TILT #98 — Guardrails and solidarity

Today in Librarian Tabs

Hello, and welcome to June. I had a few busy months. I did two talks, one about Fair Use and the other about the Digital Divide. The first one was in person and it was both fun and scary. I crossed an international border (to Montréal). I did a lot of COVID testing before and after. I stayed in a hotel for the first time since 2019. I have to say I don’t think I was really ready, but it worked out okay. The second talk was going to be in person but rising COVID numbers made us pivot to doing it online. OK by me.

ALA is having their first in person conference since January 2020 this month. They are grudgingly offering a hybrid option but I am getting a bad vibe about it. Since I am an ALA Chapter Councilor from a small all volunteer state association, it seems prudent to maybe not attend in person. This saves my chapter a lot of money (it’s our single biggest expense outside of our conference, but that is also a fundraiser) and saves me a lot of time. In some states being the Chapter Councilor is a competitive role, less so in Vermont. I talked about this in March so I won’t rehash except to say that I have tried to engage Council and ALA with the concerns I have about this move and have received a little good feedback from other Councilors and nothing from ALA staff or the Executive Board.

Somewhat related: I will be teaching a Community Engagement class at the University of Hawai’i (distance, from here) in the Fall. I think some of our library orgs have a lot to learn here. You can see the two classes I created for past versions of this class on my website.

two angles of a rock painted to look like Shel Silverstein’s book The Giving Tree

A fun use for old rocks. As seen on Facebook. And speaking of fun, if you’ve gotten wrapped up in Wordle, here are 76 similar games you might like. I’ve settled into Semantle, while my partner prefers Redactle.

WPA era poster showing an illustration of a cartoon character sitting under an umbrella on top of a large open book with the slogan “RAIN is bad for a book”

It’s rainy today which I am glad for. This WPA poster by Arlington Gregg seems apropos. More at the Library of Congress’s WPA print collection. Want a little more LOC love? Smithsonian Magazine’s got you covered.

Digital Inclusion segment! In addition to the talk I gave (above) talking about new and different digital divide issues we have been facing during COVID, there are a few more things that I think might be of interest.

Along other equity lines (isn’t having a governance meeting at 3 a.m. an equity and inclusion issue?! Rrrr I’ll stop now) here are a few other things I’ve been reading.

  • Unequal Access: The Desegregation of Public Libraries in Northern Virginia. For me, it’s really hard to imagine how my feelings about public libraries would have changed if me or my recent relatives had been denied access to them for stupid racist reasons. This article is a short summary of the work that the Fairfax County Public Library did to surface the history of unequal treatment of patrons of color in the not-too-distant past of their library’s history. It’s an example, in my opinion, about how to do this sort of thing right. Below is a picture of the first Black employee of that library system who started working there around 1957.
Image of a black woman working in tech services caption “Mending Department. Mrs. Dora Lee Johnson”

I don’t have much to say about the unbearable awfulness that has been the censorship assault on libraries except to point people towards some good things to read, on this and other “The librarians are not okay” topics.

Good news and solutions corner.

“We are not in the fine-collection business. We’re in the encouraging-to-read-and-learn business, and we were getting in our own way.”

Finished the epic Mars Trilogy and got some other pleasure reading in besides. Booklist is a little out of date because of webhost reasons but you can see what else I’ve been reading there or on Twitter.

Covers of four books: Good Time Girls, Green Mars, Blue Mars and The Book Woman’s Daughter

And a last little fun thing. If you are in the Bay Area, you may want to track down this beer. I can not really explain how this came to be but I am happy it did.

image of the tweet at the linked URL with a picture of the Sister Jessamyn beer in the tall grass with a duck in the background

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.



Today in Librarian Tabs is a librarian newsletter by Jessamyn West

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store