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.
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.
The next NYC info workers meeting will be on Thursday, February 23, from 6:30 pm-8:30 pm in LeFrak Center Room 113 (Library Instruction Lab), Barnard Library. Located on the first floor of Barnard Hall, the building directly in front of you when you enter Barnard's campus at Broadway and the west side of 117th street.
We didn't have a meeting in September.
The July meeting was held at the Housing Works cafe. No notes, because the session was mostly chatting and catching up with visiting Rad Reffers Alana and Lia and hearing about the National Diversity in Libraries Conference.
The March meeting was scheduled to take place at the Really Really Free Market at Judson Church, but we fled to Quantum Leap. Agenda: NYC Anarchist Book Fair presentation, Gentrification and Solidarity Organizing group--partnership? Notes
On January 11, 2010, RR-NYC hosted a salon on RDA vs. AACR2: Implications for Social Justice, Featuring Rick Block at the Sixth St. Community Center.
The last meeting of the 'naughts was Saturday, December 19 in the afternoon at ABC No Rio, specifically to brainstorm about updating this website.
The November meeting was held at Natalie's apartment in downtown Brooklyn. Notes.
The October meeting was held at the Sixth Street Community Center in the East Village. It was a "people's university" style salon about the Google Books Settlement. More information, including a list of readings, is elsewhere on the site. Notes.
Our July meeting was held in Brooklyn at Natalie's apartment. Notes.
No June meeting.
Our May meeting was really just a meal out with Jerome C. of the future "BRANCH" community library project. He gave some updates about their progress.
In December we didn't meet to plan and talk, just to drink beer, with our friends at InterActivist.
We didn't have a meeting in May.
Our March meeting was an open meeting/salon at the NYC AIDS Housing Network in Brooklyn. The topic was book/library access to people in prison. Representatives from Books Through Bars-NYC, the Prisoners' Reading Encouragement Project (PREP), and Literacy for Incarcerated Teens were present (full announcement here). Meeting Notes.
Our February meeting was at Alycia's place in Brooklyn. Meeting Notes.
No meeting took place in December 2007.
In November we met at Julie's house in Jersey City. Meeting notes.
The October meeting was at 8pm on Friday, October 12, at ABC No Rio.
The August meeting was in the lovely community garden in Hell's Kitchen, on W. 48th St between 9th and 10th Aves, on the south side of the street. Minutes forthcoming.
We held a joint May/June meeting on June 1 at ABC No Rio.
The January meeting was very petite (John, Julie, and Melissa) because people were away (at ALA Midwinter and elsewhere). So no notes, no nothing.
The November meeting was also on on the second floor of ABC No Rio. We had a salon on the topic of race and privilege, and our responsibilities (both as activists and as library workers) to anti-racist work.
This was the agenda going in:
Read the minutes.
Our October meeting didn't really happen, due to widespread illness.
Our August meeting was in Tompkins Square Park. Minutes.
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.
We didn't meet in June because a lot of us were at ALA.
The May meeting was on Friday, the 20th at 7:30pm at the Holiday Cocktail Lounge, 75 St. Mark's Place between 1st & 2nd Avenues. (212) 777-9637. Friends of Rad Ref (e.g. NYC IMC, Interactivist, Paper Tiger) were invited to join us at 9.
Local Online Resources
By the way there's lots of GREAT FREE STUFF at your local public library.
Radical Reference NYC Collective Meeting
Date: 8/24/08, 5 PM
Location: NYC AIDS Housing Network, Brooklyn
Present: Karen, Melissa, John, Julie, Jenna, Vani
September 7th from 4 pm to 6 pm at ABC No Rio. Please bring a laptop. If you can't, email Jenna so she can coordinate. Contact Jenna to RSVP. herfirstname AT stealthisemail DOUGHT com.
We brainstormed around this topic a LOT. Some bits:
*File currently missing from webpage. Email Jenna if you want it. myfirstname AT stealthisemail DOUGHT calm.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Present: Jenna, Kate, Melissa (sort of facilitator/notetaker), Natalie, Ray
1. Posters. Jenna is in possession of some quantity (she is going to check) of posters hand-printed by Alana Kumbier. (Sorry, no link to the image -- it's somewhere on Facebook, though apparently not on the Rad Ref group page.) We decided to keep one for tabling purposes; see who within the collective would like to buy one for him/herself; and then, if there are any left over, see whether Bluestockings would be willing to sell them on consignment on our behalf.
2. Next salon. Two topics were mentioned, RDA (Resource Description and Access) and a reprise of "what makes a radical librarian radical." People felt that RDA would be good for the next one, while the "rad librarian" discussion could wait until the weather will be nicer and more people might turn out. (People who want to talk about RDA being totally hardcore in the face of inclement winter weather by comparison, I suppose.) Kate said that Rick Block spoke at the recent New York Technical Services Librarians (NYTSL) meeting -- she said he was great but wondered if it would be too much of a learning curve to have a good discussion about such an intricate topic with non-experts. Natalie will approach Rick Block and ask if he would be interested in participating in a "guided discussion" with Rad Ref during the January winter break. (Update: He is, and we are working out the details.)
3. Possible series at the Brecht Forum. Kazembe (outreach coordinator at the Brecht Forum) had mentioned to Angie a couple of months ago that they may be interested in giving Rad Ref multiple time slots to host some kind of series of...something (film screenings and discussions? panels? library rants?). Melissa will reach out to him to ask what he had in mind. Kate suggested "Slow Fires" as a possible film to screen. This would fit with a discussion afterward about the transition to digital resources (analogous to the transition from card catalogs to OPACs). Someone also brought up the subject of "why free/open source software in libraries?" which could be a regular salon topic or a part of this hypothetical Brecht series.
4. Rad Ref website upgrade. Melissa will ask Steven at ABC No Rio whether we can book Saturday 12/12 in the Computer Center for the first stage of an upgrade and updating of the Rad Ref site. She will also create a simple survey to get more Rad Reffers to voice what they'd like to see changed/enhanced on the current site.
5. ALA Midwinter Meeting. The 2010 ALA Midwinter Meeting will be held in Boston (January 15-19), which is rather close to NYC. Jenna will contact the Boston Rad Ref folks to see if they're organizing anything (traditionally, Rad Ref has some kind of get-together on the Saturday night during ALA conferences).
Next meeting: (hopefully) Saturday, December 12, 1-5 at ABC No Rio, specifically to brainstorm about the next version of the website
We have created a new electronic mailing list for the NYC Radical Reference collective.
"This is the announcements list of the NYC Radical Reference collective. Participants post and receive information about RR meetings, events, and projects."
For library workers, LIS students, and others who want to be active members of the collective, we have the working list.
"This is the working list of the NYC Radical Reference collective. Participants discuss and plan RR events and projects."
**AUDIO FROM THE EVENT (thanks to Dan V.)
Autonomedia publisher Jim Fleming
Craig O'Hara, co-founder of PM Press and the Tabling Tornados
Karl Fogel from Question Copyright
Radical Reference librarian Aliqae Geraci
Victoria Law, author of Resistance Behind Bars
Moderated by Melissa Morrone.
Our panelists from the radical publishing community will be asked to consider the following questions:
Brought to you by: Radical Reference
Visit our table at the NYC Anarchist Book Fair anytime on April 9th at Judson Memorial Church on the south side of Washington Square. It's free and you don't have to be an anarchist to come!
And if you're interested, get involved by volunteering at the book fair! For anything from greeting and handing out programs to childcare, and you'll be much more appreciated than if you volunteered at the NY Art Book Festival. More info at http://anarchistbookfair.net or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Compensation, Access, and Theft: Copyright in the 21st Century, a Radical Reference panel at the NYC Anarchist Bookfair, Judson Memorial Church, 2011.
Moderated by Melissa Morrone.
Melissa introduced the panel and then invited the presenters to speak from the creative process out, and so began with the author, moved on to the two publishers, the librarian, and finally the copyright person. It should be noted that nearly everyone on the panel has written or is writing one or more books.
Vikki Law, author of Resistance Behind Bars: the Struggles of Incarcerted Women and editor of the zine Tenacious: Art and Writing from Women in Prison.
Vikki, who comes from zines—radical self-publishing—is motivated by getting political content into the public sphere, adding underrepresented voices to the conversation. She has also published articles and a book and compared the processes. Zinesters have total control, but with that control sacrifice readership due to also being responsible for distribution. Small publishers like PM Press allow for more control over a book's look and content than a large, mainstream publisher might. As a political writer, Vikki isn't looking for compensation in terms of money or fame. While she is getting some royalties for the book, they are merely a token if you count how many years she spent researching and writing the book, not to mention the prison activism that gave her the necessary connections with prison inmates to learn and share their stories.
Jim Fleming, member of the Autonomedia editorial collective
Autonomedia has published around 350 books in its 28-year history. Maybe 20 of the titles have made any money. Their policy is to encourage authors to make the books specifically anti-copyright. Their writers need to know ahead of time that they're not going to make money off the book. Just compensation would be nice, but if writers want to get paid, they shouldn't be publishing on the margins. In fact Jim doesn't think writers, or anyone should be paid for their work. He doesn't believe anyone should have to work at all.
Craig O'Hara, PM Press
There is literally no chance of making a living publishing or writing radical literature. Most of the work is done by volunteers. He doesn't encourage people to do this work without a desire to spread a message they think is underrepresented. PM Press does pay its authors royalties twice a year. The standard rate is 10-15% of sales. Occasionally there is a small advance. Payment contracts vary from author to author. They prefer to work with authors who work hard to get their message out, selling copies of the book themselves (at a large author discount, where the author keeps the sale price herself). They work with eBooks and authors with very different attitudes toward copyright. Cory Doctorow and Ursula LeGuin represent the poles. Craig is more afraid of stuff being ignored than pirated. He would be happy to look the other way at someone pirating his books if it meant the content was getting out. PM Press has never won a copyright case to his memory.
She began as a consumer of radical publishing, was a zinester and zine librarian, and worked in a radical labor library. She works with ideas, not products. She works at the library with the highest circulation in the country, which centralizes its ordering and doesn't not collect a lot of small press or radical content. Public libraries serve the masses, but purchasing and access models restrict what they ever get to see.
There is no such thing as fair compensation under capitalism. Radical authors need to have that understanding, vs. what mainstream publishers might say. How do we even define fairness or equity regarding author compensation? Do you base it on hours spent researching and writing, the purchase price, or [something I missed]? Radical publishers are rewarded with loyalty and trust. E.g., HarperCollins can't throw a benefit for itself like a small radical press can. Fair compensation centers on ownership, division of percentage, [something] of access.
His background is open source programming, a copyright free, nonrestrictive zone. He was upset that he couldn't do the same thing with books as he could with software: modify and redistribute. QuestionCopyright.org is a site to help authors and artists understand copyright, and that copyright is unrelated to plagiarism. As an author himself, he publishes under a ShareAlike license. He was paid an advance by O'Reilly Media, has received royalties after books sales paid back the advance. He is now making money from book sales, which is also distributed free online and has been widely translated. The free publishing model worked really well to get his word out and did not affect his/O'Reilly's market. All books should be free, or perhaps sliding scale. Consumers should know how much of the purchase price is going to the author. Consumers will choose the distribution method that best rewards the author.
Question and Answer
Should Amy Goodman (for example—don't mean to pick on Amy in particular) publish with Disney? Does she owe it to/betray herself, her words, or her community by publishing with a large commercial press, rather than a small or radical publisher? (Jenna)
To Vikki: How have you worked out copyrights for incarcerated women who contributed to your book? (Ellen)
This is not a copyright right question really. Vikki kept women inmates informed of her work. When she got the deal with PM, she asked if she could use their stories, their names, pseudonyms, etc. If they agreed to have their stories in the book, they got copies of relevant chapters for editing and had granular control over how their name was associated with the story and what elements of the story might even be included.
A question about the ethics of library purchasers. She can't buy directly from small press authors because they can't deal with her university system required purchase orders. She can purchase the materials from a vendor that charges $20 for an item that the indigenous author might sell them for a quarter. Libraries end up subsidizing this exploitative practice, but if they don't, then the author's work doesn't get collected at all. How should librarians handle this problem? (Melissa G)
Jim: Practical notes about authors and rights issues:
Print on demand can prevent a book from ever going out of print (which is when an author regains copyright)
Karl: problems aren't money, but monopoly problems
Is this self-exploitation a sustainable model for radical authors?
Can a publisher pay a non-US citizen to write a book?
Monopoly vs. money problem—how best to counter monopoly on copyright
Copyright and access stuff protects information. Economics is based on scarcity. With information, more than one person can have the thing at the same time. Are there other countries that deal with compensation in a more sophisticated/fair way?
Wishful thought: Google is going to give up on books (and should). Most Google Books are available from HathiTrust and Archive.org. Authors own the rights, not Google. It is hard to give away one's copyright. There are some means to make books available within more traditional distributions. (Ellen)
What is the essence of reading experience? Does format matter? Does it matter in particular to the radical community? (Melissa M)
rl: artist-in-residence Nina Paley's movie, payment by voluntary contribution. Average donation is $30.
We need to keep distribution in mind, dependence on internet service provider. The internet is not a neutral place (re: ebook reading and access). (Tristan)
There was one more exchange, but I was fatigued by then and missed it.
All in all this was a terrific panel, put together by Aliqae Geraci, Melissa Morrone, and Nicki Vance. It sparked a rich external conversation, and also a provocative internal dialogue. I'll continue to think about the issues discussed for a long time.
None of these resources came up specifically during the talk, but they're all useful and relevant to the topics at hand:
The Rights of Readers and the Threat of the Kindle, presentation by Matthew Goins and Alycia Sellie, 4/1/11
ReadersBillofRights.info website, also Alycia and Matt
CrimethInc. State of the Union Address, 3/30/11 (discusses their publishing and pricing plan)
Tim O’Reilly on Piracy, Tinkering, and the Future of the Book, interview with Jon Bruner, 3/25/11
A Digital Library Better Than Google's by Robert Darnton, 3/23/11
Colorado Publishers and Libraries Collaborate on Ebook Lending Model by Michael Kelley, 3/17/11
Creativity Without Copyright: Anarchist Publishers and Their Approaches to Copyright Protection by Debora Halbert, 7/15/09
Copyright paranoia is infecting us all these days. The concepts of "fair use," "first sale," other free expression and library-friendly defenses are how we keep that paranoia in check. Come learn from each other's questions, confusions, and strategies in a discussion moderated by Laura Quilter (information law attorney and former librarian). As library activists, how can we protect the public's rights, educate ourselves, and meaningfully effect change?
The discussion is free and open to all. However we will solicit small donations for NYCAHN to thank them for hosting us. The fair use salon will be preceded by a short Radical Reference meeting.
E-mail us for more info.
Copyright discussion notes, Radical Reference Salon 4/29/07
Laura Quilter conducted a discussion of copyright. We went around the table and people brought up copyright interests, concerns, and questions.
A few key issues were discussed, with elaboration below: Copyright paranoia; struggles to get permissions; concerns regarding electronic reserves; contract vs. copyright law; definitions of 'good faith belief'; works-for-hire; use fees.
Laura expressed concern that copyright paranoia hampers librarians and patrons even more than the law itself, and offered her motto: "It is better to do and ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission."
One librarian described the current climate as McCarthyite, with the RIAA threatening lawsuits against students and campuses for downloading music. She also discussed the Brooklyn College efforts to develop a campus-wide policy regarding e-reserve. She expressed a need for clear guidelines to aid paraprofessionals, and noted the increasing complexity of copyright running parallel to the de-professionalization of the library.
Another librarian expressed concern for 'the little guy.' How do we balance copyright protections for producers of small creative works? She also expressed frustration with librarians being put in the position of defenders and police officers for corporate content producers.
Another librarian related the struggle to get copyright permission to use four lines of a Wallace Stegner poem on a bookmark for a reading program at Brooklyn Public Library. After securing permission from the rights-holder, she later received a letter demanding a $75 payment from the publishing house. The man who had first granted permission had died, the office could not find the paperwork granting free use of the content, so demanded payment.
Another librarian discussed copyright in relation to the library model of accessing databases. If we look at the library as a repository of information, we pay for access to copyrighted material. This generated a discussion of database contracts that heavily restrict use of licensed content. We discussed the difference between contract and copyright law in relation to database content. Contract law does not necessarily supplant copyright law.
Another librarian discussed the policy at her school that the burden of copyright falls on the professor, a model that limits librarian participation in copyright decisions.
We discussed college and university libraries' favored status for fair use in an educational context, which actually gives us a lot of leeway if we have a 'good faith' belief that we are in compliance. This led to a discussion of what constitutes good faith belief, including a discussion of current Orphan Works legislation.
We discussed use fees for archives and historical collections, including the need to track down copyright ownership for photos. How do we handle works-for hire?
We discussed the ways copyright and fair use are left intentionally vague, so that we are left to work in the murky area of principle. Most copyright talk comes from the enforcement perspective, but that doesn’t mean We should be careful about making ourselves the police for industry.
The focus on copyright has been to the exclusion of discussion about other important rights in libraries, including the right to privacy.
submitted by Emily
Sunday, July 29, 2007 5pm. NYCAHN office, Brooklyn.
Since we had a new guy, we chatted a bit about what we do--the local collective and the main group.
A member wrote to Jenna asking about library friendly volunteer opportunities, like Books Through Bars or teaching information literacy skills at a Y or somewhere. That got us to thinking we should make a list of such ideas for the local site. Also that we might contact local groups, especially unions, that might be interested in the kind of training sessions we could offer. Jenna will see if she can get a contact at the Lower East Side Girls Club and SEIU, Emily with another union(?), and Melissa will check with NYCAHN.
While we were on the topics of creating a web resource for volunteer opportunities and resources for unions and nonprofits, we figured we should update and expand our statistics pathfinder.
We also have one more immediate volunteer opportunity, the 100 Question Challenge Science-A-Thon, which is partially just a fun favor to do for a local science teacher. Once Jenna gets the questions from Sarah, she will email the list and see if she can find 9 other volunteers to take 10 questions each to fact check. We may also have stuff to do the day of. The organizers thought it might be fun to have librarians "judging" the contest, which is Saturday, September 15 from 10-2:30 in Union Square Park.
USSF Report Back
Melissa brought materials from the event to show: the program, info about the Media Center, and a newspaper that promoted the open source/tech events, one of which was ours.
Mel also did some work and a training at the Ida B. Wells Media Justice Center, which was meant to equalize the various presses and their relationship with their subjects (e.g. "poverty scholars," per Poor magazine, people who have expertise in the area of poverty because unlike those reporting it, they have lived it).
We would like to put the survey up on the web, at least to tabulate the results, but perhaps also to get more responses. Some discussion of removing demographic questions.
Perhaps we'll meet in the garden near Gretchen in August?
Location: Natalie's apartment in Brooklyn
Attendance: Cherie, Emily, Jenna, John, Melissa (facilitator), Natalie
Minutes submitted by Jenna. Apologies if I got anything wrong!
We'll need people to set up, table, and break down. Please sign up for a shift!
10:30-12 (includes set-up)
6-7:30 (includes clean-up)
We are tabling at the NYC Anarchist Bookfair on Saturday, April 14th from 11-7...if we can staff our table. Please sign up. If you have any trouble editing this page, email us, and we'll do it for you.
10:30-1:30 (includes set-up)
4:30-7:30 (includes break-down)
February 15, 2008
Present: Jenna, Melissa M., Jonathan, John W.B., Lisa, Matt, Laena, Holly, Alycia
1. Indymedia Help: Mel M. mentioned that there was a call for research help on an upcoming anti-war issue of the Indypendent. Mel will follow up with them to see if there are specific questions we can help answer.
2. RNC Welcoming Committee Event report back: Jenna and Jonathan W.B. went to the event at Bluestockings and reported what plans there are for the RNC protests
3. Web Design Task Force: Talked a bit about what has and has not happened, and discussed the best ways to proceed next. Alycia will poll the list of volunteers and we hope to have a group chat session soon to figure out our next steps remotely.
4. Grassroots Media Conference (March 2):
Discussed tabling (Jenna will coordinate, but will we have wireless?)
-Web 2.0 session (Mel and Alycia) will happen in the afternoon (2:45-4:15)
-Election Information (Jonny and Gretchen) will happen in the morning (10:30-12)
Opening remarks at 9:45am, John W.B. will represent RR (Jenna suggests starting out by saying that we represent "300 radical librarians...")
4. NYC Anarchist Bookfair (April 12):
We will table with Books Through Bars, and Mel suggested having a raffle of sorts with questions put into a question box (for T-shirts? discarded books?). We were not sure that the proposed archives session will be held, but Mel suggested holding impromptu or on-the-spot reference and instruction sessions on things such as FOIA requests in the lobby areas on Sunday (is this the correct day Mel?)
5. The next Radical Reference Salon will be Sunday, March 9 at 8pm, and will deal with Reader Services to Prisoners. Mel will speak about Books through Bars, and will be joined by the NYPL Correctional Outreach liason, Jess, as well as another Jess who has worked with correctional outreach through Rykers. As always, the salon is meant to share information and promote discussion.
6. The proposal that Rad Reffers Melissa M, Lia, Shinjoung and James submitted for the upcoming IFLA conference in Canada was accepted. The next steps are to write a paper and to present at the conference about the paper. The theme of the proposal was submitted for the "virtual reference" track of the conference, with Radical Reference being an example of virtual reference in action.
7. Jonathan is attending PLA in Minneapolis and is hoping to spread RR literature there and/or have a meetup?
Radical Reference, 2008-03-09, meeting held at New York City AIDS Housing Network office.
Rad Ref collective members Melissa, Julie, and Christy were joined by several organization/group representatives and about 15 other attendees.
Melissa offered an intro to Rad Ref.
Christy gave a report-back from the Grassroots Media Conference --
The GMC continued to attract independent journalists and media-makers, including many youth. Info from both RR workshops is now available online – media election guide and RSS feeds and organization. Visitors to RR table seemed familiar with RR and responded positively. Info about a mentorship project has been posted to the list.
Summary of discussion on library services to people who are incarcerated:
(Please note: out of necessity, this summary generalizes some of the discussion in order to avoid identifying specific individuals.)
- There are 3 main types of library service providers in correctional settings: units of the correctional institutions (“in-house” service, “prison librarians,” etc.); outside institutions like NYPL that provide service by working directly with the correctional institution; and providers like NY Books Through Bars that are independent of institutional frameworks (i.e., they provide service “from outside”).
- Points of clarification:
A “jail” is generally a county or municipal institution for shorter stays; although the average jail stay is 8 days, someone could stay as long as 3 years. Jail populations tend to be single gender but otherwise mixed.
“Prisons” are usually state or federal, generally involve longer stays, and are often divided by security level or other distinction (a prison may have a “gang unit,” for example).
Both prisons and jails may have libraries and/or library services, but libraries are more likely to follow more of a standard model in prisons, which may be obligated to follow statewide parameters. Prison libraries, including law libraries, are no longer federally mandated following a series of court decisions that terminated in 1996. They may be mandated in certain states’ state prisons, though.
Many providers of library services in these settings recognize a lack of necessary standards, even within a single state or other municipality. In New York State, however, every medium and maximum security correctional facility must have a library staffed by an MLS librarian and must have a book budget.
- Challenges are inherent for all library service in correctional institutions, and are difficult to describe to people on the outside. Correctional administrators prioritize security and safety. Library services require a physical presence – both of materials and staff – that might pose security risks from the POV of these administrators. Regardless of these perceived risks, research has shown that prison/jail violence drops as soon as reading material is introduced [participants did not cite specific studies – volunteers could check Reference Shelf and/or add sources?].
- Outside entities that partner with correctional institutions to provide service must find allies within the prison/jail administration. Aside from following administration rules, implementing services is often a wait and see proposition – try something, see if it works, document it and try the next thing.
- Because of the lack of standards, quality of service may depend on benevolence of individual administrators and/or geographic location. For example, prisons that are closer to a major urban center may benefit from proximity to progressive-minded organizations that sponsor in-house programs/collections. Prisons in rural areas are less likely to receive this kind of attention.
- Funding for library services comes from a variety of sources – often a combination of funding from the city/municipality/state that runs the prison/jail and the entity that provides the service. An NYC jail, for instance, might follow this over-generalized model: city funds facilities and personnel, NYS funds collections, and NYS Department of Education funds specific projects/outreach.
- Types of direct service may include: a bookcart that travels from area to area or a standing library. Resource guides for formerly incarcerated people returning to life outside – help connect returnees with services to counteract how likely they are to fail (guides include Connections from NY Public Library-- see site for links to similar guides). Baby lapsit programs for incarcerated parents. YA booktalks. Poetry workshops. Author visits. Reading groups. Literacy programs or other instruction.
- Example of an outside organization working with in-house providers: PREP, Prisoners’ Reading Encouragement Project
Organization began in 2003.
Works with NYS prison librarians to build prison library collections by collecting books and sending inventories to prison librarians for selection. Entirely volunteer-run.
Encounters technological issues – can’t get inventories to prison library staff electronically, because prison libraries usually lack computer access – and selection issues – relies on librarians' assessment of user needs to place titles.
Also hosts a conference on prison/literacy issues.
- Example of completely outside organization providing direct service: NY Books Through Bars
A books to prisoners program that responds to direct requests for books, usually from prisoners who have limited or complete lack of library services.
Restrictions on the kind of materials and content that can be sent vary from state to state and facility to facility.
Only authorized vendors (bookstore, publisher, amazon.com) can send books.
- Other points from discussion/question & answer: there was interest in the room in seeking an ALA resolution that would support library service and standards in every place of detention/incarceration.
Many incarcerated people didn’t start reading until they were locked up.
For-profit prisons: goal is to house more people to make more profit. Any room for services is sacrificed to make more room for more beds.
Radical Reference NYC Collective Meeting
Feb. 16th, 2007
Present: Melissa, Gretchen, Nicole, Blair, Jenna, John, Julie, Jonny (others were present for the US Social Forum discussion).
I. Anarchist Book Fair
II. Grassroots Media Conference
III. Anarchist Book Fair
IV. Lighting Bug/Vetting
I. Anarchist Book Fair
a. April 14th 2007 at Judson Memorial Church
b. Deadline for tables and proposals Feb. 15th
c. Possible Radical Reference role
-Help with the content of the wiki (especially the NYC guide section)
- Help table at the event
- Create t-shits, hats or pins to sell at the book fair
d. Should Radical Reference provide reference service at the event?
- Is wireless available at the book fair location?
e. Radical Reference should help with publicity for the book fair
II. Radical Reference support at anti-war demo on March 17th
a. The suggestion was made that training could be provided for those who want
it in preparation for Radical Reference street support at March 17th anti-war
b. It was agreed to post to list to organize street support
III. Grassroots Media Conference Workshop
a. Radical Reference (Gretchen and Melissa) will conduct a workshop at the
Grassroots Media Conference Sat. Feb. 24th “Beyond Googling It: News and Government Information ‘Web 2.0’ style”
IV. Lighting Bug/Vetting
a. Discussion of the reoccurring problems with Lighting Bug
b. It was determined that working out the difficulties with Lighting Bug and the vetting process is a long term project
Radical Reference NYC Collective meeting 11/17/2006
present: Julie, Jenna, Tracy, Melissa, Gretchen, John (recording secretary pro tem)
The meeting then changed gears and we had our salon discussion on race and privilege, and our responsibilities (both as activists and as library workers) to anti-racist work. There was even a handout.
Minutes submitted by John, posted and edited ever so slightly by Jenna.
April 17, 2009
ABC No Rio
Billy, Jenna, John, Julie, Melissa, and Karen
1. New Jersey Library Association (NJLA) Conference update
2. Grassroots Media Coalition (GMC) Conference update
3. Bronx Anarchist Fair report back
4. NYC Anarchist Book Fair report back
5. Really really free market
6. American Library Association (ALA) conference
7. Zine fest
8. Next meeting
1. NJLA conference
Monday, April 27 - Wednesday, April 29, 2009, Ocean Place Report and Spa
John will be the moderator for a panel that will include three authors who write popular history. Julie and Eric will be speaking about Rad Ref on April 28th, 4:30pm. Julie will talk about the history of RR and Eric will speak about its technical aspects. This presentation will be similar to ones given in the past. We should upload RR presentations onto the website for public access.
Saturday May 30th, 9am-6pm, Hunter College
Jenna and Jess will organize an unpanel on how to get alternative materials into libraries. Aliqae and Karen are organizing a workshop on researching corporations. The deadline for proposals has been extended to April 24th. Melissa, Julie and Billy have volunteered to table at the GMC. Karen will ask about booking a table and wireless internet access (for doing reference work at the table). As a back-up, Jenna has a widget that will enable us to connect to the Internet.
3. Bronx Anarchist Fair
April 4th, 11am-6pm, Brook Park
Julie tabled for Rad Ref. She wasn’t able attend any panels or presentations. It was cold and windy on Saturday. Visitors apparently wanted to take the two packages (with question-flyers) that Julie had on the table. Julie was approached by the Really Really Free Market organizer to put together a RR career panel or info-sharing workshop. We’ll think about it.
4. NYC Anarchist Book Fair
April 11-12, Judson Memorial Church
Jenna reported back on the Rad Ref DIY archives workshop with Tamiment and Democracy Now. She said the panel went well. Jenna will look into archiving it on blip.tv and the Internet Archive. Jillian talked about print archives and Nicole spoke about digital archiving. Billy also attended the panel and thought it was great, but it was a bit heavy on technical details. We talked very briefly about digital versus print preservation issues (e.g. CDs deteriorating after a few years and the lack of preservation standards). Several people signed up to be on the RR announce list. Melissa mentioned the myriad challenges to organizing the book fair such as the lack of solid volunteers and last-minute preparations (e.g. not having programs made on time, and so on).
5. The Really Really Free Market
Sunday April 26th, (3-8pm?)
Jenna can table for two hours and she’ll bring her cell phone widget to connect to the Internet. Melissa might also be able to table. Billy volunteered to table as well. We are supposed to obtain the password for wireless Internet access at the Market. Billy needs to be added to the RR work list.
6. ALA Conference
July 9-15, Chicago
Julie will be attending the conference and will organize a skills share/RR dinner/lightning talk on Saturday night. Jenna will email Leah (who will also be attending the conference) about this too.
7. Zine fest
June 27-28, Brooklyn Lyceum
Alicia is organizing this first annual NYC zine fest. Visit www.nyczinefest.org for more details. There will be a meeting for zine fest volunteers.
8. Our next meeting is Friday May 15, 8pm at ABC No Rio.
Attendance: Alycia, Jenna, Melissa G, Melissa M (facilitator)
Tenants Resources Skillshare
Grassroots Media Conference
Republican National Convention
October 27 anti-war demo
Met at ABC No Rio
Melissa, John, and Natalie were present.
Discussed concerns about keeping RadRef up and running. It’s a good brand (people think its really cool when they hear about it). But yet questions aren’t getting answered as fast as would be preferred and maybe people aren’t feeling that motivated.
Many members do things professionally that go under the umbrella of Radical Reference…but it’s still vague what exactly we are…
Natalie suggested that perhaps some kind of timed alert could let members know when a question has been sitting unanswered for a certain amount of time…so John doesn’t have to keep sending out reminders. Perhaps folks just assume things are getting answered and don’t think to just check the site. Not sure if this is possible to put into Drupal or whatever.
Natalie reported on SLA@Pratt Skillshare
People signed up for appointments to talk to me. Many had no idea what Radical Reference was or what we do…some asked if we were hiring. Hahahaha.
I basically answered a lot of questions and everyone said they would consider participating. We will see. I also pushed the upcoming Brecht events. It was fun overall.
Melissa mentioned Social Forum, she and Jenna will be helping at the Peoples Media Center…
John reported on Anarchist Book Fair
John and Kate did a panel/workshop on how to use public library resources. A good turn out, about 15 people. Melissa wished the workshop would have discussed information literacy a bit more, and taught how to use the tools instead of just pointing out the resources. Angie was at the workshop as well.
Made $19 at the Book Fair.
Then Winston came! He said Jenna was his mentor and he heard about RadRef through her. We were basically done meeting, but we answered his questions and gave him lots of info left over from the skillshare.
Met at Housing Works Bookstore
Charlotte, Jenna, Kate Ad, Kate An, and Winston were present.
RR FALL SALON
Rad Ref will hold a meeting in September/October to meet and greet library students. We need to figure out a salon topic. Ideas raised were alternative collections, access to collections, and breaking down barriers between the researcher and subject.
Jenna worked with Team Colors Collective at the U.S. Social Forum and suggested RR maybe invite the collective to speak. They recently published a book on AK Press.
Winston brought up participatory action research as something to be addressed in the salon.
Kate An is going to contact Judson and the Muste Room to get their room rental rates for the salon. She is also going to mention this to the folks at Bluestockings. The salons aren’t usually more than 2 hours long and are usually preceded by a quick business meeting. Jenna suggested maybe LIS clubs at Pratt or the Palmer School would be interested in hosting the event.
Kate Ad raised the topic of RR hosting an event on libraries and prisons - perhaps inviting a prison librarian to speak at a salon. Also, this could be an idea for a Brecht forum event.
Time: Would Friday nights or Sundays be better for the salon? Jenna suggested putting up a poll on the RR website to figure out when is best for people.
We talked about advertising for RR. Should we reach out to non-librarians as well? Currently we do advertise on the NYC anarchist list. Should we expand this- e.g. flyer at places like Bluestockings?
Kate An went to a volunteer organization at FIERCE and learned that they might be able to use the assistance of librarians with their library. She is going to email FIERCE and see if there is interest. Additionally, FIERCE is going to have a bowl-a-thon fundraiser on October 23rd and is looking for fundraising teams and volunteers.
Jenna raised the possibility of a Drupal workday in the fall, probably at ABC No Rio’s Community Center.
Kate Ad was wondering if the RR website should possibly consider using WordPress. Jenna said that a Pratt SILS usability class may pick the RR website to work on in the fall.
Rad Ref minutes: 02/19/10 // In attendance: Angie, Janai, Jenna, John, Melissa
Jenna will be @ the Feb 28th RRFM--more volunteers heartily encouraged to
Notes by Angie
Attendance: Angie, Ann, Ellen, Emily, Eric, Jenna, Jennifer, Jess, Jill, John, Julie, Karen, Lynley, Mel (facilitator), Molly, Natalie, Romel
I Mel gave a brief overview of Radical Reference--its virtual and in-person projects and services.
II Grassroots Media Coalition liaison report
John has handed over liaison responsibilities to Karen.
John gave an overview of our relationship with the group and reported that planning is underway for the next Grassroots Media Conference, which will be held in early May(?) at Hunter College. There is a volunteer meeting on Wednesday night (January 28) at the North Star Fund, details to come.
We are hoping to organize a program at the conference about getting alternative materials into libraries.
III Really Really Free Market
Those who want to attend or offer Radical Reference service, or provide home support, for the Really Really Free Market on Sunday, January 25 from 6-9pm at St. Mark's Church should contact Mel.
IV Planning is underway for the first-ever Brooklyn Food Conference in May. Is anyone in RR interested in providing information services to the organizers? Tell Mel, who would like to help, but doesn't want to drive this effort.
V We commenced our planned salon style discussion of OCLC's proposed policy change, the notes for which, taken by Emily, will appear here or on the wiki presently.
Notes taken by Jenna. Please let me know if I made any mistakes or just go ahead and fix them yourself.
Jenna, Kate, and Melissa met at the Really Really Free Market, but since they lost their internet connection, and the place was kind of a madhouse, they moved the discussion to Quantum Leap.
I. Anarchist Book Fair
Our Hack Your Library proposal was accepted. Thanks to John for submitting it! So far John is the only one committed to presenting. Kate will check her availability. Jenna and Mel will reach out to potential participants.
II. Brecht Forum
Having participated in a panel with two artist librarians whose projects focus at least partially on deaccessioned materials, Jenna suggested doing our May program on that topic, instead of preservation, since although there is a lot of interest in it, we have yet to identify people to lead more than a salon style discussion. If the local collective agrees, Jenna will approach the two artists to see if they're willing and able. If that is the case, then we should plan a separate salon on preservation.
Met at ABC No Rio
John, Jenna, Melissa, Alycia and Natalie were present.
Began by discussing the site maintenance.
Decided we don’t need to try Kickstarter because the donations are coming in on the site.
Jenna and Melissa are at the U.S. Social Forum in Detroit doing awesome stuff.
The Website is moving to LISHost soon, $10 a month. Keep donating to the "tip jar"!
Alycia mentioned a site redesign contest a potential way to get our site redesigned for cheap.
Potential use for Kickstarter.
Jenna suggested an intern could do it for class credit. Will put out to LIS school lists.
Mel mentioned that we would need to make a lot of decisions first about what we want.
Could be a Pratt IA project.
We are planning a Radical Reference social in NYC.
Jenna got consent from the Reanimation Library to use their space on July 31st.
Per Jenna’s email: the social is to make space for a fun time for radical librarians, something in between our typical five person meeting and a Desk Set soiree.
October 21, Housing Works
Setting: Unexpectedly, it was karaoke night at the bookstore
Present: Lana, Melissa, Nikki
Essentially we spent the meeting talking (read: shouting over the music) about whether there is still a need for an NYC collective of Rad Ref (and a need for Rad Ref in general?). We agreed that NYCRR provides a necessary progressive perspective in the NYC librarianship community that complements the work of the Desk Set and Urban Librarians Unite. If nothing else, we can continue to host events at places we love and that love us, such as the Brecht Forum and Bluestockings.
Examples of topics:
(With regard to the subject of public library closures, Melissa noted that there was a lot of ULU activism here, but NYCRR as such was not involved.)
The Library of Congress Subject Heading action day was cited as an example of a good one-shot project that's political, structured, and finite.
Nikki suggested that we have a group work day, maybe at an archive, a la Hack Day.
Lana will talk to Jenna about reaching out to Bluestockings and suggesting a Rad Ref-curated series (monthly?) there.
Melissa recently found out that it is possible to get Internet access via the staff laptop at the Park Slope Food Coop and may pursue conducting an "Internet for activists" type of workshop there.
Nikki suggested that we reach out to the Catholic Worker to offer a library session.
Lana suggested we meet quarterly rather than monthly, as Portland Rad Ref had started to do.
It's mostly LIS students who express interest in RR -- we should make more of an effort to connect with local LIS programs.
The next NYCRR meeting should be a time to brainstorm project ideas, more social than a regular meeting. Maybe the week before the Biblioball? I think this would be the last weekend in November, but I've forgotten the exact date of the 2010 Biblioball...
NYC Local Collective Meeting, September 19, 2008
Attendance: Jenna, John, Karen, Mel, Vani (facilitator)
Radical Archives Event
The event will be held on Tuesday, October 28 at the Brecht Forum and is being sponsored by the Grassroots Media Coalition (GMC), to serve as one of their networking events. They will pay the $150 fee for the space and provide food. (Thanks, GMC!)
7:45-8:00 Introductions, including nascent Brecht Forum Library
8:00-9:00 Presentations from ABC No Rio (Steven Englander), The Lesbian Herstory Archives (Shawnta Smith), and The Tamiment Library (Donna Davey)
9:00-9:30 Questions, discussion
Vani is wrangling Lesbian Herstory, and Jenna ABC No Rio and Tamiment.
We will invite each presenter to table and share a table with the GMC. Out History asked if they could table, but the space can't easily accommodate additional tables. We will suggest that they ask if they can share with Lesbian Herstory.
Presenters will be asked to prepare 15 minute show and tells. (Vani/Mel—We didn't talk about computer/projector set up at the Brecht. Do either of you know what the scoop is?)
We already have a press blurb from Lesbian Herstory. We'll need them from the other two by 10/1.
We will request at $5-$15 donation for entrance to the event. The networking part will be free.
The GMC will help with online publicity. Mel will notify print publications (Voice, TONY, L, etc.)
Alternative Materials in Libraries Event
We more or less tabled this discussion, as we don't have anything new on it. Basically, it's another collaboration with the GMC and will take place in late January/early February and will focus on...getting alternative materials into libraries. It will be the first of a two part event, the second of which will take place a the Grassroots Media Conference. One part will be a discussion/brainstorming and the other a panel of gatekeepers (review publication editors, public and academic library selectors).
Queens College Presentation
Julie, Karen, and Vani will be presenting a history of "radical, militant, librarianship" for the Queens College Library & Information Science Student Association (QC LISSA). They're working on setting a date for the talk. Julie is the liaison.
NYC Radical Reference Discussion List
This was about breaking the NYC-RR list into two: one for announcements, and one for the work of project. The former would be open to non-volunteers, as well participants.
The five people in attendance discussed this potentially controversial topic, with suggestions to follow. We hope and expect that there will be more discussion on the list and/or comments on this page. Things we would like to consider:
IMC Event Report-Back
John reported on the Independent Media Center event that featured Naomi Klein, Jeremy Scahill, Roberto Lovato, Malia Lazu and Laura Flanders at Cooper Union. Rad Ref shared a table with the GMC. John distributed flyers and a modified Election Guide. He characterized Scahill's talk as "cool in a depressing kind of way."
All of the above in less than an hour. Yay us!
Notes by Jenna. Corrections appreciated.
RR NYC Collective Meeting, Friday, September 11, 2009
Attendance: Alycia, Angie, Becky, David, Denise, Ilya, Jenna, Jerome, John, Jonny (facilitator), Karen, Melissa, Myron, Natalie
Melissa recounted an interaction with someone who was skeptical that librarians had anything to offer people who were able to "Google it" for themselves. Mel bowled her over with some awesome resources the woman admitted she'd never have found on her own.
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 email@example.com.
NYC Radical Reference Meeting 06-16-06
Members Present: Melissa, Julie, Dena
- Madeline Albright
* flyering happening? Members will look at old emails and figure out various groups' plans [update -- see the flyer from Kevin announced in more recent email; members plan to print up copies to hand out prior to her talk]
- Tabling/discussions at SRRT booth seem to be arranging themselves; great
- Radref meetup
* to take place Saturday, June 24, from 6:30-8:30 at The Iron Rail Bookstore and Lending Library (511 Marigny Street, 504-944-0366)
* requested agenda item: come up with list of Radref priorities/things to do (to be distributed to all members)
- In addition to meeting at Iron Rail, Radical Reference members will also be discussing and getting involved in projects with Iron Rail collective members, esp. cataloging their collections
2. Lightningbug/Radref website
- Lightningbug questions (more like requests for updates):
* is it still the case that questions are not being escalated?
* how are answers being posted?
* discussion focused on how to allow greatest access to depth of information on site, which seems somewhat obscured by current layout and includes other areas of site in addition to answered questions
- once "subject headings" are assigned to answers, these could be grouped (linking to answers) and listed in righthand column on page in place of current "recently answered questions" boxes
- subject headings should also be assigned to reference shelf, blogs, etc.
- any search method for answers should also apply to reference shelf, blogs, etc.
- subject headings should be drawn from a controlled vocabulary
3. Directory of NYC orgs (being compiled with/for NLG) -- is underway; question of whether or not to alert included orgs to be left to NLG
4. Reference Shelf page for Green Scare
* page was seen on several general and support lists and was much admired
* possible role for Radref in supporting research needs of support groups (aside from legal research) to be explored
5. Library student publication opportunities
* one possibility is "Library Student Journal," which apparently is now accepting submissions
[This guide is under construction]
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org (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
RDA vs. AACR2: Implications for Social Justice, Featuring Rick Block
Monday January 11, 2010 (Notes by Jessa Lingel)
Rick Block introduced himself and his role at Columbia, provided a brief explanation of the handouts and proceeded to layout an introduction to AACR2 and RDA. Key points from the discussion follow.
October 17 meeting
ABC No Rio
Present: John, Christy, Lisa, Melissa M., Karen, Emily
Minutes by Emily
1. Melissa M. updated us on the archives event. It is happening November 11. We have the Brecht Forum space from 6 to 11, with set up at 6:30, GMC networking event from 7 to 7:45, followed by the panel. GMC will be supplying libations.
Space rental is $150. GMC will be covering the cost. John will check with GMC to see if they can cut a check to Brecht, or if they will reimburse Melissa.
RR is responsible for PR, putting the announcement out to various email distribution lists, creating a facebook event, etc. To that end, please read and revise the flyer text by this Monday--bios need to be shaved a bit, and Melissa says it could be 'punchier.' Melissa has a list of print sources to send the flyer and will take care of that part of the PR. You can see the current text here.
Vani will moderate the panel--introduce the speakers, keep things running on time.
2. Melissa asked if RR is interested in participating in Really Really Free Markets, an occasional anarchist community event where everything is available for free. General interest was expressed; Melissa will open up a dialogue with the folks who organize the event.
3. Melissa updated on the Anarchist Book Fair. The first organizational meeting was held this Wednesday. the event will be held one weekend in April, though Melissa couldn't remember which. RR folks are invited to think about potential workshops and ways we can utilize the table on the day of the actual book fair. (One day of the weekend will be a book fair + workshops; the second day will consist only of workshops.) Start brainstorming!
4. Melissa updated the group on a paper she and Lia have been asked to write for a journal about reference librarianship (The Reference Librarian). One version is currently up on the IFLA website and another version based on the slides is appearing in a British reference journal. They are interested in any feedback and/or suggestions for other ways of re-versioning this paper.
5. Lisa asked about the status of the NACLA research guide project. John has been in touch with Christy Thornton at NACLA, who has been in touch with Melissa, and the project is currently on hold until at least following the archives event. Melissa is the current point person on this. Melissa will see about getting a print copy of the old NACLA guide (very out of date, but "typographically and mimeographically awesome!") to Lisa.
ANNOUNCEMENTS: John reminded us about election return night at the Brecht Forum with Go Left. ("Don't watch election returns alone!"). Karen will be giving a talk on radical library history at Queens College with Julie and Vani next Tuesday and will post handouts and slides on the RR site. Christy reminds us about the ABC No Rio gala next Wednesday; she will be working the event.
The NYC collective of Radical Reference will host a "people's university" style salon to discuss the Google Books Settlement.
Participants will be strongly encouraged to sign up to read one of the articles posted below, and be prepared to report on it at the meeting. See the bibliography from the OCLC salon discussion we held in January for an example of how this works.
Also of interest, an interview with Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt and co-founder Sergey Brin. They mention the settlement, evilness.
Maybe this doesn't belong in the general bibliography, so I'll put it here: Harvard professor Robert Darnton's "Google & the Future of Books," published in the New York Review of Books on February 12, 2009.
Last night 8-10 members and friends of Rad Ref NYC visited the People's Library at the Wall Street Occupation. We helped process books for the library, which Library Journal says is growing at 30-50 books per day.
Alycia made cute pin-on patches. Here's one on my backpack
And one in the library
When we arrived it was so crowded in Zuccotti Park that you could barely move. There are areas marked off for the library ♥, an information center, food, clothing drop-off, media, meetings, and protesters sleep wherever they can, like this one:
But what was it like? is what a lot of folks outside the NY Metro area are probably wondering. I was only there two hours, so I'm certainly not an expert, but what I perceived was general feeling of hope, excitement, and power, perhaps like some people felt when Obama was elected. But this time, people are counting on themselves and each other, not a politician to make things right, including making a library that's open all the time to anyone who wants to borrow materials, without any sort of ID. I'm not saying that all libraries can operate that way, but it's beautiful to see the sharing going on at the People's Library, where anyone can be a librarian. That's not to say that librarians don't have something to contribute, e.g., we instituted putting the OWSL stickers on the books' spines instead of their backs. ☺
It was great to be there for myself, but also as a member of Radical Reference, a collective of library workers and students who like to be directly involved in protests, supporting them and taking place. One member brought up the idea of making a statement, à la PLG in support of the occupation. For better or for worse, that's not what we do. Around our founding, before the Republican National Convention in NYC in 2004 we discussed signing onto a statement of nonviolence, I think it was, and a heated email list argument erupted. We decided, passively or actively, I'm not sure which, that we weren't going to have a structure, a governing body, a central committee, or anything like that, and so have no way of deciding anything as a group. Instead, our focus is showing up. I'm actually rather ashamed that it took us a couple of weeks to get involved as a group. The NYC collective has been rather inactive lately, but perhaps helping with the OWSL library (not "library" as PLG referred to it) will galvanize our efforts.
We're planning a question-answering work day the weekend of the 22nd & 23rd (time not set yet), so holler at email@example.com if you're interested in participating. We're also up for heading back down to OWS individually or en masse anytime.
Jenna, speaking only for myself, and only a teeny bit meaning to stir the pot with PLG
Saturday, July 31, 7-11pm
Reanimation Library, Proteus Gowanus
The NYC collective of Radical Reference will host a social gathering at the Reanimation Library in Brooklyn on Saturday, July 31. It is meant to be a meet and greet for library workers and LIS students with far left politics. Radico-curious folks welcome!
Signs that you might be a radical:
*You explain your politics to extended family as "to the left of Michael Moore"
*You use Phil Ochs's definition of liberal
*When you think of anarchists, you picture Food Not Bombs, not Molotov cocktails
*You think the Daily Show is more racist, homophobic and sexist than funny
*You refer to DRM as Digital Restrictions Management and think copyright should never apply to dead people
*The policeman is not your friend
*You went into librarianship because it's the last/best bastion of socialism in America
*You spend lots of time in the HX821s or 335.83s
*You wince whenever you hear patrons referred to as "customers" or libraries as "businesses"
Bring your own booze/juice/soda and extra to share. Depending on your political orientation you may think of your contribution as common property, property is theft, or mutual aid. Dumpstered libations gladly accepted.
We'll provide ice, cups, and recycling bags. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org with questions and comments. Save the political debates for the event.
Fri., July 25, 2008, 7:30 pm - 11 pm
ABC No Rio - 156 Rivington St, NYC
Support Radical Reference, a volunteer collective of library workers that sees to the information needs of activists and independent journalists.
- interspersed with -
Open mic for library workers to share stories that are so awful they're funny and vice versa.
$5-$10 sliding scale
$1-$3 drinks (beer, soda)
Flyers are attached-feel free to print and spread the word!
|RR Flyer Final copy.jpg||956.39 KB|
|RR Flyer low qual.jpg||378.55 KB|
Friday, February 16, 2007, 8-9:30pm, ABC No Rio, NY, NY
Librarians, LIS students, and library support staff are welcome,
as are the library curious.
Radical Reference NYC invites you to attend a discussion of the upcoming US Social Forum in Atlanta and if/how librarians should participate. We will also have a short business meeting.
Radical Reference is a collective of volunteer library workers who believe in social justice and equality. We support activist communities, progressive organizations, and independent journalists by providing professional research support, education and access to information. We work in a collaborative virtual setting and are dedicated to information activism to foster a more egalitarian society.
It is customary for participants to donate $1-2 per person to the space when meeting at ABC No Rio.
Questions or comments to nyc at radicalreference dot info.
We discussed if and how Radical Reference might participate in the U.S. Social Forum in Atlanta this summer using some Guiding Questions, provided by our facilitator, Gretchen.
Additional notes and comments:
The meeting was held on Friday, February 16 at ABC No Rio. In attendance were: Blair, Gretchen, Heather, Jenna, John, Jonny, Julie, Megan, Melissa, Nicole, Tom (am I missing someone???).
Notes submitted by Jenna, 2/19/07.
Members of Radical Reference NYC have done workshops for librarians and LIS students at the Massachusetts Library Association, New Jersey State Library, the Palmer School, Pratt, and Rutgers, on three different themes. We are happy to reprise them at other library schools and library conferences.
Theme 1: Radical Reference front end/back end. We give a history of Radical Reference, talk about its mission and tactics. We discuss the open source tools used to support RR and how open source fits into librarianship's goals. Example.
Theme 2: Radical, Militant, Librarianship--discussion of the different groups and tactics of activist librarians and library activists. Example.
Theme 3: Effecting change--discussion of participants' innovative practice, identifying, removing, and/or sidestepping the obstacles to library workers' attempts to get stuff done. ("Stuff" could mean alternative materials collections, projects like RR, new programming, etc.) Example.
We're also open to suggestion. You can commission something if you have an idea of something you'd like to hear about that you think we might know.
Here's a more or less complete list of Radical Reference presentations for librarians and others (especially independent journalists) http://radicalreference.info/rrpresentations.
Workshops are presented without charge, but it's nice to get our expenses covered and maybe a vegan chocolate chip cookie or something if you really want to show appreciation. Also extremely helpful are a projector, the necessary cables, and an internet connection.
Radical Reference NYC Collective meeting minutes for Friday, November 21, 2008
Attendance: Alana, Alycia, Christy (facilitator), Cookie Puss (in and out), Emily, Jenna, John, Julie, Kiowa, Lisa, and Vani
Radical Reference street reference tactics
Topic ideas and discussion
Jenna will contact potential panelists
Notes submitted by Jenna. Please make your corrections here, or email them to me.
Sunday, April 29
New York City AIDS Housing Network office, Brooklyn
In attendance: Jonny, Becca, Melissa, Jenna, John, Emily, Dena, Gretchen, Judy, Laura
Notes taken by Emily. E-mail nyc at radicalreference dot info with corrections.
Saturday, April 12, 2008
This schedule has different length shifts so that it matches up with the presentations. That's why it's weird.
10:30-12:30 (includes set-up) (spans RR session)
1. Heather and Lana will split/share this slot
5:15-7:15 (includes break-down)
1. Christy (I will get there as soon as I can, but i may around 5:30)
2. John B (around 5:30ish)
RR Table Schedule
Please add your name as appropriate, or email Jenna, and she will add it for you.
10:30-12:30 Includes set-up
4:30-7:00 Includes breakdown