TILT #99 — No one spends time here without being changed
Hello, and welcome to North American summer. Actually, scratch that, it’s solidly Autumn now. Since the last newsletter I have moved house — just up the road but wow, moving is a lot — from a small apartment to a largeish house. Still in Randolph, spending more time sweeping than I ever expected. Started this earlier, finishing it now.
Please enjoy this ocean cat library or cat ocean library, one of many adorable illustrations by Ms. Cat.
Final update on ALA Council and Annual Meeting situation this summer: At the last-ish minute, after months of me asking for clarification, ALA made it clear they would not give me voting credentials if I did not register and pay for the annual conference, so I decided not to go. Paying $250 to go to three governance meetings — when membership and Council meetings had been FREE to any member until an Executive Board decree in April — didn’t work for me.
I hope ALA finds ways to offer more equitable access and opportunities for virtual participation, but for now I am actually pretty salty that things went down the way they did. Over it, but also I feel like this is a big change that didn’t get the attention it deserved. Should we talk about how virtual conferences increase attendance and geographical diversity while also reducing costs? I feel like we should.
It’s been more difficult than usual to work in libraries over the past few years. We’ve had a few issues in libraries in Vermont. These ranged from a Drag Queen Story Hour that got postponed (cancelled?) resulting in staff and trustee resignations (and some grumpy public records requests), to hate-filled letters, to scammy phone calls. If you’re getting a little overwhelmed with it all, might I suggest just keeping up with one news story per day via Library Link of the Day? John’s been doing this since 2003, he’s very good at it.
While many libraries are dealing with and managing subtle or overt homophobia and transphobia within their communities it’s also worth remembering that our profession has not always managed sex positivity or representations of queerness well at all. The old and the prudish: an examination of sex, sexuality, and queerness in Library of Congress Classification is a hard critcat look at our values as reflected through our cataloging schemes and how they’ve changed, or not changed, over time. Want to work on it? Familiarize yourself with Metadata Best Practices for Trans and Gender Diverse Resources by The Trans Metadata Collective.
But also just to say, your trauma is real. Urban Libraries Unite published their Urban Library Trauma Study, a big project that is, in their words “an attempt to capture, quantify, and respond to some of the trauma, stress, and burnout experienced by urban public library workers so that public facing staff can work together to innovate solutions.”
A few things to read that are not news
- When Will We Wake Up and Get Tough on Book Control? (humor)
- If Librarians Were Honest by Joseph Mills (poem)
- The Norwegian library with unreadable books (art project)
More news from New York and New Jersey (not sure why, just worked out that way).
- Brooklyn Public Library is no longer offering fee-based library cards to out-of-staters (reddit discussion) though they are still offering their free “eCards” to teens and young adults as park of their Books Unbanned initiative.
- NJLA came out with a statement supporting the elimination of library fees
- Did you know that the first Star Trek convention took place at Newark Pubic Library? This is one of those facts I feel like I learn over and over. My local writer pal Andrew Liptak has published a history of Cosplay which goes into this and much more. His newsletter, Transfer Orbit, is a really good way to stay current on science fiction titles. If you just want to know more about Star Trek conventions, this older article This Is How Star Trek Invented Fandom is a great look at it.
I got the RSS feed of my booklist up and running again which pleases me. Still a little behind on data entry. Aren’t we all?
Why was the National Archives in the UK 3D printing a rat? The answer may surprise you. Stay warm, keep chewing.
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.