TILT #97 — my library is also my antilibrary
Hello, I hope this email finds you channeling your rage in the proper directions (source).
Here is a good round-up of Statements of Solidarity with Colleagues in Ukraine by Archive, Library, and Other Organizations. The Ukrainian Library Association has been very busy on their Facebook page posting regular updates in both Ukrainian and English. Button below is from the UConn Library’s Special Collections’ pins & buttons collection.
My winter-into-spring rage has me exercising and editing Wikipedia, the two things I do where I can get into a flow state and the time just passes. Wintertime has a gritty, slow feel to it, sometimes you just want to make go faster. I’ve also been playing Semantle, a daily weird Wordle offshoot (Six guesses too few? Try 106!) and if you haven’t already seen it, I apologize.
Subject line of this email comes from this short essay about antilibraries, you know, all those books you have but HAVEN’T read. A lot happened since last I emailed, let’s get started.
A few national-level notes. David S. Ferriero, archivist of the United States, is retiring. He’s 76. I think he’s done a good job. I applaud him for stepping down before people are hollering at him to. The Library of Congress Labs’ Brian Foo has launched Citizen DJ allowing for remixing and downloading of a whole bunch of sounds. I’ll be honest, this is a little over my head but I enjoy it as a proof of concept.
I somehow missed this when it happened, but I enjoy the simple mystery and elegant artwork of the Scottish Book Sculptures, making the rounds again because some of these items were auctioned off in February by Scottish Book Trust.
Tech and access corner:
- I read this story with horror, about old compact shelving that was “breaking with alarming frequency” in other words, ceasing to function, with materials trapped inside!
- Make your PowerPoint presentations accessible to people with disabilities — if we want to make hybrid options work well, accessible presentations are part of that.
- The Young Adult Disability Database is a “curated list of YA books featuring disability representation” assembled by Julie, a book blogger and library science student who is also disabled. It’s just getting going and looking great so far.
- How to Write a Useful Tech Support Ticket is by Ruth Kitchin Tillman. Not new but so so good.
- Guidance on Web Accessibility and the ADA — sensible information for public institutions, from the government of all places.
- If you use Hoopla or OverDrive, you may want to check your collection for fascist propaganda. Somehow a bunch of white supremacist literature (stuff that is banned from Amazon even) snuck in there. Maybe resolved now, maybe not.
- Libraries partner to create website for Virginia’s Deaf community — that website is Deaf Culture Digital Library, which combines curated content about the Deaf history of Virginia with ASL information and pointers to accessible library resources.
Reading widely and diversely continues to be something I’m interested in, and it’s easier when my public library is open (it’s been closed all winter ostensibly for COVID reasons) than when it isn’t. To that end, some links I’ve had my head in for a while now:
- On the 21st-Century Renaissance of Native American Fiction — an interview with Margaret Verble
- What does it mean to be present? — An essay by Fobazi Ettarh about the idea of physical presence being the only “real” way to interact
- Black Excellence in LIS Syllabus — a great collection of resources and links organized by T-Kay Sangwand
- Race in Children’s Books — Dr. Anjali Adukia on measuring representation and inclusion, a very thinky piece that looks beyond “aboutness” and into things like what skin tones are being represented even among books nominally about the same topic
- Why Writers Shouldn’t Wait for Permission to Create the Stories They Want by James Hannaham — a queer black man talking about why his permissive parents got it right
I knew about AIDS even when it was called GRID (Gay-Related Immune Deficiency), long before I became sexually active, before I had admitted to myself that I was queer. And I was terrified, but informed. On top of all the explicit fiction, I also knew about safe sex practices.
Fobazi’s essay really resonated with me because I am, sometimes reluctantly, the Vermont Chapter Councilor for ALA. I’ve been pleased at being able to attend conferences virtually during the pandemic and I’ve participated substantively. And yet, the June conference in Washington DC… I am not ready to attend in person. ALA is having a hybrid conference, so I don’t need to. And yet... governance meetings are being scheduled for morning DC-time. Not great for night owl me, but I’ll cope.
However, it’s unacceptable, to my mind, to have governance meetings — at a national organization’s conference which is touting hybrid accessibility — which are at 3 am for my colleagues in Hawai`i (and 6 am on the West Coast which is still not great). That is not an acceptable meeting time. These are people who might be more likely to not attend in person because of costs, or travel time, or COVID concerns. I have politely raised my objections through what I felt were acceptable channels and was completely ignored. Not shocked, but seriously disappointed. This is not a healthy normal. You can’t be truly committed to equity unless you find ways to include at least all your governance folks, you know the people who work for you for free? Besides, heck, remember how when scientific conferences went online, diversity and inclusion soared?
Channel that rage, smell those flowers.