NYC Collective September 2006 Meeting Minutes

New York City Radical Reference Meeting
September 15, 2006

Attendance: Melissa M., Tracey, Jonny, Aliqae, Christina, Daniel, Timothy, John, Gretchen, Talya, Julie, Melissa G.

1. A mix of librarians and library students attended this meeting/discussion "salon." Melissa M., Jonny, John, and Julie explained to the first-timers the origin of Radical Reference and discussed the various projects that the NYC collective of Rad Ref has worked on, including:

• Workshops and skillshares at the Grassroots Media Conference, the National Conference on Organized Resistance (NCOR), and ALA, among other conferences
• Research trainings for Indymedia
• Help with organizing the Wetlands Preserve's archive in storage
• The Library Education Forum this past spring
• The future directory of NYC radical organizations and spaces commissioned by the NLG

2. What are other projects we can do in NYC?

Melissa G. suggested doing research training for tenants' groups — she gets a lot of questions in that area in her job.

Christina suggested that NYC Rad Ref do workshops/skillshares for each other, to make sure we're all at the same level of research ability.

Tracey suggested doing workshops on fundraising and/or lobbying — cf. AFSCME.

John said we can all work on building up the reference shelf on the Rad Ref site.

Gretchen suggested we plan a tour (or tours) of special libraries in the city for ourselves, to see what kinds of local information organizations exist.

3. Gretchen went to a planning meeting for the NYC Anarchist Bookfair. It's tentatively set for a date in May or June, possibly at Clemente Soto Velez on the Lower East Side. While NYMAA is organizing it, Rad Ref was asked if it wanted to have a role (co-sponsor?). We say yes, we're interested in being involved, but we need details of what exactly would be expected of us.

4. We then had a discussion of library activism, starting with John moderating a talk about professional neutrality (he brought great handouts — I'm sure he'd be happy to share them with those of you who weren't present!). A lot of the conversation ended up being about library collections and how they reflect the communities they're in. Gretchen passed out books about activist librarianship on and off the job, though there was no time for discussion about that, and Melissa M. passed around a few technology (including open source and "library 2.0")-related articles, though there was also no time to discuss activism around technology.


Theses are the books that Gretchen brought in support of the topic "activist librarianship on and off the job":

MacLeish, Archibald. Libraries in the Contemporary Crisis. United States Government Printing office. October 19,1939.

West, Celeste, ed. Revolting Librarians. San Francisco: Booklegger Press, 1972.

Roberta, Katia and Jessamyn West. Revolting librarians redux : radical librarians speak out. Jefferson, N.C. : McFarland & Co., c2003.