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From the President
Welcome to Progressive Librarians Guild: UA Chapter’s first newsletter. As the founder and current President, I thought I would give you some background on how we got started, what a progressive librarian is, and what we are looking to accomplish in the near future. Our chapter of PLG actually started out as a local collective of Radical Reference, at the end of the Fall 2007 semester; although we do still want to have ties with Radical Reference, we thought it would be a better move to become an official chapter of PLG through SIRLS and the UA for recognition and funding purposes. This change took place this semester (Spring 2008), and since February, we have been PLG: UA. So, what is a progressive librarian? A progressive librarian is an information professional who defends and extends the idea of libraries for the people, by using LIS education and community ties to champion change for all. As the PLG parent site states: “Members of PLG do not accept the sterile notion of the neutrality of librarianship, and we strongly oppose the commodification of information which turns the ‘information commons’ into privatized, commercialized zones. We will help to dissect the implications of these powerful trends, and fight their anti-democratic tendencies.” Progressive librarians are relevant because librarianship is political for a number of reasons: as information professionals, we can be gatekeepers or distributors of information, promoting or hindering equity of access and open access, while fighting censorship; actions of collection development, preservation, weeding, and classification all shape the collective memory, and the collective memory is what can influence our culture and our society; and providing materials to the public for self-education can pave the road to a successful democracy, because a true, working democracy would be nonexistent without an educated public. Specific examples of these ideas can be realized through what we have accomplished this semester, and what we hope to do in the future. This semester, we attended and briefly spoke at “Of Friends and Whirlwinds: Inquiry, Movements and ‘Constituent Imagination’: on research and radical politics”, which was held at Dry River (p. 2). We also contributed two Library of Congress Subject Heading suggestions for the Radical Reference LCSH Blogging Party (p. 7). And, our first fundraiser was a yoga workshop held at the main library, led by our Events and Fundraising Coordinator, Rebecca Bliquez, certified yoga instructor (p. 5). Next Fall semester, we have a number of plans, including providing free workshops to the community; organizing events in town, such as panel discussions, a Zine Fest, bringing Lost Film Fest to Tucson, and organizing a small, non-profit library. We also hope to have an official website up and running, aside from our collaborative wiki. If any of this interests you, and you are a SIRLS student, alumni, or Tucson community library worker (at any level), we have further information on becoming a member and also a membership form (p. 11). We are looking forward to our upcoming projects and hope you will join us!
Of Friends and Whirlwinds
PLG: UA was contacted by Team Colors1 to speak at Of Friends & Whirlwinds, which they had organized at Dry River2. The focus of this event was on the impact of research on social change, with discussion of the schism in activism, pertaining to antiintellectualism and bureaucratic boundaries. We were asked to participate because information professionals facilitate research, and our group is specifically interested in activism, so it was a great match. As the Team Colors blog3 says about the event: “A series of talks on inquiry and movements from the upcoming journal In the Middle of a Whirlwind: 2008 Convention Protests, Movement and Movements and in celebration of the AK Press collection Constituent Imagination: Militant Investigations / Collective Theorization.” Jeff Juris was the first speaker, and he is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at ASU West, member of CAROB [Central Arizona Radicals Opposing Borders] and the ASU West Border Justice Group. He spoke about ‘Militant Ethnography’, a phrase he created to describe “a politically engaged and collaborative form of participant observation carried out from within rather than outside of grassroots movements. Traditional objectivist perspectives fail to grasp the concrete logic of activist practice, leading to inadequate accounts and theoretical models of little use to activists themselves.”4 The point of this form of research is to make findings more relevant to subsequent action for the groups the information pertains to, and also to distinguish the difference between a ‘capital A Activst’ and an ‘activist’; the former more prone to self-righteousness, and not being as truly immersed in the relevant communities. He also delineated publishing for the university bureaucracy in contrast to publishing freely in regards to ‘copyleft’5, with implications and possible cognitive dissonance engaged from the former. A great discussion evolved from his talk, including some participants sharing how they felt internal conflict about the potentiality of returning to the university. (As the Team Colors Blog states, Jeff Juris’ talk was “an expansion of his article in Constituent Imagination: ‘Bridging the divide between activism and research: Militant Ethnography as a tool for social transformation’”.) Craig Hughes was the next speaker: a collective member of Team Colors (Craig Hughes, Conor 2
Cash, & Kevin Van Meter). Their main page explains the purpose of the collective as, “to explore questions of everyday resistance, mutual aid, the imposition of work, social reproduction, class composition, community participation and the commons – by creating engaging workshops and producing provocative written documents and articles.” Craig spoke about “‘DIY and the movement beyond capitalism in the United States’ (An expansion on his essay in Constituent Imagination)”. It was interesting to hear effectiveness of different kinds of activism, such as the punk and DIY movement not posing an actual threat to corporations or oppressive government entities. How to potentially remedy this was interwoven with Jeff’s discussion of “Activist” and “activist”: how often in counterculture movements in the United States, there can be misanthropic tendencies – getting frustrated and fed up with the people activists are trying to help is not going to help solve the problem. Understanding why people are different and how they make their decisions can promote a more holistic plan for working together; if a person’s basic needs are not being met, they won’t have as much interest in issues on a larger scale. A discussion then formed about what issues within activism are felt to be most important, as well as what connotations the term “revolution” has for people, as it is often present in punk and DIY-movement rhetoric. Many participants said the word conjured negative images, such as desolation or apocalypse. A lot of interesting points were brought up. Progressive Librarians Guild spoke last, with myself (Nicole Pagowsky) representing our group. I explained what PLG is and how activism can be a large part of librarianship, as well as our present and future goals. I also explained our roots, which are in PLG (parent organization) and Radical Reference6. The PLG parent organization was started in 1990 by information professionals tired of ‘business as usual’, where no one was taking a strong stand on issues. PLG was hoping to ignite progressive change in libraries and dissuade librarians from taking too neutral of a stance. Since its formation, PLG has participated in activist events, such as taking action or standing in solidarity with other groups, and publishes the Progressive Librarian periodical, as well as books, collectively, or by individual members. Radical Reference was formed in 2004 in NYC, in response to the Republican National Convention. Librarian volunteers provided ‘street reference’ to activists, which consisted
of actually getting out into the streets and answering questions and providing information.7 Radical Reference also supplied ‘ready reference kits’, which included city facts on transportation, emergency phone numbers, and other essential information. Radical Reference has now expanded to include local collectives all over the country, as well as some international groups. Services include community outreach and taking action on local issues. They are probably most well-known, however, for providing virtual reference services to activists and independent journalists through the Radical Reference website. Individuals can ask questions, (mostly) anonymously, of specific concern to topics pertaining or tangential to activism. See the website for examples of questions asked. A few of us from PLG also volunteer with Radical Reference. We were happy to be included in this engaging and informative event, and if these topics are of interest to the reader, the following resources provide further discussion: Shukaitis, S., Graeber, D., & Biddle, E. (Eds). (2007).
Constituent imagination: Militant investigations//collective theorization. Oakland, CA: AK Press. Cash, C., Hughes, C., & Van Meter, K. (Eds). (2008). In the middle of a whirlwind: 2008 convention protests, movement and movements. (Available later this year). http://www.warmachines.info http://www.dryriver.org ; also, see pgs. 3 & 5 for a community group feature on Dry River 3 http://teamcolors.blogspot.com/2008/04/will-youjoin-us-in-middle-of-whirlwind.html 4 Juris, J. (n.d.). Practicing militant ethnography within movements against corporate globalization. Retrieved May 5, 2008, from http://www.euromovements.info/ html/jeff-juris.htm 5 See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyleft for definition 6 http://www.radicalreference.info 7 Yeo, S., Rane, J., Jacobs, J., Friedman, L., & Freedman, J. (2005). Radical Reference: Taking information to the street. Information Outlook.
Featured Community Group: Dry River Collective
The Dry River Collective is a radical community group in Tucson which describes itself in its mission statement as “an autonomous group of individuals working to create a community based on sustainability, cooperation, and self-sufficiency. [They] promote education and direct action to resist all forms of oppression and hierarchy.” Dry River, founded in 2003, initially got its start as a space as an infoshop with zines in a small corner of the all ages venue, Scrappy’s. In 2006, the Collective found its own space to rent on Main Street at University Boulevard, and that is where the Dry River Radical Resource Center has been located ever since, a place its members describes as “a community arts center for the rest of us.” Carrie Mott, Collective member, explains Dry River’s objective, “What Dry River is trying to
do is offer an alternative to people and provide a space where different kinds of events can happen that are generated from the community…We just want there to be a place for people to create and do something different, Continued on page 5 3
Q: What is the idea behind Cat and Girl, and how long have you been doing it for?
Q & A With “Cat and Girl” Creator Dorothy Gambrell
Q: Do you do any other comics, writing, or artwork? Dorothy: On occasion. When asked. I keep a miscellany blog at http://www.verysmallarray.com. Q: I heard a rumor you had been considering going to school for library and information science before deciding to focus just on your comic; want to talk about your interest in that at all?
Dorothy: A large Cat and small Girl live together and sabotage adventure with personal reflection and sabotage personal reflection with puns. The whole mess has been going on now for an unseemly nine years. Q: Are any of the characters based on people you know?
Dorothy: At this sad point most of the characters predate most of the people I know. Q: Tell us about Donation Derby… Dorothy: When people donate money to me I draw a picture of how I spend it, post the picture online and then mail the original drawing to the donor. How many cancer research foundations do that? 4
Dorothy: I like information. I like knowing how to find information, and I like the different ways systems seek to manage, control and organize information. And both of my parents were librarians. I never really stood a chance. -Nicole Pagowsky
Continued from page 3 that’s something unique and new.” The Dry River Collective is comprised of volunteers who donate their time and money to keep the space open. There is a core group of people who donate money for rent each month; Dry River also seeks donations at events and their website’s PayPal account. They have weekly meetings on Wednesday evenings which are open to any who are interested; it is at these meetings that decisions are made using consensus. The Collective hopes to one day own a permanent space in Tucson. But in the meantime, Dry River is an all ages venue and a drug and alcohol free space that welcomes all. As stated on their MySpace page, “NONE WILL BE TURNED AWAY from any event, class, or resource due to lack of money…and [Dry River] welcomes all people regardless of race, gender, sexual identity, and age.” There is no fee to use the space and everything at Dry River is by donation. The Resource Center functions as an infoshop, music venue and free school. It is an open space equipped with a stage, a free store, computer lab, and a small lending and zine library. They hold a variety of events from benefits to movie screenings to skill shares and workshops, as well as offer free Spanish, screen printing, yoga and self-defense classes regularly. Eric Richardson, another Collective member, states, “This whole thing is really an experiment. I think one of the things we’ve done is opened the doors and gotten the word out to as many people as we can in the community and sort of let the people that aren’t necessarily involved in the Collective decide what they want to happen here.” Upcoming events include weekly punk shows and a music festival. Dry River also hosts a bi-weekly Anti-Civ, Anti-Reading Circle group, and has regular open hours on Fridays from 12-4pm. Also, PLG will soon collaborate with the Collective on a project to organize, catalog and update their check out system for their zine and color-coded lending library. So, if your interest has been piqued, check them out on their website, MySpace page, YouTube video, or simply drop in. As Carrie professed what she likes most about Dry River is that “it’s not limited to just activists, and it’s not limited to just anarchists or just people into punk shows. Anyone is welcome here!”
Contact Information: Dry River Radical Resource Center 740 N. Main St. @ University Blvd. Tucson, AZ 85705 firstname.lastname@example.org www.myspace.com/dryrivertucson http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vz96thhwv10
PLG Yoga Fundraiser
PLG’s first fundraiser included a relaxation yoga class taught by yoga instructor and PLG officer Rebecca Bliquez. PLG hopes to repeat this event in Fall 2008 and include a discussion about concepts from the book “Aftershock” by Pattrice Jones regarding the relation between de-stressing and physically maintaining balance. The discussion will emphasize the psychological and somatic issues relevant to higher-risk activism.”
Terrorists or Freedom Fighters? : Reflections on the Liberation of Animals Edited by Steven Best and Anthony J. II Nocella This book chronicles the beginnings and current state of the Animal Liberation Front. This is an anonymous group of individual “cells” of activists who commit to no violence against any animals (human or non-human), and use direct action to rescue and protect non-human animals from conditions they are in, such as mink farms, medical and cosmetic testing labs, and factory farms. Eco-terrorism and animal-enterprise terrorism are terms thrown around often by the government, especially after 9/11, and these essays debate whether direct action by the ALF to rescue animals being used and abused for vivisection, factory farming, the fur industry, and others can truly be considered terrorism or not. The main focus here is a discussion on if destruction of property should be considered terrorism, and if aiming to only rescue these non-human animals consists of trying to terrorize human oppresors. Comparisons are made to the Abolitionist movement, feminism and women’s rights, and actions taken against Hitler’s Nazis by Jews and other groups. It is oft a delicate situation to compare anything to the Holocaust or slavery, but if one views animals as living, breathing creatures with feelings, both physical and emotional, what we as humans do to exploit these non-human animals can be shocking. Because there are people who feel non-human animals are objects belonging to humans to exploit, there are also essays discussing, philosophically, how and why animals should be considered comparative to humans, and why it is then possible to relate animal exploitation, torture, and slaughter to the aforementioned historical events, issues, and movements. This book is fascinating and really explores issues involved in the animal rights movement, its connections to other movements, and how far the government should really be allowed to go in using the terms terror and 6
terrorism as vehicles for intimidation and arrest. -Nicole Pagowsky The No-Nonsense Guide to World History Chris Brazier This book lives up to its title... it really is a no-nonsense guide to world history. Brazier gives an excellent overview with just enough detail to keep the reader engaged. This version of world history also examines information left out via white, Christian, upper-class male privledge (terms to describe those who usually wrote history), and fills the reader in on what women were doing and how some Europeans created opinions and “facts” about non-white groups to justify brutalization and pillaging, while providing further information explaining the truth about these civilizations and their advancements. The book is living and breathing-not stale--and provides an excellent overview of the history of our world. -Nicole Pagowsky The Bachelor Girl: 100 Years of Breaking the Rules - a Social History of Living Single Betsy Israel I spotted this book on the sale table at the ASU bookstore and decided, hey, why not. It was only $5 and had cool action figures on the cover! All joking aside, this book is a fascinating read. As the title suggests, it chronicles the lives of single women and perceptions of single women throughout the span of American history. What I especially loved about this book is the way it describes of single and working women incorporating impressions from a variety of sources including personal diaries, the press, film and other popular media. Very cool and interesting to note the different stereotypes about singles, working
girls, spinsters, “Old Maids,” etc. Reading this book made me realize that society’s perception of the single lady, although very different from the 19th century, is still laced with stigmatization. I still see a lot more concern and hand-wringing over the “singleton” status of ladies than that of guys - even from the most liberated of quarters. A great read, highly recommend it! -Rebecca Bliquez Double Fold: Libraries and the Assault on Paper Nicholson Baker This book is actually a required text for my IRLS 541 Preservation class but it’s definitely worth a read for anyone that is interested in history and the preservation of material culture. This book
describes a trend in libraries (both U.S. and abroad) of destroying paper copies of historic journals and newspapers and replacing them with microfilm or scanned copies. The Library of Congress and British Library are both cited as “culprits” in this document destruction effort. According to the author, the microfilm copies are often incomplete, difficult to read and deteriorating from exposure to light, fungi or poor storage with no original paper copies extant to replace them. The author argues that the justifications for paper destruction such as lack of storage space and cost-effectiveness, are inadequate. I found his research and arguments to be very compelling and as a future librarian, I found the “gorey” scenes where original documents are hacked apart in warehouses by “guillotines” to be pretty disturbing. Another great read! -Rebecca Bliquez
Radical Reference Library of Congress Subject Headings Blogging Party
Jenna Freedman of Radical Reference (http:// www.radicalreference.info) organized a Library of Congress Subject Headings Blogging Party in April. As stated on the site, “Do subject headings still matter? We say they do. Does the Library of Congress always identify accessible and appropriately named headings and implement them in a timely manner? We say not always.” How this blogging party worked was that anyone interested could either write a blog post, make a comment on the original post on the Radical Reference site, or send an email, discussing at least one suggestion for a new or revised subject heading or cross-reference at the Library of Congress (which obviously also has a far reach, as many institutions go by the LCSH, and do copy-cataloging). These suggestions could be original or come from a list proposed by Sandy Berman (http:// jenna.openflows.com/files/lcshscorecard080415.pdf ). Our chapter of PLG participated in this by submitting two subject heading suggestions from Sandy Berman’s list. We proposed “Bollywood Films” and “Freeganism”; our blog entry (http://plg-sirls.blogspot.com/2008/04/rad-refs-lcshblogging-party.html) follows: “Dear Library of Congress, Progressive Librarians Guild: UA Chapter would like you to please add both Bollywood Films (proposed by Sanford Berman 14 August 2007) and Freeganism (also proposed by Sanford Berman, 28 June 2007). This post is part of the Radical Reference Library of Congress Subject Heading Suggestion Blog-a-Thon. 1. Bollywood Films When searching LC’s online catalog, you have 103 entries for the keyword “Bollywood”. According to Wikipedia, it is one of the biggest film producers in the world. Many of your collected materials even have the term Bollywood in the title, such as Bollywood: the Indian cinema story by Nasreen Munni Kabir. Continued on next page 7
Continued from previous page keyword “vegan”, and 212,000 entries on Google for “freeganism”. The site, Freegan.info explains the movement as, “Freeganism is a total boycott of an economic system where the profit motive has eclipsed ethical considerations and where massively complex systems of productions ensure that all the products we buy will have detrimental impacts most of which we may never even consider. Thus, instead of avoiding the purchase of products from one bad company only to support another, we avoid buying anything to the greatest degree we are able.” Considering the increase of people interested in socially responsible, green living, it would be an important topic to be able to research. Even Oprah had a segment on Freegans! Most of the publications about the topic seem to be blogging and articles, yet not many books, but hopefully that will change in the near future. Having a subject heading for it might influence more non-electronic-only publications. Sincerely, PLG: UA Chapter” The blog party was listed in Library Journal and two of our suggestions were noted in the brief list of examples. As Jenna continues on the Rad Ref site, “All you have to do is spend one day behind a reference desk to see examples of biased, non-inclusive, and counterintuitive classifications that slow down, misdirect, or even obscure information from library users. As librarians and library workers, providing access to information is important-and classifying it in ways that are inclusive and intuitive strengthens our egalitarian mission.” All results were posted on the website (http://radicalreference.info/taxonomy/term/620), along with the response from Library of Congress.
Foyer of the Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/sandcastlematt/
From the publisher’s description, “Culture and Global Change presents a comprehensive introduction to the cultural aspects of third world development. It contains 25 chapters from leading writers in the field which each offer their own particular take on ‘culture’ and explore the significance and meaning of cultural issues for different people in different parts of the contemporary world... this book considers the relationship between culture and development within a truly global context.” This describes Culture and Global Change edited by Tracey Skelton and Tim Allen. If Bollywood is an important cultural issue and has had a part in influencing development in the Indian subcontinent, it should be substantial enough to warrant a subject heading. 2. Freeganism Although a neologism, it still is not too new of a term to include; it began, officially, in the mid 1990’s. This not only describes a movement, but an important extension of veganism, which “although the term “vegan” started in the United Kingdom about 50 years ago with the formation of the Vegan Society, the practice of not eating animal products actually began long ago.” (from VeganNet) There are 124 entries in the LC online catalog for the 8
PLG Welcoming Social Event!
PLG members and friends met on 9 April 2008 at Bison Witches for food, fun and drinks! This was a great opportunity for members not only to mingle and get to know one another, but for prospective members to meet current PLGers and learn a bit more about the new club. We’ll keep you posted for the next social event!
Clockwise from the left: Paulita Kewanwytewa, Sho Ikeda, Danielle Stanley, Lisa Dillivan, Nicole Pagowsky, Arvey Basa, and Jacy Bell.
Considering membership with PLG: UA? Here’s a rundown on joining our chapter!
1. WHO CAN JOIN PLG? Library and Information Science students at SIRLS, alumni of SIRLS, and current library workers in Tucson at any level can join. 2. HOW MUCH DOES IT COST? $20 for 2 years of membership 3. WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF JOINING? PLG: UA is one of only six student chapters of PLG in the country, and currently the newest, so you would have the opportunity to shape the direction of our chapter and help build our programs, events, and structure. You would be able to participate in creating our newsletter, work with Tucson community groups to create ties and organize events, and get to know fellow students in the SIRLS program, alumni, and community library workers. Please complete the membership form and pay the appropriate dues to join. If you are interested in joining the PLG parent organi-
zation, please go to their website for more information on dues and benefits: http://libr.org/plg/index.php 4. HOW MUCH OF A COMMITTMENT DO I NEED TO MAKE? As much or as little as you would like. We have bi-weekly meetings, collaborate on our wiki, and promote discussion through our listserv. We don’t require a certain amount of participation, but do encourage at least some. However, if you choose to run for an officer position, most will require a substantial time commitment. 5. WHERE DO I SEND MY DUES? You can send them C/O our Treasurer to the SIRLS building: School of Information Resources and Library Science PLG: UA Chapter -- C/O Treasurer 1515 E. 1st St. Tucson, AZ 85719 Continued on next page 9
Continued from previous page -Checks should be made out to -“Progressive Librarians Guild: UA Chapter” 6. WHAT IF I’M A DISTANCE STUDENT IN THE SIRLS PROGRAM OR AN ALUMNI WHO HAS MOVED OUT OF TUCSON? Distance members are able to attend meetings through Breeze, collaborate on the wiki and through the listserv, and contribute to our newsletter. Distance students can also run for certain officer positions (Webmaster/Newsletter Editor, Events Coordinator, and Fundraising Coordinator). 7. WHO CAN BE AN OFFICER? Because we are a University group, only students can run for officer positions; however, any paying member can become a “Project Manager”. A Project Manager (PM) takes the lead in organizing a particular event, and reports information to the Events Coordinator. There can be more than one PM per project. 8. I’VE NEVER REALLY DONE ANY ACTIVISM IN THE PAST; WOULD I FEEL AWKWARD JOINING? No; you do not have to be a “seasoned” activist to join PLG: simply an interest in progressive librarianship and hopefully a willingness to participate and collaborate with us is all we ask. 9. I’M STILL NOT SURE IF I’M INTERESTED OR NOT, WHAT ELSE CAN HELP ME DECIDE? That’s okay -- you can still join the listserv and come to our meetings to get a feel for PLG to see if you want to become a member. To subscribe to the listserv: Send an email message to: email@example.com. edu with an empty subject line, and with the following as the only line in the body of the message: subscribe UA-PLG Yourfirstname Yourlastname Because the list engine registers your email address as a subscriber instead of your name, only the email account you registered will be allowed to receive postings or to post messages. You may register all of your email addresses. We discourage students from subscribing with a Hotmail email address as this has caused problems the LSO listserv in the past.
10. I’M NOT A LIS STUDENT, ALUMNI, OR WORKER; HOW CAN I PARTICIPATE? We are unable to take individuals as members who do not fall in the above categories; however, we are very interested in collaborating with community groups, so please do get in touch with us if you are with another group!
PLG: UA Officers
President Nicole Pagowsky firstname.lastname@example.org Vice President & Treasurer Rachel Cannady email@example.com Secretary Jacy Bell firstname.lastname@example.org Webmaster & Newsletter Editor Sho Ikeda email@example.com Events Coordinator Rebecca Bliquez firstname.lastname@example.org Fundraising Coordinator Rebecca Bliquez Faculty Advisor Tom Wilding email@example.com
Progressive Librarians Guild: UA Chapter Membership Form
Name: ___________________________________ Email Address: ____________________________ Mailing Address: ___________________________ ________________________________________
Student – Expected Graduation Date: _______ Are you a virtual student? YES NO
SIRLS Alumni – Graduation Date: __________ Current Library Professional – Library: __________________________________________________ Areas of Interests/Specialization: _________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________ Membership Dues: $20 for 2 years of membership Please make checks payable to “Progressive Librarians Guild: UA Chapter”. Send checks and membership forms directly to the UA Chapter. Submit Form and Dues to: School of Information Resources and Library Science PLG: UA Chapter -- C/O Treasurer 1515 E. 1st St. Tucson, AZ 85719
PLG USE ONLY: Entered into Database – Date: __________ Payment: Cash Check - Check no.: ___________________
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