Boston Radical Reference Collective



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? [email protected]

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
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

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 [email protected] or through our website:

A map of the Simmons College campus can be found here:

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 [email protected] 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:

Get more info about the event here:

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 and

January 2005. Created An Alternative Guide to Boston for ALA Midwinter, 2005.

December 2004. Fact Checking Workshop
at MIT by James and Theresa. Wonderful presentation, nice facilities with computers for all. We are looking to do this again.