Title: Librarians for Social Change

Read Librarians for Social Change

In 1973 three just-hatched radicals lived in a flat on Vere Road, Brighton; one of whom was John Noyce, founder of Librarians for Social Change (LfSC). In LfSC John collected together articles and comics penned by librarians across Britain. John printed the LfSC issues with the handpowered mimeograph that he stashed under his bed. Copies were postal mailed out to anyone who paid their 20p.

LfSC writers were incensed by libraries which were unwilling to collect the out-of-the-ordinary print materials of radicals. Equally, LfSC writers were energised by the potential of libraries as progressive centres in otherwise conservative communities. At that time, there was still a considerable group of fascist residents in Brighton.  Radicals wanted to openly challenge that conservative value system.

John was an avid collector of radical press. His metal shelves overflowed with stacks of local press papers. John’s apprehensive landlord grew uneasy with his tenancy. The titles’ provocative language, characteristic of local press at that time, made him doubt John’s integrity. He asked John to vacate the flat.

Most library managers, like John’s landlord, were reluctant to adapt progressive policies. Whether or not LfSC was successful in their work to pave inroads for radical print culture into British libraries remains to be decided. It’s certain, though, that LfSC built friendships among librarians. You can feel the shared frustration of these sincere young librarians pouring off the LfSC pages.

John along with his Vere Road roommate Francis Jarman, also wrote this comprehensive bibliography of radical playwright David Mercer and the Alternative Guide to Brighton 1973.