Hi, I’m Katie Seitz, a second-year archives student here at SLIS. I started the Simmons Anti-Racism Working Group in Fall 2013 to bring existing conversations about racism and racial justice into the SLIS community, and to create community among people who wanted to become part of the larger project of changing LIS institutions and culture for the better.
We had a packed and challenging year. After the initial meeting, we had a succession of speaker events that covered different areas of LIS. Each followed the structure of a short talk, followed by a moderated Q&A. On November 4, 2013, Professor Lisa Hussey talked about her own journey as a white librarian at an event called “Why Talk about Race and Racism in LIS?” Professor Hussey discussed her own journey to racial consciousness as a white woman, her work on the effects of race and racism on the field, and stressed the need for white people to educate themselves around race and racism, especially while they occupy such a huge percentage of positions in the field.
Our next event also highlighted the work of Simmons SLIS faculty. Professor Joel Blanco-Rivera spoke on February 12, 2014 about the role of archives in (re)creating history for marginalized communities of color. He also discussed the impact of racism on archival collections and collection policies, and archivist/donor relations. His talk was followed by an animated discussion between the event attendees that touched on the responsibilities of institutions to grapple with their own legacies of discrimination.
We were lucky enough to find two young adult librarians who had the expertise and the willingness to talk about their work in the context of race and racism. Our two-event series, “Race and Racism in YA Librarianship,” began on February 28, 2014 with Boston Public Library young adult librarian Akunna Eneh. During this particular talk, Ms. Eneh mentioned inequitable division of resources among institutions and neighborhoods with higher populations of people of color, and we believe this is an integral aspect of librarianship and funding for professionals to consider. She stressed that it is crucial to examine the underlying sociopolitical dynamics behind the inequities that exist in librarianship and library services, rather than a more superficial analysis of “diversity” or “multiculturalism.”
Robin Brenner, teen librarian at Brookline Public Library, visited Simmons on April 4, 2014. Ms. Brenner spoke about race and racism in teen literature, namely the major discussions currently happening in the world of teen literature around race and diversity. She covered resources for collecting diversely, controversies and discussions surrounding topics like marketing and cover design, who can/should write what, and how teens themselves react to covers and the racial visibility of authors and creators.
[Note: Unfortunately the camera failed to record during this event and we sadly have no video.]
We were so lucky to have the participation of such amazing professors and professionals, and we look forward to continuing the conversation. By recent numbers, the LIS professions are 88% white, and support for students and professionals of color, combined with awareness of how race and racism affect us in our work, is crucial to changing that statistic. We also need own our power as LIS professionals to shape the information access of all people. By having hard conversations about race and racism impact our work, we can help the arc of LIS bend towards justice.
With the start of this new school year, we are excited to bring you a few more additions to our Locker Library.
Tribal Libraries, Archives, and Museums, edited by Loriene Roy, Anjali Bhasin, and Sarah K. Arriaga
This book offers a collection of articles devoted to tribal libraries and archives and provides an opportunity for tribal librarians to share their stories, challenges, achievements, and aspirations with the larger professional community. Part one introduces the tribal community library, providing context and case studies for libraries in California, Alaska, Oklahoma, Hawai’i, and in other countries. The role of tribal libraries and archives in native language recovery and revitalization is also addressed in this section. Part two features service functions of tribal information centers, addressing the library facility, selection, organization, instruction, and programming/outreach. Part three includes a discussion of the types of records that tribes might collect, legal issues, and snapshot descriptions of noteworthy archival collections. The final part covers strategic planning, advice on working in the unique environments of tribal communities, advocacy and marketing, continuing education plans for library staff, and time management tips that are useful for anyone working in a small library setting.
Gender Outlaws: The Next Generation, edited by Kate Bornstein and S. Bear Bergman
In the 15 years since the release of Gender Outlaw, Kate Bornstein’s groundbreaking challenge to gender ideology, transgender narratives have made their way from the margins to the mainstream and back again. Today’s transgenders and other sex/gender radicals are writing a drastically new world into being. In Gender Outlaws, Bornstein, together with writer, raconteur, and theater artist S. Bear Bergman, collects and contextualizes the work of this generation’s trans and genderqueer forward thinkers — new voices from the stage, on the streets, in the workplace, in the bedroom, and on the pages and websites of the world’s most respected mainstream news sources. Gender Outlaws includes essays, commentary, comic art, and conversations from a diverse group of trans-spectrum people who live and believe in barrier-breaking lives.
Conflict of Interest in Medical Research, Education, and Practice,Education, and Practice Committee on Conflict of Interest in Medical Research
Conflict of Interest in Medical Research, Education, and Practice provides a comprehensive look at conflict of interest in medicine. It offers principles to inform the design of policies to identify, limit, and manage conflicts of interest without damaging constructive collaboration with industry. It calls for both short-term actions and long-term commitments by institutions and individuals, including leaders of academic medical centers, professional societies, patient advocacy groups, government agencies, and drug, device, and pharmaceutical companies. Failure of the medical community to take convincing action on conflicts of interest invites additional legislative or regulatory measures that may be overly broad or unduly burdensome.
Mobile Library Services: Best Practices, Charles Harmon
Mobile Library Services provides 11 proven ways to reach out to mobile users and increase your library’s relevance to their day-to-day lives. Librarians detail how they created mobile apps to how they went mobile on a shoestring budget. Written by public, academic, and special librarians, these 11 best practices offer models for libraries of every type and size.
The Handheld Library: Mobile Technology and the Librarian, Thomas A. Peters
The book provides an up-to-date survey of how mobile technologies are affecting library use, library services, library systems, librarians, and library users at various types of libraries. The authors cover core topics related to mobile libraries, including mobile reference, eBooks, mobile websites, and QR codes, and address aspects of the mobile revolution less frequently covered in the literature, such as mobile health information services, the use of mobile technologies on archival work, the impact of the mobile revolution on physical libraries, and the ways in which new mobile technologies are creating professional development opportunities within the profession. While this resource is specifically targeted toward librarians who plan and provide services using mobile technologies, academic, public, and other librarians will also find the ideas and information within useful.
On the Road with Outreach: Mobile Library Services, Jeannie Dilger-Hill
The first book of its kind in more than two decades, On the Road with Outreach: Mobile Library ServiceS≪/i> provides step-by-step guidance for those wishing to initiate or improve outreach services in their communities. The essays collected here come from some of the best-known movers and shakers in the mobile outreach field—all of them subject experts and active outreach practitioners. Focusing on the practicalities of establishing and maintaining service to various populations, the book covers everything from design, purchase, maintenance, and automation of bookmobiles to planning and promotion and serving specific populations. Anecdotes, as well as sample service agreements, contracts, applications, staff schedules, and other working documents enhance the text.
Starting an Archives, Elizabeth Yakel
Starting an Archives is designed for institutional administrators, archivists, and records managers thinking about beginning a historical records program in their organization. The book covers the decision making process which should precede the establishment of an archival program, outlines the first steps necessary in the beginning of an archival program, and introduces basic archival functions to readers. These functions include: archival administration, collection development, appraisal, records management, arrangement, description, reference, outreach, and preservation and facilities planning.
Outreach: Innovative Practices for Archives and Special Collections, Kate Theimer
Outreach: Innovative Practices for Archives and Special Collections explores how archives of different sizes and types are reaching out to new potential users and increasing awareness of programs and collections. The book features twelve case studies that demonstrate ideas that can be transferred into many other settings. Some of the practices described in the case studies rely primarily on technology and the Web to interact with the public, while others are centered on face-to-face activities.
Locker Library Etiquette
1. Treat books like you would regular library books
2. The suggested loan period is one month
3. A large proportion of books in this library are out of print, small press, or self-produced. That means they’re basically
priceless! Please make sure you return books when you’re done with them (duh).
The spring 2014 semester here at Simmons has started strong for the PLG. We have had one talk for the Anti-Racism Working Group series titled “Race and Racism in the Archives” presented by Professor Joel Blanco-Rivera, which you can watch here: http://youtu.be/ZKPNZknjl5c. You can also see Professor Blanco-Rivera’s slides which include some fantastic resources here RacePresentation.
This Friday, February 28, from 6:30-7:30pm don’t miss “Race and Racism in Teen/YA Librarianship” in P207. Our speaker will be Boston Public Library Teen Librarian Akunna Eneh (GSLIS alumna). Ms. Eneh will speak about race and racism in teen librarianship from a public library perspective. Afterwards there will be a moderated Q&A with open discussion about race, racism, YA/teen-focused librarianship, collection development, and diversity. As we have with the first two talks in this series, the event will be recorded and podcasted, so if you can’t make it to the event, look for the link on Facebook and Twitter.
At noon on Friday will be a Chewing the Facts discussion. The reading material is “Trippin’ Over the Color Line: The Invisibility of Race in Library and Information Studies” by Todd Honma and can be found here: http://escholarship.org/uc/item/4nj0w1mp.
Then on Monday, March 3, from 12-1 in the GSLIS Student Lounge, join Laura Williams in forming a new GSLIS group under the umbrella of the PLG, the Student LGBTQIA & Allies Group. Professor Lisa Hussey will be making whoopie pies for this event.
We are excited to announce the Right to Know Symposium, which the Simmons PLG is co-sponsoring. It will be held March 31 from 5:30-8:30pm in the Kotzen Center and was organized by Laura Sanders. The keynote speakers will be Paul Sturges from Louborough University in the UK and Almuth Gastinger from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. They will be accompanied by a panel of five faculty from each school at Simmons.
In addition to all of that, stay tuned for more exciting PLG events, dates and details to be announced:
Prison Book Drive 2014
Monica Torreiro-Casal from the Counseling Center will come to speak about mental health stigma and the resources available at Simmons.
Race and Racism in YA/Teen Librarianship part 2 featuring the Brookline Library’s Robin Brenner. See her blog here: http://brkteenlib.tumblr.com/librarian
by Katie Seitz
Often conversations around race and racism in the LIS fields stay at the level of multiculturalism and tolerance, two concepts that don’t address deeper questions of justice and equity. Also, those same conversations rarely take into account racism within the profession. I started the Simmons Anti-Racism Working Group with the intention of creating a space where the GSLIS community could come together to learn from each other and deepen the conversation around race. Racism is often hard to talk about. By supporting each other in this work, we strengthen ourselves and our community, both personally and professionally, and we bring more to the table than just good intentions.
Our first community event, “Why Talk about Race and Racism in LIS?”, will be on Nov. 4th, 12-1pm in P207 and will feature GSLIS professor Lisa Hussey discussing her journey as a white librarian confronting race, white privilege, and racism as an academic subject and in the field. After the Q&A, we’ll have a chance to talk further about racism in LIS.
If you’re interested in learning more about the Working Group, feel free to email me at email@example.com.
On Wednesday, Sept. 25, several students and two professors, Laura Saunders and Shelley Quezada (who is also Consultant to the Underserved at the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners), gathered in a Palace Road building classroom to discuss the importance and challenges of serving diverse/underserved users in libraries and information centers. Both Saunders and Quezada have taught the Info Services for Diverse Users class (LIS 410). In Quezada’s case, she’s been teaching these types of classes since 1987. Some of the populations that were discussed include kids/teens; LGBT; seniors; disabled; prisoners; ESL patrons; people with learning disabilities; and the illiterate, which can include the technologically illiterate.
One underserved group that may be overlooked are kids and teens. This group can often face age discrimination – one way this manifests itself is through book challenges, usually from their own parents. (This is especially timely because of the recent celebration of Banned Books Week.) The professors remarked that some librarians can be a bit intimidated when helping young people, and training and, in some cases, retraining, can help with some of those issues. Suggestions also included making a safe environment for LGBT teens, by using signage, for example, even if it’s subtle. Also be sure to build a collection that reflects the diversity of your community.
One startling statistic that was revealed at the meeting: Fifteen percent of American adults don’t go online and most of those people are 65 plus. Public libraries are in a position to provide vital digital services to adults who don’t have Internet access at home. These patrons will need basic information literacy guidance. And, Quezada revealed that the MBLC is able to serve only 6 percent of those who need literacy help.
The professors suggested taking advantage of grants to supplement any kind of budget your library may have to help to combat these problems. Joining regional and national librarian groups and drawing upon your fellow information professionals’ experience and knowledge can also expand any limited resources. Outreach is also vital; know your town and their community organizations. Talk to their leaders and find out what their members want from their library. Volunteering can also be another way to find out what an underserved population needs from its library – say for example at the Suffolk County House of Corrections or at an archive that would help diverse users connect with their past.
In towns with no public library but with a university/college library that receives tax breaks, librarians should work on ways to give back to the community. There should be a change in mindset. But Saunders and Quezada warn that there is no one-size-fits-all solution – know your community and tailor your plans to its citizens’ needs. For example, if there is a large ESL population in your community, but there’s no resources or staff for ESL classes, try to start up conversation circles that allow patrons to lead and set their own goals. Go to their turf: Start projects or hold events in cultural centers, housing projects, senior centers and the like.
More tips: Set policy that provides equality – don’t allow teens to sleep in the library if the homeless cannot. And remember not to pigeonhole – a patron can be a member of multiple groups. Advocate for your ideas: Get support from your board and director by presenting a well-thought-out plan. And when you succeed, hold celebrations and bring in patrons to discuss their success stories.
Potential partnerships could include social workers, nurses and teachers. We must reach out to these professionals and train them to refer their clients/patients to us. Librarians should also try to get a seat during their committee/organizational meetings and perhaps assign liaisons with these groups. The San Francisco Public Library even has a social worker on staff that trains formerly homeless patrons to be an “ambassador” to currently homeless and help them navigate the library.
Check out the Thomas Crane Library in Quincy’s literacy program and the Hartford Public Library’s immigration services for some ideas. We’ve also pinned some articles that may spark your imagination on how you can improve access, resources and services to diverse patrons. And here’s an extended reading list we’ve whipped up for you.
(Cross-posted at Comp Lit and Mediaphilia.)
I was very happy when I came across a listserv email about a zine maker and graphic artist, Nicole J. Georges, who was going on tour for her new book, Calling Dr. Laura: A Graphic Memoir. I immediately brought the email to the attention of my co-PLG members and suggested we host her for a workshop of some kind. Obviously we did, because I’m writing this, so March 5, we had a most excellent time with her.
We didn’t really know what to ask her to do, so she asked us. Given that we are all in library school but all have very different interests and backgrounds (and some of us are in various dual degrees and library tracks, including archives), we had about eight million questions for Nicole, so a lot of the event was her answering questions and telling us cool things about Factsheet Five, Riot Grrrl, and other groundbreakers in the world of those self-published packets of expression. As she reminded us, zines are perfect if you feel that you aren’t represented in mainstream media, or even if there’s just a part of you that’s not represented, because maybe your favorite music is widely reviewed already, but there’s no perspective on it from your gender identity; or you love fashion, too, but there are no magazines that talk about it in the context of emotional memory. Or whatever. You get it.
I think we meant to start creating our own zines, but somehow, time ticked by, and all we were doing was discussing how zines can relate to library collections, why none of us in PLG (except one person) had been to the Papercut Zine Library yet (oops), how you can make a zine even if you aren’t the world’s most talented comics artist or grammatically correct writer, and how they can especially allow marginalized groups to be heard (oh hey, oral histories of people living in nursing homes). It was probably the most enjoyable two hours of natural, real discussion I’ve experienced in awhile, and it made me think of how much it should be applied to public and school libraries.
Zines aside for a minute, I can’t see a lot of events taking shape like this, but in some ways, they are a lot less intimidating than more traditional events, like lectures where you’re supposed to sit and be quiet and then ask an insightful question at the end, or workshops where you absolutely must make a sculpture along with everyone else. It was audience- and speaker-derived, which meant it was always changing and was, I hope, interesting to everyone involved. It is disappointing that we didn’t have a bigger group of people attending when so many people had asked us for more details, but certainly the weather had something to do with that, and also, I can’t really disparage people for not coming to events when I so often do not go to events even when they sound great. But I wonder, if events like these (meaning less defined, more casual, and less about having to immediately be really knowledgeable or fangirl/boy as soon as you arrive) were more common, would people be more likely to engage in group things at libraries?
It’s something to think about. Formal events, even if you think of them as informal book clubs, can be very intimidating to shy people or to people who are simply still feeling out what it is that they’re interested in. So this sponsored-hanging-out-with-an-awesome-person-and-eating-food was a great alternative to the usual stuff you see on offer.
Also, I’m going to start reading (and maybe even writing) zines again. As soon as I finish my homework. Wooo, spring break! Anyway.
Nicole’s Etsy shop is here, and her work is definitely worth checking out. We all went a little shopping crazy.
–Hannah Gómez, PLG@Simmons Community Outreach Coordinator (full disclosure: links are Amazon affiliate links)
We had a great turnout for our first DIY bookmaking event last night in P210. Thank you everyone for coming out, and an especially big thanks to Emily Hopkins for leading the workshop and co-chair Brian Shetler for making it happen. The PLG hopes to have another DIY bookmaking workshop in the spring, with some of the kinks worked out. We hope to have another big turnout; even if you came to this first one, stop by again and make another book for yourself or a friend and get to know some fellow GSLIS students as well.
But if you didn’t make it to this last one and think you may not be able to make any future one(s), here are the instructions (thanks again, Emily!):
Supplies needed: printer paper, a pile of big books, PVA/wood glue, brush, wax paper, a pencil, bookboard, book cloth, an exacto knife/scissors.
Fold each piece of paper in half horizontally.
Stack all your folded pieces of paper (make sure you’re putting them on top of each other and not inside each other) so that the folded edges are all lined up; this will be the spine.
Get your pages and make sure everything’s straight. Secure the edge opposite the spine with two even piles of big books and, using wax paper to ward off glue spillage, feather the spine to the right and the left, gluing as you do. This allows for glue to get in-between the pages, which helps them stick together.
Press the spine together and wipe off the excess glue.
Using wax paper to ward off glue spillage, leave the pages under the pile of big books until the glue has dried.
Get book board and, using a pencil, ruler, and an exacto knife/scissors, cut out two rectangles measuring 5 ½ in. by 8 ¾ in. If the spine of your book is thicker than ¼ in., you will also need to cut the book board to make a spine. The spine should be 8 ¾ in. tall and however wide your spine is.
Get book cloth that is large enough to extend 1-2 inches beyond the book when it’s spread open (you can estimate this with an unfolded piece of paper). Trim any excess.
Using wax paper to ward off glue spillage, glue the entire back of the book cloth.
Take the book pages and sandwich it in-between the two book boards. Position the book boards so that the edge of the board is not flush with the spine, but is instead about 1/8 in. away from the spine (this room will create a sort of hinge, so you can open the book once you’re done). The other edges of the book board should extend slightly beyond the pages of the book.
Holding the book boards in place, place the book on the book cloth so that the spine is roughly center and then fold the book cloth in half to glue the front book board to it and then unfold it (making sure the board remains attached) and remove the book pages, leaving the book boards.
If your book necessitated a spine cut from book board, get it now and place it on the book cloth in between the two book boards already there.
Using scissors, cut the corners of the book cloth about 1/8 in. away from the edge of the book boards.
Fold the edges of the book cloth over, onto the book boards.
Position the book pages on the back cover so it is in the right place (i.e. the edge of the board is not flush with the spine, but is instead about 1/8 in. away from the spine).
Using wax paper to ward off glue spillage, glue the top end page and then fold the cover over to glue the top end page to the top book board.
Then, flip the book over and repeat with the back.
Smooth out the book cloth making sure there are no air bubbles.
Put the book under the pile of big books and wait for the glue to dry.
We’ll be announcing when the next bookmaking event will take place next semester, so be sure to pay attention to the fliers in the Palace Road building, or hook up with us electronically on our Facebook or Twitter, or right here on our blog. Thanks again for the support!