Brooklyn Book Festival This Weekend!


I am overwhelmed, in the best sense of the word, by the schedule of readings, theatre, literary games, author appearances, film screenings and parties this weekend, September 10-12th, at the Brooklyn Book Festival!

Come meet me at the Librarian Reception. The Brooklyn Book Festival invites librarians to a special morning event hosted by the Brooklyn Historical Society, from 10:00am – noon for breakfast. Speaker: Marilyn Johnson, author of This Book is Overdue! How Librarians and Cybrarians Can Save Us All. RSVP REQUIRED at

Who do I want to see at the Festival?

Brooklyn Remix Lit Match Awards. Come hear the finalists of the Brooklyn Remix borough-wide writing contest, some of the most talented students writing in the borough.

The Legacy of Zinn (1922-2010). A Goodman, D. Zirin + others discuss the intellectual and popular influence of Howard Zinn, Brooklyn-born  historian, anarchist, activist & playwright with an introductory dramatic reading from the 423-page file on Zinn kept by the FBI, recently released via the Freedom of Information Act.

You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby—Or Have You? Mad Men has done alot to remind audiences of the inequalities women faced prior to the feminist movement of the 70s. Meanwhile, the 2008 election was an eye-opener to many about the continuing existence of sexism and its effect on our lives. Rebecca Traister (Big Girls Don’t Cry), Leora Tanenbaum (Slut!), + others discuss.

Talking to Girls About Duran Duran. Author/music journalist Rob Sheffield (Love Is a Mix Tape) reads from his latest work and chats about new wave music, adolescent love, and John Hughes movie soundtracks.


WORD Presents an Intimate Conversation with John Waters. The iconic filmmaker, actor, and writer, comes to Greenpoint to talk about his new book Role Models.


The Queer Zine Archive Project


The Queer Zine Archive Project (QZAP) was first launched in November 2003 in an effort to preserve queer zines and make them available to other queers, researchers, historians, and anyone else who has an interest DIY publishing and queer communities.

Their mission statement has been consistent over the past six years:

“The mission of the Queer Zine Archive Project (QZAP) is to establish a “living history” archive of past and present queer zines and to encourage current and emerging zine publishers to continue to create. In curating such a unique aspect of culture, we value a collectivist approach that respects the diversity of experiences that fall under the heading “queer.”

The primary function of QZAP is to provide a free on-line searchable database of the collection with links allowing users to download electronic copies of zines. By providing access to the historical canon of queer zines we hope to make them more accessible to diverse communities and reach wider audiences.”

Browse the archive here.

librarians as navigators, librarians as cartographers, (librarians as Frankensteins?)


The title of this post I borrowed from a reader comment left on an article written by Char Booth entitled Librarians as __________: Shapeshifting at the periphery. I appreciate this article for the words used to draw a map of the many places librarians show up and the many masks we wear while doing our jobs as, teachers, liaisons, researchers, mediators, super heroes, “plumbers”. Thanks Char! Excerpt:

We have always been professional chameleons, using different tools to play different roles for different patrons in different organizations in different states and so on, ad infinitum. The more we recommend to each other that we become the someone elses we see fit, the more we risk missing that the deceptively prescriptive identity/utility question is being answered descriptively. Our new reality is like our old reality, only a little more adaptive and a lot more self-reflexive (or vice versa, you tell me). Librarian as ________ analogies are useful in exploring our response to a critically transformative time in the trajectory of our profession, but their function as metaphor should not be overlooked lest we creep too far from our own (rather amazing) archetype. Despite the ways we might recast ourselves as individuals, our collective identity can and should still revolve around a solid practical and conceptual core of “humor, verve, and grace,” to borrow a phrase from Cory Doctorow. Under shifting shapes, librarians remain the singularly knowledgeable, radically neutral, and openly accessible mavens of the information world.

Upcoming: Library Juice Press Series on Gender and Sexuality in Librarianship


Expected (and highly anticipated) in early 2011 is Series on Gender and Sexuality in Librarianship (Emily Drabinski, Series Editor)!

Forthcoming in the series will be:

Out Behind the Desk: Workplace Issues for LGBTQ Librarians, edited by Tracy Nectoux

Documenting Feminist Activism, edited by Lyz Bly and Kelly Wooten

Gender, Sexuality, Information: A Reader, edited by Rebecca Dean and Patrick Keilty

The Borough is My Library


“The Borough is My Library: A Greater Metropolitan Library Workers Zine” is an exploration of the bibliographic undergrowth of New York City through the eyes of those at work in independent libraries, academic institutions and in the streets. Featuring day-in-the-life comics created by zine librarians, narratives of those who started their own collections from scratch, and other works that explore the library microcosms within the city. With works by members of the ABC No Rio Zine Library, Books Through Bars, Branch Project, Radical Reference, Reanimation Library and more!

“The Borough is My Library” will be available for purchase at the upcoming Biblioball (come and get it!) as well as via the editor/producer/master mind behind the zine, Alicia Sellie. Proceeds go to Literacy for Incarcerated Teens.

Help for Books: Yes We Can


Stimulate the economy? How about “Stimulating Reading” (the title of a great pro-library article written by Katha Pollitt and scheduled to appear in the February 9, 2009 edition of the Nation). Pollitt uses the term “shovel-ready” to illustrate a particular time in which the Obama administration prepares to pour billions into construction projects, many of which, like more major highways, are of limited social utility. She asks, “How about some projects that are reader-ready?”

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 @ The final deadline for all contributions has been extended to Monday February 2, 2009!