“If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive.”
--Audre Lorde

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2013: The Year in Books

I'm finishing up my thesis as my last project for 2013 and the very first of 2014. I'm not sure how that has affected my reading list, but here are the books I read in 2013, in reverse chronological order, with those that I especially enjoyed starred:

  1. The Walking Dead Vol. 18 / Kirkman
  2. The Craft of Research / Booth

Against the Grain Interview

I was recently interviewed on KPFA (Pacifica) Radio's program Against the Grain. C.S. and I mostly discussed topics surrounding the chapter I wrote, "Meta-Radicalism: The Alternative Press by and for Activist Librarians" for the book Libraries and the Reading Public in Twentieth-Century America, Edited by Christine Pawley and Louise S. Robbins. I'm hoping that I represented the issues involved well, but I'm always challenged by interviews--there are so many ways to represent ideas in conversation(s).

The interview will be broadcast Tuesday November 5 at noon Pacific Time if you'd like to listen.
Against the Grain on Pacifica Radio airs on KPFA 94.1 FM in the San Francisco Bay Area, and on KFCF 88.1 FM in Fresno and California's Central Valley.

It also broadcasts worldwide via kpfa.org.

The audio will be archived afterward, in on-demand and downloadable forms, at againstthegrain.org.

Janice Radway talks Zines @ Columbia Book History Colloquium

The Book History Colloquium at Columbia presents:

JANICE RADWAY, Walter Dill Scott Professor of Communications, Northwestern University
Girls, Zines, and their Afterlives: On the Significance of Multiple Networks and Itineraries of Dissent

Thursday, October 24 6pm
523 Butler Library Columbia University Morningside Campus, 535 West 114th Street

Preceded by a tour of the Barnard Zine Library at 5pm (meet in the lobby of the Barnard Library, Lehman Hall, Barnard campus, 3009 Broadway)

Dissident and non-conforming girls and young women developed an interest in what are now called “girl zines” through a number of different routes, with a range of different interests, and at different moments over the course of the last twenty years. This social, material and temporal variability raises interesting and important questions about whether “girl zines” should be thought of as a unitary phenomenon and, correlatively, whether the girl zine explosion should be thought of as an event, a social movement, a conversation, a political intervention, or something else. Drawing on oral history interviews with former girl zine producers as well as with zine librarians, archivists, and commentators, this presentation will raise questions about the recent history of feminism and its relationship to other “new social movements” at a time of significant economic, political, and technological change in the 1980s, 90s, and into the 21st century.

Janice Radway is the author of Reading the Romance: Women, Patriarchy and Popular Literature, and A Feeling for Books: The Book- of-the-Month Club, Literary Taste, and Middle Class Desire. In addition, Radway co-edited American Studies: An Anthology and Print in Motion: The Expansion of Publishing and Reading in the United States, 1880-1945, which is Volume IV of A History of the Book in America. She has served as the editor of American Quarterly, the official journal of the American Studies Association.

Co-sponsored with the Barnard Zine Library, Barnard College
For more information on the Book History Colloquium at Columbia, see http://library.columbia.edu/locations/rbml/exhibitions/2013-2014.html

Libraries and the Reading Public

I feel very lucky to be able to say that my work has now been published as one chapter in the book: Libraries and the Reading Public in Twentieth-Century America, Edited by Christine Pawley and Louise S. Robbins.

Thank you to all the folks who were a part in making this happen, especially anyone who has talked with me about the writing process or who helped me think over and wrestle with writing and research and scholarly communications at large.

It does feel very different/permanent/tangible to see the words I picked transformed into a codex. That doesn't mean I don't still want to change them, make them better, keep editing. But it does somehow feel bigger, to hold something in hand and to have it be part of something larger.

The chapter is licensed CC-BY-SA, and you can read a pre-print version here.

Contemplating Licenses

Here's a post I did over at the OA @ CUNY blog. Ruminating on licenses and what they mean (in general, in the courtroom, on the street, in one's imagination, anywhere else) is pretty much a daily conversation at my house. I think I may have a weird house?

Sharing Zine Librarianship

This was a really fantastic development that I'm so happy to be able to share. I'm really excited and proud to have Robin take over the zine collection at Brooklyn College.

More about Me

There's a short post about me at the Mina Rees Library blog, in case you're interested, and additionally there's now a lot more info about my scholarly and professional work over at this new site. I'm not sure what exactly posting more detailed information about my work on the web will do (other than make a good place for me to keep track of my projects--one of the site's main goals), but perhaps it could inspire a bit more transparency in academia like what Benjamin Mako Hill is talking about here?

From BC to GC...

Tomorrow is my last day as part of the library faculty at Brooklyn College. In July I will transition into my new role as the Electronic Resources and Serials Librarian at the Mina Rees Library. I'm excited to join the CUNY Graduate Center, which has been a second home to me since 2010 via the MALS program.

I have had many wonderful experiences at Brooklyn College. My time here has made me think of myself as not only a librarian, but a scholar, and I am very thankful for all that this has meant both personally and professionally. It has been hard to imagine leaving this library, many wonderful BC colleagues, and the Brooklyn College Library Zine Collection, but I know that both I and the collection will continue to grow and evolve, and that change is good!

Meta / BrokenJaws

This post is probably just for me, or perhaps more a record, but I wanted to note that I spent some time today (my first official holiday weekend I've had off in some time) working on this site. A real let's-sit-down-and-do-this afternoon, which hasn't happened in some time. Really it's hard to say that I worked as much as my partner-in-Drupal (I tend to imagine what I'd like to happen and then he figures out HOW), but together we did some theme altering that I'd wanted to change for some time, and some cleaning up of a lot of lingering weirdnesses.*

I've been having a lot of problems with bots and spam, also, and since really the folks who comment here tend to be people I know anyhow, and since I've opened up anonymous comments I've gotten so much spam that I would never have been able to find the legitimate needle in that haystack), I've turned all the commenting/account-creating features off. If anyone has anything they'd like to comment on or would like an account, there's a link to the contact page that should show up on the left hand side of each page now. I'm pretty accessible via this page and various emails that I'm sure are on the web too, so I hope that this change on the site doesn't stifle any conversations that could happen or make it less inviting.

I wanted to write about this here to keep a small record of all of the pruning and thinking that goes into maintaining even just a small site that takes up just a small corner on the web, like this one. Ideally it would get more affection and content/updates than it does, but whenever I tweak it to be closer to what I want it to be, it's pretty exciting.

Oh and thanks mjg for all of your help today!

JPD Librarianship

"I would be interested in whatever you were interested in when you came to my office. That was my job." -- James P. Danky, from an interview conducted by Sean Moxley-Kelly

Saying Yes / Saying No

I read this article from the Chronicle of Higher Ed on the train home yesterday and reflected a little about my own workload and how I feel about it lately.

I'm struggling to work on a thesis right now while working full time. I've been in school for the past three plus years while working too, but the thesis is feeling more like a very LARGE project that is all ME somehow in a way that other coursework has not. Maybe it's because I'm doing new original research (as in, I thought I had ideas I was working up to in other coursework about what my thesis would be, but I took a turn into some new landscapes that require a lot of other research that's new to me).

My new goal, which has also been an older goal, but one that I'm trying to stick to right now is to be extremely and very careful about the things that I commit to--even fun and enticing things. I wish I could go off the grid a bit more, venture out into a writing cabin or somehow just be a little more isolated physically, but I think really what I need to work on is saying "yes no yes" or putting the thesis front and center. I might even stop drinking for the summer (a prospect that frightens me knowing how great Brooklyn for backyards and booze) but a decision that feels like it will help me gain lots of productivity and morning writing sessions (I hope?!).

What techniques and tips can you recommend for getting large research and writing projects accomplished?

Street Librarianship, Without the Streets

I was asked to write a guest blog post for the new (great) site dh+lib this month. In the post, I talk a bit about my library heroes, and what I hope the overlaps between the digital humanities and libraries can do to further social justice. You can read the post here and I'd love to hear thoughts and feedback.

BIML #4 now order-able on the web

Just a note that I *finally* made it so that The Borough is My Library #4 is now order-able online: here or here.

My apologies on the lag this year, everyone! And if you're adverse to ordering online, I'll be bringing issues #1-4 to the Brooklyn Zine Fest on April 21, 2013!

The New Information Commons at Brooklyn Public Library

I visited the new Information Commons at the Brooklyn Public Library's Central branch last weekend and was really impressed. There are reservable spaces for groups to meet, a classroom awaiting use, and even a recording studio with equipment. I had heard a bit about this project before the opening, but it was another experience to be in the space itself and to see it being used and appreciated so quickly. I'm really hopeful about the opportunities that this space presents--those who have been working on this project have done a really stellar job of making it a place that welcomes community use and collaboration.

Metro Annual 2013 Slides


Fold, Staple, Share: The Brooklyn College Library Zine Collection from Alycia

I'm just back from a great day at the 2013 Metro Annual Meeting and wanted to share my slides. If anyone is interested in reading the accompanying notes, feel free to get in touch and I would be happy to send them to you.

Currently Reading

Zines in Third Space: Radical Cooperation and Borderlands Rhetoric



Alycia's favorite books »

Daily Reading Log

May 28, 2014

  • Still in the beginning chapters of Eileen Myles' Inferno (a poet's novel), & loving it.

April 19, 2014

April 14, 2014

  • Last night heard the intro to Mark Maron's Attempting Normal and I really liked how he talked about what books are on his shelves (the titles surprised me, actually--I think we've got many of the same to-reads) and all the pieces of paper and bits of his life surrounding him in the garage.
  • "A Canon Without Balls," review by Sady Doyle, from In These Times, a photocopy of said article from Sandy Berman, which makes me want to read No Regrets: Three Discussions (which it looks like very few copies have entered into libraries yet, which feels like a joke when combined with getting info about it from Sandy...)
  • Continuing with the thick little Lydia Davis story comp. Feels like something someone should have prescribed to me to read. Everyone recommends it, so maybe as much as it could have been prescribed, it was.
  • Yesterday I also skimmed through a history of another building where I used to work, looking for some pieces that weren't there. Recently I had read a piece about a different library building's history where I used to occasionally work, and that account was pretty sad (hopes were higher then for a better future).

April 11, 2014

  • Started The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis today and this is something that makes me want to make a note about. Crisp and real.

April 1, 2014

  • Reading Poor People and Library Services, edited by Karen M. Venturella today. It's bittersweet; I'm glad that this book exists, but I worry that in the time since it was published that things have only gotten more dire. It's also very haunting to read pieces that are hopeful about libraries you later saw in not-so-hopeful states.

March 29, 2014

  • On a Mr. Rogers binge
  • Poked my way through Informed Agitation, but carefully read Jude Vachon's "Inside and Outside of the Library: On Removing Barriers and Connecting People with Health Care Resources and Zines." I told her it is a reminder of the librarian I want to be. Highly recommended for so many reasons, most of all for lots of good ideas about how librarians can be helpful in connecting people to information, especially in situations where Jude stepped in and shared information when her community might not have thought to ask for a librarian's help.
  • Also a smattering of articles by and from Molly Fair about community archives: including work by Mary Stevens, Elizabeth Shepherd, Andrew Flinn, Eric Ketelaar, Joan Nestle, Jeannette Bastian.

March 26, 2014

  • Started Control and Freedom: Power and Paranoia in the Age of Fiber Optics by Wendy Hui Kyong Chun on the train this morning. My copy has someone else's notes in it, and I can't help from reading their marginalia. Except I can't figure out if these notes are just that--notes--or disagreements with the text. In some instances they seem to summarize, but in others they're more reactionary. Lots of the notes just say "Google." (So that should tell you a bit about what kind of book this is.)
  • More about that OCLC report: Bethany Nowviske's response as well as Dot Porter's.

March 25, 2014

  • My book reading list is shamefully low this year, but in the last few days I skimmed Social Justice Pedagogy Across the Curriculum ed. by Chapman/Hobbel and I am finding Jessamyn West's Without a Net to be really helpful for my current projects.
  • "Why Are the Digital Humanities So White? or Thinking the Histories of Race and Computation," by Tara McPherson. How did it take me so long to read this?
  • Trying to remember to take time to read Shall We Gather at the River by James Wright. It's been a long time since I used to linger in the poetry aisle in my hometown public library and come home with such thin books.
  • That report by OCLC about DH centers. I think the tone is really awkward, among other things, and agree with Bethany Nowviske about the odd way that humility is urged.
  • "Narrative Equivocations between Movies and Games," by Marsha Kinder. This was cited by McPherson, who mentioned that it discussed tech determinism and "cyber-structuralism," so I had to read it asap.

March 11, 2014

  • I keep starting books and not finishing them this year, both novels and short story collections and scholarly reading. Although I've finished a big stack of articles for the piece I am drafting right now, I still haven't found the literature that feels quite right, or that I know I'll be citing (yet). And the clock is ticking.
  • Finally watched Jenica Rogers' keynote from Charleston 2013. I agree--strange that common sense can be revolutionary.

February 24, 2014

  • Skimmed States of Emergency edited by Castronovo and Gillman on the train this morning.

February 21, 2014

  • Getting more into Now You See It. The part about the girl with the green and purple hair just killed me, and all the Mountain Views of the world.

February 19, 2014

February 18, 2014

  • This interview with Leslie Kaelbling: "It’s harder to search on an idea. A computer is good at counting words and phrases. Often research gets replicated in two or three different fields because the vocabulary is different."

February 13, 2014

  • I had been reading outside the field for a while, and was feeling a little bit untethered. Today I'm catching up. Working through this issue and a handful of other things.

January 16, 2014

  • Finished Left Hand of Darkness before work. From what I heard about this book before reading it, I assumed it would be a lot about gender roles, but it turned out to be a love song to friendship.