, the organizers of the renowned biennial festival.
March 1, 2011
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
Kotzen Meeting Room
300 The Fenway, Boston
Please join us for a panel discussion on social justice librarianship. This discussion seeks to define progressive librarianship, explore how social justice values fit in the library, and highlight potential career paths. The panel will be moderated by Susie Husted (Boston Radical Reference & CUNY‐Queens College MLS '02) and will work within a format that incorporates story telling as well as audience participation.
We are fortunate to welcome the following panelists:
Clayton Cheever – Metro Boston Library Network Administrator; Boston Public Library Project Manager; Massachusetts Library Association Youth Services Section Chair; Boston Workmen’s Circle
Heather McCann – Urban Studies & Planning and GIS Librarian, MIT Libraries; Boston Radical Reference Collective; Special Libraries Association (SLA)
Tom Blake – Digital Projects Manager, Boston Public Library
This event is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be provided.
For questions regarding the event, contact the PLG at Simmons College via email at PLG@simmons.edu or through our website: http://plgatsimmons.wordpress.com/
A map of the Simmons College campus can be found here: http://www.simmons.edu/undergraduate/visit/maps/
February 19 & 20, 2011
The Community Change library houses some of the best sources of information on racism in the United States – and it's right here in Boston! Last year, four librarians came together to give some tender loving care to this amazing collection. We’ve updated the online catalog, and begun outreach to new communities, but we need your help to move forward.
On Saturday and Sunday, February 19-20, we will be conducting a comprehensive inventory of the collection. By going book by book, through the 3,000 volumes, we hope to catch errors in the catalog, determine subject areas in which to expand, and identify books that need repair. This is an easy task – but it takes time, and we need your help to complete the inventory in just one weekend!
Can you spare two hours – or more!? If you are able to join us, please contact Susie at firstname.lastname@example.org. Let us know your contact info and days & times you are able to volunteer. We'd love your help!
Community Change, Inc.
Pappenheim Library TLC Days
February 19 & 20, 10am - 6pm
Community Change, Inc.
14 Beacon Street, Rm 605 (click here for Google map)
Boston, MA 02108
The Yvonne Pappenheim Library at Community Change is a free lending library of materials about racism and white privilege in the United States.
Community Change was born out of the Civil Rights Movement and in response to the Kerner Commission which named racism as "a white problem." CCI has done what few organizations are willing to do: shine a spotlight on the roots of racism in white culture with the intention of dealing with racism at its source, as well as with its impact on communities of color.
February 16, 2011
Boston Radical Reference Collective - Winter Meeting
It’s time to gather together again! We haven’t had a monthly meeting in a while (although we’ve been busy with tons of programs and panels!), so we thought it is about time we did. Join us on Wednesday, February 16th to talk about spring plans and events.
We will be meeting in the library of Community Change in downtown Boston.
We have a few announcements already on the agenda including the Community Change library inventory, a Simmons PLG panel in March, a spring anti-racism training and report-backs from winter events, but please forward any additional agenda items you want to add.
Boston Radical Reference Collective
Wednesday, February 16
January 30, 2011
Boston Radical Reference Collective will be at the
Corvid College Hoedown, happening
Sunday, January 30, from 5-9 pm, at Encuentro 5,
33 Harrison Avenue, 5th floor of the UNITE-HERE bulding.
That's in Chinatown with a few T-stations nearby.
Hear about new classes, what Corvid is up to this summer (hint: worker coops and anarchy summer school), Boston Radical Reference Librarians, Boston Free Radio, and more.
Bring your friends along!
January 12, 2011
The Boston Radical Reference Collective will be at the Sprout & Co. Spaghetti Dinner tonight, despite the snow!
Time: Wednesday, January 12 · 7:30pm - 9:00pm
Sprout & Co.
339R Summer St.
From Sprout's announcement:
We all know what public libraries are and that they’re in trouble. Even in Somerville, we’re hearing about the funding battles and support campaigns underway. At this month’s sprout spaghetti dinner, we’re going to look at a different set of libraries and library services–not your typical libraries. Maybe they don’t traffic in books; maybe they aren’t run by the government; maybe they’re just bookcases in someone’s living room. Whatever it is that sets these libraries apart, we want to hear their stories and how they handle issues that we traditionally associate with Public Libraries: access, censorship, safety, sharing, curation, and more.
Our performers will include ::
+ Sara Peattie and The Puppet Free Library
+ Heather McCann and The Boston Radical Reference Collective
+ personal monologues sharing small-scale libraries in people’s homes and workplaces
+ Anna Mudd and other members of The Papercut Zine Library
+ with music from The Moondog Madrigal & The Spaghetti Dinner House Band
Hope to see you there, snow or shine!
November 19, 2010
Research guide for ARTISTS + RESEARCHERS: http://radicalreference.info/localcollectives/boston/A+R
Get more info about the event here: http://radicalreference.info/node/3082
August 5, 2010
RadRef Social, August 18. Join us!
The next RadRef meeting isn’t a meeting at all – it’s a potluck!
Join us for some relaxation and good food. New folks and regulars are all welcome!
When: Wednesday, August 18th 6:30pm to 9ish
Where: Susie’s backyard, 32 Josephine Ave, Somerville, MA 02144
...What to bring: food & drinks to share
On your bike: 32 Josephine Ave is very close the Somerville/Cambridge Linear Park bike path. We’re almost at the west end of the path, two blocks away from where it intersects with Willow Ave in Somerville.
From (red line) Davis Square T station: (0.5 mile walk) Walk down bike path from busway to Willow Ave. Take left on Willow, your first right onto Morrison Ave (at blinking light), and your first left onto Josephine Ave. #32 is on your left.
From (orange line) Sullivan Square T station: Take the 89 bus towards Davis Square about 15 minutes to stop at Broadway & Josephine Ave (just past Kelly’s Diner). Walk down Josephine Ave 0.3 miles. #32 will be on your right.
In your car: There’s only Somerville resident parking allowed on our street, but you can look for a metered or 2-hour spot along Broadway or Highland Ave.
October 29, 2009
We now have a Facebook group! It's here.
At this point, most of our announcements & group discussions are happening on the listserv, but we'll be using the Facebook group as a way to promote meetings, projects and events -- and to let non-members know what we're up to.
13 July 2009
Hello Boston-area librarians and library workers!
Do you want to use your library talent to assist other progressive causes in the area?
Do you want to swap skills with peers and meet other Boston radical librarians and library workers?
We're reinvigorating the Boston Radical Reference collective. We want to collaborate with other library professionals and students who believe in social justice and equality. We want to identify ways to support activist communities, progressive organizations, and independent journalists by providing professional research support, education and access to information. We are dedicated to information activism to foster a more egalitarian society.
We have an email list for announcements, discussions, and organizing meetings, activities, and projects. If you'd like to join, you can do so here.
Meeting Minutes and Notes
March 2005. Tabled with Prison Book Program at La Rivolta's International Women's Day event and spoke about Radical Reference at the Boston Anarchist Summit. Screening of "Unconstitutional: The War on Our Civil Liberties" with the Mass. Civil Liberties Union at the Honan/Allston Public Library. Mediocre turnout. Interesting movie. Nice facilities.
February 2005. Screening of "Eyes on the Prize" at the Lucy Parsons Center to protest the copyright restriction that has kept this series from the public for the last 10 years. Informative presentation on copyright by James followed. Wonderful turnout and excellent discussion. Done in conjunction with Boston Indymedia boston.indymedia.org and Downhillbattle.org www.downhillbattle.org/eyes
January 2005. Created An Alternative Guide to Boston for ALA Midwinter, 2005.
December 2004. Fact Checking Workshop boston.indymedia.org/newswire/display_any/31229
at MIT by James and Theresa. Wonderful presentation, nice facilities with computers for all. We are looking to do this again.
MIT's Virtual Reference Collection -- Freely-available online reference sources
Worldcat -- search the collections of libraries in your community and thousands more around the world.
Researching Boston, Cambridge & Somerville
Boston Indicators Project -- Data & reports from the greater Boston area in the areas of civic community, cultural life & the arts, economy, education, environment, health, housing, public safety, technology, and transportation.
Metro Boston Data Common -- an online mapping tool. A partnership between the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) and the Boston Indicators Project, it makes available data about cities and towns in Massachusetts. Explore data, print out instant community snapshots or maps, and create your own maps.
Boston & its Neighborhoods -- research guide from Boston University Libraries
Data & Maps
MassGIS -- Geospatial data for Massachusetts includes infrastructure (roads, the T, libraries, lighthouses, etc), natural resources, parks, image data, water features, boundaries and more
National Map -- Federal data for the US including transportation, elevation, land use/land cover and some imagery.
EPA - Environmental data from the US Environmental Protection Agency
Wunderground weather station data -- find temp, pressure, wind speed and precipitation data at 10 minute intervals from weather stations all over the country (and the world).
Natural Earth -- A public domain map dataset available at 1:10m, 1:50m, and 1:110 million scales. Find data of physical and cultural attributes. All versions of Natural Earth raster + vector map data found on this website are in the public domain.
Open Street Map -- A free editable map of the whole world, data can be downloaded. People are encourage to upload data they have collected with GPS units and other geo-tracking devices. Great way to find and download digital data of streets and trails of places that aren't frequently mapped or where maps are expensive or hard to find.
Social Explorer –- US Census information from 1790 to the present. Create maps using Census information quickly and easily. Some functionality is free. There is also a paid version at many institutions.
David Rumsey Historical Map Collection -- Over 150,000 maps that you can view online. Collection focuses on rare 18th and 19th century maps of North and South America, although it also has maps of the World, Asia, Africa, Europe, and Oceania.
Perry-Castaneda Library Map Collection -- Another source for maps (current, historical, global coverage), scanned by the map library at UT Austin. Most are in the public domain. You can download them and use them as you wish. (The ones that are still under copyright are pretty obviously marked.)
EJ View - Designed to provide the public with a geographic view of environmental, health, and facility relevant information along with demographics for any given community in the United States.
MarineTraffic.com -- This web site is part of an academic, open, community-based project. Free real-time information about ship movements and ports, mainly across the coast-lines of Europe and N.America. Click on an icon on the map to see a picture of the boat, its dimensions, where it's from, where it's going, and how fast. The project is currently hosted by the Department of Product and Systems Design Enginnering, University of the Aegean, Greece.
Open access to research by/for nonprofits & NGOs
IssueLab -- archives research about social issues,makes it publicly & freely available, and advocates for the use of open licenses and open access standards in the nonprofit sector. You can search by issue or geographic area.
NGO Research Guide - Duke- searches sites which were chosen based on their consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and also collated from University of Minnesota Human Rights Library, Duke University Libraries' NGO Research Guide, and the World Association of Non-Governmental Organizations (WANGO).
NGO Research Guide - UC Berkeley - features several tools for searching by issue area & by location/region.
Eldis -- a collection of full-text, online documents from more than 7,500 different publishers. All documents are available free of charge. Site includes topic-based research guides.
DSpace @ MIT -- Free access to theses from MIT, plus articles published by MIT faculty. The MIT faculty have expressed a commitment to open dissemination of their work through the MIT Faculty Open Access Policy.
Public health information
Massachusetts Department of Public Health
Health Disparities Database from the American Public Health Association
National Library of Medicine: Health Services Research & Public Health Information Programs
Information Center: Health Resources and Services Administration
National Center for Health Statistics
PubMed -- a service of the US National Library of Medicine that includes over 19 million citations from MEDLINE and other life science journals.
New York Academy of Medicine Grey Literature Report (What is grey literature?)
Free or appropriately licensed images, video, etc.
International Music Score Library Project (IMSLP) / Petrucci Music Library -- Major database containing over 36,000 scores, including complete works of many composers
Ubuweb -- independent resource dedicated to all strains of the avant-garde, ethnopoetics, and outsider arts. "Acknowledged web-wide as the definitive source for Visual, Concrete + Sound Poetry."
Soundtransit -- a collaborative, online community dedicated to field recording and phonography. On this site, you can plan a sonic journey through various locations recorded around the world, or you can search the database for specific sounds by different artists from certain places. If you are a phonographer, you can also contribute your recordings for others to enjoy. The Creative Commons Attribution license encourages the sharing and reuse of all sounds on this website.
Internet Archive: Moving Image Archive -- this library contains thousands of digital movies uploaded by Archive users which range from classic full-length films, to daily alternative news broadcasts, to cartoons and concerts. Many of these videos are available for free download.
Sandbox - WGBH shares high-quality video clips with users. Use Sandbox clips to "make a mash-up, documentary, music video, or whatever!"
American Memory -- Provides free and open access to written and spoken words, sound recordings, still and moving images, prints, maps, and sheet music that document the American experience.
Aaaaarg.org -- (Requires registration) Source for rare and hard to find documents in art, music & sociology theory and criticism
Foundation Finder -- Basic information on grantmakers in the U.S. including private foundations, community foundations, grantmaking public charities, and corporate giving programs. (A free version of the Foundation Directory Online Professional, which is available in the Social Science department of Boston Public Library.)
BBC Country Profiles -- History, politics and economic background of countries and territories, and background on key institutions.
State & County QuickFacts -- US Census Bureau. Quick snapshot of states, counties and cities in the US. Includes population counts, racial breakdown, income, housing value and more.
The Boston Radical Reference Collective (BRRC), Artists in Context (AIC), and sprout & co invite you to participate in an evening of conversation, information-sharing, and connection between artists and researchers.
Research Guide created for the event
When: Nov. 19, 2010, 7:30 pm - 10 pm
Where: sprout & co., 339R Summer St., Somerville, MA 02144
We'll begin the evening with snacks and time to meet-and-greet, followed by a presentation by local Radical Reference librarians Alana Kumbier and Heather McCann. Alana and Heather will discuss freely-available research resources that can be useful for a variety of projects, and how the BRRC can serve as a local resource for artists. We'll also have time for artists to talk about projects for which they'd like to collaborate with researchers.
For artists: This event will be especially relevant to artists those whose work & creative practice engages specific social issues, is in some way community- or locally-oriented, or just requires access to information, data, or research resources beyond one's area of expertise.
For researchers: You don't have to be a librarian, or a member of Radical Reference, to participate! We're hoping to create a space in which all kinds of researchers -- librarians, data & GIS specialists, journalists, government document sleuths, grad students, and intellectually-curious intrepid investigators -- can meet local artists, and each other, and instigate future collaborations.
Questions? Please email Alana Kumbier: alana.kumbier @ gmail.com
Artists in Context: http://www.artistsincontext.org/
sprout & co.: http://thesprouts.org/
Collective Brainstorming: Group Activities, Projects & Interests
Street Reference, Tabling, Flyers
Pride Parade/Dyke march – walk, or provide street reference
Groups that don’t typically go to “bookish” events
Flashmob-type events (Guerilla Queer Bar, Banditos Misteriosos, Zombie walks)
Participate in Boston, Simmons PLG, or create our own
(good opportunity for collaboration)
Tours of cool places or meetings with similar-minded organizations
Papercut Zine Library
South End Press
Book Arts Lab at Wellesley
AS220 – holds workshops that may be of interest
Create/add to resources
Local directory of activist organizations and resources.
Add library-related information & resources if one already exists.
Resource guide for job hunting (general or library specific)
Tips for librarians and others (Access to federal depository libraries [including some at Harvard], MIT’s libraries are open to the public, BPL has decent electronic resources, etc.)
Guest Speakers - Could also have speakers from our own membership,
Member spotlight/one person skillshare
Collaborate with other groups – Simmons PLG, Boston Librarians, NEASIS&T, etc.
Help non-profits organize information, provide research or resources to help them stay afloat
Hold salons or discussions with designated library-related topics, readings, etc.
Prison Book Program - volunteer or hold a book/dictionary drive
Papercut - Losing their space. Suggest other low cost spaces; help with the move or with storage until they find space. Bill H. is in touch with them and forwarded an email recently.
Chinatown Library – Is there anything we can do to help? http://www.cpaboston.org/cyi/librarycampaign.html
We are still in the process of getting going, but we're starting a local collective in Eastern Iowa. Folks can get in touch with us via email@example.com
Four people attended the group's first meeting at the Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research, a library known for its archival sources on Left groups and individuals in the Los Angeles area. Early next year we hope to have recruited more members and hold a workshop for community-organizers on research strategies.
Hopefully, our varied library and political interests will be a useful addition to the greater Los Angeles area.
The Greater Los Angeles Collective met this past weekend, after a lull of many, many months. Five of us from Los Angeles and one from Santa Ana discussed possible projects:
1) Working with a charter school in South Los Angeles that teaches 16-24 year olds who are working towards their high-school diplomas or GED. This school also has social justice curriculum and is run out of a building that houses Critical Resistance, among other projects. They are in need of library supplies, and some ideas on appropriate materials for their students.
2) Those of us with archivist skills have decided to hold workshops on archiving at the Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research. These workshops will be open to local library/archives students as well as community members who are interested in working with the materials because they relate to their activist work. Getting library students exposed to this library is also a way to broaden the view of what kinds of institutions can exist
Given the geography of Southern California, meeting up with folks from outside Los Angeles is proving to be difficult. Our member from Santa Ana means to keep in contact with us, and us with her, but her own activism is more local to her, and the drive in either direction is not fun. DESPITE THAT, we hope to figure out what we might set up for the RadReffers when they get to Southern California for this year's ALA annual conference. Folks from San Diego have also expressed interested in working on this.
Looking forward to seeing you folks this summer!
This past Saturday, March 1st, Los Angeles Radical Reference held a workshop for library students at the Southern California Library for Social Studies & Research (SCL) on the top of community archives. Additionally, students had the opportunity to work with actual archival documents, something which is sorely lacking from curricula that tend to be theoretical. The response of gratification at being given the space to actually work with a finding aid, actually look at boxes, can't be overstated.
The workshop started with some basic archival definitions, along with introducing our workshop participants to some of the history of Radical Reference and the SCL (if you are interested in the details of where this library came from, you can read my paper that is at the bottom of this webpage in PDF form. Introducing the library was important, as it was no mistake that RR had our workshop there, as opposed to another institution. The SCL is committed to archiving the Left history of Los Angeles, and supporting the work of present day activists and organizers. By holding this history in an accessible space, people have a place to go to learn the political history of Los Angeles, and to know what work preceded us.
To see more of the collections held at the SCL, please go here at the Online Archive of California.
One of the resources we used at for the workshop was developed by the Lesbian & Gay Archives Roundtable of the Society of American Archivists: their introduction to community archives.
Discussion at the workshop deepened our understanding of the idea of what community archives can be, as opposed to the "special collections" of universities or other institutions. The comparison is important, because "special collections" may have a mission statement that calls for them to collect materials from the local community. Hopefully this list is helpful.
Some ideas thrown out on community archives:
-They will have a specific relationship/responsibility to a political/culturally-marginalized/oppressed group of people.
-They will be committed to social change for those groups, and supporting such political work.
-Encourages people to communicate on these political issues, in a culturally diverse environment, with a variety of materials.
-& similarly, encourages and values collective knowledge and exploration of ideas and materials, which is in opposition to the very competitive kind of environment that is normal to academia.
-Tools for searching (finding-aids or other materials) will be culturally relevant for the groups that are the target audience; the experiences of oppressed people will not be hidden by vague language or ignorance, and those creating searching tools will be expected to have the knowledge/capacity/humility to do this in a principled manner. This work can be done collectively as well.
The workshop facilitators hope to communicate with the SCL to actually find some materials that we might begin processing. Another goal is to have discussions with LA groups about preserving their own organizational papers.
Questions/comments on the workshop and the discussion on community archives are welcomed.
Radical Reference encourages students in LIS programs to form local collectives at their institutions. Membership is free, and groups have total autonomy, though they are welcome to seek help or advice from other RR volunteers or collectives as they choose. Write to info@radicalreference to learn more.
Also, please note that despite our name, Radical Reference projects can be anything related to library and information science, and are not strictly reference related. Past projects by collectives have included LC subject heading reform, teaching workshops on anything from fact checking to community needs assessments, assisting other activist groups with research needs, and so on.
In response to one person who asked how to form a local collectives and what the benefits are, I wrote the following, and thought it might be of interest to others:
The Montreal local collective is still active! If you want to get involved subscribe to our mailing list here.
More recent info is posted on our website.
Our new little group got a bit of early press attention in this article in the Montreal Mirror:
"Your guide to lefty data: Radical Reference librarians unlock treasure troves of information for social justice seekers" by Matt Jones:
August 10th, 2010
In attendance – Robin, Megan, Andrea
Articles (knowledge share)
The mission on the RR flyer is good, we could use it as our mandate with a couple of small changes
Radical Reference is a collective of library workers and students who
believe in social justice and equality. We support activist communities,
progressive organizations and independent journalists by providing
experienced research support, education and access to information.
-changes: take out the part about library workers, add something about having a local Montreal focus
-Robin will make a google doc with the proposed mandate so people can make comments, suggestions, changes, whatever
We talked about the articles really briefly, they give a history of RR and briefly explain how RR works
-We should build a website using wordpress so that people from the mtl community can come directly to our chapter
-stuff that will go on the website: About Us
Virtual reference shelf (subject guides)
Blog (news about events, street reference, ect)
Question page (for people to submit reference q’s)
Projects section (develop info lit sessions, brainstorm, etc.)
Links to alternative libraries catalogue, the PIRGS, CURE, info shops, ect.
-Robin (?) will start the wordpress site so people can start adding content
-we will continue to post stuff on the RR website
-we will need to get money if we want to do street ref (to print stuff)
-Fundraise? Become a working group?
-Andrea will look into becoming a QPIRG-C working group
-Robin will look into becoming a QPIRG-M working group
-we should start preparing a general demo package based on the ones that have been used in other places (http://radicalreference.info/search/node/ready%20reference%20kit) with Quebec/Montreal specific info (legal stuff, maps, ect)
-Andrea will create a google doc so people can start contributing
-another aspect of having a mtl chapter of RR is so that we can support each other in our work (should this go into the mandate somehow?)
-we could do reference at other events, like film screening, panels, bookfairs, etc.
-Andrea will send out the link for the A-librarians listserve
-we need some francophone’s to help make this project bilingual!
Next Meeting – Monday August 23rd, 5:30pm at Atwater Library
Rad Ref Aug 23rd Meeting Minutes
People at the meeting – Caroline, Megan, Andrea, Marie Michelle
Agenda – General reference kit
Mandate action plan
Next Meeting – Thursday Sept. 9th, 6:15 at McGill, I booked a pod in the cybertech
• Is there a google doc?
• M&M will translate it
• We can’t log in because it’s set to private, can you change it to public Robin?
• Ppl will need to be able to ask q’s (once that page is ready) without logging in
• The about us page will have info for people who want to volunteer
• We should create all the content in google docs first and then put the info on the webpage (is that what we said?)
• Once we have info on the site we will send another call out to library types to see if other ppl want to help out
• Not sure how best to make the info accessible in both French and English, it’ll be super hard to translate everything into both languages but we need to have at a minimum all the important stuff in both (ex. Submit a q page, navigation, mandate, ect…) also, all questions will be answered in the language they are asked.
• We should send out info about events on the listserve incase people join to get the info that way
General Ready Reference Kit:
• Each section will be bottom lined by a different person
o Legal – Megan
o Travel – Caroline
o Medical – Andrea
• Ppl can add info to any of the sections
• We should use slideshare or scribd so that the info is presentable and easy to print
• QPIRG-C – Jaggi will send out the application sometime in sept.
• We should start doing stuff! Trial and error!
• Megan will look into what is involved in a fact checking workshop
• Andrea will try to get info about the oct 22nd demo
• Megan will make a google doc folder so that everything is together and easy to access
• Caroline will make a google doc for the virtual reference shelf
• Francois said he could look at the French translation of the flyer but it’s not clear whether we will use it to advertise…
Rad Ref meeting, December 12, 2010
Present: Alanna, Andrea, Carolyn, Vince, Megan
Collaboration with CURE
Sustainability resources projects
1. Collaboration with CURE
Megan and Alanna met with the CURE coordinators at QPIRG-McGill and QPIRG-Concordia last week to discuss collaboration between Rad Ref and CURE. They are very much interested, and we came up with several ways to work together.
A. Research workshops for CURE students.
They would like us to give a workshop as part of their monthly social justice research series, probably on Tuesday, February 15th. The workshops are usually at 1 or 3 pm, but they would be open to having us later in the evening, too.
Questions to ask: Can we have the students submit questions/topics beforehand? Get examples of students’ projects. How many students are doing CURE projects? Have they already been working on them? What training have they already had? What resources have they already used?
Ideas for the workshop:
-Not just basic generic skills--students apparently usually have a fair amount of experience
-Focus on resources: government info, looking for bibliographies, theses & dissertations, Montreal resources, alternative libraries and other resources
-Possibly also searching skills
-Introduce evidence-based appraisal of research articles
-Guidelines for critical thinking
1. Write to CURE coordinators with questions above (Megan)
2. Andrea will contact Cleve Higgins, who has been organizing the other workshops in the series to find out what they’ve already done and how we can contribute
3. Draft an outline and see what they think.
B. Resource guides for CURE students.
-These would be like our familiar library subject guides with lists of resources related to CURE topics
-The idea is to compile guides in collaboration with CURE and they would provide access to the info on their website.
-We could assemble resources based on the project categories on the website. See http://qpirgconcordia.org/cure/ (e.g., ableism, animal rights, anti-gentrification, etc. etc.).
-We can use a wiki to start compiling stuff.
-The CURE folks were also quite interested in support for alternative research methodologies (e.g., qualitative interviews with marginalized populations, participatory action research), such as resources for this, making contact with experts in these methodologies, finding examples of projects done using these methodologies. If anyone in our group has expertise in this, we could offer a workshop, but it seems that our role in this area will be more to help with compiling resources.
C. Referral service: most CURE students seem to have basic skills, but those who need extra help can be referred to Rad Ref members for additional support. Students sometimes encounter obstacles with these projects that they don’t face in their usual school assignments, so it’s important that the CURE coordinators make other supports available.
2. Google alternatives
We’ve been using Google Docs to store the collective’s documents, but it’s becoming unwieldy and not really meeting our needs at all. There is also concern about data security and privacy with Google, who is notorious for storing information about users. In addition, data stored on American servers is subject to the Patriot Act. This recent article in the Globe and Mail has more info about the relevant concerns: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/technology/article675014.ece (Shared by Gen G.)
A wiki will probably be better to meet our needs for collaboration. It was decided that we really need something right away, even if we don’t end up using it forever. In particular, we need to have an accessible calendar for planning meetings, a place to compile resource guides, and a central place to list tasks (and who is meant to bottom line them).
Megan and Carolyn will set up an account in Pbwiki/Pbworks as an interim solution.
Everyone else can seek out other alternatives, preferably tools that support openness and are located outside the US. The idea of having our own server was discussed, but this is probably more than we need at this point. We also might try to find out if the QPIRGs have server space for working groups. When we meet again in January, we can weigh the various options and make a final selection.
-how is information archived, can it really be deleted?
-how easy is it to access
-does access outweigh security issues
3. Projects on sustainability
We received a message from Alexander at Concordia asking if we are interested in collaborating on two projects related to sustainability: 1). building a resource collection and 2). one about assessing the sustainability of a library beyond just its building and resource consumption (see the end of this message for more details).
Those present at the meeting are definitely interested in both projects, and we need to know lots more about them. Vince will contact Alexander to express our interest and find out more.
4. WikiLeaks demonstration:
There will be a demo in support of Wikileaks and freedom of information on Saturday, December 19. Most of us seem to be busy, but it would be cool if some Rad Ref people could be there. See http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=166504226718137
5. QPIRG-McGill is asking working groups to write testimonials to be posted on their website, particularly in response to repeated attacks. Andrea will start drafting something for Rad Ref and everyone can contribute.
6. Other notes:
Vince made budget spreadsheet which will be put in Google Docs
Vince has contacted DESTA and COCo but there’s no particular interest yet.
Next meeting: January!
Tuesday, August 10th - 5pm
Atwater Library (1200 Avenue Atwater)
Date: July 29 2010
Attended by: Andrea, Tania, Robin
What does the big Rad Ref do?
IL for community groups
Reference for the Rad Ref website
Demo specific ref services - what does this actually look like? Andrea will
follow up with NY folks
What are we most interested in?
-reference for mtl folks
-IL for mtl groups
-demo specific stuff!
If we made a mtl website what would it include?
-ref question page
-virtual reference shelf
-start working on one as a google doc, and then really hash it out in person at
the next meeting (where there will hopefully be more people)
-mandate will give us a framework by which we will focus what type of IL and
ref we work on (id. social justice focused)
-Robin to set up google doc, look into what the RR website says with regards to
Future thoughts and ideas
-once we've sorted ourselves out a little we should link to CURE website,
connect with dira, etc
- " " we could consider becoming a working group
Frequency of meetings and general knowledge building
-We need to learn more about what rad ref is and how it has been done before!!
- Each of us at the meeting (and whoever else wants to)will choose an article
from the RR website, read and prep a summary to share with the group
-we will meet every two weeks
-we want to generate more interest, Andrea is going to create a listserv for
folks who might be interested in getting involved
NEXT MEETING tbd. the week of the 9th of august 2010.
Radical Reference Montreal meeting
November 13, 2010
Alanna, Megan, Vince, Cassie
Rad Ref’s current mandate and preliminary projects were discussed. New people are joining since the Mirror article was published, and it’s great that new ideas are forming. To move forward, we’ll need to choose some concrete directions and go from there.
We also discussed that we are a consensus-based group; events or projects (or vetoes of decisions) must relate back to our mandate.
The question of decision-making via e-mail is still under discussion. At this point, members are expected to attend at least two meetings before organizing events, etc. These details need to be written up.
A few events of interest have been sent around to the mailing list. The Montreal Montreal Media Co-op invited us to a meeting/5 a 7 on November 25. Alanna plans to go. Some people are also planning to go to the next geek montreal meeting on Nov 20 (http://www.geekmontreal.com/).
Beyond the current initiatives around virtual reference, street reference, and skills training, lots of other potential project were discussed! We will set up Google documents for project planning, allowing us to form some concrete goals and strategies.
Here are some ideas:
-Indexing existing collections of radical materials that haven’t been catalogued or documented. E.g., CKUT materials and the Dominion (http://www.dominionpaper.ca/)
-Creating some way of searching across or bringing together existing collections that are now only accessible separately
-Collecting a directory of social justice groups in Montreal. This would include contact information and profiles. Another step might be to collect/document their flyers and other materials
-Research the histories of local radical groups: written documentation and oral histories. The sharing of oral histories could maybe be done with student radio stations. This topic could also be approached by looking at histories of movements more broadly and examining in what ways they were successful.
A key undertaking at this point is to really form contacts and find out what needs there are in the activist communities. It’s not about what we want to do as much as finding out about them and contributing where we can.
We will continue to build the Google doc with groups to contact that either have an affinity with our work or who we could. This list could form the basis of a comprehensive directory later on. One group brought up was Coco Montreal (http://www.coco-net.org/en/home). Vince will contact.
Along with the project documents, we also would like to start having meetings that focus on particular projects so that we can start to move forward with concrete plans. Perhaps one or two people can volunteer to bottom-line certain projects and look after their progress.
Megan will set up a doodle poll for the next meeting with a mix of days/times.
Radical Reference Montreal meeting notes
November 21, 2010
Present: Alanna, Andrea, Cassie, Megan, Vince
We reported on the successful workshop on internet skills with Re-Con last week. It went well and we hope to have similar opportunities in the future. The group was also very interested in getting help on some research questions, so we should hear from them in the future.
1. There will probably be a Geek Out meeting in December
2. We should think about a film to show during the QPIRG film screenings in the spring. Any ideas?
3. Andrea shared an email request from QPIRG-McGill about their media strategy. They are looking for supporters to write responses to attacks that are published in the campus newspapers. Supporters can also contribute testimonies to the website: http://qpirgmcgill.org/i-%E2%99%A5-qpirg/
4. The alternative libraries take requests for purchase: we can send some suggestions
Megan has contacted QPIRG-Concordia about key list training...still waiting to hear back.
We briefly discussed the membership guidelines posted on the website: http://radrefmtl.wordpress.com/about/membership-guidelines/. Everything looks ok for now.
We discussed how to keep track of our budget and expenses. Vince will create a basic Google spreadsheet for recording purchases. Robin, as QPIRG liaison, will probably need to handle submitting requests for reimbursements. Megan and Alanna need to file their receipts. In the future it might be worthwhile to find a professional translator (either for free or paid from our budget).
Following recommendations from the meeting, Megan updated the Google document for the Virtual Reference Shelf. This is a work in progress, so please add your suggestions. The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives has been added.
We should look into whether other Rad Ref collectives have policies related to confidentiality and so on when they’re working with other groups. It would also be cool to send a shout out to the NYC collective since they’re nearby...we could meet up if anyone ever comes to Montreal or vice versa.
We talked a bit about the logistics of answering reference questions received by email. Robin is currently checking the email, so if a question is received, she will post it to the mailing list. Anyone who wants to answer it can send a message to the list claiming it. Of course, it’s always fine to ask for help! Robin can then give the answerer the password for the email account so that they can reply directly. Megan or someone else with editing rights can then post the question and answer to the website. This is definitely a clunky system, but we can reconsider if we start getting a lot of questions.
We plan to have another meeting before the end of the year to brainstorm preliminary outlines for fact-checking and research workshops. Megan will send a Doodle poll.
Making contacts and reaching out
Cassie will print out some more of the small flyers to leave around Concordia and the 2110 Centre For Gender Advocacy. She will also start a draft of a new larger poster using Robin’s image from the poster conference and some basic text.
Our key in making more contacts is to identify other groups’ needs and go from there in supporting their work. We’re going to start with groups that we’re already affiliated with or know. Megan will contact CURE. Andrea will contact the resource libraries. Robin and Andrea can contact QPIRG-McGill and QPIRG-Concordia (respectively) to get advice on how to reach the various working groups. Alanna will get in contact with various alternative media groups. Cassie will contact 2110. Vince will contact COCo Montreal. The goal of contacting these groups is to figure out how we might be able to help them and let them know what we can do. We can also try to get a link to our website from their pages. The relevant text about our group can be found on our flyers and other documents. We can track the responses received on the “groups to contact” Google doc.
Radical Reference Montreal meeting October 21, 2010
October 23 march: what needs to be done?
Group decision making, esp re: interviews
QPIRG meeting report
1. We decided that it didn’t make sense for us to do the CBC radio interview at this time, and we informed the people who had contacted us.
2. Group decision-making. QPIRG working groups are supposed to function on consensus-based, non-hierarchical decision-making. Although we don’t have to work like this necessarily, we want to.
Can decisions made by e-mail?
If so, how?
-For small things, it’s ok (i.e., not affecting the group as whole)
-Defining time frames is essential
-If someone objects to an idea, a discussion will be required
-Phoning is ok!
A suggestion: Alanna will send out a message on the listserv saying that we would like to start defining membership in the group and how decisions are made. The next meeting will be dedicated to this topic, so everyone who is interested in having input on decisionmaking will need to attend (Doodle poll to be sent out by Alanna).
For the future, we should flesh out what “consensus-based” means. How is this actualized? What does it mean to be a member? The word “staffed” is not really an accurate description of us. Andrea will look into this. We can also talk about assigning particular tasks/roles/responsibilities.
3. Flyers for October 23. We now have French and English! Megan will fix the formatting with the logos and add the QPIRG logo (Robin will send it to her). We can do four per page (English on one side, French on the other). We will print out 100 sheets (2 sided). Robin and Alanna will take care of printing.
Robin will make patches for demo.
We will print out a few copies of the October 22 info as well as our “know your rights” info for our reference (Megan will print from Know Your Rights manual from the Canadian Civil Liberties Union). For the info pack: we need to have info about all the cases being remembered specifically--Alanna will add this.
Alanna, Robin, and Megan will all be at the demo. If we can’t answer questions right away, we’ll write them down. We’ll also informally record questions.
We have a few documents about the group that aren’t electronic--e.g., working group orientation packet. Robin will donate a binder to store them.
For discussion at next meeting: where do we want to post the URL for our website?
Robin to finish graphics
Carolyn to finish formatting
Megan to print on October 29
Megan to set up on November 3. Megan or Alanna to tear down November 5, 4 pm.
We need to add the QPIRG logo as well.
5. QPIRG meeting report
One consideration: participating in film screening
Rights and responsibilities were discussed as well as facilities.
We will need to provide a written and oral report of our activities at the end of the year (AGM).
Advise QPIRG about events to be publicized on mailing list.
Provide flyers, etc. to be posted
Support the group-i.e., through fact-checking workshops
Financial policy: we need to spend the entire budget. Details about reimbursement are in full document.
We also discussed the current situation of attacks on QPIRG. We need to talk about how we can support QPIRG through our site. We need to add a note about being a working group on the site and add a logo.
Meeting notes September 20, 2010
Present: Andrea, Megan, Lydia from Open Door Books
1. Collaboration with ODB
We discussed how Rad Ref and ODB can coordinate to help with research requests received by ODB.(http://opendoorbooks.wordpress.com/research/)
At this point, requests are few (2-3 per month). However, it’s expected that more would be received if the service was promoted more. For now, Lydia will pass along requests to Rad Ref that can’t immediately be handled by ODB. They will be sent to Andrea, who will post them to the email list for Rad Ref members to claim. We will need to notify ODB if the request can be handled. In most cases, answers can then be compiled and sent back electronically to Lydia to be printed and mailed. ODB has a budget for sending materials. If Rad Ref gets funding, we can assess whether any of our budget can go to requests received through ODB.
There is also a possibility that more students will get involved, and perhaps as a CURE project. If this is the case, Rad Ref members can give an information-finding workshop.
One concern might be the parameters around requests and if there are any types of information that won’t be sent. ODB already has guidelines on this, but Rad Ref might need to discuss this if issues arise. ODB could send on requests that fall outside their mandate to Rad Ref for consideration.
Andrea will send Lydia the Rad Ref mandate, and vice versa.
Open Door Books is a volunteer run collective which functions on consensus decision making
basis. We seek to provide free reading material to prisoners throughout Canada. From a
standpoint of prison abolition, ODB seeks to support and work in solidarity with incarcerated
communities. We believe that prisons and the (in)justice system act as institutions of social
control and oppression, further targeting marginalized communities as a result of patriarchy,
racism, homophobia/transphobia, classism, ableism and an ongoing history of colonization.
ODB research policy:
-a research request will not be filled if it falls outside of our mandate
-we don’t give out personal contact info though will give out public ones (lawyer’s offices, etc)
-we don’t contact individuals on behalf of those who send us requests
2. Street ref kit
Megan attended the planning meeting on September 18 for the vigil and march to commemorate victims of police brutality. There will be a vigil on October 22 and a march on October 23 at 12:30/1 pm beginning at the Guy/Concordia metro and going to the police headquarters at Saint Urbain and de Maisonneuve. They hope to stop at significant spots along the route. There is a big emphasis on it being a family friendly event. We didn’t get very far into discussing Rad Ref’s involvement, but they were glad that we’re interested.
Andrea will ask Jaggi when the next meeting will be, and a Rad Ref member can try to attend.
Goal: have as much done as possible on the street ref kit before October 22, especially legal, medical, and travel info. Maps would also help.
3. Robin reported by e-mail:
-riseup email- started to do this, but there were a couple questions it asked while i was going through the steps (namely how much $ we plan to donate and how often) which i thought we should discuss as a group. i recommend doing the signing up process together at today's meeting.
Megan and Andrea discussed this. The Rise Up website lists guidelines for donating: https://help.riseup.net/about-us/donate/. We were thinking that we could sign up without donating, but if we get funding, we could choose an amount to contribute. What do others think?
-qpirg mcgill application- sent it off!
-recon - wrote to them, things are looking good!
4. QPIRG Concordia application is due September 29. Megan started pasting in info from the McGill application, but a bit more work is needed. It would be great if everyone could read it over. The questions that are highlighted in yellow especially need work.
Megan and Andrea agreed to be listed as the contact people, but if anyone else wants to be, please speak up!!!
Andrea will bottom-line the application to make sure that it’s submitted before the deadline.
Radical Reference Montreal chapter
Thursday, September 9, 2010
Attended by: Andrea, Megan, Robin
1. IL workshop with ReCon
Proposal to work with ReCon on an ongoing basis doing IL workshops approved.
Robin will contact ReCon to set up a meeting and let them know that we’d like to take this project on.
2. Open Door Books
Update from Andrea - she will follow up with ODB and CURE(through ODB) regarding doing research requests.
3. QPIRG McGill application
Completed QPIRG McGill Working Group Application- PLEASE everyone have a read over it for final suggestions! Robin will submit the application as of September 17th.
4. Information packages
6. Poster proposal?
Approved idea of submitting a poster proposal for the joint library association conference in November 3-5, 2010 in Montreal. The proposal form is online at: https://www.milieuxdoc.ca/congres-des-milieux-documentaires-corporatif.php?id=118&form=affiche#formulaire.
Megan will do a first draft and others can comment. The form is due September 17.
Continue to pick at it. Consider getting together to work on the site outside meeting time (ie for snacks too). If anyone is interested send an email to the list with a proposed date!
Task check out:
Robin- contact ReCon re taking on the workshop
Robin- sign up for Rise Up email account
Robin- send QPIRG W.G application on September 17
Andrea- follow up with ODB
Megan- begin poster proposal
Everyone- review QPIRG W.G application and poster proposal
Next meeting: proposed for Wed. Sept. 22nd after 5 some time??
Poster proposal for Congrès des milieux documentaires du Québec (November 2010):
Author's biographical notes:
Radical Reference is a collective that supports activist communities, progressive organizations, and independent journalists by providing experienced research support, education, and access to information. We work in a collaborative setting and are dedicated to information activism to foster a more egalitarian society. The Montreal chapter of Radical Reference focuses on social justice and equality in our own community. Services include online reference, workshops and training, and street reference.
Title of the poster:
Radical Reference: answering questions from those who question authority
Abstract for the poster proposal:
Access to information is a human right, and information literacy is a basic skill needed to survive in society. This poster presents the initiatives of the Montreal chapter of Radical Reference, an international group that supports activist communities, progressive organizations, independent journalists, and underserved members of the public by providing experienced research support, education, and access to information.
Radical Reference is staffed by librarians and other interested volunteers. Our goal is to provide reference service and information literacy training to those whose access to information is limited or are looking for answers that they don’t readily find in mainstream media. We work in a collaborative setting and are dedicated to information activism to foster a more egalitarian society.
Our activities currently include:
Information retrieval and fact-checking workshops for organizations that wish to strengthen the media and web literacy of their members or communities
“Street reference” for demonstrations and other activist events
Virtual reference and research services
Online guides to information of interest to our target groups, particularly emphasizing free and open source resources
Information packages for demonstrations and protests
Support for students and professionals who are interested in social responsibility and radicalism
By highlighting our current initiatives and partnerships, the poster will demonstrate how librarians can use their expertise in information literacy and information retrieval to reach out to underserved populations in Montreal and further the goal of social justice.
Who We Are (and When/Where We Meet)
The New York City Radical Reference Collective is an assortment of librarians and library school students in the New York City area. We have done street reference during the 2004 Republican National Convention and other demonstrations, and we offer free workshops on topics like fact-checking and online research. Subscribe to our announcements list to be kept up-to-date on our activities.
Get in touch if you'd like to invite us to do a workshop for your community group or have other questions. And library workers and students are always welcome to show up at one of our monthly meetings -- bring your ideas and energy and join in! We meet monthly on (usually) the third Friday night or Sunday evening of the month. The location is often determined in the days before the meeting (but is usually ABC No Rio on the Lower East Side of Manhattan).
Members of the NYC collective have presented workshops and trainings at the following venues, among others:
Search the site by keyword for specifics on individual workshops. NYC Rad Reffers also assist with the NYC Anarchist Book Fair (2007-10). We have been a partner organization with the NYC Grassroots Media Coalition since 2008.
The NYC collective of Rad Ref is more or less on hiatus. Stay tuned! Email nyc AT radicalreference POINT info if you'd like to be added to our announcement list.
We didn't have a meeting in September.
The July meeting was held at the Housing Works cafe. No notes, because the session was mostly chatting and catching up with visiting Rad Reffers Alana and Lia and hearing about the National Diversity in Libraries Conference.
The March meeting was scheduled to take place at the Really Really Free Market at Judson Church, but we fled to Quantum Leap. Agenda: NYC Anarchist Book Fair presentation, Gentrification and Solidarity Organizing group--partnership? Notes
On January 11, 2010, RR-NYC hosted a salon on RDA vs. AACR2: Implications for Social Justice, Featuring Rick Block at the Sixth St. Community Center.
The last meeting of the 'naughts was Saturday, December 19 in the afternoon at ABC No Rio, specifically to brainstorm about updating this website.
The November meeting was held at Natalie's apartment in downtown Brooklyn. Notes.
The October meeting was held at the Sixth Street Community Center in the East Village. It was a "people's university" style salon about the Google Books Settlement. More information, including a list of readings, is elsewhere on the site. Notes.
Our July meeting was held in Brooklyn at Natalie's apartment. Notes.
No June meeting.
Our May meeting was really just a meal out with Jerome C. of the future "BRANCH" community library project. He gave some updates about their progress.
In December we didn't meet to plan and talk, just to drink beer, with our friends at InterActivist.
We didn't have a meeting in May.
Our March meeting was an open meeting/salon at the NYC AIDS Housing Network in Brooklyn. The topic was book/library access to people in prison. Representatives from Books Through Bars-NYC, the Prisoners' Reading Encouragement Project (PREP), and Literacy for Incarcerated Teens were present (full announcement here). Meeting Notes.
Our February meeting was at Alycia's place in Brooklyn. Meeting Notes.
No meeting took place in December 2007.
In November we met at Julie's house in Jersey City. Meeting notes.
The October meeting was at 8pm on Friday, October 12, at ABC No Rio.
The August meeting was in the lovely community garden in Hell's Kitchen, on W. 48th St between 9th and 10th Aves, on the south side of the street. Minutes forthcoming.
We held a joint May/June meeting on June 1 at ABC No Rio.
The January meeting was very petite (John, Julie, and Melissa) because people were away (at ALA Midwinter and elsewhere). So no notes, no nothing.
The November meeting was also on on the second floor of ABC No Rio. We had a salon on the topic of race and privilege, and our responsibilities (both as activists and as library workers) to anti-racist work.
This was the agenda going in:
Read the minutes.
Our October meeting didn't really happen, due to widespread illness.
Our August meeting was in Tompkins Square Park. Minutes.
Notes from the June 16, 2006 meeting coming soon. (Well, probably not, since it's 2009 now...)
Several people involved in Radical Reference organized a forum this year in New York about the state of library education. The idea was that students and recent graduates should have a space in which they may speak freely about their experiences as students and recent graduates of Library and Information Science programs. The forum was held at the Community Church on March 11th, 2006. All conference materials, including report backs, are on the Library Education Forum website.
A few people met informally on Friday, May 19, at 6:30pm at the Union St Tea Lounge in Brooklyn, after a brief hiatus. There are no notes from that rendezvous.
We didn't meet in June because a lot of us were at ALA.
The May meeting was on Friday, the 20th at 7:30pm at the Holiday Cocktail Lounge, 75 St. Mark's Place between 1st & 2nd Avenues. (212) 777-9637. Friends of Rad Ref (e.g. NYC IMC, Interactivist, Paper Tiger) were invited to join us at 9.
Local Online Resources
By the way there's lots of GREAT FREE STUFF at your local public library.
Radical Reference NYC Collective Meeting
Date: 8/24/08, 5 PM
Location: NYC AIDS Housing Network, Brooklyn
Present: Karen, Melissa, John, Julie, Jenna, Vani
September 7th from 4 pm to 6 pm at ABC No Rio. Please bring a laptop. If you can't, email Jenna so she can coordinate. Contact Jenna to RSVP. herfirstname AT stealthisemail DOUGHT com.
We brainstormed around this topic a LOT. Some bits:
*File currently missing from webpage. Email Jenna if you want it. myfirstname AT stealthisemail DOUGHT calm.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Present: Jenna, Kate, Melissa (sort of facilitator/notetaker), Natalie, Ray
1. Posters. Jenna is in possession of some quantity (she is going to check) of posters hand-printed by Alana Kumbier. (Sorry, no link to the image -- it's somewhere on Facebook, though apparently not on the Rad Ref group page.) We decided to keep one for tabling purposes; see who within the collective would like to buy one for him/herself; and then, if there are any left over, see whether Bluestockings would be willing to sell them on consignment on our behalf.
2. Next salon. Two topics were mentioned, RDA (Resource Description and Access) and a reprise of "what makes a radical librarian radical." People felt that RDA would be good for the next one, while the "rad librarian" discussion could wait until the weather will be nicer and more people might turn out. (People who want to talk about RDA being totally hardcore in the face of inclement winter weather by comparison, I suppose.) Kate said that Rick Block spoke at the recent New York Technical Services Librarians (NYTSL) meeting -- she said he was great but wondered if it would be too much of a learning curve to have a good discussion about such an intricate topic with non-experts. Natalie will approach Rick Block and ask if he would be interested in participating in a "guided discussion" with Rad Ref during the January winter break. (Update: He is, and we are working out the details.)
3. Possible series at the Brecht Forum. Kazembe (outreach coordinator at the Brecht Forum) had mentioned to Angie a couple of months ago that they may be interested in giving Rad Ref multiple time slots to host some kind of series of...something (film screenings and discussions? panels? library rants?). Melissa will reach out to him to ask what he had in mind. Kate suggested "Slow Fires" as a possible film to screen. This would fit with a discussion afterward about the transition to digital resources (analogous to the transition from card catalogs to OPACs). Someone also brought up the subject of "why free/open source software in libraries?" which could be a regular salon topic or a part of this hypothetical Brecht series.
4. Rad Ref website upgrade. Melissa will ask Steven at ABC No Rio whether we can book Saturday 12/12 in the Computer Center for the first stage of an upgrade and updating of the Rad Ref site. She will also create a simple survey to get more Rad Reffers to voice what they'd like to see changed/enhanced on the current site.
5. ALA Midwinter Meeting. The 2010 ALA Midwinter Meeting will be held in Boston (January 15-19), which is rather close to NYC. Jenna will contact the Boston Rad Ref folks to see if they're organizing anything (traditionally, Rad Ref has some kind of get-together on the Saturday night during ALA conferences).
Next meeting: (hopefully) Saturday, December 12, 1-5 at ABC No Rio, specifically to brainstorm about the next version of the website
We have created a new electronic mailing list for the NYC Radical Reference collective.
"This is the announcements list of the NYC Radical Reference collective. Participants post and receive information about RR meetings, events, and projects."
For library workers, LIS students, and others who want to be active members of the collective, we have the working list.
"This is the working list of the NYC Radical Reference collective. Participants discuss and plan RR events and projects."
**AUDIO FROM THE EVENT (thanks to Dan V.)
Autonomedia publisher Jim Fleming
Craig O'Hara, co-founder of PM Press and the Tabling Tornados
Karl Fogel from Question Copyright
Radical Reference librarian Aliqae Geraci
Victoria Law, author of Resistance Behind Bars
Moderated by Melissa Morrone.
Our panelists from the radical publishing community will be asked to consider the following questions:
Brought to you by: Radical Reference
Visit our table at the NYC Anarchist Book Fair anytime on April 9th at Judson Memorial Church on the south side of Washington Square. It's free and you don't have to be an anarchist to come!
And if you're interested, get involved by volunteering at the book fair! For anything from greeting and handing out programs to childcare, and you'll be much more appreciated than if you volunteered at the NY Art Book Festival. More info at http://anarchistbookfair.net or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Compensation, Access, and Theft: Copyright in the 21st Century, a Radical Reference panel at the NYC Anarchist Bookfair, Judson Memorial Church, 2011.
Moderated by Melissa Morrone.
Melissa introduced the panel and then invited the presenters to speak from the creative process out, and so began with the author, moved on to the two publishers, the librarian, and finally the copyright person. It should be noted that nearly everyone on the panel has written or is writing one or more books.
Vikki Law, author of Resistance Behind Bars: the Struggles of Incarcerted Women and editor of the zine Tenacious: Art and Writing from Women in Prison.
Vikki, who comes from zines—radical self-publishing—is motivated by getting political content into the public sphere, adding underrepresented voices to the conversation. She has also published articles and a book and compared the processes. Zinesters have total control, but with that control sacrifice readership due to also being responsible for distribution. Small publishers like PM Press allow for more control over a book's look and content than a large, mainstream publisher might. As a political writer, Vikki isn't looking for compensation in terms of money or fame. While she is getting some royalties for the book, they are merely a token if you count how many years she spent researching and writing the book, not to mention the prison activism that gave her the necessary connections with prison inmates to learn and share their stories.
Jim Fleming, member of the Autonomedia editorial collective
Autonomedia has published around 350 books in its 28-year history. Maybe 20 of the titles have made any money. Their policy is to encourage authors to make the books specifically anti-copyright. Their writers need to know ahead of time that they're not going to make money off the book. Just compensation would be nice, but if writers want to get paid, they shouldn't be publishing on the margins. In fact Jim doesn't think writers, or anyone should be paid for their work. He doesn't believe anyone should have to work at all.
Craig O'Hara, PM Press
There is literally no chance of making a living publishing or writing radical literature. Most of the work is done by volunteers. He doesn't encourage people to do this work without a desire to spread a message they think is underrepresented. PM Press does pay its authors royalties twice a year. The standard rate is 10-15% of sales. Occasionally there is a small advance. Payment contracts vary from author to author. They prefer to work with authors who work hard to get their message out, selling copies of the book themselves (at a large author discount, where the author keeps the sale price herself). They work with eBooks and authors with very different attitudes toward copyright. Cory Doctorow and Ursula LeGuin represent the poles. Craig is more afraid of stuff being ignored than pirated. He would be happy to look the other way at someone pirating his books if it meant the content was getting out. PM Press has never won a copyright case to his memory.
She began as a consumer of radical publishing, was a zinester and zine librarian, and worked in a radical labor library. She works with ideas, not products. She works at the library with the highest circulation in the country, which centralizes its ordering and doesn't not collect a lot of small press or radical content. Public libraries serve the masses, but purchasing and access models restrict what they ever get to see.
There is no such thing as fair compensation under capitalism. Radical authors need to have that understanding, vs. what mainstream publishers might say. How do we even define fairness or equity regarding author compensation? Do you base it on hours spent researching and writing, the purchase price, or [something I missed]? Radical publishers are rewarded with loyalty and trust. E.g., HarperCollins can't throw a benefit for itself like a small radical press can. Fair compensation centers on ownership, division of percentage, [something] of access.
His background is open source programming, a copyright free, nonrestrictive zone. He was upset that he couldn't do the same thing with books as he could with software: modify and redistribute. QuestionCopyright.org is a site to help authors and artists understand copyright, and that copyright is unrelated to plagiarism. As an author himself, he publishes under a ShareAlike license. He was paid an advance by O'Reilly Media, has received royalties after books sales paid back the advance. He is now making money from book sales, which is also distributed free online and has been widely translated. The free publishing model worked really well to get his word out and did not affect his/O'Reilly's market. All books should be free, or perhaps sliding scale. Consumers should know how much of the purchase price is going to the author. Consumers will choose the distribution method that best rewards the author.
Question and Answer
Should Amy Goodman (for example—don't mean to pick on Amy in particular) publish with Disney? Does she owe it to/betray herself, her words, or her community by publishing with a large commercial press, rather than a small or radical publisher? (Jenna)
To Vikki: How have you worked out copyrights for incarcerated women who contributed to your book? (Ellen)
This is not a copyright right question really. Vikki kept women inmates informed of her work. When she got the deal with PM, she asked if she could use their stories, their names, pseudonyms, etc. If they agreed to have their stories in the book, they got copies of relevant chapters for editing and had granular control over how their name was associated with the story and what elements of the story might even be included.
A question about the ethics of library purchasers. She can't buy directly from small press authors because they can't deal with her university system required purchase orders. She can purchase the materials from a vendor that charges $20 for an item that the indigenous author might sell them for a quarter. Libraries end up subsidizing this exploitative practice, but if they don't, then the author's work doesn't get collected at all. How should librarians handle this problem? (Melissa G)
Jim: Practical notes about authors and rights issues:
Print on demand can prevent a book from ever going out of print (which is when an author regains copyright)
Karl: problems aren't money, but monopoly problems
Is this self-exploitation a sustainable model for radical authors?
Can a publisher pay a non-US citizen to write a book?
Monopoly vs. money problem—how best to counter monopoly on copyright
Copyright and access stuff protects information. Economics is based on scarcity. With information, more than one person can have the thing at the same time. Are there other countries that deal with compensation in a more sophisticated/fair way?
Wishful thought: Google is going to give up on books (and should). Most Google Books are available from HathiTrust and Archive.org. Authors own the rights, not Google. It is hard to give away one's copyright. There are some means to make books available within more traditional distributions. (Ellen)
What is the essence of reading experience? Does format matter? Does it matter in particular to the radical community? (Melissa M)
rl: artist-in-residence Nina Paley's movie, payment by voluntary contribution. Average donation is $30.
We need to keep distribution in mind, dependence on internet service provider. The internet is not a neutral place (re: ebook reading and access). (Tristan)
There was one more exchange, but I was fatigued by then and missed it.
All in all this was a terrific panel, put together by Aliqae Geraci, Melissa Morrone, and Nicki Vance. It sparked a rich external conversation, and also a provocative internal dialogue. I'll continue to think about the issues discussed for a long time.
None of these resources came up specifically during the talk, but they're all useful and relevant to the topics at hand:
The Rights of Readers and the Threat of the Kindle, presentation by Matthew Goins and Alycia Sellie, 4/1/11
ReadersBillofRights.info website, also Alycia and Matt
CrimethInc. State of the Union Address, 3/30/11 (discusses their publishing and pricing plan)
Tim O’Reilly on Piracy, Tinkering, and the Future of the Book, interview with Jon Bruner, 3/25/11
A Digital Library Better Than Google's by Robert Darnton, 3/23/11
Colorado Publishers and Libraries Collaborate on Ebook Lending Model by Michael Kelley, 3/17/11
Creativity Without Copyright: Anarchist Publishers and Their Approaches to Copyright Protection by Debora Halbert, 7/15/09
Copyright paranoia is infecting us all these days. The concepts of "fair use," "first sale," other free expression and library-friendly defenses are how we keep that paranoia in check. Come learn from each other's questions, confusions, and strategies in a discussion moderated by Laura Quilter (information law attorney and former librarian). As library activists, how can we protect the public's rights, educate ourselves, and meaningfully effect change?
The discussion is free and open to all. However we will solicit small donations for NYCAHN to thank them for hosting us. The fair use salon will be preceded by a short Radical Reference meeting.
E-mail us for more info.
Copyright discussion notes, Radical Reference Salon 4/29/07
Laura Quilter conducted a discussion of copyright. We went around the table and people brought up copyright interests, concerns, and questions.
A few key issues were discussed, with elaboration below: Copyright paranoia; struggles to get permissions; concerns regarding electronic reserves; contract vs. copyright law; definitions of 'good faith belief'; works-for-hire; use fees.
Laura expressed concern that copyright paranoia hampers librarians and patrons even more than the law itself, and offered her motto: "It is better to do and ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission."
One librarian described the current climate as McCarthyite, with the RIAA threatening lawsuits against students and campuses for downloading music. She also discussed the Brooklyn College efforts to develop a campus-wide policy regarding e-reserve. She expressed a need for clear guidelines to aid paraprofessionals, and noted the increasing complexity of copyright running parallel to the de-professionalization of the library.
Another librarian expressed concern for 'the little guy.' How do we balance copyright protections for producers of small creative works? She also expressed frustration with librarians being put in the position of defenders and police officers for corporate content producers.
Another librarian related the struggle to get copyright permission to use four lines of a Wallace Stegner poem on a bookmark for a reading program at Brooklyn Public Library. After securing permission from the rights-holder, she later received a letter demanding a $75 payment from the publishing house. The man who had first granted permission had died, the office could not find the paperwork granting free use of the content, so demanded payment.
Another librarian discussed copyright in relation to the library model of accessing databases. If we look at the library as a repository of information, we pay for access to copyrighted material. This generated a discussion of database contracts that heavily restrict use of licensed content. We discussed the difference between contract and copyright law in relation to database content. Contract law does not necessarily supplant copyright law.
Another librarian discussed the policy at her school that the burden of copyright falls on the professor, a model that limits librarian participation in copyright decisions.
We discussed college and university libraries' favored status for fair use in an educational context, which actually gives us a lot of leeway if we have a 'good faith' belief that we are in compliance. This led to a discussion of what constitutes good faith belief, including a discussion of current Orphan Works legislation.
We discussed use fees for archives and historical collections, including the need to track down copyright ownership for photos. How do we handle works-for hire?
We discussed the ways copyright and fair use are left intentionally vague, so that we are left to work in the murky area of principle. Most copyright talk comes from the enforcement perspective, but that doesn’t mean We should be careful about making ourselves the police for industry.
The focus on copyright has been to the exclusion of discussion about other important rights in libraries, including the right to privacy.
submitted by Emily
Sunday, July 29, 2007 5pm. NYCAHN office, Brooklyn.
Since we had a new guy, we chatted a bit about what we do--the local collective and the main group.
A member wrote to Jenna asking about library friendly volunteer opportunities, like Books Through Bars or teaching information literacy skills at a Y or somewhere. That got us to thinking we should make a list of such ideas for the local site. Also that we might contact local groups, especially unions, that might be interested in the kind of training sessions we could offer. Jenna will see if she can get a contact at the Lower East Side Girls Club and SEIU, Emily with another union(?), and Melissa will check with NYCAHN.
While we were on the topics of creating a web resource for volunteer opportunities and resources for unions and nonprofits, we figured we should update and expand our statistics pathfinder.
We also have one more immediate volunteer opportunity, the 100 Question Challenge Science-A-Thon, which is partially just a fun favor to do for a local science teacher. Once Jenna gets the questions from Sarah, she will email the list and see if she can find 9 other volunteers to take 10 questions each to fact check. We may also have stuff to do the day of. The organizers thought it might be fun to have librarians "judging" the contest, which is Saturday, September 15 from 10-2:30 in Union Square Park.
USSF Report Back
Melissa brought materials from the event to show: the program, info about the Media Center, and a newspaper that promoted the open source/tech events, one of which was ours.
Mel also did some work and a training at the Ida B. Wells Media Justice Center, which was meant to equalize the various presses and their relationship with their subjects (e.g. "poverty scholars," per Poor magazine, people who have expertise in the area of poverty because unlike those reporting it, they have lived it).
We would like to put the survey up on the web, at least to tabulate the results, but perhaps also to get more responses. Some discussion of removing demographic questions.
Perhaps we'll meet in the garden near Gretchen in August?
Location: Natalie's apartment in Brooklyn
Attendance: Cherie, Emily, Jenna, John, Melissa (facilitator), Natalie
Minutes submitted by Jenna. Apologies if I got anything wrong!
We'll need people to set up, table, and break down. Please sign up for a shift!
10:30-12 (includes set-up)
6-7:30 (includes clean-up)
We are tabling at the NYC Anarchist Bookfair on Saturday, April 14th from 11-7...if we can staff our table. Please sign up. If you have any trouble editing this page, email us, and we'll do it for you.
10:30-1:30 (includes set-up)
4:30-7:30 (includes break-down)
February 15, 2008
Present: Jenna, Melissa M., Jonathan, John W.B., Lisa, Matt, Laena, Holly, Alycia
1. Indymedia Help: Mel M. mentioned that there was a call for research help on an upcoming anti-war issue of the Indypendent. Mel will follow up with them to see if there are specific questions we can help answer.
2. RNC Welcoming Committee Event report back: Jenna and Jonathan W.B. went to the event at Bluestockings and reported what plans there are for the RNC protests
3. Web Design Task Force: Talked a bit about what has and has not happened, and discussed the best ways to proceed next. Alycia will poll the list of volunteers and we hope to have a group chat session soon to figure out our next steps remotely.
4. Grassroots Media Conference (March 2):
Discussed tabling (Jenna will coordinate, but will we have wireless?)
-Web 2.0 session (Mel and Alycia) will happen in the afternoon (2:45-4:15)
-Election Information (Jonny and Gretchen) will happen in the morning (10:30-12)
Opening remarks at 9:45am, John W.B. will represent RR (Jenna suggests starting out by saying that we represent "300 radical librarians...")
4. NYC Anarchist Bookfair (April 12):
We will table with Books Through Bars, and Mel suggested having a raffle of sorts with questions put into a question box (for T-shirts? discarded books?). We were not sure that the proposed archives session will be held, but Mel suggested holding impromptu or on-the-spot reference and instruction sessions on things such as FOIA requests in the lobby areas on Sunday (is this the correct day Mel?)
5. The next Radical Reference Salon will be Sunday, March 9 at 8pm, and will deal with Reader Services to Prisoners. Mel will speak about Books through Bars, and will be joined by the NYPL Correctional Outreach liason, Jess, as well as another Jess who has worked with correctional outreach through Rykers. As always, the salon is meant to share information and promote discussion.
6. The proposal that Rad Reffers Melissa M, Lia, Shinjoung and James submitted for the upcoming IFLA conference in Canada was accepted. The next steps are to write a paper and to present at the conference about the paper. The theme of the proposal was submitted for the "virtual reference" track of the conference, with Radical Reference being an example of virtual reference in action.
7. Jonathan is attending PLA in Minneapolis and is hoping to spread RR literature there and/or have a meetup?
Radical Reference, 2008-03-09, meeting held at New York City AIDS Housing Network office.
Rad Ref collective members Melissa, Julie, and Christy were joined by several organization/group representatives and about 15 other attendees.
Melissa offered an intro to Rad Ref.
Christy gave a report-back from the Grassroots Media Conference --
The GMC continued to attract independent journalists and media-makers, including many youth. Info from both RR workshops is now available online – media election guide and RSS feeds and organization. Visitors to RR table seemed familiar with RR and responded positively. Info about a mentorship project has been posted to the list.
Summary of discussion on library services to people who are incarcerated:
(Please note: out of necessity, this summary generalizes some of the discussion in order to avoid identifying specific individuals.)
- There are 3 main types of library service providers in correctional settings: units of the correctional institutions (“in-house” service, “prison librarians,” etc.); outside institutions like NYPL that provide service by working directly with the correctional institution; and providers like NY Books Through Bars that are independent of institutional frameworks (i.e., they provide service “from outside”).
- Points of clarification:
A “jail” is generally a county or municipal institution for shorter stays; although the average jail stay is 8 days, someone could stay as long as 3 years. Jail populations tend to be single gender but otherwise mixed.
“Prisons” are usually state or federal, generally involve longer stays, and are often divided by security level or other distinction (a prison may have a “gang unit,” for example).
Both prisons and jails may have libraries and/or library services, but libraries are more likely to follow more of a standard model in prisons, which may be obligated to follow statewide parameters. Prison libraries, including law libraries, are no longer federally mandated following a series of court decisions that terminated in 1996. They may be mandated in certain states’ state prisons, though.
Many providers of library services in these settings recognize a lack of necessary standards, even within a single state or other municipality. In New York State, however, every medium and maximum security correctional facility must have a library staffed by an MLS librarian and must have a book budget.
- Challenges are inherent for all library service in correctional institutions, and are difficult to describe to people on the outside. Correctional administrators prioritize security and safety. Library services require a physical presence – both of materials and staff – that might pose security risks from the POV of these administrators. Regardless of these perceived risks, research has shown that prison/jail violence drops as soon as reading material is introduced [participants did not cite specific studies – volunteers could check Reference Shelf and/or add sources?].
- Outside entities that partner with correctional institutions to provide service must find allies within the prison/jail administration. Aside from following administration rules, implementing services is often a wait and see proposition – try something, see if it works, document it and try the next thing.
- Because of the lack of standards, quality of service may depend on benevolence of individual administrators and/or geographic location. For example, prisons that are closer to a major urban center may benefit from proximity to progressive-minded organizations that sponsor in-house programs/collections. Prisons in rural areas are less likely to receive this kind of attention.
- Funding for library services comes from a variety of sources – often a combination of funding from the city/municipality/state that runs the prison/jail and the entity that provides the service. An NYC jail, for instance, might follow this over-generalized model: city funds facilities and personnel, NYS funds collections, and NYS Department of Education funds specific projects/outreach.
- Types of direct service may include: a bookcart that travels from area to area or a standing library. Resource guides for formerly incarcerated people returning to life outside – help connect returnees with services to counteract how likely they are to fail (guides include Connections from NY Public Library-- see site for links to similar guides). Baby lapsit programs for incarcerated parents. YA booktalks. Poetry workshops. Author visits. Reading groups. Literacy programs or other instruction.
- Example of an outside organization working with in-house providers: PREP, Prisoners’ Reading Encouragement Project
Organization began in 2003.
Works with NYS prison librarians to build prison library collections by collecting books and sending inventories to prison librarians for selection. Entirely volunteer-run.
Encounters technological issues – can’t get inventories to prison library staff electronically, because prison libraries usually lack computer access – and selection issues – relies on librarians' assessment of user needs to place titles.
Also hosts a conference on prison/literacy issues.
- Example of completely outside organization providing direct service: NY Books Through Bars
A books to prisoners program that responds to direct requests for books, usually from prisoners who have limited or complete lack of library services.
Restrictions on the kind of materials and content that can be sent vary from state to state and facility to facility.
Only authorized vendors (bookstore, publisher, amazon.com) can send books.
- Other points from discussion/question & answer: there was interest in the room in seeking an ALA resolution that would support library service and standards in every place of detention/incarceration.
Many incarcerated people didn’t start reading until they were locked up.
For-profit prisons: goal is to house more people to make more profit. Any room for services is sacrificed to make more room for more beds.
Radical Reference NYC Collective Meeting
Feb. 16th, 2007
Present: Melissa, Gretchen, Nicole, Blair, Jenna, John, Julie, Jonny (others were present for the US Social Forum discussion).
I. Anarchist Book Fair
II. Grassroots Media Conference
III. Anarchist Book Fair
IV. Lighting Bug/Vetting
I. Anarchist Book Fair
a. April 14th 2007 at Judson Memorial Church
b. Deadline for tables and proposals Feb. 15th
c. Possible Radical Reference role
-Help with the content of the wiki (especially the NYC guide section)
- Help table at the event
- Create t-shits, hats or pins to sell at the book fair
d. Should Radical Reference provide reference service at the event?
- Is wireless available at the book fair location?
e. Radical Reference should help with publicity for the book fair
II. Radical Reference support at anti-war demo on March 17th
a. The suggestion was made that training could be provided for those who want
it in preparation for Radical Reference street support at March 17th anti-war
b. It was agreed to post to list to organize street support
III. Grassroots Media Conference Workshop
a. Radical Reference (Gretchen and Melissa) will conduct a workshop at the
Grassroots Media Conference Sat. Feb. 24th “Beyond Googling It: News and Government Information ‘Web 2.0’ style”
IV. Lighting Bug/Vetting
a. Discussion of the reoccurring problems with Lighting Bug
b. It was determined that working out the difficulties with Lighting Bug and the vetting process is a long term project
Radical Reference NYC Collective meeting 11/17/2006
present: Julie, Jenna, Tracy, Melissa, Gretchen, John (recording secretary pro tem)
The meeting then changed gears and we had our salon discussion on race and privilege, and our responsibilities (both as activists and as library workers) to anti-racist work. There was even a handout.
Minutes submitted by John, posted and edited ever so slightly by Jenna.
April 17, 2009
ABC No Rio
Billy, Jenna, John, Julie, Melissa, and Karen
1. New Jersey Library Association (NJLA) Conference update
2. Grassroots Media Coalition (GMC) Conference update
3. Bronx Anarchist Fair report back
4. NYC Anarchist Book Fair report back
5. Really really free market
6. American Library Association (ALA) conference
7. Zine fest
8. Next meeting
1. NJLA conference
Monday, April 27 - Wednesday, April 29, 2009, Ocean Place Report and Spa
John will be the moderator for a panel that will include three authors who write popular history. Julie and Eric will be speaking about Rad Ref on April 28th, 4:30pm. Julie will talk about the history of RR and Eric will speak about its technical aspects. This presentation will be similar to ones given in the past. We should upload RR presentations onto the website for public access.
Saturday May 30th, 9am-6pm, Hunter College
Jenna and Jess will organize an unpanel on how to get alternative materials into libraries. Aliqae and Karen are organizing a workshop on researching corporations. The deadline for proposals has been extended to April 24th. Melissa, Julie and Billy have volunteered to table at the GMC. Karen will ask about booking a table and wireless internet access (for doing reference work at the table). As a back-up, Jenna has a widget that will enable us to connect to the Internet.
3. Bronx Anarchist Fair
April 4th, 11am-6pm, Brook Park
Julie tabled for Rad Ref. She wasn’t able attend any panels or presentations. It was cold and windy on Saturday. Visitors apparently wanted to take the two packages (with question-flyers) that Julie had on the table. Julie was approached by the Really Really Free Market organizer to put together a RR career panel or info-sharing workshop. We’ll think about it.
4. NYC Anarchist Book Fair
April 11-12, Judson Memorial Church
Jenna reported back on the Rad Ref DIY archives workshop with Tamiment and Democracy Now. She said the panel went well. Jenna will look into archiving it on blip.tv and the Internet Archive. Jillian talked about print archives and Nicole spoke about digital archiving. Billy also attended the panel and thought it was great, but it was a bit heavy on technical details. We talked very briefly about digital versus print preservation issues (e.g. CDs deteriorating after a few years and the lack of preservation standards). Several people signed up to be on the RR announce list. Melissa mentioned the myriad challenges to organizing the book fair such as the lack of solid volunteers and last-minute preparations (e.g. not having programs made on time, and so on).
5. The Really Really Free Market
Sunday April 26th, (3-8pm?)
Jenna can table for two hours and she’ll bring her cell phone widget to connect to the Internet. Melissa might also be able to table. Billy volunteered to table as well. We are supposed to obtain the password for wireless Internet access at the Market. Billy needs to be added to the RR work list.
6. ALA Conference
July 9-15, Chicago
Julie will be attending the conference and will organize a skills share/RR dinner/lightning talk on Saturday night. Jenna will email Leah (who will also be attending the conference) about this too.
7. Zine fest
June 27-28, Brooklyn Lyceum
Alicia is organizing this first annual NYC zine fest. Visit www.nyczinefest.org for more details. There will be a meeting for zine fest volunteers.
8. Our next meeting is Friday May 15, 8pm at ABC No Rio.
Attendance: Alycia, Jenna, Melissa G, Melissa M (facilitator)
Tenants Resources Skillshare
Grassroots Media Conference
Republican National Convention
October 27 anti-war demo
Met at ABC No Rio
Melissa, John, and Natalie were present.
Discussed concerns about keeping RadRef up and running. It’s a good brand (people think its really cool when they hear about it). But yet questions aren’t getting answered as fast as would be preferred and maybe people aren’t feeling that motivated.
Many members do things professionally that go under the umbrella of Radical Reference…but it’s still vague what exactly we are…
Natalie suggested that perhaps some kind of timed alert could let members know when a question has been sitting unanswered for a certain amount of time…so John doesn’t have to keep sending out reminders. Perhaps folks just assume things are getting answered and don’t think to just check the site. Not sure if this is possible to put into Drupal or whatever.
Natalie reported on SLA@Pratt Skillshare
People signed up for appointments to talk to me. Many had no idea what Radical Reference was or what we do…some asked if we were hiring. Hahahaha.
I basically answered a lot of questions and everyone said they would consider participating. We will see. I also pushed the upcoming Brecht events. It was fun overall.
Melissa mentioned Social Forum, she and Jenna will be helping at the Peoples Media Center…
John reported on Anarchist Book Fair
John and Kate did a panel/workshop on how to use public library resources. A good turn out, about 15 people. Melissa wished the workshop would have discussed information literacy a bit more, and taught how to use the tools instead of just pointing out the resources. Angie was at the workshop as well.
Made $19 at the Book Fair.
Then Winston came! He said Jenna was his mentor and he heard about RadRef through her. We were basically done meeting, but we answered his questions and gave him lots of info left over from the skillshare.
Met at Housing Works Bookstore
Charlotte, Jenna, Kate Ad, Kate An, and Winston were present.
RR FALL SALON
Rad Ref will hold a meeting in September/October to meet and greet library students. We need to figure out a salon topic. Ideas raised were alternative collections, access to collections, and breaking down barriers between the researcher and subject.
Jenna worked with Team Colors Collective at the U.S. Social Forum and suggested RR maybe invite the collective to speak. They recently published a book on AK Press.
Winston brought up participatory action research as something to be addressed in the salon.
Kate An is going to contact Judson and the Muste Room to get their room rental rates for the salon. She is also going to mention this to the folks at Bluestockings. The salons aren’t usually more than 2 hours long and are usually preceded by a quick business meeting. Jenna suggested maybe LIS clubs at Pratt or the Palmer School would be interested in hosting the event.
Kate Ad raised the topic of RR hosting an event on libraries and prisons - perhaps inviting a prison librarian to speak at a salon. Also, this could be an idea for a Brecht forum event.
Time: Would Friday nights or Sundays be better for the salon? Jenna suggested putting up a poll on the RR website to figure out when is best for people.
We talked about advertising for RR. Should we reach out to non-librarians as well? Currently we do advertise on the NYC anarchist list. Should we expand this- e.g. flyer at places like Bluestockings?
Kate An went to a volunteer organization at FIERCE and learned that they might be able to use the assistance of librarians with their library. She is going to email FIERCE and see if there is interest. Additionally, FIERCE is going to have a bowl-a-thon fundraiser on October 23rd and is looking for fundraising teams and volunteers.
Jenna raised the possibility of a Drupal workday in the fall, probably at ABC No Rio’s Community Center.
Kate Ad was wondering if the RR website should possibly consider using WordPress. Jenna said that a Pratt SILS usability class may pick the RR website to work on in the fall.
Rad Ref minutes: 02/19/10 // In attendance: Angie, Janai, Jenna, John, Melissa
Jenna will be @ the Feb 28th RRFM--more volunteers heartily encouraged to
Notes by Angie
Attendance: Angie, Ann, Ellen, Emily, Eric, Jenna, Jennifer, Jess, Jill, John, Julie, Karen, Lynley, Mel (facilitator), Molly, Natalie, Romel
I Mel gave a brief overview of Radical Reference--its virtual and in-person projects and services.
II Grassroots Media Coalition liaison report
John has handed over liaison responsibilities to Karen.
John gave an overview of our relationship with the group and reported that planning is underway for the next Grassroots Media Conference, which will be held in early May(?) at Hunter College. There is a volunteer meeting on Wednesday night (January 28) at the North Star Fund, details to come.
We are hoping to organize a program at the conference about getting alternative materials into libraries.
III Really Really Free Market
Those who want to attend or offer Radical Reference service, or provide home support, for the Really Really Free Market on Sunday, January 25 from 6-9pm at St. Mark's Church should contact Mel.
IV Planning is underway for the first-ever Brooklyn Food Conference in May. Is anyone in RR interested in providing information services to the organizers? Tell Mel, who would like to help, but doesn't want to drive this effort.
V We commenced our planned salon style discussion of OCLC's proposed policy change, the notes for which, taken by Emily, will appear here or on the wiki presently.
Notes taken by Jenna. Please let me know if I made any mistakes or just go ahead and fix them yourself.
Jenna, Kate, and Melissa met at the Really Really Free Market, but since they lost their internet connection, and the place was kind of a madhouse, they moved the discussion to Quantum Leap.
I. Anarchist Book Fair
Our Hack Your Library proposal was accepted. Thanks to John for submitting it! So far John is the only one committed to presenting. Kate will check her availability. Jenna and Mel will reach out to potential participants.
II. Brecht Forum
Having participated in a panel with two artist librarians whose projects focus at least partially on deaccessioned materials, Jenna suggested doing our May program on that topic, instead of preservation, since although there is a lot of interest in it, we have yet to identify people to lead more than a salon style discussion. If the local collective agrees, Jenna will approach the two artists to see if they're willing and able. If that is the case, then we should plan a separate salon on preservation.
Met at ABC No Rio
John, Jenna, Melissa, Alycia and Natalie were present.
Began by discussing the site maintenance.
Decided we don’t need to try Kickstarter because the donations are coming in on the site.
Jenna and Melissa are at the U.S. Social Forum in Detroit doing awesome stuff.
The Website is moving to LISHost soon, $10 a month. Keep donating to the "tip jar"!
Alycia mentioned a site redesign contest a potential way to get our site redesigned for cheap.
Potential use for Kickstarter.
Jenna suggested an intern could do it for class credit. Will put out to LIS school lists.
Mel mentioned that we would need to make a lot of decisions first about what we want.
Could be a Pratt IA project.
We are planning a Radical Reference social in NYC.
Jenna got consent from the Reanimation Library to use their space on July 31st.
Per Jenna’s email: the social is to make space for a fun time for radical librarians, something in between our typical five person meeting and a Desk Set soiree.
October 21, Housing Works
Setting: Unexpectedly, it was karaoke night at the bookstore
Present: Lana, Melissa, Nikki
Essentially we spent the meeting talking (read: shouting over the music) about whether there is still a need for an NYC collective of Rad Ref (and a need for Rad Ref in general?). We agreed that NYCRR provides a necessary progressive perspective in the NYC librarianship community that complements the work of the Desk Set and Urban Librarians Unite. If nothing else, we can continue to host events at places we love and that love us, such as the Brecht Forum and Bluestockings.
Examples of topics:
(With regard to the subject of public library closures, Melissa noted that there was a lot of ULU activism here, but NYCRR as such was not involved.)
The Library of Congress Subject Heading action day was cited as an example of a good one-shot project that's political, structured, and finite.
Nikki suggested that we have a group work day, maybe at an archive, a la Hack Day.
Lana will talk to Jenna about reaching out to Bluestockings and suggesting a Rad Ref-curated series (monthly?) there.
Melissa recently found out that it is possible to get Internet access via the staff laptop at the Park Slope Food Coop and may pursue conducting an "Internet for activists" type of workshop there.
Nikki suggested that we reach out to the Catholic Worker to offer a library session.
Lana suggested we meet quarterly rather than monthly, as Portland Rad Ref had started to do.
It's mostly LIS students who express interest in RR -- we should make more of an effort to connect with local LIS programs.
The next NYCRR meeting should be a time to brainstorm project ideas, more social than a regular meeting. Maybe the week before the Biblioball? I think this would be the last weekend in November, but I've forgotten the exact date of the 2010 Biblioball...
NYC Local Collective Meeting, September 19, 2008
Attendance: Jenna, John, Karen, Mel, Vani (facilitator)
Radical Archives Event
The event will be held on Tuesday, October 28 at the Brecht Forum and is being sponsored by the Grassroots Media Coalition (GMC), to serve as one of their networking events. They will pay the $150 fee for the space and provide food. (Thanks, GMC!)
7:45-8:00 Introductions, including nascent Brecht Forum Library
8:00-9:00 Presentations from ABC No Rio (Steven Englander), The Lesbian Herstory Archives (Shawnta Smith), and The Tamiment Library (Donna Davey)
9:00-9:30 Questions, discussion
Vani is wrangling Lesbian Herstory, and Jenna ABC No Rio and Tamiment.
We will invite each presenter to table and share a table with the GMC. Out History asked if they could table, but the space can't easily accommodate additional tables. We will suggest that they ask if they can share with Lesbian Herstory.
Presenters will be asked to prepare 15 minute show and tells. (Vani/Mel—We didn't talk about computer/projector set up at the Brecht. Do either of you know what the scoop is?)
We already have a press blurb from Lesbian Herstory. We'll need them from the other two by 10/1.
We will request at $5-$15 donation for entrance to the event. The networking part will be free.
The GMC will help with online publicity. Mel will notify print publications (Voice, TONY, L, etc.)
Alternative Materials in Libraries Event
We more or less tabled this discussion, as we don't have anything new on it. Basically, it's another collaboration with the GMC and will take place in late January/early February and will focus on...getting alternative materials into libraries. It will be the first of a two part event, the second of which will take place a the Grassroots Media Conference. One part will be a discussion/brainstorming and the other a panel of gatekeepers (review publication editors, public and academic library selectors).
Queens College Presentation
Julie, Karen, and Vani will be presenting a history of "radical, militant, librarianship" for the Queens College Library & Information Science Student Association (QC LISSA). They're working on setting a date for the talk. Julie is the liaison.
NYC Radical Reference Discussion List
This was about breaking the NYC-RR list into two: one for announcements, and one for the work of project. The former would be open to non-volunteers, as well participants.
The five people in attendance discussed this potentially controversial topic, with suggestions to follow. We hope and expect that there will be more discussion on the list and/or comments on this page. Things we would like to consider:
IMC Event Report-Back
John reported on the Independent Media Center event that featured Naomi Klein, Jeremy Scahill, Roberto Lovato, Malia Lazu and Laura Flanders at Cooper Union. Rad Ref shared a table with the GMC. John distributed flyers and a modified Election Guide. He characterized Scahill's talk as "cool in a depressing kind of way."
All of the above in less than an hour. Yay us!
Notes by Jenna. Corrections appreciated.
RR NYC Collective Meeting, Friday, September 11, 2009
Attendance: Alycia, Angie, Becky, David, Denise, Ilya, Jenna, Jerome, John, Jonny (facilitator), Karen, Melissa, Myron, Natalie
Melissa recounted an interaction with someone who was skeptical that librarians had anything to offer people who were able to "Google it" for themselves. Mel bowled her over with some awesome resources the woman admitted she'd never have found on her own.
NYC Radical Reference Meeting 06-16-06
Members Present: Melissa, Julie, Dena
- Madeline Albright
* flyering happening? Members will look at old emails and figure out various groups' plans [update -- see the flyer from Kevin announced in more recent email; members plan to print up copies to hand out prior to her talk]
- Tabling/discussions at SRRT booth seem to be arranging themselves; great
- Radref meetup
* to take place Saturday, June 24, from 6:30-8:30 at The Iron Rail Bookstore and Lending Library (511 Marigny Street, 504-944-0366)
* requested agenda item: come up with list of Radref priorities/things to do (to be distributed to all members)
- In addition to meeting at Iron Rail, Radical Reference members will also be discussing and getting involved in projects with Iron Rail collective members, esp. cataloging their collections
2. Lightningbug/Radref website
- Lightningbug questions (more like requests for updates):
* is it still the case that questions are not being escalated?
* how are answers being posted?
* discussion focused on how to allow greatest access to depth of information on site, which seems somewhat obscured by current layout and includes other areas of site in addition to answered questions
- once "subject headings" are assigned to answers, these could be grouped (linking to answers) and listed in righthand column on page in place of current "recently answered questions" boxes
- subject headings should also be assigned to reference shelf, blogs, etc.
- any search method for answers should also apply to reference shelf, blogs, etc.
- subject headings should be drawn from a controlled vocabulary
3. Directory of NYC orgs (being compiled with/for NLG) -- is underway; question of whether or not to alert included orgs to be left to NLG
4. Reference Shelf page for Green Scare
* page was seen on several general and support lists and was much admired
* possible role for Radref in supporting research needs of support groups (aside from legal research) to be explored
5. Library student publication opportunities
* one possibility is "Library Student Journal," which apparently is now accepting submissions
[This guide is under construction]
RDA vs. AACR2: Implications for Social Justice, Featuring Rick Block
Monday January 11, 2010 (Notes by Jessa Lingel)
Rick Block introduced himself and his role at Columbia, provided a brief explanation of the handouts and proceeded to layout an introduction to AACR2 and RDA. Key points from the discussion follow.
October 17 meeting
ABC No Rio
Present: John, Christy, Lisa, Melissa M., Karen, Emily
Minutes by Emily
1. Melissa M. updated us on the archives event. It is happening November 11. We have the Brecht Forum space from 6 to 11, with set up at 6:30, GMC networking event from 7 to 7:45, followed by the panel. GMC will be supplying libations.
Space rental is $150. GMC will be covering the cost. John will check with GMC to see if they can cut a check to Brecht, or if they will reimburse Melissa.
RR is responsible for PR, putting the announcement out to various email distribution lists, creating a facebook event, etc. To that end, please read and revise the flyer text by this Monday--bios need to be shaved a bit, and Melissa says it could be 'punchier.' Melissa has a list of print sources to send the flyer and will take care of that part of the PR. You can see the current text here.
Vani will moderate the panel--introduce the speakers, keep things running on time.
2. Melissa asked if RR is interested in participating in Really Really Free Markets, an occasional anarchist community event where everything is available for free. General interest was expressed; Melissa will open up a dialogue with the folks who organize the event.
3. Melissa updated on the Anarchist Book Fair. The first organizational meeting was held this Wednesday. the event will be held one weekend in April, though Melissa couldn't remember which. RR folks are invited to think about potential workshops and ways we can utilize the table on the day of the actual book fair. (One day of the weekend will be a book fair + workshops; the second day will consist only of workshops.) Start brainstorming!
4. Melissa updated the group on a paper she and Lia have been asked to write for a journal about reference librarianship (The Reference Librarian). One version is currently up on the IFLA website and another version based on the slides is appearing in a British reference journal. They are interested in any feedback and/or suggestions for other ways of re-versioning this paper.
5. Lisa asked about the status of the NACLA research guide project. John has been in touch with Christy Thornton at NACLA, who has been in touch with Melissa, and the project is currently on hold until at least following the archives event. Melissa is the current point person on this. Melissa will see about getting a print copy of the old NACLA guide (very out of date, but "typographically and mimeographically awesome!") to Lisa.
ANNOUNCEMENTS: John reminded us about election return night at the Brecht Forum with Go Left. ("Don't watch election returns alone!"). Karen will be giving a talk on radical library history at Queens College with Julie and Vani next Tuesday and will post handouts and slides on the RR site. Christy reminds us about the ABC No Rio gala next Wednesday; she will be working the event.
The NYC collective of Radical Reference will host a "people's university" style salon to discuss the Google Books Settlement.
Participants will be strongly encouraged to sign up to read one of the articles posted below, and be prepared to report on it at the meeting. See the bibliography from the OCLC salon discussion we held in January for an example of how this works.
Also of interest, an interview with Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt and co-founder Sergey Brin. They mention the settlement, evilness.
Maybe this doesn't belong in the general bibliography, so I'll put it here: Harvard professor Robert Darnton's "Google & the Future of Books," published in the New York Review of Books on February 12, 2009.
Last night 8-10 members and friends of Rad Ref NYC visited the People's Library at the Wall Street Occupation. We helped process books for the library, which Library Journal says is growing at 30-50 books per day.
Alycia made cute pin-on patches. Here's one on my backpack
And one in the library
When we arrived it was so crowded in Zuccotti Park that you could barely move. There are areas marked off for the library ♥, an information center, food, clothing drop-off, media, meetings, and protesters sleep wherever they can, like this one:
But what was it like? is what a lot of folks outside the NY Metro area are probably wondering. I was only there two hours, so I'm certainly not an expert, but what I perceived was general feeling of hope, excitement, and power, perhaps like some people felt when Obama was elected. But this time, people are counting on themselves and each other, not a politician to make things right, including making a library that's open all the time to anyone who wants to borrow materials, without any sort of ID. I'm not saying that all libraries can operate that way, but it's beautiful to see the sharing going on at the People's Library, where anyone can be a librarian. That's not to say that librarians don't have something to contribute, e.g., we instituted putting the OWSL stickers on the books' spines instead of their backs. ☺
It was great to be there for myself, but also as a member of Radical Reference, a collective of library workers and students who like to be directly involved in protests, supporting them and taking place. One member brought up the idea of making a statement, à la PLG in support of the occupation. For better or for worse, that's not what we do. Around our founding, before the Republican National Convention in NYC in 2004 we discussed signing onto a statement of nonviolence, I think it was, and a heated email list argument erupted. We decided, passively or actively, I'm not sure which, that we weren't going to have a structure, a governing body, a central committee, or anything like that, and so have no way of deciding anything as a group. Instead, our focus is showing up. I'm actually rather ashamed that it took us a couple of weeks to get involved as a group. The NYC collective has been rather inactive lately, but perhaps helping with the OWSL library (not "library" as PLG referred to it) will galvanize our efforts.
We're planning a question-answering work day the weekend of the 22nd & 23rd (time not set yet), so holler at email@example.com if you're interested in participating. We're also up for heading back down to OWS individually or en masse anytime.
Jenna, speaking only for myself, and only a teeny bit meaning to stir the pot with PLG
Saturday, July 31, 7-11pm
Reanimation Library, Proteus Gowanus
The NYC collective of Radical Reference will host a social gathering at the Reanimation Library in Brooklyn on Saturday, July 31. It is meant to be a meet and greet for library workers and LIS students with far left politics. Radico-curious folks welcome!
Signs that you might be a radical:
*You explain your politics to extended family as "to the left of Michael Moore"
*You use Phil Ochs's definition of liberal
*When you think of anarchists, you picture Food Not Bombs, not Molotov cocktails
*You think the Daily Show is more racist, homophobic and sexist than funny
*You refer to DRM as Digital Restrictions Management and think copyright should never apply to dead people
*The policeman is not your friend
*You went into librarianship because it's the last/best bastion of socialism in America
*You spend lots of time in the HX821s or 335.83s
*You wince whenever you hear patrons referred to as "customers" or libraries as "businesses"
Bring your own booze/juice/soda and extra to share. Depending on your political orientation you may think of your contribution as common property, property is theft, or mutual aid. Dumpstered libations gladly accepted.
We'll provide ice, cups, and recycling bags. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org with questions and comments. Save the political debates for the event.
Fri., July 25, 2008, 7:30 pm - 11 pm
ABC No Rio - 156 Rivington St, NYC
Support Radical Reference, a volunteer collective of library workers that sees to the information needs of activists and independent journalists.
- interspersed with -
Open mic for library workers to share stories that are so awful they're funny and vice versa.
$5-$10 sliding scale
$1-$3 drinks (beer, soda)
Flyers are attached-feel free to print and spread the word!
|RR Flyer Final copy.jpg||956.39 KB|
|RR Flyer low qual.jpg||378.55 KB|
Friday, February 16, 2007, 8-9:30pm, ABC No Rio, NY, NY
Librarians, LIS students, and library support staff are welcome,
as are the library curious.
Radical Reference NYC invites you to attend a discussion of the upcoming US Social Forum in Atlanta and if/how librarians should participate. We will also have a short business meeting.
Radical Reference is a collective of volunteer library workers who believe in social justice and equality. We support activist communities, progressive organizations, and independent journalists by providing professional research support, education and access to information. We work in a collaborative virtual setting and are dedicated to information activism to foster a more egalitarian society.
It is customary for participants to donate $1-2 per person to the space when meeting at ABC No Rio.
Questions or comments to nyc at radicalreference dot info.
We discussed if and how Radical Reference might participate in the U.S. Social Forum in Atlanta this summer using some Guiding Questions, provided by our facilitator, Gretchen.
Additional notes and comments:
The meeting was held on Friday, February 16 at ABC No Rio. In attendance were: Blair, Gretchen, Heather, Jenna, John, Jonny, Julie, Megan, Melissa, Nicole, Tom (am I missing someone???).
Notes submitted by Jenna, 2/19/07.
Members of Radical Reference NYC have done workshops for librarians and LIS students at the Massachusetts Library Association, New Jersey State Library, the Palmer School, Pratt, and Rutgers, on three different themes. We are happy to reprise them at other library schools and library conferences.
Theme 1: Radical Reference front end/back end. We give a history of Radical Reference, talk about its mission and tactics. We discuss the open source tools used to support RR and how open source fits into librarianship's goals. Example.
Theme 2: Radical, Militant, Librarianship--discussion of the different groups and tactics of activist librarians and library activists. Example.
Theme 3: Effecting change--discussion of participants' innovative practice, identifying, removing, and/or sidestepping the obstacles to library workers' attempts to get stuff done. ("Stuff" could mean alternative materials collections, projects like RR, new programming, etc.) Example.
We're also open to suggestion. You can commission something if you have an idea of something you'd like to hear about that you think we might know.
Here's a more or less complete list of Radical Reference presentations for librarians and others (especially independent journalists) http://radicalreference.info/rrpresentations.
Workshops are presented without charge, but it's nice to get our expenses covered and maybe a vegan chocolate chip cookie or something if you really want to show appreciation. Also extremely helpful are a projector, the necessary cables, and an internet connection.
Radical Reference NYC Collective meeting minutes for Friday, November 21, 2008
Attendance: Alana, Alycia, Christy (facilitator), Cookie Puss (in and out), Emily, Jenna, John, Julie, Kiowa, Lisa, and Vani
Radical Reference street reference tactics
Topic ideas and discussion
Jenna will contact potential panelists
Notes submitted by Jenna. Please make your corrections here, or email them to me.
Sunday, April 29
New York City AIDS Housing Network office, Brooklyn
In attendance: Jonny, Becca, Melissa, Jenna, John, Emily, Dena, Gretchen, Judy, Laura
Notes taken by Emily. E-mail nyc at radicalreference dot info with corrections.
Saturday, April 12, 2008
This schedule has different length shifts so that it matches up with the presentations. That's why it's weird.
10:30-12:30 (includes set-up) (spans RR session)
1. Heather and Lana will split/share this slot
5:15-7:15 (includes break-down)
1. Christy (I will get there as soon as I can, but i may around 5:30)
2. John B (around 5:30ish)
RR Table Schedule
Please add your name as appropriate, or email Jenna, and she will add it for you.
10:30-12:30 Includes set-up
4:30-7:00 Includes breakdown
Check out the Alternative Guide to Dallas in time for ALA Midwinter 2012!
New collective in the Dallas - Fort Worth area!
**Nicole has since moved, so if anyone is interested in taking over the collective, please get in touch!
We try to rotate our meetings between Dallas and Denton, and meet once a month to once every other month. Looking for more volunteers (librarians, library staff, library students, or related), as we are just getting started on our first few projects. See the links below to get involved!
March 2011: We are working on organizing a skillshare for and by librarians/LIS students/library staff to be held the last week of April. We are also working on an alternative guide to Dallas in time for ALA Midwinter 2012 (which will be in Dallas, of course). Always open to new interest, contact Nicole to get access to the wiki and discussion list!
September 2010: Second meeting on 9/25 was in Denton, minutes attached below. Will need volunteer to organize the next meeting.
July 2010: First meeting on 7/22/10 a success! See meeting notes (below) for a recap. Next meeting will be either August or September, join the discussion list or check back here for updates
Find the guide + map here: http://www.zeemaps.com/287573
**Be sure to click on View >> List to see all. Click or hover on a marker for more information.
This guide was created to help those looking for alternative options in Dallas (lifestyle, diet, interests) that might not be included in mainstream city guides. This is not fully comprehensive, but we did our best to give you options as close to the Convention Center and Downtown as possible, and with a few outliers.
Red = Convention Center
Green = restaurants with vegan options
Light green = places that are likely to have vegan options but we don't know for sure
Light purple = bars and coffee shops that are good places to hang out
Blue = museums, resource centers, libraries (aside from DPL)
Black = art, music, culture
Hot pink = shopping or cool, random stuff
Best bet for transportation if you're staying downtown or going to Deep Ellum is on foot or by the DART train. There aren't any bike rental places nearby, and there also aren't any bike lanes, so... yeah (hopefully that's in the process of changing, though https://bikefriendlydowntowndallas.wordpress.com/ and https://bikefriendlydeepellum.wordpress.com/). Try not to walk around at night alone. If you are going between Downtown and Deep Ellum, keep in mind you will have to walk under the expressway. I did this everyday to and from work when I worked at El Centro (DCCCD) and was fine, but it does get a little seedier at night. Also, if at all possible, avoid the McDonald's (1000 Commerce Street) -- there have been a lot of muggings, drug deals, and other stuff you would probably like to avoid.
More on safety: program some cab numbers in your phone (or keep them handy) -- there is not an abundant number of taxis running around Dallas to grab, you'll most likely need to call in advance.
**(All DART lines meet at the Pearl stop, which is on the East end of downtown, closest to Deep Ellum. They all run through downtown, and then split again right after the West End stop, which is before Red/Blue goes off toward the Convention Center. Need more help? http://www.dart.org/)
If you're looking for GLBTQ-friendly places, the Oak Lawn neighborhood is a gay neighborhood with a lot of options. There are a couple listed on the map, but it's not as comprehensive since Oak Lawn would require a cab ride and isn't right by the convention center. If you need a start, check out http://www.dallasvoice.com/ or http://dallas.gaycities.com/.
There are more vegan options than what is listed, but just like with GLBTQ venues, since most people attending Midwinter won't have a car, we are trying to keep everything within the downtown area. If you feel like venturing out farther, check out http://dallasvegan.com/. This is a comprehensive list of vegan restaurants (or restaurants that are very vegan-friendly). Being vegan myself and working downtown, I wanted to point out places that are nearby and have at least something edible. Dallas Vegan has a printable guide that could come in very handy.
Dallas only has two bookstores, both used and neither are near the Convention Center, so they aren't listed.
We hope this guide is useful to you -- if there are any glaring omissions let us know (use the contact form by clicking on pumpedlibrarian at the top) and we can add more on.
7/22/10 DFW Radical Reference Meeting (First Meeting!)
6:30pm @ Phil Johnson Historic Archive & Research Library
In attendance: Erin, Shaun, Greg, Azure, Sandy, Ron, Zein, Nicole
A. Went through introductions, 8 total attended
B. Discussed group organization and frequency of meetings
C. Brainstormed ideas for future projects, long and short-term (Shaun will create a wiki for virtual collaboration and we will make a poll to select top choices for projects)
D. Discussed next meeting and virtual collaboration
9/25/10 North Texas Radical Reference Meeting
11am @ Denton Public Library, South Branch
In attendance: Erin, Sandy, Ron, Nicole
First went over poll results to determine top choices for projects:
Outreach - Discussed doing more outreach to other organizations so we could provide skillshares or other information (ask what their information needs are, let them know what we could offer). We could create a list on the wiki and volunteers could sign up to talk to these places. We would like to create materials to pass out as well (brochures, flyers, or whatever else would work); would also like to involve more librarians in the area, including students -- outreach here will be important as well. We could also provide skillshares to other librarians.
Alternative Guides - We can look at other guides for ideas, but will typically include public transportation information, veg*n/sustainable-type restaurants and grocery stores, second hand/thrift stores for shopping, bookstores (independent), alternative spaces, bike paths, music venues, etc. Can collaborate on the wiki.
Wiki - We will discuss everything else more at length via the wiki.
Talk about the next meeting can take place on the discussion list, but a volunteer will be sought to organize the next meeting for late October or November.
Contact Karen Kohn for more information or to get involved.
We had our first meeting of the Philadelphia Collective on November 3, 2005. In attendance were Karen Kohn, John Iliff, another Karen, and Tracey Maleef. We discussed what the collective could do. The main idea that we came away with was offering to lead workshops for various groups. I (Karen) know someone from the Philly IMC, whom I will contact with a list of topics that we could do workshops on. John is very technologically knowledgeable, and he has also spoken about the Patriot Act.
Here are the topics:
RSS feeds (setting them up and subscribing to them)
If anyone else has Philadelphia connections or ideas on how we should proceed with outreach, suggestions are welcome.
We are currently meeting sporadically at LAVA in West Philadelphia. This is a meeting space for various activist groups, with whom we hope to develop connections.
You can contact us at radrefphilly @ gmail.com.
We also have a mailing list that can be reached at email@example.com. To join, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
John Iliff and I (Karen Kohn) attended a meeting of the Independent Media Center on November 30, 2005. The Philly IMC is in a cool building that volunteers have significantly renovated (as in, adding a roof), and which houses a radio station, public computer lab, and newspaper.
John told group members that he could give trainings on setting up RSS feeds and podcasts. As the IMC is about to form a podcast collective, they were excited about this idea. We also discussed that I could help them find background information for their news stories (John could do this too, but I'd be the first one to ask since he is contributing in other ways).
That's about it. We're hoping something comes out of this meeting.
Pittsburgh Radical Reference has been working on an information packet for the activists planning events during the upcoming G20. We've put together a list of information and contacts for legal and medical assistance, a calendar of events, lists of infospaces, indy bookshops, public facilities, and other info we thought the protesters might be able to use. See the attachment for the full packet.
Here will be information on the Pittsburgh collective and/or a link to their blog.
Welcome to the online home of the Portland Radical Reference Collective! Below is information on meetings, events, and projects we're working on. Please contact email@example.com for more information.
Upcoming and Past Meetings
January 5th, 2009 at 7pm: Starting in January we will permanently meet at the Independent Publishing Resource Center (IPRC) downtown (917 SW Oak St. #218) on the first Monday of the month. Minutes are available here.
So You Want to become a Librarian... A Free talk at the IPRC Weds 2/4 7pm
Four members of the Portland RR collective will host an informal discussion on the steps to becoming a librarian and what that means nowadays. Please see the flyer for more information.
Mon., Jan. 5th, 2009 - meeting held at IPRC
Nate [moderator], Lana, Renee, Denise, Emily, Sarah, Ismoon, Joanna, and Charles in attendance
1. Bitch Lending Library
- Lana updated the group as to the status of the Bitch Lending Library project. All books have been assigned subject headings and are in the process of being labeled. Additional volunteers are needed to label and organize books. There will be a Bitch Library Stickering Party this Sun., Jan. 10th at the Bitch Headquarters starting at 1p. More information is available on the Facebook event page.
- It was also mentioned that Bitch is looking for individuals to join their Board of Directors [will require 10-15 hours of involvement each month]. For more information please see the CNRG listserv posting here.
2. Q Center Library
- Ismoon is working on expanding the Q Center Library, and is in need of volunteers to assist in the labeling and cataloging of materials [library catalog can be seen here], as well as donations of new and academic LGBT books . If you would like to volunteer or have donations, please e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
3. Prison outreach
- Renee continues to work with Carol Cook, Multnomah County Library's prison outreach coordinator, to organize Radical Reference member involvement in Inverness Jail's Book Discussion Group and filming project. Anyone interested in volunteering at Inverness should first fill out MCL's volunteer application available here [if you are already a volunteer at MCL it is not necessary to fill out an additional app], and let Renee know which projects you are interested in. She can be reached at email@example.com.
Books to Oregon Prisoners
- Those interested in working with Oregon Books to Prisoners should e-mail Nate at mellingsather@gmail. Nate mentioned possibly having a monthly meet up at the OR Books to Prisoners headquarters if enough people are interested. The first meetup will be held Mon., Jan. 26th, 2009 at 5p.
Information and resources for recently released prisoners
- There was also talk of creating/updating an informational booklet that helps newly released inmates. Denise will be spearheading this project.
- Renee, Lana, Nate, and Ian will be hosting the first RR workshop at the IPRC. It is entitled, 'How to become a librarian' and will take place Wed., Feb. 4th at 7p. Additional details are available on the IPRC Calendar page.
- Some ideas for future workshops include: Copyright; Fact Checking; Getting your Zines in a Library
5. Wordpress blog
- Lana mentioned sending out Wordpress invites so RR members can create content at the RR Collective blog page.
- The blog will be used as a place to communicate 'dream projects', create an archive, and, as suggested by Emily, post RR-related events and other projects.
- Debbie Rasmussen, director/publisher of Bitch Magazine, will be joining us at our February meeting to talk about her involvement with RR and the Bitch Lending Library project!
Next meeting will take place Mon., Feb. 2nd, 7p at the IPRC.
10/1, 5:30: Members met at Bitch and continued to assign books to a category.
9/9, 5:30: Members met at Bitch to view current books in each category.
9/3, 5:30pm: Met at PSU Library (1875 SW Park Avenue) to view taxonomy books and begin building subject thesaurus
8/27: Members met at Bitch to view library collection and break up work. Donna will investigate other cataloging options (including library thing) and all others will begin working on taxonomy
Resources for Thesaurus Construction (especially if related to gender studies)
Hope Olson's "How We Construct Subjects: A Feminist Analysis" on B-net
Provision Library's Online Catalog has a pretty small list of subjects, but is a good example of streamlining progressive terms
April 6th, 2009 at the IPRC
In attendance: Renee, Rick, Lana, Liz
Marc Parker and Lillian Karabaic gave the group an overview of the IPRC zine library and what all went down at the Zine Librarian UnConference which happened concurrently with ACRL in Seattle. We took a tour of the library and checked out how things are organized in there and also learned about the groups project to create a “non-evil” OCLC for zines so libraries can share records.
1) We had received an email from someone at a local book publisher who wants to donate free books to libraries in need. The sender asked if we could think of a good way to equitably distribute the books. Our suggestions included: linking it up with one of the OLA committees (esp. for rural libraries), posting to Ors-Lib, and connecting with library groups in hard hit areas of the country (i.e. Gulf Coast). Suggestions were passed along to the publisher.
2) We next discussed the function of having physical meetings. Many people are finding it difficult to make it to a monthly meeting but all who attended expressed that they want to continue to have in-person meetings. We decided to try out having quarterly meetings from now on. We’ll skip next May and in June have a mini skillshare instead of a meeting, and then have formal meetings on the 1st Monday of September, December, March, and June.
a. Mini-skillshare on Monday June 1st: In lieu of the June meeting we’d like to have a skillshare where RR collective members can do quick (15 mins plus 5 mins q&a) workshops on library topics to help foster learning among the librarian community. Rick volunteered to teach a storytelling workshop and Lana volunteered to do a community needs assessment workshop. We agreed that we’d do 3 - 4 workshops total so need 1 or 2 more volunteers. Email Lana if you’d like to participate: lanamt [at] gmail [dot] com.
Next Meeting: SKILLSHARE on Monday, June 1st at the IPRC
Since this meeting a couple of other things have happened that are worth noting in the minutes
1) Lana spoke with the new person in charge of the Bitch Library [http://www.librarything.com/catalog/bitchlibrary] and is happy to report that the library is moving along and almost all of the materials have been entered into the library thing catalog. Bitch would like to offer two 3-hour open library hours for the public to come in and browse. They have already found one volunteer to be their librarian. Contact danny [at] b-word [dot] org if you want to volunteer to be a librarian there or do other library work. Lana will keep RR folks in the loop for when the library opening day celebration is.
2) Portland is having its first Anarchist Bookfair on the weekend of June 6th and 7th. http://www.myspace.com/axiominfoshop It will be held at the Liberty Hall (311 N Ivy St). We’ll be tabling there on Saturday. We would also like to teach at least one librarian workshop there. The group putting on the bookfair recommended that we choose whatever topic(s) is most applicable to fostering community independence. Please email Lana if you’re interested in tabling and/or helping out with a workshop: lanamt [at] gmail [dot] com.
Wednesday, August 20th, 2008 at Red and Black Cafe
Approximately 14 librarians and library students attended the first meeting of the PDX RR Collective.
Note: In the future do we want to record names as they do for NYC Collective?
A brief intro on Radical Reference was provided which covered the history and current presence of the group.
All introduced themselves and provided background on why they came to the meeting and what they hope to accomplish as a collective. From these discussions, 20 ideas were generated which fall into the following 7 categories:
2) Library / Archive Creation & Maintenance
6) Research / Reference Support
The ideas are:
Advocacy: Public (and other) library funding: one specific example being the pending Clackamas County Library closures
Library / Archive Creation & Maintenance: Archive assistance and records management; establishing radical subject thesauri and other cataloging projects; Bitch Magazine cataloging project
Media: Fact-checking workshops with Indymedia and other independent journalists; teaming up with Independent Publishing Resource Center and other independent publishers; Media literacy, critique, and deconstruction
Outreach: Ways to assist, help, and collaborate with underserved communities; linking up with other radical groups to provide library / information services; connecting with local on-profits to offer grant help and business information; outreach to increase people of color in library and information science (LIS) field (including outreach to paraprofessional staff); literacy work; creating local fact sheets
Professional: Issues of race, class, gender identity, sexual orientation, and more in libraries; union support; LIS and feminism: introducing pedagogy and critical teaching to library practice and education; Library of Congress Subject Heading critiques
Research / Reference Support: Reference projects for activists seeking sensitive information (i.e. potentially illegal activity); bicycle law support
Workshops: Library and reference skills workshops in activist communities / skillshares
It was decided that the group will use the Radical Reference wiki to host documents. The main RR website is a wiki and there is also a mediawiki installed. You need to create a free user account to use either.
I think to keep things simple we should just use the wiki function directly on the RR site, i.e. how I entered the minutes (Lana)
A listserv will be created; all attendees and those who requested to be kept in the loop will be added to facilitate communication.
It was decided that we will meet monthly and will rotate the day, time, and city quadrant to facilitate greater access by all involved and interested in the collective.
Current Projects and Subjects for Next Meeting:
Lana is currently working on a project to help Bitch Magazine catalog their collection and create a lending library and would love other folks to help out. All interested in helping, please email: lanamt [at] gmail [dot] com
We will work towards establishing guidelines and best practices with regards to time spent on projects and criteria for accepting or denying projects at the next meeting.
People should feel free to use the listserv and wiki if they want to spearhead a project listed above or propose a new one.
Next Meeting: Date and Location TBA – update will be posted here and sent to the listserv.
December 2nd, 2008 at the IPRC
In attendance: Nate (moderator), Renee, Laura, Lana, and Rick
Workshops at the IPRC
The IPRC is happy to host Radical Reference workshops. Ian, Lana, Nate, and Renee will be doing a “How to be a librarian” workshop in the next few months. There is a need for other workshops, especially on copyright, fact checking, and research. Workshop content and any fees you want to charge is up to the presenter. Please email Ann Marie at iprcworkshops [at] gmail [dot] com for more information.
Renee has been working with the prison outreach coordinator from MCL and we have been invited to participate in the literary discussion group at the Inverness Jail. RR members may select the book and lead the discussion. The groups are divided by gender and currently the male group is reading Maus and the female group is reading an Oprah book club selection. Get in touch with Renee if you want to be involved. You have to submit paperwork in advance and clear a background check to participate.
Additionally, Nate will be posting info to the listserv / blog [see “generating involvement”] soon about a group volunteer night at the Oregon Books to Prisoners program where RR folks are invited to informally gather and send off requested books to prisoners throughout Oregon.
Nate suggested that we create a Facebook group to announce events, keep in touch, and expand the group’s reach. Laura will put together the group so look for it on Facebook soon.
We also decided that it would be useful to have a blog where we can communicate ideas, connect with each other, and have an archive of events and ideas. Lana created the blog at http://pdxradref.wordpress.com/. Rick will post some of the dream project ideas [see “other business”] he had to the blog.
We also talked about having a speaker come before some of the meetings. All agreed that this will be a great way to enrich the monthly meetings. Lana will speak with Debbie, the producer of Bitch magazine, about speaking at the January meeting. Other guest speakers mentioned include Carol Cook from MCL, the zine librarian at IPRC, and perhaps someone from OLA.
Nature of the Collective
Lana wanted to check in with folks to see how they feel the collective side of the group is going. All agreed that in order to keep a healthy collective we should continue to support projects that fit different interests and offer various levels of involvement, i.e. the Bitch project is more long term and involved, whereas the Books to Prisoners project is a just show up and help while you can venture. We also want to be sure and have projects that fall under different interests so someone who is interested in helping teens, for example, can find something to connect with. If you are interested in leading a project, please post your idea to the blog and/or listserv to find other folks who may be interested in helping out. As it is a collective, all are encouraged to take the lead with a project and use the group as a support system.
We talked about some dream projects which are projects we’d love to do but don’t currently have the time to spearhead / work on. We will use the blog to announce these projects and keep a list of them as well as connect with other interested parties. Some of them include:
1) Creating a list of collective member’s skills (i.e. screenprinting, copyright, etc) and interests so folks who are looking to work on a particular topic know who might be interested or can help
2) Help provide information to sex workers on where to go to find free health services
3) Provide support to local companies that are coming under attack by national chains (i.e. Whole Foods possibly suing New Seasons)
4) Having a Rad Ref presence at Library Legislative Day in Salem (March 5th, 2009)
5) Poster session at OLA on the projects we’ve done / are doing
Next Meeting: Monday January 5th 7pm at the IPRC
February 2nd, 2009 at the IPRC
In attendance: Nate (moderator), Ian, Ismoon, Kirk, Janet, Lana, Laura, Renee, and Sarah.
Guest Speaker: Debbie Rasmussen from Bitch Magazine
Debbie Rasmussen, Publisher of Bitch Magazine stopped by to discuss the state of independent publishing. She echoed sentiments that many small magazines are seeing a decline in interest for print and a need to reinvent themselves to survive in a more digital age with small presses folding left and right. She also talked about Bitch becoming a non-profit and how this is part of their strategy for sustainability and continued presence. She also requested help from us Rad Reffers, please see the note below:
"the staff/board at bitch are strategizing to find a sustainable publishing model in today's media environment -- and are always looking for thoughtful advice about fundraising, increasing subscriptions (especially on campuses and in libraries) and just finding ways to keep print alive in the land of digital if you want to get involved, please email danny [at] b-word [dot] org!"
Renee update folks on the status of the prison project. Unfortunately due to budget cuts at MCL and the Inverness Jail we are unable to participate in the book discussion groups [see December minutes]. Renee will continue to follow this and update all as soon as we can participate again. Denise is working on a list of resources for those transitioning out of incarceration.
Library Project Updates
Lana talked about the very successful Bitch Library work party with about a dozen volunteers coming in to help. We finished stickering all of the books and placed them in their proper locations. Bitch volunteers will now catalog the records in LibraryThing and RR volunteers will then help out with outreach and awareness once the library is up and running. If you'd like to help out with cataloging the books, please contact danny [at] b-word [dot] org.
Ismoon and Sarah talked about their work on the Q Center Library. Ismoon will be scheduling multiple work days were folks are encouraged to stop by and help sticker books for their lending library which includes a large transgender reference collection. For more information please email ismoon.maria [at] gmail [dot] com. The Q Center Library also has an Amazon wish list for books they'd like to add to the collection.
Renee, Ian, Nate, and Lana will be presenting a workshop on "How to become a librarian" at the IPRC on Wednesday February 4th. They have created a wiki with resources they will be presenting available here.
The IPRC would love to host other Radical Reference workshops. There is a need for other workshops, especially on copyright, fact checking, and research. Workshop content and any fees you want to charge is up to the presenter. Please email Ann Marie at iprcworkshops [at] gmail [dot] com for more information.
Next Meeting: Monday, March 2nd, 7pm at the IPRC
Mon., March 2nd, 2009 - meeting held at IPRC
Nate [moderator], Laura, Ian, Lana, Renee, Denise, Ismoon, Martha, Kristen, Mark, and Sylvia in attendance
1. 'How to become a Librarian' workshop
- In the beginning of February, RR members gave a talk on 'How to become a Librarian' at the IPRC. A general outline of the talk is available here. It was a great success! Attendance was high and several people left on account of the meeting room being full. Future talks on the same topic were suggested, as well talks on fact checking and copyright. If you would like propose a workshop topic contact Ann Marie at the IPRC [firstname.lastname@example.org].
1. Q Center Library
- The Q Center Library is moving locations. Once the move is complete Ismoon will be in need of volunteers to assist in the labeling and cataloging of materials, as well as donations of new and academic LGBT books . If you would like to volunteer or have donations, please e-mail her at ismoon[dot]maria[at]gmail[dot]com.
2. Prison outreach
Partnership for Safety & Justice
- Denise has contacted Partnership for Safety & Justice to find out if they are interested in working with RR. Possible projects include answering questions from inmates' letters and creating information packets for frequently asked questions. It was suggested that RR creates a wiki page where questions can be posted and RR members can answer them on their own time.
- Due to budget cutbacks all new projects have been put on hold and no additional volunteers are being accepted at the jail. According to Carol Cook, Multnomah County Library's prison outreach coordinator, this may change in the summer. Renee will remain in contact with Carol and will contact her in May to get an update.
3. Public Library Support
- Due to the nationwide economic crisis many libraries have been subjected to severe budget cuts and staff lay-offs. The Oregon Historical Society's impending temporary closing and staff cutbacks along with the Oregon Trail Museum's closing were discussed. Lana suggested RR find a way to support these libraries as well as inform the public as to the importance and role libraries play in communities today. Suggestions included outreach through podcasts and blogs; letters to editors of small papers; RR cheerleaders, 'Ignite'-like slideshow presentations, and Portland Community Media collaboration.
Google Books Settlement
- Laura has provided some links on the Google Books Settlement, which may be discussed at the April meeting.
ALA Midwinter Conference Notes
Simple summary of Google Books Settlement
Georgetown University talk on Google Books Settlement
Cites and Insights
Emily's blog post on this issue at "In the Library with the Lead Pipe"
Radical Reference Meeting Notes---10/27/2008-- 7:00pm at IPRC
In attendance: Lana, Nate, Ian, Renee, Denise
The low down on the Bitch Magazine lending library project:
All books have been grouped into the category headings created
Currently waiting for shelving units that are to be provided by Bitch
Donna is to meet with Debbie at Bitch to discuss online cataloging options beyond Library Thing
Nate provided information he had gathered in regards to Rad Ref Involvement with Oregon Prisons.
For more information e-mail Nate: email@example.com
Possible projects include:
-Adding more resources to Partnership for Safety and Justice- Support Directory
-Adding resources to Transition Directory, especially resources outside of I-5 corridor
-Teaming up with Books for Oregon Prisoners in some capacity
Renee/Ian/Nate are working on this.
Lana proposed teaching workshops at IPRC or through Free School.
The IPRC would advertise workshops and put in there calendar.
Everyone present was interested in leading/creating a “How to Become a Librarian” presentation.
Likely an hour in length and IPRC can host it at some point between December and March.
Finally the group discussed future meeting times.
Currently IPRC is the new home… and it is an awesome place.
Beginning December meetings are the first Tuesday of the month at 7:00pm @ IPRC
IPRC cannot host a meeting for us in November.
Group proposed using November to nail down a day and time that will work for more interested parties now that we know our meeting location.
Proposed alternatives to 1st Tuesday were: 1st Monday, or 1st or 2nd Thursdays
We will communicate via listserv.
Wed., Oct. 1, 2008 at Anna Banana's Coffee House
Lana, Renee, Donna, and Nate in attendance
Briefly went over Radical Reference mission and gave background information for new members and those who missed last month's meeting.
Donna shared copies of the article, The Government Domain: Political Fact-Checking Websites, which is also available online here.
Discussed having someone volunteer to be permanent moderator at future RR meetings.
Lana informed the group that the Independent Publishing Resource Center [IPRC] will be permanently hosting RR meetings the first Tuesday of every month, starting in December.
Cataloging of the Bitch magazine lending library is going well. Many of the books have been reorganized using new categories. Donna is researching sites/software to catalog the materials. We hope to have this project completed within a month!
Possible future projects:
- Multnomah County Library's Target Language Practicum [see attachment for more information]
- Involvement with Oregon Prisons and the literacy & information needs of prisoners
- Workshops and talks at the IPRC [ex. 'How To Be a Librarian in Portland']
Also, Donna suggested CNRG to find new members and post about future RR projects.
We talked about possibly putting together an info/FAQ webpage for RR projects. The page would set some guidelines for taking ownership of projects, and would also provide information for those interested in collaborating with RR on what the group does and does not do.
|Target Language Intern fact sheet v. 2.doc||75.5 KB|
There is a San Diego Radical Reference Collective, but it's pretty inactive currently.
Contact Lia or Torie for more information. We are actively hoping and wishing for more members of the San Diego collective. If you're reading this, and wondering what would it mean to be a part of SD Rad Ref, just send along an e-mail.
There is a San Francisco Radical Reference Collective
Contact James for more information.
Welcome to the online home of the Seattle Radical Reference Collective! This collective is on hiatus, but if you live in Seattle and want to renew the collective, all it takes is a couple people and some energy!
This is the local collective for Syracuse, NY.
This is the local collective page for Tucson. Contact Nicole for more info.
We have started an official group through the University of Arizona, and are now a chapter of the Progressive Librarians Guild, however we are going to be doing events that relate to both PLG and Rad Ref. Anyone is welcome to join us: you do not have to be a student! SIRLS students, alumni, and community librarians are all welcome. More information is listed in our wiki and on our website.
We meet every other Wednesday from 5:15-6:00pm in the SIRLS multipurpose room on the UA campus (this information and directions are listed on our wiki).
Current events and projects, Fall 2009
A little behind on updates, but newest upcoming:
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
University of Arizona Main Library
1510 E. University Blvd., rm. A313/314
Join us for three 20-minute sessions on:
The skillshare is free and refreshments will be provided, courtesy of PLG-UA. Presentations will also be recorded for podcasting.
PLEASE REGISTER TO ATTEND: http://tinyurl.com/plgskill
See attached flyer below
Recap, Spring 2009
We have more projects listed at our wiki, and are always open to new ideas.
Recap, Fall 2008
If corporations and politicians make you want to puke, and you’d like to see them getting pied and pranked, you’ll love the LOST FILM FEST cinema laboratory hosted by vj SCOTT BEIBIN. It’s a fun mix of live performance and rare short films featuring pranks by culture jammers like THE YES MEN, sexy-smash-it-up riot footage, illegal art, media archaeology, clips censored by the mainstream media, video re-mixes, and so much more. Lost Film Fest Travels the planet year round. You never know where it will turn up next! Revolutionaries and “the kids” all agree: Lost Film Fest “is better than bad, it’s good!”. This jam is about smashing the illusions cast by Hollywood, the Pentagon, and FOX News. Yeah! Lost Film Fest: resurrecting Abbie Hoffman since 1999.
vj SCOTT BEIBIN is co-founder of the EVIL TWIN BOOKING AGENCY, HOLLYWOODCAN SUCKIT.COM, and founder of BLOODLINK RECORDS. He’s also a prolific media prankster (See the Jerry Springer episode with Beibin and Justin Pearson of The Locust).
“Lost Film Fest is my favorite film event ever” - Sam Green, dir. The Weather Underground.
-From LFF site
More to follow!
Recap, Summer 2008
Recap, Spring 2008
The Washington DC Radical Reference Collective started October 2011 with the staff of the Occupy DC People's Library. We currently provide resources, reference services and programming at McPherson Square, 2 blocks from the White House.
Join us at McPherson or online for virtual reference services or with suggestions for other Radical Reference needs in the Washington DC area.
Last updated 11/2/2012
**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
2. Agenda review, facilitators, notes
3. Process, web/communication issues
4. Project discussion
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.
Western Mass. Radical Reference
June 29, 2009, Monday, meeting notes
Since it was just a few of us we mostly socialized. We did look over a
list of activities that NYRR was involved in to help us brainstorm ideas
for WMRR's activities here in the Pioneer Valley. It was decided that we
would join the Prison Book Project at its upcoming Book Party since
they'll be dealing with their overstock of books and librarians will come
in handy sorting, weeding, and organizing the many books.
An event page for it has been set up on Facebook. Details are also below.
To learn more about Prison Book Project, visit their website at
A July meeting wasn't set.
---------------------------- Original Message ----------------------------
Subject: [pbpamherst] Join us July 12th!
What: Prison Book Project Book Party
When: Sunday, July 12, 2009, 3-6pm
Where: North Hadley Congregational Church, 243 River Drive, Hadley
To prepare for re-opening this fall, Prison Book Project is having a book
party. And you're invited! Join us Sunday, July 12th, from 3-6pm to sort
through over 50 boxes of books. We need to arrange them by subject, remove
hardcovers and textbooks as well as any other books we can't use, and any
other tasks that come up as we spend the afternoon at the space.
Any questions, just send us an email. We look forward to seeing you and
getting PBP back in shape for sending books to prisoners.
Thanks for your support and stay tuned for when we'll be re-opening this
Monday, March 9, 2009 Amherst Brewing Co.
Attended: Dena M., Bob S., Adam W., Grant G., David P., Barbara G., Miranda S., John R.
We started with beer and food and introductions. We had a decent turnout for a snowy Monday; we managed to have representatives from academic libraries, public libraries, school libraries, library school students, and an unemployed librarian.
We discussed the history and purpose of Radical Reference, and referred people to the website for more information. From the website:
--Radical Reference is a collective of volunteer library workers who believe in social justice and equality. We support activist communities, progressive organizations, and independent journalists by providing professional research support, education and access to information. We work in a collaborative virtual setting and are dedicated to information activism to foster a more egalitarian society.
Radical reference originated as a service provided by volunteer library workers from all over the United States to assist demonstrators and activists at the convergence surrounding the Republican National Convention in New York City August 29-September 2, 2004.
We are evolving, expanding our services, and continuing to utilize our professional skills and tools to answer information needs from the general public, independent journalists, and activists.--
People had questions about how RadRef operates and what kinds of projects other local collectives are engaged in. Radref members
* answer reference questions that come into the website www.radicalreference.info;
* have provided on-the-ground street reference services in the middle of large demonstrations;
* have presented on a variety of topics at library conferences and other activist conferences;
* have provided fact-checking workshops and fact checking services specifically to activist media and independent journalists; and
* flyered and leafletted in activist spaces and at activist events in order to get the word out that reference services exist specifically to serve the needs of activist communities
Some people seemed interested in learning more about answering questions on the RadRef site. We talked about the possibility of being our own independent group of radical librarians from western Mass, and not affiliating with the national RadRef group. People seemed to like the loose organizational structure of RadRef, however, and we decided that we did indeed want to be part of it. Dena will look into posting our meeting notes on the RadRef site, and getting those who wished signed onto the RadRef listserv.
We started discussing what we hoped to do as a local collective. Some ideas that came up:
Let’s pick some issues we are interested in and think about how we can work on them locally:
* Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan
* War in Palestine
* Economic issues, including issues around credit cards
* Issues around broadband connectivity (or lack of it) in some of the smaller communities of western Massachusetts
* What can we do as librarians to support our local activist movements?
* Maybe we can help the Western Mass Prison Book group with fundraising or help that project in other ways?
* We could begin tabling and flyering at a host of activist events that are likely to come up in the Spring.
* There will be a Forum on the Solidarity Economy happening at UMASS, on March 19-22. www.populareconomics.org/ussen/?q=node/99 It’s coming up very soon (before our next meeting) but we talked about possibly having a presence there.
We agreed as a group to establish an open Facebook group as our means of communication. Grant volunteered to set it up.
We agreed to meet again on Saturday, April 4th at 5:00 for a potluck in Pelham. Folks should come with food and ideas about what we might begin working on. Email Dena for details.
*** Next Meeting/Social will be at 6:00 on Monday, June 29th, at
the Northampton Brewery. Meet on the deck upstairs, unless it's
raining, in which case look for us near the bar. ***
Western Mass Radical Reference
May 9, 2009 Meeting Notes
So, we had a small meeting in May at the Amherst Brewing Co, and
discussed a number of things:
1. seems like folks are still not so clear about the radref mission of
providing reference services to our local activist communities - see
2. we have not yet figured out what are the pressing issues for local
activist communities are that our group might address. There seems to
be a sense that interest in the group is waning because we do not have
a project we are currently working on.
3. a number of ideas continue to be tossed around including:
a. rad ref can assist local groups like the western mass prison book
project (or others) in various ways
b. local rad ref members can become involved with the larger group by
contributing to the rad ref website (e.g. the reference shelf, or our
western mass group page), answering reference questions, and meeting
with rad ref folks at national meetings.
c. western mass rad ref can continue to try to map out and make
connections with local activist communities in order to try to be of
d. It might be worthwhile to have more of a presence at local library
related as well as activist events.
a. There seemed to be agreement that it was valuable to maintain a
local radref networking base, through meetings, our (fairly inactive)
listserv, our Facebook and local RadRef collective page. Keeping
these in place will allow us to mobilize when an issue presents itself
that members would like to work on. Other folks felt it was
worthwhile to keep meeting socially once a month. Next RadRef Meeting
will be at 6:00 on Monday, June 29th, at the Northampton Brewery.
Meet on the deck upstairs, unless it's raining, in which case look for
us near the bar.
b. we are planning to have a Librarian Work Day at Western Mass Prison
Book Project. This seems like a good tangible project to get radical
librarians involved and would really help out PBP! PBP needs help
weeding, sorting, and shelving books, among other projects. Date is
still to be decided.