TILT #93 — a lot of ways to be open

Hello from June. I’ve been working as a sub in an actual library that is open to the public this month, for a small community working on hiring a permanent librarian (job ad). It is both fun and humbling. I wrote two tweet-threads about it from my first week: first day here; second day here. Other high points of the past month include seeing my boyfriend in person for more than just a masked-up hike, going to an outdoor cookout with other people, and staying overnight in a place that was not my own apartment for the first time since 2019. It’s been weird but largely good.

open flag hanging outside of a brick building with a rounded section

My home library isn’t quite open yet, but we’ve got a road map and a plan. It’s worth, as always, being mindful of what having a library open signifies, and opening before it’s safe, or before other businesses are opening can put the library in the place it often finds itself: being the social safety net in a community that takes that role for granted. You can see the joy in this video of SFPL opening, but also the comments of people being like “Why so much security?”

Lots of links this week, let’s start with JSTOR. They have created what they’re calling an “open library” (meaning free to access) which complements NYPL’s Schomburg Center’s Black Liberation Reading List. The full list of over 2700 items is available in this Google Sheet.

JSTOR also came out with a policy supporting author name changes. This policy, which will help people with name changes as a result of marriage or especially transgender authors, will not only change the metadata, it will block the name from the PDFs where it appears, if the author so wishes. We’ll need to see how this plays out in practice, but this seems like a step towards equity.

In other access news:

A few things I liked to look at this month.

Notre Dame Hesburgh Libraries have a preservation blog with a post about unusual housings for items in their special collections.

a folding enclosure that is custom built to house a pair of wire-framed glasses

Lanpher Memorial Library in Hyde Park, Vermont has a little free library that looks just like it. Created by Rick Loya.

double image with a library on top and a smaller version of that library as a little free library below it.

Bang & Olufsen has made this speaker that looks like a book.

side by side images of this speaker which resembles a book standing on its edge with the pages slightly spread out. Also it costs $900.

I started the Wikipedia page for the Tougaloo Nine — the group that staged a read-in in Jackson Mississippi to protest whites-only libraries that were supported by everyone’s taxes — based on information I had at the time. The longer story, as reported in this Washington Post article, is much much worse and included two powerful state newspapers fully on board with white supremacy as well as the very pro-segregation Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission.

It’s important that we learn from our history. This course at Emory University, Slavery and the Archive, includes the work of librarian Erica Bruchko in helping students connect source material that centers on enslaved people. Bringing in information to contextualize these “archival silences” helps students understand and describe how historical slavery continues to shape human experiences in the present day. Here’s Erica’s research guide for the class.

Odds and ends.

Some quality reading these past weeks. While I’m tiring of the Bruno books just as I’m catching up with the series, all of the rest of these were top notch.

covers for four books: Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me, The Shooting at Chaeeau Rock, Quantico, and The End of Men

Ending on an up note. I learned how to pick a specific person’s animated GIFs from the GIF picker when tweeting, thanks to this tweet from Debbie Redpath Ohi.

animated GIF of a little blob hugging a book

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



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