Radical Reference conducted two workshops and tabled at this year's Grassroots Media Conference. We've been participating in the conference for five years (or so) and a partnering organization for the last two. It's one of my favorite conferences, with lots of sessions I want to attend, even though I don't really consider myself a media maker in the same way that most of the attendees do. I make zines and blog and all that, but it's not with a journalistic intent.
I facilitated a session, along with Jess Ross, on getting alternative materials into libraries: Radical Reference Unpanel: Alternative Materials in Libraries. We developed this skillshare in response to feedback from previous conferences and questions we've received, but unfortunately the workshop wasn't well attended. I suspect the unpanel model might have been a contributing factor, which is my fault. I think folks want to be given the magic key to getting libraries to shelve their small press or self-published books and videos, and sadly, there isn't one. A highlight of the session for me was Amanda Vender sharing her experience trying to get the three public library systems to distribute IndyKids, a "free newspaper and teaching tool that aims to inform children on current news and world events from a progressive perspective and to inspire a passion for social justice and learning" that is "geared toward kids in grades 4 to 8 and high school English Language Learners." They were most successful at NYPL, partially because they threw ALA's Library Bill of Rights at them, and also maybe just a little threatened them with bad publicity.
I attended Taking Back Wall Street: DIY corporate research for activists and media makers, which was led by Aliqae Geraci (Queens PL) and Karen Okamoto (John Jay, CUNY). Aliqae, who is working on a labor studies degree was a super pro at researching corporations, and Karen added some legal know how and showed us the lovely Who Profits site that tracks corporations involved with the Palestinian occupation. The main lesson of the session for me is that public companies basically have to include risk factors and executive compensation in their quarterly and annual filings, and in their proxy statements, which are all available via the SEC. During the Q&A they also talked about some NYC specific links for researching real estate and other info.
Our table was next to Prometheus Radio's, where they were teaching passersby to solder sound boards. (I think that's what they were soldering, anyway.) I thought it was awesome that they were demystifying hardware like that. I had no idea that normal people could do that sort of thing.