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Alternatives Library Collection: The ALC


   Salem State University Alternatives Library Collection  


The Alternatives Library is a collection of resources dealing with social change. Because we believe that our futures depend on discovering new, nonexploitive ways to live and work, we provide, zines, books, magazines, pamphlets, and newspapers, which can provide information and opportunities for the community to work together for social change.


The Alternatives Library was a Student Government Association (SGA) funded and student determined collection of resources which operated with support of the Public Services Department of the Salem State College Library during the 1970s. The two primary purposes of the Alternatives Library were to provide materials not generally available in the main library collection and to participate in community outreach activities.

The collection started with Public Services Librarian, Janet Freedman, who worked with students to collect resources that were of interest to the student population. A small portion of the student activities fee went towards the purchasing of materials. The Alternatives Library was housed in the old library in a space that was welcoming to students. It overlooked Salem Harbor, had comfy seating (bean bags!), plants, and opportunities for students to come together to talk and share ideas. It was the precursor to a Student Union. 

At some point in the early 90s the ALC was disbanded and the collection was dispersed throughout the general stacks where they lay hidden until they were (re)discovered in December 2023 by Zine Librarian, Dawn Stahura.


The Alternatives Library Collection is unique in that most of the items are not available at other institutions (public libraries and universities/colleges) on the North Shore. Some items are rare in that only a few libraries across the US have a copy. The resources represent a wide variety of subjects including but not limited to: social justice, activism, LGBTQ+, Black feminist theory, community-building, student protest movements, environmental justice, poetry, social thought, feminism, body autonomy, and Indigenous writings and research. Resources range in publication dates from the late 60s to the early 90s.

Materials in the ALC are available for check out to students, staff, faculty, and community members.


If you have questions about the collection and/or are interested in doing research with the collection, please contact the Zine & ALC Librarian:

Dawn Stahura