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.
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:
- What keywords are banned on Amazon — useful for authors self publishing especially
- Why We Need Diverse Books Is No Longer Using the Term #OwnVoices
- How to test your EPUB reading systems for accessibility
- Iowa library for the blind’s creative efforts to expand services during the pandemic
- The call for plain language: a Q & A with disability studies professor Rebecca Monteleone — I learned a lot from this one
- Maryland Library E-book Bill Becomes Law, NY just signed one too — potentially huge for libraries
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.
Bang & Olufsen has made this speaker that looks like a book.
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.
- 50 Ways the Library is Sustainable by the UC San Diego library
- A Love Letter to Libraries by E. Lily Yu
- Treat yourself to the Linda Lindas, playing at LAPL
- Books our Botanists use — good books for naturalists, split out by region, from the US Forest Service
- Broadband & Digital Divide: Low Cost Devices Matter, a new Pew Report on mobile technology and home broadband adoption
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.
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.