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About the Alternative Press Center

The Alternative Press Center: Northfield, Toronto, Baltimore, Chicago.

The Alternative Press Center (APC) publishes the Alternative Press Index (API), a unique and comprehensive guide to the alternative press in English, French and Spanish. The API provides access to articles from 300 magazines, newspapers and academic journals. Since 1969, the API has indexed 948 periodical titles.

The Alternative Press Index is available in print and electronic form. The electronic version is distributed through EBSCO. Each year the API covers 20,000 articles that report and analyze the movements, news, policies, and theories of cultural, economic, political and social change. Hundreds of libraries across the United States and Canada carry either the print or electronic versions of the API in their reference departments.

The Alternative Press Center also publishes Annotations: a Guide to the Independent Critical Press. It is the most comprehensive directory to over 380 popular and scholarly independent, critical publications. The latest edition includes detailed descriptions of content, history, noted contributors, contact information and guidelines for writers for each publication.

Publications reviewed in Annotations include: Colorlines, Social Policy, Souls, Gay & Lesbian Review, Community Media Review, Camera Obscura, Latin American Perspectives, Historical Materialism, Canadian Dimension, Review of African Political Economy, Labor History, Hypatia, Red Pepper, El Viejo Topo, Le Monde Diplomatique, and hundreds more.

Why Is the Alternative Press So Important?

The monopoly over information by the mainstream media has been challenged in recent years by the proliferation of alternative publications, both online and in print. With increased corporate conglomeration in the media industry, readers are now turning to the alternative press for news and analysis. The staying power of these publications and web sites reflects the dedication of journalists who still value freedom of speech, transparency and critical thought in a democracy. The Alternative Press Center believes that the independent, critical press provides an important reflection of society today, and that these publications should be readily available to everyone.

The APC Library

The Alternative Press Center (APC) is a periodicals library and nonprofit collective that promotes access to independent and critical sources of news and information. The APC Library was located in Chicago, Illinois after more than 30 years in Baltimore, Maryland. The most recent five years of the collection is held at the APC Library. The collection dating back to 1969 is maintained in Special Collections at the A.O.Kuhn Library of the University of Maryland.

In addition to the periodical collection, the APC Library has more than 2,800 books. These are classics of the Left with emphasis on the 1960s and 1970s.

The APC networks with activist librarians, such as the Progressive Librarians Guild. Each year at the annual conference of the American Library Association, the APC exhibits a display of independent, critical periodicals to increase librarians' awareness of the many intellectually rich alternative periodicals in current publication.


The central goal of the Alternative Press Center is to increase public awareness of the independent, critical press. In doing so, we strive to:

* Forge a link between theory and practice for scholars and activists.
* Facilitate research in contemporary scholarship and activism.
* Provide access to underreported issues that often pass under the radar of the mainstream media.

These goals reflect an overarching mission to create a more just society through social awareness.


The APC was founded in 1969 as the Radical Research Center at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota. In 1971 the APC moved to Rochdale College in Toronto, Ontario and the name of Alternative Press Center was adopted. In late 1974 the APC moved to Baltimore. In 1982, the APC participated as one of the founding groups of the Progressive Action Center in Baltimore. In 2008 the APC Library relocated in Chicago in the space where In These Times publishes.

The spirit of the late 60s brought new publications that reflected the movements of the time: feminism, environmentalism, civil rights, national liberation and the anti-war movement. The original Index compiled articles from new sources such as Ramparts as well as some of the oldest sustaining left magazines in the US: The Nation (est.1865), The Guardian (1948), and Monthly Review (1949).

The original founders came together to promote a many-sided dialogue aimed at the development of a radical consciousness by providing the tools for analysis that are necessary for meaningful social change. Many other media activism projects have developed since 1969. The Alternative Press Center is pleased to be part of a wider movement which includes Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, Democracy Now!, and the Independent Media Centers.


Alternative Press Center
PO Box 13127
Baltimore, MD 21203

"A Brief History of the Alternative Press Center" reprinted from
AREA Chicago No. 7 2008