Celeste West “FESTSCHRIFT” Book Project


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Co-editors Toni Samek and KR Roberto are seeking articles, stories, poems, photographs, letters, thought pieces and other individual and collective memories of Celeste West, lesbian, feminist librarian, publisher, and activist, for a festschrift to be published by Library Juice Press in 2009. Celeste passed away in San Francisco on January 3, 2008 at the age of 65. She was a pioneering progressive librarian and one of the founders of the Bay Area Reference Center (BARC), Booklegger Press, Synergy [Magazine], and Booklegger Magazine. She was also co-editor of the now classic title Revolting Librarians.

From 1989 until 2006, Celeste worked as the library director at the San Francisco Zen Center. She was a radical library worker whose practice challenged established library traditions by encouraging librarians to speak up about the need for systematic change. West initiated questions and challenged assumptions (such as library neutrality) that continue to be central issues examined in critical librarianship today. However, while Celeste released a lot of work to the world as author and editor, not much was ever shared about her as subject.

For an historical snapshot of some of Celeste´s key contributions via Booklegger Press, please see: Toni Samek. 2006. “Unbossed and Unbought: Booklegger Press the First Women-Owned American Library Publisher” in Women In Print: Essays on the Print Culture of American Women from the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries. Edited by James P. Danky and Wayne A. Wiegand. Foreword by Elizabeth Long. Madison, WI: The University of Wisconsin Press in collaboration with the Center for the History of Print Culture in Modern America at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Pages 126-155. Available in print and as an online book.

For a more contemporary introduction to Celeste´s way of thinking, see: Revolting Librarians Redux: Radical Librarians Speak Out by K.R. Roberto and Jessamyn West.

Please direct your ideas and queries to the FESTSCHRIFT Editorial Assistant and Project Manager Moyra Lang (moyra @ ualberta.ca). The final deadline for all contributions has been extended to Monday February 2, 2009!


Librarians and Human Rights- A Seminar


The “Courses” page of Kathleen de la Peña McCook’s website includes a list of human rights organizations, primary sources for human rights issues, professional organizations committed to diversity and outreach, and readings and resources including:

Kirkpatrick, A. (2007). Truth and Youth: the First Victims of War – Military Mis-information and the Responsibility of Libraries. Information for Social Change v. 25, Summer.

Lewis, A. (2008). Questioning Library Neutrality: Essays from Progressive Librarian. Duluth: Library Juice Press.

McCook, K.,

(2007). ” Librarians as Advocates for the Human Rights of
Immigrants. Progressive Librarian v. 29, Summer:
p. 51-4.

(2004). “Public Libraries and People in Jail.” Reference and
User Services Quarterly
v. 43: p. 26-30.

(Wikipedia says) Kathleen de la Peña McCook is Distinguished University Professor at the University of South Florida, active in the Tampa Bay area, having participated in the Community Action Board of Hillsborough County, and in an Asset Mapping for Youth Development community initiative. McCook is a community activist, a senator for the United Faculty of Florida Union, and a past member of the Coordinating Committee of the Progressive Librarians Guild. She now serves on the editorial board of the journal, Progressive Librarian.