Local Radical Reference Collectives

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.

Starting a Local Collective

Radical Reference local collectives are independent from one another and from the international group, which admittedly, is mostly dormant right now. (That could change; all it takes is people to make it go!)

Each group can activate/resist/support as it wants, as long as members act by the Rad Ref Points of Unity. Following this photo of some cuties in the Boston collective, here are some general guidelines for getting started:

Call for Participants

Solicit participants by email, social media, Meetup....whatever works for you! Your opening message might be something like

Dear Library and Archives Workers & Information Enthusiasts,

I/we am feeling _______ about ________ and am/are hoping to start a Radical Reference collective in order to have some way to make a concrete difference in our community. Let's use our skills in cataloging, public services, information architecture, systems, circulation, preservation, research, etc. and activism. [List whatever specializations you want; just make it clear that this isn't just for reference librarians, or even just for MLIS holders]

Things we could do include, but are not limited to

  • participating in protests
  • doing research for incarcerated people
  • helping people make FOIA requests (and their state equivalents)
  • developing research guides
  • supporting other activist projects with technical and research support
  • peer education about library issues
  • teach ins on open access, digital privacy, local issues
  • fact checking for radical journalists
  • digital archiving for activist groups
  • cataloging activist groups' libraries

If you are interested in working under the banner of Radical Reference on these or any other projects, please fill out this poll [use whatever polling software you like or put the dates in your message and ask for responses there] to determine a first meeting time/place.

Pick a site for your meeting that is accessible. If you can't find a free space, chances are participants will be willing to contribute $1-5 each, especially if your host is an allied project.

Your first meeting agenda might look something like

You can start a local email list, and people should also join the (very low-traffic) main email list.

Repeat! Check in! Be good to each other!


Let the admin posse know what you're up to so we can set up a section on the site for your local collective. You can use the main website or your own, but if it's the latter, we need to link to yours from the main site.

Boston Radical Reference Collective

2019-Present Activities

The Boston Radical Reference Collective has expanded into the New England Radical Reference Collective and has moved its activities to Slack. Join us on Slack by filling out our contact form: https://forms.gle/nzWznxzXvgnvdPAC6.

This shift to Slack was prompted by closure of all the radicalreference.info mailman listservs in 2020.

2016-2017 Activities

Boston Rad Ref documented its activities from 2016-2017 on Wordpress: https://bostonradicalreference.wordpress.com/.

2004-2014 Activities

Boston Rad Ref documented its activities from the beginning to 2014 on this website: http://radicalreference.info/localcollectives/boston.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014 - 8 pm

Boston Radical Reference Collective Meeting

Meeting at Yvonne Pappenheim Library at Community Change Inc.
14 Beacon St. #605
Boston, MA 02108 View on map.
Buzzer at door shows Community Change Inc.

Bring updates on projects or new ideas seeking input/help.

We'll also be thinking about BRRC infrastructure including: Create a schedule of meeting facilitators, find an online location for documents and schedules, and creating/updating a resource to help facilitators find meeting locations.

Facebook event page

April 7 & 8, 2014

Boston Radical Reference Collective Meeting
It's been a long time since we've gotten together. In that time a lot of new people joined. There are updates on projects new and ongoing, not to mention all the projects you're working on or thinking of that we'd love to hear about.

Whatever it is, join us for the next meeting of the Boston Radical Reference Collective. Drum up support for your project or idea, make connections with other radical librarians and enjoy a pleasant spring evening with local librarians/library workers/library school students/library enthusiasts.

We're meeting on two dates to allow more people to be able to connect. The agenda is the same for both, so you only need to come to one.

Both meetings are at 6:30 pm

Monday, April 7th -
Meeting at MIT
77 Massachusetts Ave.
Cambridge, MA 02139 View on map.
Meeting in lobby at 77 Mass (aka Building 7).
Facebook event page

Tuesday, April 8th -
Meeting at Yvonne Pappenheim Library at Community Change Inc.
14 Beacon St. #605
Boston, MA 02108 View on map.
Buzzer at door shows Community Change Inc.
Facebook event page

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.

More about Prison book program

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
Quincy, MA
Click here for directions.
Closest T stop: Red Line (Braintree Line) to the Quincy Center stop

Facebook event page
In order to see the event, you may need to join the Facebook group here.

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

Boston Radical Reference Collective presents

Practical Choices for Powerful Impacts: Realizing the Activist Potential of Librarians

Saturday, November 17

9:30am - 1pm

Women’s Studies Research Center, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA

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.
Questions? bostonradref@gmail.com

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

Radical Reference Night at Prison Book Program

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

Boston Radical Reference Collective Meeting

When: Sunday, March 25, 2012 2:00pm until 4:00pm
Where: Community Change Inc
14 Beacon Street #605, Boston, MA 02108

Nov. 12-12, 2011: BRRC & PLG at the Boston Anarchist Bookfair

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!

Oct.14, 2011 - : Audre Lorde to Howard Zinn Library at Occupy Boston

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

FREE! Anti-Racism Training for Librarians, Library Staff and Students

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/

Facebook event page

May 21-22, 2011

BRRC at Play-Jurisms!

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

Radical Reference Desk at the Boston Skillshare

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

Artists + Researchers Redux

Axiom Gallery
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

Sponsored by Artists in Context, in collaboration with Axiom Gallery and Boston Radical Reference Collective

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.

Facebook event page

March 1, 2011

Social Justice Librarianship: Experiences from the Field

An event sponsored by the Simmons College Chapters of:
The Progressive Librarians Guild (PLG) and Special Libraries Association (SLA)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011
Kotzen Meeting Room
Lefavour Hall
Simmons College
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/

Facebook event page here

February 19 & 20, 2011

Pappenheim Library TLC Days

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 library@communitychangeinc.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.

Facebook event page here

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
Winter Meeting
Wednesday, February 16

Community Change, Inc.
14 Beacon Street, Room 605 (click here for Google map)
Boston, MA 02108
nearby T stops: Park Street (red and green lines); Downtown Crossing (orange line)

Facebook event page here

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.
Somerville, MA

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

Facebook event page here

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

June 24, 2009

Past Events

May 2005. Tabled with Prison Book Program at three Lynne Stewart and political prisoners events.

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.

Artists + Researchers Resource Guide

Resource guide from Artists + Researchers events:
Sprout, Somerville, MA November 19th, 2010
Axiom, Jamaica Plain, MA March 18th, 2011

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.

RefDesk -- A low tech site with links to everything from dictionaries to news, encyclopedias, and diversions and the ever popular Who's Alive/Who's dead?

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

Local History -- Research guide from the Somerville Public Library

Cambridge History
-- From the Cambridge Public Library

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.

Relevant research guides from Radical Reference
Feminist Fact Checking Resources
History, Resistance
News sites

Artsts + Researchers (Boston/11.19.2010)

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/

Meeting Notes - June 24, 2009

Collective Brainstorming: Group Activities, Projects & Interests

Street Reference, Tabling, Flyers
Pride Parade/Dyke march – walk, or provide street reference
Bizarre Bazaar
Local festivals
Groups that don’t typically go to “bookish” events
Protests/solidarity gatherings
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
Lucy Parsons
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
Helping Hands

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

Z682.4 G39 Boston Pride

Members of Boston Rad Ref participated in the Boston Pride Parade in June 2006 with other members of the local Sassy Librarians Guild.

Radical queer librarians in Boston Pride Parade, 2006.Radical queer librarians in Boston Pride Parade, 2006.

Eastern Iowa Collective

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 radref.iowa@gmail.com

LIS Student Collectives

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:

Montreal Radical Reference Collective

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:


Meeting notes
December 12, 2010
November 21, 2010
November 13, 2010

October 21, 2010

September 20, 2010

September 9, 2010

August 23, 2010

August 10, 2010

July 29, 2010

Aug 10th, meeting minutes

Meeting Minutes

August 10th, 2010

In attendance – Robin, Megan, Andrea

Agenda: Mandate
Articles (knowledge share)
Action Plan

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

Action Plan
-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

Other Stuff
-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

Aug 23rd 2010 meeting minutes

Rad Ref Aug 23rd Meeting Minutes

People at the meeting – Caroline, Megan, Andrea, Marie Michelle
Agenda – General reference kit
Working groups
Other stuff
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

Working Groups:
• QPIRG-C – Jaggi will send out the application sometime in sept.

Other Stuff:
• 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…

Dec 12 meeting minutes

Rad Ref meeting, December 12, 2010

Present: Alanna, Andrea, Carolyn, Vince, Megan

Collaboration with CURE
Google alternatives
Sustainability resources projects
Wikileaks demostration
QPIRG testimonials
Other notes

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

Action plan:
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!

July 29 meeting notes

Next Meeting

Tuesday, August 10th - 5pm
Atwater Library (1200 Avenue Atwater)

July 29th, 2010 Meeting Minutes

Date: July 29 2010
Attended by: Andrea, Tania, Robin

Brainstorming Meeting!

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.

Nov 13 meeting notes

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.

Nov 21 meeting notes

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

Administrative stuff:
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.

Oct 21 meeting notes

Radical Reference Montreal meeting October 21, 2010


CBC interview
October 23 march: what needs to be done?
-info package?
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?

4. Poster:
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.

Sept 20 meeting notes

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.

ODB mandate:
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.

Sept 9 meeting notes

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.

7. Blog
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

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.

New York Capital District Radical Reference Collective

Please ping manycolored if you live in/near Albany, Troy, Schenectady, Saratoga Springs... any reasonable distance to travel for a get-together.

New York City Radical Reference Collective

Who We Are (and When/Where We Meet)

The New York City branch of the activist collective Radical Reference is an assortment of information workers in the New York City area dedicated to critical engagement with issues surrounding the intersection of information and social justice. 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. Follow us on Twitter to be kept up-to-date on our activities.

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Get in touch if you'd like to invite us to do a workshop for your community group or have other questions. And info 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, and the location is often determined in the days before the meeting.

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 assisted with the NYC Anarchist Book Fair (2007-10). We have been a partner organization with the NYC Grassroots Media Coalition since 2008.

Past and Upcoming Meetings


Our next meeting will be April 30, 7:00-9:00pm, at SVA Library East, 380 2nd Ave., 2nd floor.

We had a meeting on March 5, 7:00-9:00pm, at SVA Library West, 133 West 21st St., lower level.

We had a meeting on January 23, 7:00-9:00pm, at SVA Library West, 133 West 21st St., lower level.


We had a meeting on December 14, 7:00-9:00pm, at the Center for Jewish History, which was also a Black + Pink Holiday Card Party.

We had a meeting on November 1, 7:15-9:00pm, at the Center for Jewish History.

We had a meeting on September 12, 7:30-9:30pm, at the Center for Jewish History.

We had a meeting August 3, 6:30-8:30pm, at the Center for Jewish History, with a special know-your-rights training led by Make the Road NY.

We had a meeting June 13, 6:30-8:30pm, at the Center for Jewish History.

Our fifth post-election strategy session was at the Center for Jewish History in May. Notes.

Our fourth post-election strategy session was at the Center for Jewish History in March. Notes.

Our third post-election strategy session was at Barnard Library in February. Notes.

We held a propaganda crafting party at the City Reliquary on Friday, January 13, 2017. Notes.

Our second post-election strategy session was at Printed Matter in early January. Notes.


We also held an Info Worker Post-Election Strategy Session at Interference Archive in early December. Notes

We're back in NYC! We held a meeting at Interference Archive in April. Notes.


The October meeting was held at the Housing Works cafe. Notes.

We didn't have a meeting in September.

The August meeting was held at the Housing Works cafe. Notes.

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 May and June meetings were combined into one June meeting, at ABC No Rio. Notes.

The April meeting was at ABC No Rio. Notes.

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

Our February meeting was at ABC No Rio. 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.

The September meeting was held at ABC No Rio (on the Lower East Side). Notes.

The August meeting was held at the NYC AIDS Housing Network in Brooklyn. 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.

Our April meeting was at ABC No Rio. Notes.

Our March meeting was at ABC No Rio. Notes.

Our February meeting was at the NYC AIDS Housing Network in Brooklyn. Notes.

Our January meeting included a salon to discuss the new OCLC policy. Notes.


In December we didn't meet to plan and talk, just to drink beer, with our friends at InterActivist.

Our November meeting was at ABC No Rio. Notes.

Our October meeting was at ABC No Rio. Notes.

Our September meeting was at ABC No Rio. Notes.

Our August meeting was at the NYC AIDS Housing Network in Brooklyn. Meeting notes here.

Our July meeting was at the NYC AIDS Housing Network. Meeting notes here.

Our June meeting was at ABC No Rio. Meeting notes here.

We didn't have a meeting in May.

Our April meeting was at ABC No Rio. Meeting notes coming soon!

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.

Our January meeting was at ABC No Rio. 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 September meeting was at ABC No Rio. Meeting notes.

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.

Our July meeting was at the New York City AIDS Housing Network office in Brooklyn. Meeting notes.

We held a joint May/June meeting on June 1 at ABC No Rio.

The April meeting was held at the New York City AIDS Housing Network office in Brooklyn. Minutes. The discussion topic was copyright. Notes from the salon.

The March meeting was up in the print shop of ABC No Rio. Minutes.

The February meeting was at ABC No Rio. After the "business" meeting, we discussed the upcoming U.S. Social Forum. These are the notes from that discussion. These are the notes from the main meeting.

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 December 2006 meeting was on the second floor of ABC No Rio. Minutes.

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.

In September we held an open meeting and salon on the topic of library activism, on and off the job, at ABC No Rio. Minutes.

Our August meeting was in Tompkins Square Park. Minutes.

Our July meeting was at Alt.Coffee on Avenue A (8th and 9th). 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.

Notes from our meeting from Friday, January 13, at 8pm at ABC No Rio.


Our November meeting was actually in December, specifically on Friday, December 9, at 8pm in the gallery at ABC No Rio.

Our October meeting was Friday the 21st at 8pm on the 4th floor (Computer Center) of ABC No Rio.

Our September meeting was on Friday the 9th at 8pm in the Gallery space of ABC No Rio. (We skipped August because lots of people were away and more importantly, no one organized it.)

The July meeting was on Friday the 8th at 8pm at ABC No Rio.

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.

NYC Collective August Meeting Notes

Radical Reference NYC Collective Meeting
Date: 8/24/08, 5 PM
Location: NYC AIDS Housing Network, Brooklyn
Present: Karen, Melissa, John, Julie, Jenna, Vani

  • Tabling events
    1. Howl Festival in Tompkins Square Park, 9/6 and 9/7, 11 AM – 6 PM
      We would be sharing a table with ABC No Rio and Books Through Bars. Melissa will email the list to schedule tablers.
      Supplies to locate: binders, flyers, buttons, patches, t-shirts
    2. Event whose name is forgotten, 9/21 – 9/27 possibly? We would be tabling with ABC No Rio [It's Creative Time's Democracy in America Convergence Center]
  • CSS Skillshare
    Come to a skillshare on cascading style sheets (CSS), done by folks from InterActivist!

    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.

  • Speaking invitations
    1. New Jersey Librarians Association
      NJLA has invited us to their conference in April 2009. Julie and Eric will present on Radical Reference (front end and the back end).
    2. Queens College Library School Radical/ Militant Librarianship Talk
      We've been invited! Flushing, Queens here we come. Vani and Julie are in so far. Two previous* presentations on a similar theme. We hope to expand our info about librarians of color and other crucial aspects of radical library history. Date not finalized yet.
  • Grassroots Media Conference Event
    John reported that GMC folks have asked us to coordinate a workshop and networking event on getting grassroots materials into libraries, and/or possibly the relationship between grassroots media makers and libraries.
    January was proposed as a possible time, with NACLA offices in Soho as a tentative location. Also discussed was the possibility of making this a workshop at the next Grassroots Media Conference in NYC.

    We brainstormed around this topic a LOT. Some bits:

    • How to get archival content to database vendors
    • How to get materials into alternative libraries and infoshops
    • Getting materials into public and academic libraries, researching collections policies
    • Using distributors
    • Connecting with major vendors
    • Getting pubs listed in WorldCat
    • A general idea of the panel:
      It would include a nice cross section of "gatekeepers" with whom grassroots media makers may want to learn how to interface.
      • academic library collections specialist (perhaps in political science, ethnic studies, or other area?)
      • public library collections specialist
      • Library Journal reviewer
      • Distro representative (suggested distro: Women Make Movies)
      • Radical Reference presenter (though not quite gatekeepers) (each of us could contribute to the effort of research and content creation for the presenter… perhaps we can post ideas on the wiki!)
    • Any other ideas?
  • NACLA Research Guide
    NACLA (North American Congress on Latin America) wants Radical Reference to help them create a new edition of a guide to social justice-relevant research processes. The guide was originally published in the 60's, so it needs some refreshing! NACLA may be able to compensate with grant $$$.
  • IFLA Reportback
    Melissa reported back from her presentation at IFLA in Quebec. Her session went well, the room was packed, and the audience was receptive and enthusiastic. Yay Melissa!
  • Archives Event
    We are still working on planning an event around archives and radical history, to be tentatively held at the Brecht Forum in Manhattan. So far Shawn from the Lesbian Herstory Archives has expressed committed interest in presenting on Black lesbians and archives/ the herstory of Herstory. Jenna is in contact with a representative from the Tamiment Library at NYU. Melissa is still working on finalizing a date with Brecht Forum. Also in the mix: ABC No Rio (?)
    Date: Wednesday in October, preferably 10/22, or also 10/29 or 10/15.
  • Info Seeking Behaviors of Activists
    Melissa would like to do a study on this topic and is seeking feedback, suggestions, and ideas.

*File currently missing from webpage. Email Jenna if you want it. myfirstname AT stealthisemail DOUGHT calm.

NYC Local Collective Meeting Notes, November 2009

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

Announcements List Created

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."

Compensation, Access, and Theft: Copyright in the 21st Century

Saturday, April 9th, 4:15pm
Judson Memorial Church (across from Washington Sq Park)
NYC Anarchist Book Fair

**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:

  • How can authors/illustrators be fairly compensated for their work, particularly by radical publishers?
  • How can the above be accomplished while also maintaining broad access to authors’/illustrators’ work?
  • How can radical publishers stay in business in the 21st century?
  • How does current copyright law work with and against what you’re trying to do (whether you’re an author, a publisher, or a librarian)?
  • How should digital versions/editions of work be treated?

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 info@anarchistbookfair.net.

Notes from Compensation, Access, and Theft: Copyright in the 21st Century panel

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.

Audio recording.

Imperfect notes:

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.

Aliqae Geraci, Queens Library, in masters program in labor studies, and co-writing two books for ALA Editions.

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.

Karl Fogel, Question Copyright

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)

  • Jim: thinks publishing with Disney (Hyperion) was a mistake. Publishing with commercial press changes what you get to say.
  • Karl: idea that there is one publisher for every book doesn't have to be.
  • Jim: the small percentage of Autonomedia's books that have made money are all anti-copyright. Not compensated for foreign press translations.

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)

  • Aliqae: only able to buy books from Baker & Taylor. Melissa's question is an ethical quandary.
  • Jim: need to get out of money form.
  • People also talked about faking the PO, which Melissa said wouldn't fly at her university.

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?

  • Karl: Most authorship is self-exploitation. He himself was motivated for reputation than profit.
  • Vikki: As an undergrad at Brooklyn College got access via ILL to a great wealth of books (unlike now via NYPL's unsatisfactory ILL program), but still couldn't find what she was looking for (about women prisoners' resistance), and it didn't exist, so she had to write it.
  • Craig: There is no money in any radical publishing endeavor. Our culture doesn’t value art, radical or not.
  • Vikki: Compensation isn't always monetary.
  • Aliqae: It is not always a choice to self-exploit. If we want to see a model where authors can eat and pay rent, we need to figure out a way to pay for it. Pay more for books, get involved with micropatronage, other funding models.

Can a publisher pay a non-US citizen to write a book?

  • Jim: not unique to publishing. After a certain level of payment, publisher has to report payment.
  • Audience: different for author vs. employee
  • Craig: pay authors, report it, whether author/artist does or not isn't their problem
  • Jim: $600 ceiling—companies don’t have to report payment if less than that

Monopoly vs. money problem—how best to counter monopoly on copyright

  • Karl: go to our website
  • Aliqae: libraries as access providers to large population groups, are risk averse. They will follow innovations, not lead them.
  • Karl: it happened in software, so we know it can work.

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?

  • Karl: Maybe Cuba, they have a more liberal attitude toward copyright.
  • Karl: Use "restrict" rather than "protect" when referring to copyright issues. It will be more accurate and always grammatically correct, as well.
  • Aliqae: Other countries are ahead of US in providing digital access to public archives and materials. Closest we can come is the recently torpedoed Google Books settlement. France provides access to cultural heritage, supported and organized by the state apparatus itself. We don't have something similar here. Our state is not into cultural heritage. Google blew their chance.
  • Aliqae: Google tried to claim ownership over orphan works. But they would have provided one access terminal to use materials contributed by libraries worldwide. Google would have been tracking usage.
  • Aliqae: Right to read vs. right to reproduce.
  • Jim: HarperCollins after 26 uses eBook will self-destruct
  • Karl: that forces a surveillance society
  • Aliqae: librarians will stand up against the PATRIOT act, why not DRM?

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)

  • Karl: eBooks are books
  • Karl: Print books are expensive
  • Jim: paper, printing and shipping are largest expenses
  • Melissa: between 2002 and 2008 number of mobile devices increased 60%. Mobile devices serve larger, less privileged populations.
  • Karl: Africa is now wired. No one saw that coming 20 years ago.

What is the essence of reading experience? Does format matter? Does it matter in particular to the radical community? (Melissa M)

  • Audience member: people who are used to physically experience of reading a book. Next generation won't be as attached to it. Book can be packed into a computer, but not other way around.
  • Aliqae: a significant percentage of the population has limited access to the internet, eBook readers
  • Vikki: sold significantly more paper books than eBooks. How do you stumble across eBooks, as opposed to print books in a bookstore or library?
  • Jim: labor in book printing: printers, bookstore clerks, etc.
  • Craig: Amazon still biggest buyer, not Google and [?]. Costs are designing and especially promoting. Sell 50% of their books face-to-face.
  • Jim: Autonomedia has been resistant to advertising. [I think I missed the second half of this statement.]
  • Ka

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.

Related Resources to Compensation, Access, and Theft: Copyright in the 21st Century panel

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 / Fair Use Salon

Sunday, April 29 from 5-7pm at the NYC AIDS Housing Network in Brooklyn.

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?

80A Fourth Avenue, b/t St. Marks & Bergen Sts. Take the 2,3,4,5,Q,B,D,M,N,R train to Pacific or Atlantic. Beware of weekend subway disruptions.

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 Salon Notes

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

July 2007 meeting minutes

Sunday, July 29, 2007 5pm. NYCAHN office, Brooklyn.

In attendance: Emily, Jenna, Jonathan, Melissa
Regrets due to traffic or weather: Alycia, John, Susie

Informal Overview
Since we had a new guy, we chatted a bit about what we do--the local collective and the main group.

Volunteer Projects
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.

The Rad Ref/Interactivist talk went well, and there should be a video of it floating around somewhere.

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.

Next Meeting
We'll talk about the September meeting, which will be open. One proposed topic for the open meeting is books to prisoners projects. (BTB, PREP, Fordham law students, etc.)

Perhaps we'll meet in the garden near Gretchen in August?

Meeting minutes July 2009

Location: Natalie's apartment in Brooklyn
Attendance: Cherie, Emily, Jenna, John, Melissa (facilitator), Natalie

  1. Website how-to
    We did a quick hands on showing how to make a blog post and how to post meeting minutes. Highlights included making links, URL path settings, subject tagging, break tag, and making relative links to other RR website content. Hint: go into any page that has formatting you want to copy, click the edit tab, and see how the author did what s/he did.
  2. SLA Report Back: Cherie and Natalie's presentation at the Special Libraries Conference in Washington, DC
    • Cherie gave history and overview of what we do
    • Natalie handled the open source/tech side
    • 40-50 attendees in and out (during a time slot with a lot of really good programming)
    • Handled questions about volunteers using library resources to answer questions, among others
  3. Next salon
    We discussed a number of topics, but decided that the next three "public" events might be
    • August: movie event at Brecht Forum, mostly organized by Matt Peterson, but some members of Rad Ref and Desk Set might be asked to serve on a panel, perhaps as "reactors"?
    • September: Google Books (or possibly some other hot topic) to attract new volunteers. Same style as the OCLC forum we held in January, where participants will read an article beforehand and be prepared to present it to the group.
    • October: Rabid Reference
      We don't know what that means yet; it just tickled us at the time.
    • Ideas proposed and saved for later: workplace issues, Radical Reference practice (neutrality, using subscription databases to answer questions, etc.), quinoa preparation, "What's radical about Radical Reference?," taxonomy vs. tagging
  4. The movies--Natalie is the RR point person and will share details with the group presently.
  5. Website workday
    Eric is trying to interest Interactivist and local Drupal developers in a major work day for the site. They'll need our input at the beginning of the day. Who can participate? Let's buy the developers pizza. We'll suggest 7/19, 7/25, 8/1, or 8/2 for the first session.
    Plus we need to fix instances on the NYC Local Collective page that say that minutes are coming soon.

Minutes submitted by Jenna. Apologies if I got anything wrong!

NYC Anarchist Bookfair Table Schedule 2011

We are sharing a table at the NYC Anarchist Bookfair on Saturday April 9 from 11-7 with the Barnard Library Zine Collection.

We'll need people to set up, table, and break down. Please sign up for a shift!

10:30-12 (includes set-up)
1. Jenna
2. Kate

1. Bronwen

1. Bronwen
2. Aliqae

1. Christy


6-7:30 (includes clean-up)
1. Jenna

NYC Anarchist Bookfair table

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)

NYC Collective February 2008 Meeting Notes

February 15, 2008
Alycia's House
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?)
Our Sessions:
-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?

NYC Collective March 2008 Meeting and Salon Notes

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.

NYC Collective Meeting February 2007

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

NYC Collective November 2006 Meeting Minutes

Radical Reference NYC Collective meeting 11/17/2006

present: Julie, Jenna, Tracy, Melissa, Gretchen, John (recording secretary pro tem)

  • Item I: NCOR in DC, late March (?) – National Conference on Organized Resistance – last year RR did workshops on factchecking and FOIA and using the public library for activist research. It was agreed that it would be good to be involved again. Eric and Jenna may do a presentation on open source tools for websites, based on RR’s experience. Another idea would be a "reverse factchecking" presentation – how to establish credibility in a zine/website/newsletter. Carrie from DC has discussed this with Jenna; others are more than welcome to get involved.

  • Item II: Park Slope Food Co-op as a venue for RR presentations – Co-op member Melissa discussed the feasibility/potential draw for this with the responsible party there. "Internet for activists" was mentioned as a topic that would be of interest. The co-op needs two months or more lead time for booking; they would do a flyer to promote the presentation. There is no Internet/wireless access subscribed to by the co-op, so we should plan on using slides – though it seems likely that there might be some signal up for grabs in the area.
  • Item III: Anarchist Book Fair/NYC – RRers Jenna, Melissa and Gretchen have been attending meetings. A date/venue is close to getting set – possibly April 14 at Judson Church, or possibly another Sat. in April at St. Marks on the Bowery and/or Theater for the New City. Ideally rooms are needed for exhibition space, presentations and child care – none of the above mentioned spaces are ideal. We discussed RR’s role in support: doing outreach to vendors and/or presenters. There is a sense that some of the people behind this event are coming from a more "theoretical" perspective than groups RR has worked with in the past. The possibility of doing a more research-based presentation to suit that perspective was raised – perhaps alternative resources in social academics, or an overview of gov doc resources. The latter idea, using the government’s publications/resources for anarchist purposes, seemed to strike most of us positively. If the amount of time or number of sessions we can do is limited more activist-oriented presentations we have done in the past such as legal resources, FOIA and factchecking should not be shortchanged. Also on the praxis side were suggestions for presentations on social networking tools such as RSS and del.icio.us, and/or "managing information" for the Grassroots Media Conference. Using "scenarios" to set up how to use information.
  • Item IV: AskMetaFilter model as replacement for Lightning Bug – consensus seems strong that LB is far from ideal for our purposes. Ask MetaFilter is a collaborative website which is a forum for questions; the software underlying it could be adapted for RR. Jessamyn West has a piece on MetaFilter in the Oct. 15, 2006 Library Journal (131 no17 p.88: "MetaFilter: Going Your Way"). The MetaFilter model, as noted in Jessamyn’s article, uses a moderator. Perhaps RR could have a few committed people who could serve as moderators one day a week each (for example). Hopefully either through this or another means we can lead to greater involvement and collaboration.
  • Item V: US Social Forum – to be held July 27-August 1, 2007 in Atlanta. It would seem like a good idea to have a librarian presence there, perhaps in collaboration with other progressive librarian groups such as PLG, SRRT, etc. Also, the NY radical tech group (?) could use help with website content.
  • Item VI: ALA Midwinter: no one in attendance was planning on going, so there wasn’t much to discuss.
  • Item VII: Website content – Green Scare page. In response to criticisms from some of those involved, the list of names of those arrested now notes who are cooperating with the prosecution. We discussed the need to support activists while at the same time providing accurate information. It was decided that a more detailed explanation of what "cooperating" means would serve both ends.
  • Item VIII: UMich Drupal projects – Students in the tech program at University of Michigan will be acting a consultants for some projects using Drupal (such as we use on the RR site). RR has responded with our willingness to be involved in this program, but have yet to hear back.
  • 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.

    NYC Collective: April 17, 2009 meeting minutes

    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.

    2. GMC
    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.

    NYC Local Collective Meeting Notes October 2007

    Attendance: Alycia, Jenna, Melissa G, Melissa M (facilitator)

    Tenants Resources Skillshare
    Grassroots Media Conference
    Republican National Convention
    October 27 anti-war demo

    1. Tenants' Resources Skillshare
      We checked in about Sunday's skillshare, discussing whether or not we should have publicized it more widely. Melissa G forwarded the info to the Palmer school list and got some positive responses. Alycia offered to forward it to Pratt. We'll see how it goes and perhaps in the future post to METRO. A potential problem is having more participants that ABC No Rio can accommodate.
      We also talked of the importance of limiting these events to library practitioners.
      In sort of a sidebar we got to thinking how some of the skillshares might be work parties instead, (e.g. a collaboration with Books Through Bars, writing letters to the Library of Congress Subject Heading Division, writing letters to politicians about Net Neutrality, making "Ask Me, Radical Reference" patches, etc.
    2. Grassroots Media Conference
      The organizers have agreed that Radical Reference might partner with them in organizing a research track for the event. We will try to send a member of our working group to their next meeting (Monday 10/15).
    3. Republican National Convention 2008, Twin Cities, Minnesota
      Since Radical Reference was founded in order to support the demonstrations against the RNC in 2004, there is some interest in having a presence again. In addition to providing street reference, we discussed plugging in with other groups as needed (e.g. helping staff an IMC switchboard, uploading web documents and media if groups need help with that, etc.).
      K.R. in Denver recently inquired on the list about operations at the Democratic National Convention, as well.
      We agreed that RNC protest plans should be discussed on the main list for the time being.
      Alycia and Jenna will reach out to twin cities contacts, including the library school.
    4. October 27 protests, NYC
      Anyone interested in doing street reference, or marching together in a radical librarians contingent? Alycia will survey the group.

    NYC Local Collective Meeting Notes, April 2010

    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.

    NYC Local Collective Meeting Notes, August 2010

    Met at Housing Works Bookstore

    Charlotte, Jenna, Kate Ad, Kate An, and Winston were present.


    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.

    NYC Local Collective Meeting Notes, February 2010

    Rad Ref minutes: 02/19/10 // In attendance: Angie, Janai, Jenna, John, Melissa

    • Tabling @ Left Forum (March 19-21?)
      John—Ask GMC folks if they’d put our fliers out … Reach out to Jonny?
    • Anarchist Bookfair (April 17 & 18)
      Rad Ref will have a ½ table (sharing w/ Books Thru Bars for $37.50). Tabling
      is only Saturday. No volunteers to spearhead tabling … yet. What workshop
      does RR want to offer—looking for ideas now! (Hack Your Library,
      etc.). Deadline for proposals is March 12th.
    • US Social Forum (June 22nd-26th)
      Melissa participated in the first conference call of People’s Media Center. Mel would like to do an information behavior study to assess what social justice activists do when they need information? (Online? What websites? Word of mouth?) Jenna’s main interest is to staff an info desk w/ and have a bunch of short skillshares ready to go "on demand."
    • Fact-checking workshop for the RCP newspaper
      Anybody? Jenna, Mel, and John would all do it if someone else would bottom-line the effort. Current plan is to wait for them to follow up on planning/location, etc?
    • Brecht Forum programs
      Monday, Feb. 22nd @ 7:30pm: MayFirst event on security and freedom for activists.
      Monday, March 29th: Mel will ask Kazembe to give up Mar 29th in favor of a
      later date that's not the first night of Passover.
      Monday, April 26th: Radical Archives reduxxx (Lesbian Herstory & Squatter Archive)
    • Sandy Berman talk
      Legendary radical cataloger—would like to have him come speak. Would have
      to pay for airfare and probably hotel. Angie & John will try to nail down Grad Center for space. See if Queens LISSA would sponsor?
    • Raf Ref mentoring (internal)*
      Next time.
    • RRFM (Feb 28th & March 28th)—Next Rad Ref mtg will be 4pm on Mar 28th @ RRFM*

      Jenna will be @ the Feb 28th RRFM--more volunteers heartily encouraged to

    Notes by Angie

    NYC Local Collective Meeting Notes, January 2009

    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.

    NYC Local Collective Meeting Notes, March 2010

    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.

    NYC Local Collective Meeting Notes, May/June 2010

    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.

    NYC Local Collective Meeting Notes, October 2010

    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:

    • public library closures and how that affects increasingly-limited public space
    • the changing information landscape/privacy issues

    (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 Notes, September 2008

    NYC Local Collective Meeting, September 19, 2008
    Attendance: Jenna, John, Karen, Mel, Vani (facilitator)

    • Radical Archives Event
    • Alternative Materials in Libraries Event
    • Queens College Presentation
    • NYC Radical Reference Discussion List
    • IMC Event Report-Back

    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!)

    6:30 Set-up
    7:00-7:45 Schmoozing
    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
    9:30 Clean-up

    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:

    • No one should be added to the working list without attending at least one meeting
    • Removing people who have never attended a meeting or in some way contributed to the work of the local collective
    • Maintaining the core list as a trusted network.
    • Periodically reevaluating the list (every six months?), asking people who have not participated either in person or electronically if they still want to remain on the working list.
    • Adding a NYC-Announce list for non-participants as well as lurking members. Alternate name—public list?
    • Replacing the existing list with a list for only those who are actively engaged in the local project. To be called "working," "core," or "private."

    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.

    NYC Local Collective Meeting Notes, September 2009

    RR NYC Collective Meeting, Friday, September 11, 2009

    Attendance: Alycia, Angie, Becky, David, Denise, Ilya, Jenna, Jerome, John, Jonny (facilitator), Karen, Melissa, Myron, Natalie

    1. Intros
      In attendance were new and graduating LIS students (including an RR PDX transplant), library groupies, an ABC No Rio artgoer, a library project practitioner, and returning collective members.
    2. Branch
      Jerome reported on the project:
      • The project soft launched on Sunday, working with the Myrtle Avenue Block Partnership. The will have the space for eight weeks.
      • The concept is working with neighborhood residents to reclaim public space. This library will be community designed and programmed. e.g. Passersby were asked to write down the name of a favorite book. The list was compiled on the Branch blog, if you want to see it. [And in my editorial opinion, it's a pretty great/diverse list.]
      • The real opening will be later this month. Hours are the next seven Sundays, 1-5.
      • They're looking for book donations. Dropping them off during open hours is the best thing to do, but it's not impossible that they could pick up donations, as well.
      • Patrons can check out one book at a time. The circ system is still in progress, though.
      • They're soliciting ways to use the space. They've had some interest, but nothing substantial yet from architecture groups. Suggestions were offered from the group that I didn't write down, but Jerome did.
      • This Sunday's activities: informing passersby of the project and signing up patrons. At 2pm they will arrange boxes as library furniture. If someone wanted to bring a laptop and offer reference, that would be swell. There was a wireless signal last week, but they can't promise there will be one again this week.
      • The Branch Library is not meant to be any kind of competition or criticism of Brooklyn Public Library. They are fans of BPL.
      • There will be a fundraising party in DUMBO on Wednesday 9/16. $5. Please come.
    3. Librarian Swarm (There doesn't seem to be a public page to link to for this event yet, except the Google group page.
      Does RR want to participate in this event as a group? No one at the meeting seemed up for driving, but maybe Natalie B. would be?
    4. Grassroots Media Conference
      • Looking for a new liaison. John did it two years ago, and Karen last year.
      • Alycia and Karen agreed to co-liaise, with Melissa as back up
      • The next meeting is Wednesday night.
    5. Salon Discussion: Google Books Settlement
      • Angie gave an overview of the issues
      • It will be the weekend of October 16-18. Is Sunday afternoon better than Friday night?
      • The date will depend a bit on the location. Suggestions for a Sunday include the Brecht Forum (Angie will inquire), Sixth Street Community Center (Jenna will inquire), and Reverend Billy's HQ (Jenna). Discarded suggestions: Sony Atrium, BPL
      • Jenna will create a webpage similar to the one we had for the OCLC Salon for the event. Angie and John will populate it.
      • The salon concept is more of a "people's university"/peer education model than invited experts lecturing/answering questions. That doesn't mean that experts can't come; they should just know that they are there to listen as much as speak. Natalie will see if she can get someone from Google to attend in that capacity.
    6. G20 Mobilization
      Can/should we offer support to the Pittsburgh crew? No one particularly offered to contact them, but we'd be willing to do home support if asked.
    7. Really Really Free Market
      Last Sunday of every month at Judson Church. Volunteers to offer free reference service? Melissa has been going semi-regularly (most recently it was her and John), but she may not be available to do Rad Ref for all upcoming RRFMs.

      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.

    8. US Social Forum
      There is a discussion list for librarians who wish to participate in the Forum in an organized way. There is a RR member in Detroit (hi Ethan!) attending local organizing meetings.
    9. RR article coming out in the late fall issue of Reference Librarian. Congrats and thanks Melissa and Lia!
    10. Angie solicited suggestions of local radical archives and was then encouraged to publish the resulting list.
    11. Myron solicited suggestions of critical information literacy resources.

    NYC Radical Reference Collective Meet & Greet: June 14, 2016

    Radical Reference and 5 Borough Defenders invite you to happy hour. Let's meet, greet, and talk social justice.

    Tuesday, June 14 2016
    Fourth Avenue Pub
    76 4th Avenue Brooklyn, NY 11217

    RSVP requested (http://evite.me/uBWqZZ8xXF)

    Please send agenda items, questions, and whatever else to nyc@radicalreference.info.

    NYC Radical Reference Meeting 06-16-06

    NYC Radical Reference Meeting 06-16-06

    Members Present: Melissa, Julie, Dena


    1. ALA Annual
    2. Lightningbug and Radref website
    3. Directory of NYC orgs
    4. Reference Shelf page for Green Scare, etc.
    5. Library student publication opportunities

    1. ALA
    - 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?

    - Website
    * 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
    * ideas:
    - 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

    Notes from the April 9, 2016 meeting at Interference Archive


    Alex, Bonnie, Charisma, Eamon, Ellen, Jaime, Jenna (note-taker), Leigh, Lucia, Meg, Melissa (facilitator), Sarah, Stephen


    We started with a go around where people shared one thing that gives them joy about their library work and one thing that's challenging or that they'd like to change.


    • Student research topics (like patriarchal uses of power in literature)
    • Cool exhibits
    • Using radical examples in teaching
    • Students interested in Rad Ref
    • Help colleagues use technology, less dependent on bro-y IT dept
    • Strains of social justice emphases on staff
    • Getting to work with lots of departments, cross-pollination
    • Teaching LIS classes because gets to tell the truth
    • Office with window
    • Autonomy in work, budget. Making stuff about NYPL and prisons available to students
    • Work with students, helping them navigate new college experience
    • Sharing information 
    • Work with doctors and residents on their research projects


    • Overextended
    • Hierarchy
    • Only POC on "professional" staff
    • New director, administrative changes
    • Bureaucracy 
    • Reference/reading room overemphasiss  on security
    • No way to be more explicit about politics at work, e.g., city related things
    • Culture change, increasing detrimental attitude toward patrons
    • Large institution, evil
    • Underpaid
    • Wearing too many hats
    • Difficult to have influence beyond direct job
    • Dealing with existing standards

    Melissa and Jenna gave a little history of the Radical Reference project--the protests against the Republican National Convention in NYC in 2004, the NYC local collective (and other local collectives), the website: national/international project. Everyone in the room had previously been aware of Rad Ref (one person used the website questions in their reference class and also assigned an article about RR; another person had first heard of RR when members protested at the NY Historical Society when Laura Bush was speaking there).


    People threw out ideas of projects we might want to try, along with thoughts we might want to keep in mind.

    • How to make it sustainable
    • Use NYC RR as a way to bolster people's current projects that could use help
    • Website - what would be needed to get the online Q&A happening again? Is it needed?
    • Work with LIS programs
    • Supplying access to paywalled articles to activists and independent journalists
    • Subject guides (aka pathfinders!)
    • Tabling 
    • Wikipedia edithathons with radical librarian topics
    • Allied Media Conference libraries track
    • Work with teens
    • Language support: Tagalog, Chinese, Spanish, French
    • Spanish conversation group
    • Privacy workshop with Alison of Library Freedom Project and others
    • Work with Interference Archive, e.g., cataloging parties, thesaurus issues
    • Skill shares 
    • Left forum tabling?
    • Artist/technologist Ingrid Burrington made a field guide to NYC internet infrastructure - we could do a walking tour
    • Conference
    • Discussion groups 
    • peer education, à la the Learning Collective
    • Accountability writing group 
    • LACUNY report back


    Melissa will create a new email list for the group. People from today's meeting will be added, and people from the old list will be invited to subscribe, as will people who expressed interest in today's meeting but could not attend.

    Some people created accounts on the website. Not sure if you can create your own account right now--we may have shut that down because we were overwhelmed by spam accounts. Try http://radicalreference.info/user if that doesn't work, email nyc@radicalreference.info (goes to Jenna and Melissa)

    Lucia will organize the next meeting.


    Interference Archive spiel
    Fortune Society exhibit at John Jay
    Antiquarian book fair pass up for grabs
    LACUNY Institute Race Matters: Libraries, Racism, and Antiracism May 20, 2016

    Notes from the May 6, 2016 meeting at Interference Archive

    Who's here:
    Jen (note taker)

    1. Introductions

    2. Melissa gives a recap of the last meeting

    • Also on a rainy day!
    • There was a bit of a lapse of Radical Reference, but there was a decision to try to pull the group back into action because it seemed like there was renewed interest.
    • The last meeting involved brainstorming of projects -- see the minutes here.

    3. Discussion of possible projects

    • Stephen mentions possible collaboration with Five Borough Defenders, an unofficial group of legal aid lawyers -- to strategize a way to collect information on legal research and curate it.
    • Next steps: Stephen will let them know that we're interested in a social event to meet them and talk about the issues they're working on and how we could work together.
    • Jen read the list of brainstorming/projects from last meeting's minutes.
    • Discussion on subject guides on the existing website. Cynthia asks if it would be alright to add to these; she has a tenant rights/resources libguide she could share. To start with, she'll share a link to the libguide that could be made available through the Rad Ref website if that seems to be a good idea.
    • It's important to work on something that has a critical mass of interest, so that we have a lot of people working on it.
    • Internet infrastructure walking tour -- this is something Melissa would like to do anyway, and she'll reach out to Ingrid about this.
    • Interference Archive projects, like cataloging parties -- Jen will share info about this kind of event through the Radical Reference listserv.
    • Discussion about how to get your foot in the door if you're interested in working in libraries -- volunteering, although this is something of a privilege. It's hard to know how much free labor to give in the interest of future goals.
    • Discussion of internships, and the issues of unpaid internships -- Jen talks about some of the issues that Interference Archive has seen in having or considering unpaid interns; Stephen suggests that this is a great idea for a project -- coordinating a panel/talk on internships done right, and what organizations look for in an intern. Jen will reach out to a current library school student to find out what time of year (before deadlines for internship applications) would be good to host this. (update: deadline for summer internships is May 1-15; fall internships is sometime in June...more info coming).

    RDA Salon Notes

    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.

    • AACR2 was published in 1978, delayed for two years because research libraries reacted to the number of changes.
    • One issue is how to decide what to teach (in terms of cataloging courses in MLS programs)
    • RDA – delayed to 2010 (which includes six months of testing, so really 2011)
    • 1994 – joint steering committee decided there should be a conference on standards, code
    • 2004 – first draft known as AACR3 – revision was required because it was seen as a reordering of rules rather than substantial revision or revolution. After protest, code was renamed.
      • Name may have changed, but Anglo-American influence/bias was still present
      • Trying to be a code based on the big picture (wants to be a content standard applicable beyond LIS)
      • Tied to future of cataloging (and question of will data be shareable)
        • Golden age of cataloging is over (according to Cutter) in 1904
    • FRBR – familiarity w/ FRBR is required for understanding RDA
      • Critics say it’s untested
      • Created in 1998
      • From IFLA, international organization taking the lead in cataloging standards
      • Entity relationship model
      • Mantra = find, identify, select, maintain
        • Too linear? Do people really search this way
      • FRBR is a model, not a code – based on relationships and so is RDA
        Question – how does this relate to subject headings? Is it more of a taxonomical relationship?
      • This is a step in the direction towards that direction.
        Question – Could LCSH be imported into group three entities in FRBR model
      • Ideally, yes, could allow for more complex relationships
        Question – What is the relationship between RDA and MARC?
      • The can coexist, but it will require new MARC fields. MARC will survive, but it may not be the structure standard for all that long.
        Question – Can MARC records be imported to RDA?
      • Yes, which is good for legacy records, but it means carrying over bad standards. Barbara Tillett at LoC is supportive, but can’t enforce change at LoC.
        Question – (regarding group one entities in FRBR) When is something a work versus an expression?
      • Refers to handout. In FRBR, there are families of works. RDA wants to represent relationship that exist in libraries but are not reflected in the catalog. Collocations would be by work, by expressions to work. Benefit to users include placing a hold higher on the FRBR hierarchy, assuming user doesn’t care about which edition/expression of a monograph s/he needs.
    • Libraries have information worth sharing – they should be supplying bibliographic information places like Wikipedia.
    • Group 2 entities in FRBR – more flexible for cataloging authors, author information
    • Group 3 entities in FRBR – subjects
      • Central idea of FRBR is collocation. Hopefully a work can be described once and then expressions/manifestations/items associated with that record
        Question – at what point does FRBR lose something through individual institutions using their own criteria?
        • Only 20% of works have more than one work, one expression. Model can be used in multiple ways. You’re using FRBR when you say you are, basically.
          Question – What’s in it for archives?
        • Archives are so individual. Advantage in FRBR as far as looking at groups of records rather than items.
        • FRBR helps with context, which is critical to archives
          Comment – FRBR is flexible, but it’s untested. MARC was so limited, FRBR offers more possibility. But with the impulse to link to everything, and needing to create records for all authors, seems like a lot of (front end) work.
          Question – how will MARC and non-MARC records be linked in a single catalog?
        • Short answer, it won’t. Catalogs are about MARC records, but that ill have to chance.
      • In terms of authority, records right now are just for disambiguation. Archives have great data and context, but cannot be shared.
      • Some developments include
        • Zine rejected as a genre term in LCSH
        • RDA is getting away from abbreviations, which is an Anglo-American hold over
          At this point in the discussion, people were invited to discuss articles they’d read related to RDA and AACR2.
          Comment – OCLS is preventing RDA from moving forward by ignoring it, preventing records from being stored. OCLC is anti-open source, constitutes something of a monopoly. Libraries need OCLC support – if OCLC isn’t behind them, it will be hard to implement RDA
      • It’s still unclear how OCLC and vendors will react to RDA.
        Comment – Perhaps we’ll see a movement similar to the iSchool movement where programs adopt RDA irrespective of OCLC.
        Comment - Martha Yee article – RDA abdicates responsibility for display and indexing (in favor of description). RDA needs a lot of work, semantic web isn’t there, AACR2 is broken.
      • Perhaps, but RDA may be a bridge.
        Comment – In terms of taking a historical perspective, the sense of urgency is perhaps overstated.
        Question Michael Gorman says RDA is craziness (pdf). What’s the deal? What is RDA?
      • Gorman gets a bum rap for being a luddite but at time’s he’s had other attitudes. He was an editor of AACR2, has concerns about throwing away ISBD. His basic stance is to be wary of throwing away 150 years of cataloging practices.
        Question – What exactly is being thrown away?
      • 8 areas of description, but more importantly AACR2 depends on format, and we need to get away from that. Resources are now “moving targets.” AACR2 is not only based on card catalogs, but on cataloging books.
        Question – In terms of RDA in the 20th century, expectations of users are different. RDA won’t resolve the problem of connecting users with resources. What do new descriptive tools mean for OPACs at non-research libraries?
      • There are practical benefits for patrons, users don’t care which manifestation, they care about the expression, sometimes the work.
        Question – What about libraries with users who have very specific needs (they do care about the manifestation)?
      • Current standards help users find specific things RDA shouldn’t change that.
        Question – is Anglo American resistance to RDA about giving up control?
      • Maybe. If it’s implemented, it’ll be run by a committee with a decidedly Western bent. Also, Dublin Core elements are still incorporated.
        Comment – So non AA participants are asked to implement but not contribute.
      • There’s been some progress as a community (example of non-Roman characters). In terms of developing nations’ implementation, important to point out that RDA will not be free.
      • RDA will happen because
        • ALA needs to recoup its investment
        • Some people really want it to happen
          • Germany
          • Canada
            Comment – Seems like some software is already being developed on the assumption that RDA will happen.
      • That’s required for testing.
        Question – how international is IFLA?
      • It’s mostly Europe, but also China.
        Question – what aspects of cataloging relate to issues of social justice?
      • It’s mostly a matter of subject headings. But even in descriptive cataloging, what gets included, what doesn’t has implications. RDA wont’ so much change that, although it raise the question of personal archiving.
        Comment – Given experience in training people in MARC and individual searching versus institutional searching, it’s hard to see those changing.
        Question – are there demographics for support of RDA?
      • Anecdotally, older catalogers are hesitant.
        Question – what is the role of objectivity in cataloging?
      • Particularly an issue in archives, perhaps, which are often more willing to situate personal bias or context.
        Question – what is the different between striving for objectivity versus not even trying?
        Comment – at least in providing context, it situates vocabulary.
        Question – seems like a lot of the frustration about RDA is that it’s about principles, but it’s hard to implement. What is the crux of implementation?
      • URI will be for individual works, creators. Disambiguation will still be a function if not the focus.
        Question – what about web real estate? How do you determine authority?
      • Names are non unique, even an issue in the non-library metadata world. Wiki disambiguation is better than cataloging.
        Question – how will RDA help or hurt zines?
      • It’s an issue in archives, there are advantages to putting zines in a traditional catalog.
        Comment –RDA allows for faceted, layered records, links to other records.
      • Some communities, like Germany, are way ahead on this.

    RR-NYC collective meeting October 17, 2008

    RadRef NYC
    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.

    RR-NYC salon: Google Books Settlement

    Friday October 16 2009
    Sixth Street Community Center
    638 East Sixth Street (between Avenues B & C)
    Free, but attendees will be asked to donate a few bucks to help pay for the space rental

    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.

    1. Please add items you think people should read ahead of time.
    2. Please keep them in anti-chronological order.
    3. Feel free, encouraged even, to provide some annotation.
    4. Please volunteer to summarize one item for the group at the salon by putting your name after it in parentheses, like this: (Farfel)
    5. If you can't/don't want to edit the page to add a citation or claim an article, just say what you want in a comment.



    There's also a good bibliography on the Open Book Alliance site and another one from Charles W. Bailey, Jr.

    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.

    Guiding Questions

    1. Into which category does your article fit--background, pro-settlement, anti-settlement, neutral, primary source?
    2. Does your article reflect or inspire a radical perspective on the topic?
    3. Does your article make any implications about libraries or librarianship vis a vis the settlement?
    4. ???

    Notes from the salon are here.

    Rad Ref at Occupy Wall Street : one report back

    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.

    That's Alycia on the left, an OWS Librarian in the middle, I think Lauren on the right, and my hands on the bottom right.

    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:

    While hundreds of us did our thing in the Zuccotti, a reported thousand more gathered for Kol Nidre services across the street including a cop minyan.

    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 nyc@radicalreference.info 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

    Radical Librarian Drinks Potluck

    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 nyc@radicalreference.info with questions and comments. Save the political debates for the event.

    Teen Angst & Library Horror: a Benefit for Radical Reference

    a benefit for
    Radical Reference

    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.

    Screenings of excerpts from Degrassi High, Freaks and Geeks, and My So-Called Life

    - 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!

    more info

    RR Flyer Final copy.jpg956.39 KB
    RR Flyer low qual.jpg378.55 KB
    smaller.jpg227.96 KB
    smallest.jpg66.46 KB

    US Social Forum Salon hosted by Radical Reference NYC

    Radical Reference Meeting and US Social Forum Salon

    Notes from the discussion now up and also from the Rad Ref business meeting.

    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.

    Interested parties may wish to go afterward to see the High Strung, a library supporting rock band, at the Mercury Lounge a few blocks away from ABC No Rio.

    Questions or comments to nyc at radicalreference dot info.

    US Social Forum Salon notes

    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.

    1. What worked best in the past? (with Rad Ref projects)
      • Being part of the community we're serving, reminding fellow activists about libraries and librarians as utile resources.
      • Having deadlines and specific projects to work on

    2. What haven't we tried and why?
      • Blogging from events and conferences--just hadn't thought of it.
      • Stickers and postcards--we actually have used stickers, but not mass produced high quality stickers

    3. What are our special skills as individuals, and as a collective?
      • Practical, serving activists and the underserved.
      • Access to resources and the skills to use them
      • Expertise on important issues like the privatization of information
      • Doing something, not just saying: using the tools we have to empower people

    4. What are the desired outcomes of participants?
      • Connecting with other groups
      • Meeting outside of the library context, e.g. ALA, might allow us to connect with radical library workers who don't yet organize with others in our profession
      • Meeting outside of the library context, e.g. a library, might make our potential patrons feel more comfortable, free to use our services
      • Dealing with broader issues in librarianship
      • Putting the history of radical activism and social movements in an information context
      • Being at the table with other activists
      • Maybe having a reference tent at the Forum
      • Presenting a workshop or having a strategy session?
      • Conducting listening sessions with groups to see what they need/could use from us

    5. What are the broader impacts we want?
      • Working not as Radical Reference but as an unaffiliated delegation of library workers. Working with members of existing groups like ALA-SRRT and PLG, if they're interested and also with organized library workers (i.e. union members) along with unaffiliated ones.
      • Wanting to keep up with things, like specific projects
      • Using work with Radical Reference and other activist projects help us put up with the miseries of our day jobs--not really being able to provide service in the way we would like
      • Helping people to know what they don't know--that there's more to research than Googling.
      • Helping to set the tone for this and future US Social Fora.

    Additional notes and comments:

    • The deadline for proposals and stuff is 4/27
    • There is a northeast regional organizing meeting in Boston on 3/4 (we think). Maybe someone should go.
    • USSF "We Believe" pdf
    • USSF Working Groups
    • Notes from Radical Reference Meeting, ALA Midwinter that references the Forum.

    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.

    Workshops for Librarians

    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.

    meeting minutes November 2008

    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

    1. Radical Archives post-mortem
    2. Really Really Free Market
    3. Next salon
    4. Radical archives proposal for Anarchist Book Fair
    5. GMC report
    6. Next widely publicized open meeting
    7. Presentations
    8. Political economy of information production/dissemination
    9. Announcements
    1. Documenting Struggle: Three Radical New York City Archives post-mortem
      • We could have taken a door count, also asked people how they heard of the event and if they were librarians/archivists or not
      • We did not document the event. Shame on us!
      • Great attendance
      • A few tech glitches
      • Did not publicize that 7-745 was supposed to be for networking, and that the panel wouldn't start until 745. Apologies to the Grassroots Media Coalition who sponsored the event under the auspices of their Make This NetWORK initiative for that, though GMC folks seemed happy with the event nonetheless
      • Bought too much beer, right amount of food
      • Good mix of panelists
      • Kudos to Vani for conceiving the event and doing much of the outreach and organizing.
      • However, we should have had someone else doing tech while Vani was handling emcee duties.
      • Made over $500.

    2. Really, Really Free Market, sponsored by In Our Hearts
      Will take place indoors at St. Mark's Church on Sunday, November 30 from 6-9pm
      Street librarians will offer free reference and research assistance at this event. In addition to Radical Reference, last month's featured services such as free hair cuts and tech advice in addition to goods (clothing, electronic equipment, and books), dumpstered food, and music.
      Volunteers for this month (note that at the time of the meeting, we thought the event started at 3pm, rather than 6): Alycia, Emily, Jenna, Julie, and Mel (coordinating with In Our Hearts)

      Radical Reference street reference tactics

      • Use Scroogle instead of Google to anonymize searches
      • Use Shmoogle, a search engine that randomizes its results instead of Google
      • Given the context, you can respond to people not so much in a less neutral manner, but knowing that they're coming from a radical perspective
      • You might feel more encouraged to allow more of your personality and politics into the reference interview, and explain your selection of tools and resources used
      • When appropriate point to our Reference Shelf for answers or further reading

    3. Salon (We hold occasional salon style discussions meant to bring in new people and also to educate ourselves on topics of interest. Past topics have been copyright, race, and one or two others we couldn't remember)

      Topic ideas and discussion

      • Radical take on Google Books deal (ask Laura Quilter to lead discussion, or to recommend someone)
      • OCLC hoopla (maybe ask Jay Datema
      • But should we really have an expert--isn't a salon more of a discussion than a question and answer thing?
      • Why, yes! Instead, let's create a bibliography of materials for people to read ahead of time, so they can come in prepared to discuss the topic in a peer learning situation. Emily and Jenna will begin collecting articles and posts on a wiki. Please contribute.
      • The event will be on Friday, January 23, 2009, presumably at ABC No Rio, but stay tuned.
      • Emily will come up with some guiding questions to focus the conversation.

    4. Radical archives event at the 2009 NYC Anarchist Book Fair
      Since our recent event was so successful, how about another one? Perhaps one with a DIY focus, given the context of anarchism.
      • An institutional panelist to discuss archiving an organization's records and output
      • An individual collector to share her techniques for collecting and preserving stuff
      • An archivist to show and tell preservation materials

      Jenna will contact potential panelists

    5. GMC report from John, RR's liaison
      • The final networking event will be a holiday party in early December. They're looking for a venue. Stay tuned.
      • This year's Grassroots Media Conference will take place later than usual, in April or May, at Hunter
      • We should work up our Alternative Materials in Libraries panel. Perhaps we can discuss this at a March salon.
      • Discussion on RR site

    6. Next open meeting: see salon discussion

    7. Presentation at LIU
      • Emily is looking to coordinate two presentations at LIU, one for librarians (akin to Jenna's at a LACUNY meeting that a fellow LIUer saw), and one later on for faculty.
      • Alycia and Vani will collaborate on the former (to be presented in the middle of January)
      • More on the latter (or perhaps on information and how it is controlled/affected by capitalism) later (Or is this the one A and V wanted to work on? Or both?)
      • For more info, contact Emily and Ed (there was editorial information given about Ed at the meeting, but maybe that informaton should stay in the room)

    8. Political enconomy of information...see above

    9. Announcements
      • Alycia and Jenna: anti-Christmas party on 12/25. Let one of them know if you want to participate. There will be Chinese food.
      • Emily is looking for a cat sitter during Christmas week
      • NJLA RR presentation (by Eric and Julie) proposal has been submitted.

    Notes submitted by Jenna. Please make your corrections here, or email them to me.

    NYC Collective April 2007 Meeting Minutes

    Sunday, April 29
    New York City AIDS Housing Network office, Brooklyn

    In attendance: Jonny, Becca, Melissa, Jenna, John, Emily, Dena, Gretchen, Judy, Laura

    1. Melissa gave an update on RadRef plans for the US Social Forum. She is still interested in going, but emails to other people in the group who have expressed interest have gone unanswered. Susie, a librarian from Boston, is interested in setting up a 'reference desk'-style station at the media center. John suggested doing an outreach effort asking activists "What can Radical Reference do for you?" It was suggested that participants hand out flyers pointing people to a survey on the website. Melissa is planning to go and urges other RadReffers to contact her to firm up planning.

  • John Tarleton from The Indypendent seeks RadRef help in fact-checking a special issue about climate change due out in June. Melissa has sent the document to the list and gotten no feedback. She will re-send, and urges members to do what they can. The new Bloomberg climate change planning document may help in this regard. The full text can be found here.
  • Jenna reported that we sold all but four of the t-shirts at the Anarchist Book Fair. They were designed and printed by Lia in San Diego, and sold for $8 each. If others are willing to go to thrift stores to get t-shirts, Jenna can facilitate local screenprinting at ABC No Rio. Johnny volunteered to go t-shirt shopping.
  • Notes taken by Emily. E-mail nyc at radicalreference dot info with corrections.

    NYC Anarchist Book Fair 2008 Table Schedule

    NYC Anarchist Book Fair

    Saturday, April 12, 2008

    Judson Memorial Church

    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. Jenna

    1. Gretchen

    1. Heather and Lana will split/share this slot

    1. Julie

    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)

    Anarchist Bookfair 2010 table schedule

    NYC Anarchist Bookfair 2010, April 17
    Judson Memorial Church
    55 Washington Square So.

    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
    1. Jenna



    4:30-7:00 Includes breakdown
    1. Jenna

    North Texas Radical Reference Collective

    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!

    New Announcements

    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.

    • To get to Deep Ellum: Take DART Green Line going East (Buckner) and get off at Baylor stop
    • To get to Exposition Park area: Take DART Green Line going East (Buckner) and get off at Fair Park stop
    • To get to Cedars: Take DART Red or Blue Lines going South (Westmoreland/Ledbetter) and get off at Cedars stop
    • To get to Convention Center from the general downtown area: Take DART Red or Blue Lines going South (Westmoreland/Ledbetter) and get off right at the Convention Center stop
    • To get from Convention Center to Deep Ellum or Exposition Park, take the Red or Blue Line going East/North (Parker Rd/Garland) and get off at any stop between West End and Pearl (within downtown). Then catch the Green Line (Buckner) and get off at Baylor or Fair Park, depending on where you want to go.

    **(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.


    North TX Collective Minutes, July 2010

    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

    • No formal organization to group, will just rotate who organizes meetings/takes notes/etc. and whoever would like to plan an event or an action will take the lead
    • Frequency of meetings will be about once a month, but will vary on how much there is to discuss in person/if people are available to meet (Erin volunteered to organize September meeting)

    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)

    • Possible slot at 2012 TLA Reference Roundtable (Erin will be chairing and would try to set this up)
    • Alternative guide to Dallas for ALA Midwinter 2012 (other Radical Reference local collectives have done something similar when library conferences are in their city)
    • Provide/create information resources for neighborhood associations (endangered buildings, examples: Preservation Dallas, Fry St. in Denton)
    • Pathfinder on health care information/where to find health-related information (place/groups to consider looking at: Health Care for All Texans, Dallas Peace Center, Hemphill House, Phoenix Project Collective, KNON/ACORN Radio, Progressive Center - although heavily linked to democratic party, and Phil Johnson Historic Archive & Research Library)
    • Recyling/freecycling information guide
    • Work with books to prisoners group(s) if in existence
    • Table/street reference at events (North by 35 in Denton as an example) -- will create list of community events to consider
    • Keep track of school district book challenges (can maybe work with or look at TLA Intellectual Freedom Office’s info)
    • Skillshares with other organizations or within own group for our group development or can provide skillshares to community (there is a conference in Addison in August called Open Camp, teaching use of open source software)
    • Alternative materials in libraries (advocate)
    • Oral histories (advocate for validity in research and archives)
    • Create list of libraries allowing public use, create list of federal depository libraries in area, inform about public library databases for home access
    • Some talk about working with religious groups or compiling a list of progressive places of worship was discussed by a few individuals, but a couple others expressed concern with the group having any connection to organized religion

    D. Discussed next meeting and virtual collaboration

    • As FYI can usually always meet at The Resource Center Dallas (Phil Johnson Historic Archive & Research Library) - whoever volunteers to organize a meeting can contact Sandy if interested in holding it there
    • Some people subscribed to the discussion list but it appeared to not have worked, so Nicole will add email addresses on Friday
    • Will keep in contact via discussion list and wiki until the next meeting is planned, and also have Rad Ref local collective page on RR site

    North TX Collective Minutes, September 2010

    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:

    • Slot @ TLA Reference Roundtable 2012
    • Advocate alternative materials in libraries
    • Create alternative guide to DFW for ALA Midwinter 2012 and other conferences approaching that will be in the area
    • Organize and participate in skillshares
    • Work with books to prisoners groups
    • Keep track of school district book challenges
    • 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.

    Philadelphia Radical Reference Collective

    Contact Karen Kohn for more information or to get involved.

    Events/Demos in Philadelphia

    Events and Demonstrations going on in Philadelphia will be posted here:

    First Meeting

    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.

    General Information

    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 phillyrr@ccwpsandiego.org. To join, send an email to phillyrr-subscribe@ccwpsandiego.org.

    Meeting with IMC

    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 Local Collective

    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.

    radref_packet[1].doc2 MB

    Portland (OR) Radical Reference Collective

    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 radrefpdx@gmail.com for more information.

    Upcoming and Past Meetings

    March 2nd, 2009 at 7pm: We will 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.

    February 2nd, 2009 at 7pm: We will 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.

    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.

    December 2008: We will be meeting at the Independent Publishing Resource Center (IPRC) downtown (917 SW Oak St. #218). Minutes are available here.

    October, 2008: We met on October 27th at the Independent Publishing Resource Center (IPRC) downtown (917 SW Oak St. #218). Minutes are available here.

    September, 2008: The second PDX Collective meeting was on September 30th at Anna Bannana's Coffee House in North Portland (8716 N. Lombard). Minutes are available here.

    August, 2008: The first PDX Collective meeting was on August 20th at the
    Red and Black Cafe. 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.

    Bitch Magazine Library Creation: collective members are helping Bitch Magazine catalog and organize their lending library.

    iprc-librarian-flyer.pdf1019.57 KB

    PDX Collective Meeting Notes - January 2009

    Mon., Jan. 5th, 2009 - meeting held at IPRC
    Nate [moderator], Lana, Renee, Denise, Emily, Sarah, Ismoon, Joanna, and Charles in attendance

    Current Projects:

    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 ismoon.maria@gmail.com.

    3. Prison outreach
    Inverness Jail
    - 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 rokabiri@gmail.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.

    4. Workshops
    - 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.

    Other news:
    - 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.

    Bitch Magazine Library


    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)

    ACRL Women's Studies Section

    Gender Inn

    Gender Studies Database

    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

    old-subjects-bitch.pdf30.7 KB

    PDX Collective Meeting Notes - April 2009

    April 6th, 2009 at the IPRC

    In attendance: Renee, Rick, Lana, Liz

    Guest Speakers

    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.

    Meeting Discussion

    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.

    PDX Collective Meeting Notes - August 2008

    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:

    1) Advocacy
    2) Library / Archive Creation & Maintenance
    3) Media
    4) Outreach
    5) Professional
    6) Research / Reference Support
    7) Workshops

    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.

    PDX Collective Meeting Notes - December 2008

    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.

    Prison Projects

    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.

    Generating Involvement

    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.

    Other Business
    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

    PDX Collective Meeting Notes - February 2009

    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!"

    Prison Update
    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.

    IPRC Workshops

    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

    PDX Collective Meeting Notes - March 2009

    Mon., March 2nd, 2009 - meeting held at IPRC
    Nate [moderator], Laura, Ian, Lana, Renee, Denise, Ismoon, Martha, Kristen, Mark, and Sylvia in attendance

    Past Projects:
    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 [info@iprc.org].

    Current Projects:

    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.

    Inverness Jail
    - 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.

    Other News:

    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"

    PDX Collective Meeting Notes - October 2008

    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: mellingsather@gmail.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.

    PDX Collective Meeting Notes - September 2008

    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.

    Current projects:

    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.doc75.5 KB

    San Diego Radical Reference Collective

    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.

    San Francisco Radical Reference Collective

    There is a San Francisco Radical Reference Collective

    Contact James for more information.

    Tucson Radical Reference Collective

    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:

    LIS Skillshare
    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

    The newest issue of our newsletter is out for Spring: Volume 1, Issue 2
    Our Fall 2008 event, PLG Panel: What is a Progressive Librarian?, has been made into a podcast with accompanying PPTs

    We have more projects listed at our wiki, and are always open to new ideas.

    Recap, Fall 2008

    More to follow!

    Inaugural issue of our newsletter here!

    Recap, Summer 2008

    Recap, Spring 2008

    whirlwindsflyer.pdf162.39 KB
    PLGpanelFLYER_20080804.pdf154.75 KB
    plgskillshare09.pdf547.96 KB

    Twin Cities Collective

    RNC Wiki
    Some discussion

    Washington DC Radical Reference Collective

    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.

    Contact the group at library@occupydc.org, follow us @OccupyDCLibrary or reach out to our amazing coordinator.

    Western Massachusetts Radical Reference Collective


    Contact Debbie or Dena to get involved and reactive the group.

    email list

    June 29, 2009 meeting notes
    May 9, 2009 meeting notes
    April 4, 2009 meeting notes
    March 9, 2009 meeting notes

    Last updated 11/2/2012

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

    Western Mass. Radical Reference Collective June 29, 2009 meeting notes

    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!

    Who: You!
    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

    Prison Book Project
    P.O. Box 396
    Amherst, MA 01004
    413-584-8975 ext. 208 (voicemail only)

    Western Mass. Radical Reference Collective March 9, 2009 meeting notes

    ***NEXT MEETING 5pm SATURDAY, APRIL 4, 2009. ***

    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:

    Mission Statement

    --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.

    Western Mass. Radical Reference Collective May 9, 2009 meeting notes

    *** 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.

    4. Decisions

    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.