TILT #36 Preparing for our Worst Case Scenarios

Always aspiring, never cowering


Happy National Library Week. I’ve been on the road. Since I last wrote, I’ve given three talks in three states. They might interest you. A quick summary:
 
 Computers in Libraries (photos) in Crystal City, Virginia: I led a panel of small & rural library directors which went well. We talked about complicated issues like: “How do you promote diversity to a community that is not diverse?” and “How do you talk about gender-neutral bathrooms in a way that makes sense to people?” Pulling out two tweets.

I also gave a “cybertour” about newsletters. I was pretty happy with it, just a quick zipzip through some options.

I took half a day off and went to visit the two local public libraries. One had a sign outside apologizing for its lack of accesibility. The other was a pop-up library in a storefront in the mall (nearly impossible to find) which had no book sale but the librarian gave me an ARC for free.
 
 Before I left the area, I visited the Library of Congress. I was supposed to have a meeting with Dr. Hayden, but she cleared her calendar that week to deal with this copyright office mess. You should probably read about it, this article is a good place to start: Congress is trying to give even more power to Hollywood.

Next up was the Dangerous Librarianship conference put on by ULU in NYC — a one-day conference packed with good stuff. I saw the three main talks by Maurice Coleman, TJ Lamanna and Turner Masland and only missed Karen Munro because I was giving a talk about… how to break the law, sort of.
 
 It’s the talk I’ve wanted to give for a while now. In a sharing profession, how do you balance good customer service with the restrictions put in place by copyright and other legislation? My suggestions:

I went back to Brooklyn Public Library’s main branch later in the weekend to just hang out. What a truly lovely building. I appreciated the work they went through to make sure their Religion section was inclusive, even when the Dewey Decimal System is not.

Returned home after an overly long train ride (possibly amusing Twitter reportage here) to a day of drop-in time and a talk at my local library. They have a Bill of Rights display and have been doing some programming around it. They asked if I could give a talk and I suggested one about privacy. Now, the right to privacy is NOT enshrined in the Bill of Rights but there are some interesting aspects to that fundamental tension there.
 
 I mostly wanted to talk about what had been in the news — “Is your TV spying on you?” types of things. You can see my slides and some links here. People asked really interesting questions and I was glad for the opportunity to talk to my neighbors about something I care about. It was written up for the paper. I’ll link to the article when it’s available online, for now just enjoy the picture.

Things are still dire at the national level. In addition to this copyright mess we have the imminent defunding of IMLS to worry about. Christian Zabriskie, who I finally met this past week, wrote a very good editorial about what bullshit this is: Books or Bombs: A Battle for the Soul of America

This goes much deeper than fiscal responsibility and the judicious use of tax dollars. This is about how we see ourselves as a nation, it’s about what it means to be American in 2017. Do we offer a hand to our neighbor or do we shun and fear them?… Do we aspire or do we cower?

A few other things I think you might like to read this week:

Today in Librarian Tabs is written irregularly by Jessamyn West who also maintains librarian.net. It’s also available in your inbox via TinyLetter. Thanks for reading.