The temporary autonomous library at Occupy Boston, an interview with Kristin Parker


all photos courtesy of Kristin Parker, please do not reproduce without permission

I have friends working in the various Occupy X libraries. We don’t have a very big Occupy presence near me in Vermont and I was curious how things work there. Kristin Parker (@parkivist) is an anthropologist who received an MS (Simmons) with a concentration in archives management. She worked for twelve years managing the collections exhibits and archives at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and is now managing the art collection at the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis. She’s a newish associate of the Boston Radical Reference Collective and is one of the people who has been organizing and staffing the A to Z (Audre Lorde to Howard Zinn) Library at Occupy Boston. I asked her a few questions over email. She writes…

“The A-Z Library is a partnership made up of the Boston Radical Reference Collective, the Progressive Librarians Guild of Simmons College and Metacomet Books of Plymouth, MA, run by John Ford who recognized a need for a durable setting for books at Dewey Square (the Occupy Boston site). He graciously installed a military tent and brought in a third of his own personal book collection. Other donations soon arrived through the librarians and members of the public. The library has been up and running for more than 2 weeks now. Every day we receive donations – it’s amazing. Books are organized according to subject, in plastic milk crates and wooden cranberry bog crates, for easy transporting and shifting. As described in the statement (link below): ‘The library aims to provide high-quality, accurate information to all interested parties. The collection contains material on topics such as political thought and social movements, activism, history, philosophy, religion, finance, consumerism, gender, race, as well as a large fiction section.’”

What your role is with the Occupy library in Boston and could you suggest a few links for people interested in the Occupy Library System generally? (more…)

going to ACRL? Got time for a preconference unconference?

ACRL is in Seattle next week and the Radical Reference people are planning a preconference unconference on March 12th? Interested? Look for more information on the facebook group and the wiki. [related grouchy tweet about ACRL web page]

Library of Congress Subject Heading Suggestion Blog-a-Thon

Between now and Sunday, April 27, Radical Reference invites you to suggest subject headings and/or cross-references which will then be compiled and sent to the Library of Congress. You can either choose one previously suggested by Sandy Berman (pdf or spreadsheet) or propose your own.

As someone who has been the recipient of Sandy Berman’s cc’s on letters to the LoC, I think this is a great idea. Still waiting for SEX TOY PARTIES and TRANSHUMANISM in my classification schemes, I am.

Boston Event: Simmons GSLIS Skill Share 16sep06

The first Simmons College GSLIS skill share will be held on Saturday September 16th from 10 am to 4 pm. Co-sponsored by local chapters of the unlikely bedfellows the American Society for Information Science & Technology and the Progressive Librarians Guild, the event is free and will feature workshops taught by Simmmons students as well as a keynote by my friends Jenna and Eric from Radical Reference. It looks sort of great. See you there?

radical reference: semi-orgasmic experiences on the job

Eli Edwards writes about the experience of doing radical reference in Clamor Magazine and the RadRef project past and present.

According to co-founder Jenna Freedman, a librarian at Barnard College in New York City, “We thought [the protestors] would need reliable sources of information in a time when all hell was expected to break loose and rumors would probably be flying around everywhere. Our job in the street was to be calm and knowledgeable and to have good resources available to us in the RR kits or at the other end of a phone.”

ALA San Antonio Wiki from Radical Reference

Going to ALA in San Antonio? Want to pick up on some good first-person information and advice? Check out the Radical Reference project: The Alternative Travel Guide to San Antonio and help out if you have something to share.

radical militant librarians

I’ve been messing a bit with possible commenting options. My apologies for people who saw non-functional comment links. This was in my inbox a few times whn I got back from a weekend trip to Western MA: At F.B.I., Frustration Over Limits on an Antiterror Law

One internal F.B.I. message, sent in October 2003, criticized the Office of Intelligence Policy and Review at the Justice Department, which reviews and approves terrorist warrants, as regularly blocking requests from the F.B.I. to use a section of the antiterrorism law that gave the bureau broader authority to demand records from institutions like banks, Internet providers and libraries.

“While radical militant librarians kick us around, true terrorists benefit from OIPR’s failure to let us use the tools given to us,” read the e-mail message, which was sent by an unidentified F.B.I. official. “This should be an OIPR priority!!!”

I’m sure it’s lousy to be one of the people who have to use and implement policies that are controversial and/or of questionable legality. However, the pullquote made me smile just the same.

local librarian gal makes good – me on the AP wire

Hey check me out, I’m challenging stereotypes! The facts are a teeny bit off, but I’d say overall the article does more good than harm.

Radical Reference @ ALA

Radical Reference is doing a bunch of things at ALA in Chicago. The Boston events that I went to were fun and low key and very welcoming to newcomers. If you’re interested in the work they do, swing by and say hello. I’ll be doing a short skillshare called “Oh No He Didn’t! Rumor Control As an Essential Part of Event Based Radical Reference” Monday the 27th at 2:30.