Before and during the Republican National Convention, volunteer library workers will use their professional skills to answer information needs from activists and independent journalists. Service will be provided via the web, e-mail, IM, and in person on the street during the RNC. Look to librarians in the protest pens wearing baseball caps featuring an "i" symbol on the front and "www.radicalreference.info" on the back for answers to questions ranging from "Where is the closest public bathroom?" to "At what age am I considered a juvenile if I'm arrested at this protest?"
The Web site also serves as a fact-checking tool for Indymedia. There is a one-hour workshop prepared and available to independent media journalists on fact checking and evaluating sources for accuracy, authority, coverage, currency, and objectivity. Those interested should contact info at radicalreference dot info to schedule a session.
Radical Reference is not just a resource for protesters and journalists; the website has been answering questions from the public since its launch on July 31, 2004, and has posted all queries and answers for use as a resource. Questions asked of the librarians are made anonymously and remain so when posted to the site.
"They are fulfilling an important function," said Jessamyn West, a public librarian from Vermont who played a similar role at the WTO protest in Seattle in 1999. "We need sane people providing accurate information in what could be a chaotic situation." (NY Sun, August 4, 2004)
For more information on Radical Reference, please access our website at www.radicalreference.info.
"We've got access to hundreds of expensive subscription databases -- and we know how to use them!"