Alternative Lit and Libraries

This post is a compilation of web resources having to do with alternative literature and libraries. It replaces an out-of-date page on my personal site.

By “alternative literature” I mean books, magazines, and other written media coming from any of a myriad Left perspectives (socialist, anarchist, green, feminist, queer, or specific-issue-based) and published independently of large publishing companies. The term has a long tradition of being used in this way.

Okay, here are some links:

The Alternative Press Center publishes the Alternative Press Index, an index to articles in over 200 alternative periodicals, and Annotations, a directory of those periodicals including detailed information and selected reviews. Located in Baltimore, MD.

The Alternatives in Publication Task Force of SRRT (The Social Responsibilities Round Table of The American Library Association) promotes the Alternative Press, especially in libraries. It is more commonly referred to as AIP, for Alternatives In Publication (formerly Alternatives In Print). AIP sponsors the directory Alternative Publishers of Books in North America, offers programs at ALA conferences and takes on other tasks as necessary. You can get involved in AIP by joining ALA and SRRT (see ALA’s website) and then contacting the group directly.

ALA Past President Nancy Kranich’s Preface to the 6th Edition of Alternative Publishers of Books in North America, outlines the facts about and significance of alternative literature in libraries.

A Bibliography on Media Consolidation (pdf), by Byron Anderson, was produced as a part of an AIP project.

Bibliographic Tools for the Alternative Press, from the alternative review journal, Counterpoise, is a helpful collection development tool.

The Other 90 Percent: What Your MLS Didn’t Teach You is an article by Byron Anderson, originally published in Counterpoise 3(3/4) and based on a talk at an AIP program in 1999. This article explains some interesting facts about the publishing industry, and advocates teaching about it in MLS programs.

The Alternative Press and Academic Libraries: A Selected Bibliography, by Jeff Lilburn of Mount Allison University, Nova Scotia, is another potentially useful collection development tool.

Charles Willett’s article “Politically Controversial Monographs,” from issue 4 of Progressive Librarian, Winter, 1991/92, discusses the way selection practices in academic libraries result in an under-representation of alternative press titles.

All the Book Reviews Fit to Print: Tolerance of the conservatively correct, Part I,” By Edward S. Herman is an article from Z Magazine about systematic bias in book reviews.

That’s what I’ve got for you today. Please leave more links and citations in the comments.

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