Social Responsibilities Round Table Newsletter #126

Table of Contents

meet your editors
glbtf task force report
aip task force report
progressive librarians guild
coretta scott king calendar promo
task force on the environment report
cip resolution response
srrt 1998 ala annual blurb
ala listserv information
jessamyn's top six sites
welcome new members

From the srrt coordinator

Greetings. There have been several positive developments since San Francisco. Work is proceeding on the SRRT Program for Annual in Washington, DC: Social Responsibilities Around the World. International Responsibilities Task Force chair Al Kagan is moving this forward, and we are all grateful for the crucial support of ALA President Barbara Ford. See inside this issue for more details. Thanks are also due to former SRRT Action Council member Madeleine Tainton, who has started us on our way to having a SRRT web site- it should be up and running by Midwinter! When the web site is ready, you'll see an announcement on our listserv, as well as in the next issue of the newsletter. Also, the SRRT brochure text has been updated and sent to ALA; we're waiting to hear how much it will cost us to reprint it. Both the web site and the brochure should help us with recruitment and membership- we are also working with ALA headquarters to get the email addresses of new SRRT members, so we can welcome new members properly, and get them involved. Increased membership, of course, will help our budget situation, which brings me to....

How I spent my summer vacation. Much of my time since San Francisco has been spent working on the SRRT budget, or, more accurately, trying to get some understanding of ALA's budget process. SRRT Treasurer Dotty Granger, Treasurer Emeritus Roland Hansen, and I have had several conference calls on the budget, usually with our ALA liaison, Satia Orange of the Office for Literacy and Outreach Services. Sometimes this has seemed like an exercise in frustration, but we are all committed to developing procedures and policies that will, once and for all, make the budget process not only understandable, but simplified. (Ever optimistic, I know.)

So, onward to Midwinter, where we will continue our combined All Task Force/Action Council I meeting on Saturday, but we will start earlier, in an attempt to avoid conflicts with other meetings later Saturday morning. The All Task Force meeting will run from 8:00-9:30; Action Council I will run from 9:30-11:00. Action Council II will be on Monday, from 2:00-4:00pm. This issue is going to press before the room assignments are available, so please check your conference program carefully. We will have a lot to discuss at these meetings, so please let me know as soon as possible if you have specific items you want on the agenda. Lastly, a hearty welcome to our new SRRT Newsletter Editors, Ken Thompson and Jessamyn West!

See you in warm New Orleans. Wendy Thomas, SRRT Coordinator

from the editors: chew on this

Welcome to the hip new stylings of the SRRT newsletter. For those of you who didn't meet us at annual in San Francisco, we are Jessamyn West and Ken Thompson, your new newsletter editors. Together we have over eleven years of newsletter and magazine editorship, two years of library school presidency, almost twenty years of varied library experiences and nearly two full lifetimes of rabble-rousing. We're up to the challenge of putting out this newsletter and still idealistic about all the things we can do with it. We hope by the next issue to get a version of the newsletter up on the web, either hosted in SRRT's space on the ALA server or somewhere locally out here (Seattle). We need your feedback: please let us know your reaction to the thought of this newsletter being on-line. We have several ideas: a scaled-down print newsletter with expanded content on the web; an all web newsletter with postcard reminders when content gets updated; no web newsletter and a mimeographed print version... the possibilities are nearly endless. We are planning on offering at least a basic HTML version, replete with links yet devoid of pesky bells and whistles and, of course, chock full of content. We'd also like to include a Word or PDF version of the newsletter available for downloading and printing. What do you think? Let us know your opinions at the addresses below. While we do communicate with each other frequently, we neither live nor work together so if you have something to say to the two of us, email or write us both. As always, we are starved for contributions so please take some time while this issue is still warm in your hands to think about submitting something for our next issue. Deadline is January 20th.

Jessamyn "I'm the DJ, he's the rapper" West

Ken "The square one" Thompson

GLBTF report

The Gay Lesbian Bisexual Task Force is looking forward to lots of work and fun during Midwinter in New Orleans. We are still in the planning stages for our annual program, which will be oriented towards children, adolescents, and those who care for them. As gay, lesbian and bisexual librarians we want children and young adults to have better access to information than many of us did as children. One way we see that happening is through library services that address the needs of children being raised by gay, lesbian and bisexual parents, and providing the resources for young adults who are themselves exploring questions of sexual orientation.

As always, we will have a social event during Midwinter that will be held Saturday evening. Exact location will be announced as soon as we have a firm commitment for a space in New Orleans. Stay tuned to our website at: All program information as well as the dates, times and locations of all our Midwinter meetings and our social event will be posted there.

Jules Tate will be planning Midwinter '98 and Annual '98. Chet Mulawka will step in as our Program Planning Coordinator for "98-'99. Jules can be reached at and Chet can be found at They are always looking for volunteers both for program planning and the social. Faye Chadwell and the Book Awards committee will also make the final selection for our annual book awards. Lastly, our newsletter and information clearinghouse publications are available. To order documents from the Clearinghouse, see our website at: If you have questions, contact Keith Trimmer at:

To receive the GLBTF's quarterly newsletter, you must subscribe. Send a check for 10 dollars made payable to ALA/SRRT/GLBTF to: ALA, OLOS, 50 East Huron Street, Chicago, IL 60611. If you have questions, contact Cal Zunt at: Any other questions or inquires can be directed to either myself or Michael Miller, my co-chair. Our respective e-mail addresses are or

Bonita C. Corliss, Co-Chair
Gay Lesbian Bisexual Librarians Task Force
American Library Association

Counterpoise Progress Report

Well, there's good news and bad news. Which would you rather hear first? We have assembled a fine team of 20 editors and 50 reviewers from the US, Canada, UK, South Africa, and Australia, have arranged to reprint reviews from other alternative publications (Cooperative Children's Book Center Choices, MSRRT Newsletter, Women in Libraries, the Workbook, and WorldViews), have received good reviews in professional journals for our inaugural January issue (see sidebar), and have come a long way in learning the mechanics of magazine publishing.

But subscriptions are slow, we are late (the April issue appeared only in October), and we are running out of money. The second and third problems are closely tied to the first. Production slowed because in order to economize we started using volunteer staff instead of the professional who designed and layed out the first issue.

Faced with cutting back reducing the number of pages per issue or issues per year or increasing income, we have daringly chosen the latter course, relying on a vigorous marketing campaign to bring in enough money from subscriptions, advertising, SRRT allocations, individual donations and foundation grants to carry Counterpoise through this start-up period.

Counterpoise exists to facilitate public access to alternative points of view. Our success depends on you!

  • Write for a promotional packet to take to your local library to urge them to subscribe.
  • Make a gift subscription to an institution.
  • Take a personal subscription.
  • Make a tax-deductible donation.
  • Advertise your publication in Counterpoise.
  • Help spread the word about Counterpoise. Ask for brochures and sample copies.

RATES: USA: Institutions: $35; Low income: $15; Individuals: $25; Single copy: $9 FOREIGN: Canada, Mexico: add $5; Others, surface: add $5; Others, airmail: add $15 CHECKS (US$ from a US bank): COUNTERPOISE, 1716 SW Williston Road, Gainesville, FL 32608-4049. Donations are tax-deductible. Counterpoise is a publication of the American Library Association, which has IRS 501(c)(3) tax- exempt status. No credit cards.

Charles Willett
AIP Coordinator
Editor, Counterpoise

What the Critics are Saying About Counterpoise

It packs 65 pages with bibliographic essays and nearly 120 reviews of books, reference sources, pamphlets, magazines, videos, and CD-ROMs, primarily drawing from the output of independent U.S. publishers and occasionally works from overseas. Likewise, while the vast majority of materials are adult-oriented, some young-adult resources can be found. Most reviews are signed, though a surprising number are drawn from other sources . . . making this a useful compilation of viewpoints. Even smaller libraries that can hardly afford to stock the 'mainstream' materials reviewed in Library Journal and elsewhere would do well to stock this as a reference and research tool. For all libraries." -- Library Journal

The books, pamphlets, zines and nonprint materials included here are often overlooked by schools, universities and libraries. Counterpoise attempts to correct this imbalance by provoking essays and original reviews of small and alternative press publictions, as well as reviews reprinted from out-of-the-mainstream newsletters." -- George M. Eberhart, College & Research Libraries News

The reviews are all perceptive, concise and give full details on how to order the material reviewed. As should be expected from a project such as this, there are thorough and clear indices of publishers, authors, titles and a subject classification schdule. Thank heaven for librarians! In general, this is a first tentative step for Counterpoise which has found firm ground. There is obviously a desperate need for this sort of project; it is just a case of whether the information profession will allow it to bloom. In the wild frontierof the information age the library profession has an obligation to be an unbiased server of knowledge, and this will involve redressing the balance of iniquity placed on us by big business and government. This will be distasteful to some who want to just spoon feed others what they are spoon fed themselves, but these people are failing to serve their client groups to the best of their ability. Counterpoise is a small step in this reassessment of how we work as information providers, and small steps can lead to giant leaps!" -- Richard Turner, New Library World (UK)

Progressive Librarians Guild: why we keep going

Mark Rosenzweig

The Progressive Librarians Guild has become a different sort of enterprise than its founders originally envisioned. Visions of a national organization with chapters and by-laws and so on seem to have peeled away. Any student of history or the sociology of organizations should not be surprised about the unintended consequences of efforts at organizing for change. In organizing for change, you are changed too. However, this is not necessarily a bad thing. PLG has, for one reason or another, remained so unstructured that, while it did not maintain its original identity in pristine form, it has persisted. It continues as a coherent current of opinion, as a vehicle for activity, and as a rallying point at different times for different causes. Its convocation seven years ago effectively revitalized an increasingly feeble library radicalism which had begun, even in SRRT, to lose its impetus. It has also become, to use the over-used phrase-of-the- moment, a "network" and even if this organizational form is transitional to something else, it happens to be what we have at the moment and we can probably use it more effectively if we recognize it as such.

PLG is both inside and outside of the "official" library organizations, in particular, ALA. As a "task force" of SRRT we represent the view that SRRT as a whole needs a global vision of social librarianship and cultural democracy and that SRRT cannot be effective as just the sum of task force activities. We are the (self-styled) "left-wing" of SRRT, whose explicit identity as such allows SRRT to be the umbrella group that it is, that it should be, representing a spectrum of liberal to far- left options. Within ALA, PLG members have been outspokenly in favor of more concerted action to get "progressive" councilors elected AND to get them to work in concert as a coalition against the dominant consensus within Council and the ALA executive council. We have recently begun organizing a Progressive Caucus in ALA Council/Membership for action within Council in advancing a social responsibilities agenda. Outside of Librarydom's official national organization, PLG leads an elusive, but perhaps equally important, existence as a program and an identity for librarians all over the country who are NOT involved in ALA, allowing us to feel that we are part of a community of radical librarians, that we are not alone, that we are linked through each other's individual activities to each other and to the various social movements and struggles. This aspect of PLG can now be enhanced by the existence and use of PLGNET, our listserv. By the time this is published PLG will have its own website up and running.

Our journal, Progressive Librarian, has just published a double issue 12/13 (Spring/Summer 1997). Over the last seven years we have published articles representing both attempts to develop a critical librarianship and materials meant as interventions on particular issues with implications for libraries, librarians and librarianship. Through the journal we have sought to encourage a librarianship which reaches out to connect with developments in radical pedagogy, critical communications theory, the political economy of information, and other related fields of activity in which countercurrents to the orthodoxies of the status quo are raising important questions about culture and society. The present editors, Henry Blanke, John Buschman, Elaine Harger and myself, want to take this opportunity to urge all SRRT members to consider sending us articles they think would be of interest to readers of Progressive Librarian. We urge SRRT members too to subscribe to PL, to make sure their subscription is current, to try to get their institutions to subscribe. The journal has not been bankrolled by SRRT, so subscriptions and membership dues are extremely important for us to keep the journal going.

What then is PLG today? It is a network of librarians and groups and institutions sharing a common commitment to radical librarianship, promoting solidarity and communicating vital information about activities and issues as they emerge. It is the publisher of Progressive Librarian, a journal which represents a unique "left" perspective on library issues viewed in a broad political and cultural context. It is a task-force of SRRT which continues to put on programs at ALA promoting a critical discourse on library issues. It is the instigator of the new Progressive Caucus in ALA.

Let me close by urging all SRRTers to consider joining PLG, subscribing to our journal, participating in our panels and publications. Yes, we know the waves of activism in librarianship have ebbed and flowed, but PLG is alive and well. You can help make it an effective voice for the library Left.

Mark Rosenzweig
SRRT Action Council, ALA councilor at large

Contact info for PLG/PL Editorial:
Mark Rosenzweig
50 W. 96th St #3D, NY NY 10025
tel: 212.865.6925

Subscriptions/Memberships/ Back Issues/ Agenda items and proposals:
Elaine Harger
49 Osborne Terrace, Newark NJ 07108
tel: 973.623.7642

General Address for Correspondence:
P.O. Box 2203 Times Square Station NY, NY 10108.

To subscribe to our listserv, send message to No subject. Message=
subscribe PLGNET-L Your Name

URL for Website to be announced (on PLGNET, SRRTAC, and other lists).

EPA's Environmental Justice Community- University Partnership Grant Winners

[Environmental Justice will be one the TFOE programs at the 1998 ALA Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. This article demonstrates the need for such a program at ALA. One of the featured TFOE speakers will be from the EPA's Office of Environmental Justice. The following is from EPA Press Advisory R-145, as modified by Fred Stoss ( for the ALA Task Force on the Environment]

EPA has announced the winners of its Environmental Justice Community-University Partnership Grants, which total over $2 million. The program was established to help minorities and low-income communities address local environmental justice issues through formal partnership agreements with colleges or universities. The winners have created projects that will increase environmental awareness, expand community outreach and provide training and education to socio-economically disadvantaged communities impacted by environmental hazards. The 11 projects are:

Florida A&M University, Southeastern Center for Community Environmental Health, $250,000;

Indiana University Northwest Campus, Environmental Justice Partnership, $246,486;

New Mexico Highland University, Pecos River Watershed Plan, $89,064;

City College of San Francisco, Environmental Justice Community Education Project, $249,720;

Fort Belknap College, Developing and Enhancing Aquatic Resource Analysis Capabilities Through Collaboration, $249,982;

Merrimack College, Community Learning for Environmental Assistance to Neighborhoods, $250,000;

North Carolina Central University, Reducing Pesticide Exposures in Farm Workers and Farm Worker Families, $249,193;

Virginia Commonwealth University, Environmental Justice Partnership, $249,830;

Northwest Indian College, River Witness Environmental Justice Project, $245,688;

University of Minnesota, A Partnership to Evaluate a Superfund Site on Leech Lake Tribal Lands, $249,781;

Albert Einstein College/Montefiore Medical Center, Community-Based Efforts to Reduce Lead Hazards, $249,720.

For descriptions on the individual projects and copies of the application guidance, contact, Mustafa Ali at 202-564-2606. Detailed summaries of each project are available and can be obtained by fax, email or on the EPA's OEJ Web site (in the near future). Contact Mustaf Ali to receive the detailed announcement: The OEJ Web page is at:

IF FUNDING IS AVAILABLE an RFP for 1998 propsals and proposal applications for the University/Community Partnership and Small Grants Programs will be announced in early December.

Contacts at the EPA Office of Environmental Justice:
Robert Knox, Director or Clarice Gaylord
Office of Environmental Justice (MC-2201-A)
401 M Street, S.W. - Waterside Mall
Washington, D.C. 20460

Dream wall planner

The Coretta Scott King Task Force has a new wall planner that might be of interest to SRRT members. The Coretta Scott King Award is presented at annual. The recipients are African American authors and illustrators whose distinguished books promote an understanding and appreciation of the culture and contribution of all people to the realization of the "American dream." Sale of this planner helps the task force to further address its goal to disseminate information about this genre.

Organize your life with this full-color, two-sided wall calendar which features 12 colorful, diverse works by Coretta Scott King Award winning illustrators. Also features a complete list of CSK award winning illustrators and honor books, making it a great teaching and reference tool. Laminated for durability for use in libraries and schools. 26" x 38", $14 --Item #5302- 0498.

Contact Jenny McLarin at ALA Editions/ALA Graphics for ordering information. Phone: (800) 545-2433, x2426 Fax: (312) 280-2422.

The Word, from the Man, at the Library

October 17, 1997

Dear Ms. Thomas:

This letter is in response to the American Library Association Social [sic] Round Table resolution which calls on the Library of Congress to provide Cataloging in Publication data "to all requesting publishers, regardless of size or number of authors."

The CIP program was established to support the library community by providing cataloging in advance of publication for books most likely to be widely acquired by the nation's libraries. The objective of the program is to help the library community save cataloging resources. If the library can catalog a work quickly and make it available to the thousands of libraries that will acquire that title, then those libraries need not expend the resources to individually catalog the same title. While the CIP program prepares more than 50,000 CIP records a year and while more than seventy percent of participating publishers are small publishers (i.e., publishers that produce five titles or fewer per year), for reasons of practicality and cost, not all publishers nor all works are eligible for CIP. Serials, mass market paperbacks, audiovisual materials, musical scores, etc. are out-of-scope. Self-published works are also out-of-scope as their distribution tends to be limited, and they can be cataloged more practically locally by those libraries who obtain these works. The Library has developed this policy with input from the library community. In 1992, for example, the Library conducted an extensive survey of the library community. When asked to evaluate the positive impact on their organization of expanding the program by including other types of publications and publishers, video discs, audio disks, multimedia packages, slidesets, mass market paperbacks, electronic books, prominent non-U.S. publishers, microforms originally published in other formats, textbooks below the secondary level, musical scores, and expendable educational materials ranked above self-publishers.

Under ideal circumstances, with appropriate funding, the Library could expand the CIP program to include all of the publications and publishers noted above. Currently, however, staffing resources are strained, and it is a real, day-to-day challenge to maintain current production levels while meeting the tight time constraints required by publishers' production schedules.

While I would hope the CIP program could expand in the future to more fully meet the needs of the library community, I do not believe the absence of CIP data limits the distribution and sale of self-published works. The success of self-published works like those of other publications is, I believe, principally determined by their intrinsic merit. Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass is a good example. In 1885 Leaves of Grass was published without CIP data. This did not deter sales or distribution. To the contrary, Leaves of Grass found an enormous readership without CIP data. Thank you for your interest in the CIP program.

John Celli
Chief, Cataloging in Publication Division

1998 SRRT Program

In coordination with ALA President Barbara Ford's theme, "Local Touch, Global Reach," SRRT is organizing its 1998 main program on "Social Responsibility Around the World." We have already invited our sister organizations around the world to participate at the Washington, DC annual meeting. We expect to get some understanding of what our colleagues are doing, and then see how we can work together on various projects. The prospects are exciting.

Positive responses have already been received from organizations in 6 countries: Austria, Germany, Japan, South Africa, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. The responding organizations are:

Arbeitskreis Kritischer BibliothekarInnen im Renner-Institut (KRIBIBI), Austria Arbeitskreis Kritischer BibliothekarInnen (AKRIBIE), Germany Anti-Nuclear Librarians Club, Japan Library and Information Workers Organization of South Africa (LIWO) Bibliotek i Samh”lle (BIS), Sweden Information for Social Change, UK. For organization descriptions see: Dehmlow, Raimund, ed. Directory of Progressive Librarians Around the World. Hannover: Laurentius Publ., 1997. An expanded version of the directory is also online but without descriptions at resse.htm. Links to various homepages are provided.

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Too Busy to Surf on Your Own?

I spend a lot of time on the web, so you don't have to... In the interests of taking up some space and imparting some information, I'm offering a top six list of web sites of interest to SRRT types in what I hope will be the first in a quarterly series. Send other suggestions for top six lists to

Factsheet Five
Alternative Press Center
International Workers of the World
Left Bank Books

Are You a New SRRT Member?

Welcome to SRRT, the voice for social change and progressive priorities within ALA and the profession. We are glad to have you as a new member! If you would like to learn more about SRRT and its various task forces, here's how. If you have specific questions about getting involved in SRRT, contact Ron Landskroner at or 510.420.0712.

If you would like to join the SRRT listserv, send the following message to

subscribe SRRTAC-L [your first name] [your last name]

If you would like to get involved with one of the SRRT task forces (Alternatives in Print; Coretta Scott King; Environment; Feminist; Gay, Lesbian & Bisexual; Hunger, Homelessness & Poverty; and International Responsibilities), contact the task force chairs directly. (most task force contacts are listed on this site, for others get in touch with the SRRT Coordinator.)

If you attend ALA's Midwinter and Annual Conferences, come to SRRT Action Council, Membership, or task force meetings! We always welcome new members and volunteers. And keep your eyes peeled for the forthcoming SRRT web site.

Wendy Thomas
SRRT Coordinator

Publication Information

SRRT Newsletter (ISSN 0749-1670) is published quarterly by the Social Responsibilities Round Table of the American Library Association. It is sent to members of SRRT as part of their membership and is available to others by subscription for $15.00 per year. Subscription is open to both members and non-members of ALA. Correspondence and manuscripts may be sent directly to the editors by email:

Jessamyn West at or Ken Thompson at

Views expressed in the newsletter are not necessarily those of ALA/SRRT. The editors reserve the right to edit submitted material as necessary or as whimsy strikes.