Tagged with bookfairs

Radical Information For All


Chuck D'Adamo, Alternative Press Center

Miriam DesHarnais, Baltimore County Public Library

Lia Friedman, University of California at San Diego


Mid-Atlantic Radical Bookfair: Radical Public, Academic, and Independent Libraries and Services


Rather than an abstract, here are my moderator notes"

  • self-intro (zines, rad ref, APC)
  • glad to be invited to participate in radical book fair
  • important to talk about libraries in the context of this book fair, as mission is separate from commerce
  • the radical notion that libraries hire expert staff to select, preserve, and provide access to a wide variety of materials
  • and further offer a space--physical or online to benefit our communities.
  • in addition to the library projects represented today, we should mention radical libraries like the labadie collection at the university of michigan:
    • "The Labadie Collection was established in 1911 when Joseph Labadie, a prominent Detroit anarchist, donated his library to the University of Michigan. Although the Collection was originally concerned mainly with anarchist materials (the field in which it remains strongest), its scope was later widened considerably to include a great variety of social protest literature together with political views from both the extreme left and the extreme right. Materials are now collected from all parts of the world. In addition to anarchism, the Collection's strengths include: civil liberties (with an emphases on racial minorities), socialism, communism, colonialism and imperialism, American labor history through the 1930s, the IWW, the Spanish Civil War, sexual freedom, women's liberation, gay liberation, the underground press, and student protest."
  • for those of us in the mid-atlantic area, the beloved tamiment:
    • "The Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives at New York University form a unique, internationally-known center for scholarly research on Labor and the Left. The primary focus is the complex relationship between trade unionism and progressive politics and how this evolved over time. Archival, print, photograph, film, and oral history collections describe the history of the labor movement and how it related to the broader struggle for economic, social, and political change."
  • and the Durland Alternatives Library associated with Cornell University in Ithaca:
    • "The Durland Alternatives Library is dedicated to providing free and open access to materials expressing viewpoints and information not readily available through the mainstream publications and mass-media sources."
    • and their Prisoner Express project: "The Prisoner Express program, sponsored by the Durland Alternatives Library, promotes rehabilitation by offering inmates information, education and the opportunity for creative self-expression in a public forum. Participation in this program fosters self-exploration, enrichment and knowledge. The Durland Alternatives Library has a number of ongoing programs as parts of its Prisoners Express project."
  • interestingly the three libraries i've just cited are all from university libraries, two of them private institutions. the good news is that public libraries, including your local baltimore county pl are also working to provide alternative resources to its radical (and other) constituents.
  • to discuss that, i would like to introduce miriam desharnais, a public librarian at the Cockeysville Branch of Baltimore County Public library, which has a circulating collection of zines and mini-comics.


  • so far no mention has been made of less traditional libraries and library projects, run at times by "outlaw" or "outsider" librarians. The Alternative Press Center from here in Baltimore, the publishers of the Alternative Press Index and other books is just such an endeavor, having identified an information need, i'm embarrassed to say long before degreed librarians did.
  • Here to talk about the APC is Chuck D'Adamo. Politicized in 1968, Charles D'Adamo was a co-founder of Baltimore's Alternative Press Center in 1974. He is co-editor of the Alternative Press Index and editorial collective member of Baltimore Indymedia and the quarterly newspaper the Indypendent Reader.


  • that brings us to another non-traditional library, but one staffed by degreed librarians and LIS students, Radical Reference, which will be described by Lia Friedman, one of the groups earliest volunteers.
  • Lia has been a member of Radical Reference since 2004 and is a librarian in California. Lia believes that access to information and information fluency are revolutionary.



  • panelists are happy to accept questions
  • but we are also eager to hear your comments and suggestions about librarianship and how libraries can better serve radical communities
  • however, i am likely to react to pontificating with involuntary gestures of rudeness and boredom like eye rolling and yawning.
  • I will keep a stack. People who haven't spoken will be favored over repeaters.
  • Please be sure to keep the conversation varied. If 2 people in a row have comments on radical reference, please refrain from contributing on that topic until we have discussed the APC and BCPL a bit.
  • more on radical reference at 3pm