Category Archives: Reference

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Thoughts on Radical Reference

If you haven’t heard of Radical Reference, it’s a group of librarians dedicated to providing information and supporting social justice. The thing that appeals most to me about the organization is the event-based work they do. The whole thing started with the 2004 Republican National Convention, where a group of librarians provided assistance to demonstrators (you can read more on their ‘about’ page).

I can just imagine being at a big group gathering, providing any information I can to whomever walks up to me. I suppose one interpretation of the ‘radical reference’ term is that it’s no-holds-barred, street reference. I figured the librarians would have to do some research beforehand to be as well-versed as possible, then use their wits to answer questions. Perhaps they could be in cell-phone connection to people at home in front of computers to answer more detailed questions.

Yesterday it occurred to me that with an iPhone, I can provide answers to practically any reference question, on the fly. The thought gave me (good) chills.

Spring Break ’93!

My brother and his sig.oth. came to visit over his spring break. He’s student teaching, and really really needed the vacation. We drove out to Provincetown for a night, walked around on desolate hurricane walls and got kind of windburnt.


One thing I knew they’d both like is thrift store shopping. We have a fairly amazing store here called Savers, that is huge like Village Discount Outlet, and it organizes by size, then color. It’s probably the best organized thrift store I’ve been to. I’d give it an 8 out of 10. What would make it a 10 is if it had more high-end clothing. There’s a lot of low-quality, stained, or otherwise unwearable (for me) chaff. You only get that in areas where there’s a lot of high-end buying paired with consistant donating. And then the items tend to cost more. What I’m saying is there’s a continuum, and now let’s get back to the vacation.


We also cooked a few meals. Fresh artichokes were one adventure (ahem – garbage disposal – ahem), and we were able to revel in our love of bacon on Easter morning.

Now they’re gone, back to Iowa. Having them here was above-average fun, and it reinforces my desire to live near my sibs. And parents. And friends. And corn.