US Social Forum Salon notes

We discussed if and how Radical Reference might participate in the U.S. Social Forum in Atlanta this summer using some Guiding Questions, provided by our facilitator, Gretchen.

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

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

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

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

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

Additional notes and comments:

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

The meeting was held on Friday, February 16 at ABC No Rio. In attendance were: Blair, Gretchen, Heather, Jenna, John, Jonny, Julie, Megan, Melissa, Nicole, Tom (am I missing someone???).

Notes submitted by Jenna, 2/19/07.