Radical Librarianism

What does “Radical Reference” mean to you?

Recently I had the opportunity to explore this question in a Radical Librarianism class at Simmons CollegRadicale taught by Laura Saunders. The discussion revolved around the challenges and obstacles we may face when attempting to serve within a “radical” framework. Myself, along with Brian Flaherty, reference librarian at New England Law, and Alana Kumbier– librarian at Hampshire College and author of Queering the Archivegathered to talk to a class of MLIS students on what it means to serve radical. The session was focused on human sexuality in academic or specialized libraries, but there was it turns out there much cross over into a public library setting when it come to serving in a “radical” manner. Flaherty, the Sex Law Librarian, sent me a list of topics and questions with issues such as controlled vocabulary, language, censorship, and internal biases. My library partner at the Center for Sex and Culture discussed these topics and more, and what it means for us to serve radical. Our answers to Brian’s questions can be seen here.

Connect with the panelists:

Laura Saunders

Brian Flaherty-Sex Law Librarian

Alana Kumbier

Connect with the Digital Transgender Archive


Internet Archive



Join the Center for Sex and Culture Archival Library for a Pre-Party and Fundraiser Event!

CSC Library IMG_0323This year, the ALA Think Tank Pre-Party will be a fundraiser for the Center for Sex and Culture Archival Library and sponsored by Makingithappen.us and EveryLibrary. All proceeds will go to support this rare archive and important social educational center.

About CSC

The Mission of the Center for Sex & Culture is to provide judgment-free education, cultural events, a library/media archive, and other resources to audiences across the sexual and gender spectrum; and to research and disseminate factual information, framing and informing issues of public policy and public health. The Center for Sex & Culture aims to provide a community center for education, advocacy, research, and support to the widest range of people. Founded 1997, established as a nonprofit 501(c)(3) 2001, the Center for Sex Culture serves a nationally (in fact, globally) significant function, adding to the few accessible resources for sex education available to the public, not just academics or specialists. We have acquired various collections of books, papers, art, erotic material, personal collections from notable people in the sex-positive community, and other media.

thelibraryThe Collection

The CSC is dedicated to collecting and preserving information about sex. We have our donors to thank for the vibrancy of our collection. Our donors, including Dr. Carol Queen, Dr. Robert Lawrence, Good Vibrations, Vern and Bonnie Bullough, Annie Sprinkle, Jonie Blank, Larry Townsend, Jello Biafra, and more were dedicated to collecting materials that have long been shunned by traditional booksellers, libraries and museums. They have collected these materials at great personal risk and expense because they believe they had intrinsic value to society. At the Center’s library, these materials have finally found a home where they are cataloged, stored and preserved for future generations of researchers and the public.

A sample of our remarkable holdings include:

  1. Graduate and undergraduate dissertations, representing original research
  2. Rare Pulp erotic fiction from the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s to today
  3. Rare Zines from the late 1950s to today
  4. Sexual education textbooks from the 1970s to today
  5. HIV education materials from the ’80s to today
  6. Early 20th Century “marriage manuals” (sexual instruction guides)
  7. Extensive collection of sexual journals, including Sexology and Libido Magazine, the journal of sex and sensibility
  8. Nina Hartly fan mail
  9. Patrick Califia papers

archive (1)

About the Event

This fun event will take place at ALA in San Francisco on June 25th at 8pm until midnight. Throughout the night, you will have the opportunity to meet and network with quite a few librarians and find new friends before the conference starts. Your $35 ticket will get you complimentary beer and wine, appetizers, live music as well as tours of the center and highlight many of its important collections. You aren’t going to want to miss this opportunity to see one of the most hidden libraries in San Francisco and your money will go to a good cause so come out and join us.

Purchase your tickets here –

CSC LIbrary: Spring Smut Sale

The Center for Sex and Culture is proud to announce the first annual Library Spring Smut Sale— Saturday April 28th 10 am – 5 pm. !

ImageOver the last year the CSC Library has grown and developed — books have busted out of the boxes that had, for too long, been holding them captive, filling our beautiful new shelving— more books and rare materials than we could ever have space for— we must sell! 

What better way to spend your tax refund than on some deliciously erotic printed materials? We will be selling, rare and not so rare erotic fiction, non-fiction, poetry, magazines and periodicals. We also have much non-erotic, but still obscure items that must go. All proceeds will directly benefit the Center for Sex and Culture and the continued growth of our community library.

At the Center for Sex and Culture membership has its privileges— as a member you are invited to preview the sale items on April 27th at 8PM and you are admitted into the sale first on the 28th. For membership information visit our website. For more information about the library or the Spring Smut Sale contact Library Vixen at library@sexandculture.org.

Spring Smut Sale
The Center for Sex and Culture
1349 Mission St. bn 9th and 10th
April 27th, 8PM Member Preview
April 28th, 10AM – 5PM Sale Sale Sale

review/summary : Web archiving: ethical and legal issues affecting programmes in Australia and the Netherlands

In the article, featured in the August 2010 Australian Library Journal, Lachlan Glanville discusses the challenges two National Libraries– The National Library of Australia and Koninklijke Bibliotheek in the Netherlands– face in the development and continued operation of their web archiving programs.The article is a great example of how libraries around the world are choosing to move and change with technology and preservation. Glanville demonstrates how the rapid changing needs of archiving and technology have surpassed the legal constraints of harvesting culturally relevant material.He compares and concludes the barriers facing the digital preservation field in their harvesting of digitally born materials. Detailing the two types of harvesting utilized by the libraries–selective and whole domain harvesting– both having their pros and cons.

The author lays out six major challenges; 1) a uniform uncertainly in selection criteria, 2) incentive misalignment between benefactors of the data and those in the position to preserve it, 3) unclear guidance at to who is responsible for preserving, 4) lack of collaboration, 5) financial issues, and 6) how to ascertain value of the benefit of digital preservation.

The largest challenges these intuitions faced came from the legal realm. Like the United States, copyright law world wide is a barrier to the archival world. There are ethical and legal concerns when harvesting web created material. Permissions must be acquired, it becomes time consuming, costly and therefore much important data is not being archived.

The example given in the essay is that of The National Library of Aistrailia’s digital archive program, PANDORA. PANDORA has chosen a “selective harvesting method” along with collaborating with,  San Francisco’s own- Internet archive, who perform a yearly “whole” harvest of the entire .au domain.
The Koninklijke Bibliotheek (KB), in the Netherlands. KB utilizes an “opt-out” harvesting technique as workaround copyright infringement policy, the same as the Internet Archive. The method, as the author points out, could have issues legally and ethically. The Internet Archive has had a small amount of legal issues that have arisen with this archive model– all settled. It is proving to be viable and vital method of “whole” web harvesting while dealing with the issue of copyright.

In my opinion, this article demonstrates how–mainly– there needs to be a world wide legal reform of copyright.  Secondly, that the new archiving model will be a hybrid method of collection, that will take a world wide collective to harvest our cultural heritage.

GLANVILLE, L. (2010). Web archiving: ethical and legal issues affecting programmes in Australia and the Netherlands. Australian Library Journal, 59(3), 128-134. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

National Library of Australia
Digital Collections
Internet archive
National Library of Australia
Koninklijke Bibliotheek