Reflective Practice: Yes, AND…

For this post I’d like to share a tension I’ve been feeling and still can’t quite articulate. It came up again for me when, in The Heart of Librarianship Dr. Stephens quotes Randy Pausch, “There is more than one way to measure profits and losses. On every level institutions can and should have a heart.” (Stephens, 2016). I genuinely appreciate the focus on heart and connection in the class. It makes me feel calm and seen. It gives me space to grow. And. Throughout this course, this amazing course that I will be recommending to everyone, I have occasionally felt a tension. I worry when people put “heart” and “libraries” together we will end up with white saviors (libraries are still staffed mostly by white people and many practices fall in line with white supremacy culture (Jones & Okun, 2001)). I have learned so much in this class, so much I’ll be taking with me into my professional practice. And I do truly hope to be surrounded by professionals who are thoughtful, reflective, and full of heart. I think I have room to hold this tension, to be aware of it, to constantly check in.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with this piece, I encourage you to read it, “Vocational Awe and Librarianship: The Lies We Tell Ourselves” by Fobazi Ettarh. Earlier this semester, Ettarh gave a presentation on her work, the recording and compilation of resources are below.

Vocational Awe: Examining the Cost of Your Service

One of the points I remember from this event was when Ettarh clarified – it is okay to love your job, but once you are being evaluated on how much you love your job (measure by “sacrifice”, at the expense of safe workplaces, having your boundaries disrespected, etc.) it becomes problematic. Ettarh points out the institutionalized racism inherent in libraries, especially when librarianship is treated as a vocation as opposed to an occupation.

I do think there is a way to balance both the real concerns and harmful problems that Ettarh highlights in her work with a practice that is full of heart. For me, it is about being intentional, being reflective, and being open to critique and change.

Works Cited

Ettarh, F. (2020). Critical conversations: Vocational awe: Examining the cost of your service. State library of Ohio. https://library.ohio.gov/services-for-libraries/library-programs-development/critical-conversations/#VocationalAwe

Ettarh, F. (2018). Vocational awe and librarianship: The lies we tell ourselves. In the Library With the Lead Pipe. Retrieved November 30, 2020. http://www.inthelibrarywiththeleadpipe.org/2018/vocational-awe/

Okun, T. & Jones, K. (2001). The characteristics of white supremacy culture. Showing up for racial justice. https://www.showingupforracialjustice.org/white-supremacy-culture-characteristics.html

Stephens, M. (2016). The heart of librarianship: Attentive, positive, and purposeful change (1st ed.). ALA Editions. Amazon.com

Five Reflections in Five Minutes

Hello, everyone! This may be a little non-traditional, posting my symposium entry before my Director’s Brief. But if a pandemic is not a time to do things a little differently, I don’t know when is! I tried out live captions on PowerPoint for this presentation. You may notice that they aren’t perfect. There is no way to edit live captions. I also discovered I likely need a new microphone for optimum audio quality. If you have a favorite mic you’d recommend, please share in the comments! I hope you all enjoy my five-minute (okay, slightly less than six minutes) reflection. Take care!

Five Reflections in Five Minutes

Works Cited

Casey, M.E. & Savastinuk, L.C. (2007). Library 2.0: A guide to participatory library service. Information Today, Inc.

Rickel, G. (2020, November 28). Nothing about us, without us! Emerging technology planning assignment: Queer programming participatory service at the King County Library System. Librarian for Liberation 2.0. https://287.hyperlib.sjsu.edu/lib4lib2point0/2020/11/28/nothing-about-us-without-us-emerging-technology-planning-assignment-queer-programming-participatory-service-at-the-king-county-library-system/

Rickel, G. (2020, October 2). Hyperlinked environments: International librarianship. Librarian for Liberation 2.0. https://287.hyperlib.sjsu.edu/lib4lib2point0/2020/10/02/hyperlinked-communities-international-librarianship/

San Jose State University. (n.d.). Program learning outcomes – MLIS. SJSU School of Information. https://ischool.sjsu.edu/mlis-program-learning-outcomes

Stephens, M. (2016). The heart of librarianship: Attentive, positive, and purposeful change (1st ed.). ALA Editions. Amazon.com

Stephens, M. (2020). Hyperlinked communities [Panopto Video]. Retrieved from San Jose State University The Hyperlinked Library canvas:sjsu.instructure.com

Stephens, M. (2019). Wholehearted librarianship: Finding hope, inspiration, and balance. ALA Editions.  

Nothing About Us, Without Us! Emerging Technology Planning Assignment: Queer Programming Participatory Service at the King County Library System

Introduction

Earlier this year I was invited to attend a one-off meeting of LGBTQIA+ staff who were interested in discussing adult queer programming for the King County Library System (KCLS). The invitation first came to me as a text message from and friend and colleague who knows I am both bisexual and interested in system-level work. What has emerged over the last several months is a group of LGBTQIA+ staff (plus a couple of allies) who straddle the worlds of an affinity group and a specialized programming unit. Together we have designed and hosted two programs for LGBTQIA+ adults and assisted other staff in their adult queer programming. All these programs involved community partnerships for the presentations. While the programs were deemed successful by the staff involved (good attendance numbers, positive comments throughout the program from participants, and no significant technological glitches) and feedback we received from our community partners (they enjoyed themselves, the appreciated being asked to participate, they would like to work with us again), there is room for growth. Our programming group still reflects library staffing in general, being mainly white and cisgender, and one of our panelists shared the following,

Thank you Lady. I would love to be involved… but there is not a strong representation of younger Trans Black voices. I would love for the panel to have more Black Trans voices on it. Especially those involved in the current KIKI Ball scene in Seattle. My other thought is I know that we live in the PNW, and that means that the discussion of Blackness always involves non-Black people. I have found that as people try to be inclusive Black people normally do not feel open and comfortable and SAFE enough to share our truth. This is just my thoughts. I would love to help out in any capacity and even try to connect you all with Black Trans women that can sit on the panel. (D. Tirrel, personal communication, September 21, 2020).


[Image ID: A group of friends of varying genders taking a photo at a party.]

In The Hyperlinked Library course, Dr. Stephens introduced the class to the concept of participatory service. Participatory service, a concepted coined by Henry Jenkins and elaborated on by Michael E. Casey and Laura C. Savastinuk in their book Library 2.0: A Guide to Participatory Library Service (2007) is a professional pedagogy that centers the users of library services as active stakeholders who design, conduct, enjoy, and evaluate the materials and services offered (Stephens, 2020). The transparency inherent in this service model increases trust, and the buy-in it generates for library services helps the library serve the community more effectively and secures resources which allow the library to continue serving the community (Stephens, 2020; Casey, M.E. & Savastinuk, L.C., 2007).    


[Image ID: “Drag King Thadayus reads from “Julian Is a Mermaid” as he hosts Drag Queen Story Hour at the Fairwood Library in Renton on Thursday.”] (Hansen, B., 2019)

As evidenced by LGBTQIA+ patrons and allies protesting libraries that host transphobic events both regionally (Paul, 2019) and internationally (The Canadian Press, 2019), and outcry against Drag Queen Story Time (Green, 2019) which led to a non-publicized, quietly distributed ban on all drag library events for any age at KCLS, on top of the common barrier of the library environment sometimes being unwelcoming to LGBTQIA+ folks, the relationship between LGBTQIA+ patrons and KCLS (and arguably many other public library systems) is, at a minimum, strained. We need to rebuild trust with the LGBTQIA+ community and participatory service can help us do so. Taking inspiration from the “Madison’s Library Takeover” article which outlines how and why the Madison Public Library changed their public programming model, the following proposal explores how to redesign the current LGBTQIA+ affinity group/programming group into a participatory service that involves community participation at all levels – the planning and running of the group and its programs, the evaluation of programs, and the evaluation of the group – which will be known as the pilot project, LGBTQIA+ Advisory Programming Group.

Goals/Objectives for Technology or Service:

  • Increase trust between the LGBTQIA+ community and KCLS.
    •  Practice transparent communication.
      1. Establish communication norms as a group.
      2. Start and maintain a monthly blog column, to be featured on the KCLS website and co-authored by staff and non-staff group participants, that communicates all developments in the programming group to all KCLS patrons.
      3. Establish various avenues to collect feedback from those who are in the group, those with whom the group partners, and those whom the group serves. Balance sharing the feedback publicly with respecting patron’s privacy and any other relevant communication norms.
    • Embrace failure.
      1. Establish an evaluation process for the programs produced and group working dynamic.
      2. Identify areas of growth via the evaluation process and capture feedback for ways to improve practices.
      3. Increase accountability by communicating lessons learned and next steps with the public.
  • Have adult queer programming reflect the intersectional needs of the local LGBTQIA+ community.
    • Develop a survey to identify groups within the adult LGBTQIA+ community and their current needs.
    • Match the identified needs to local organizations and library materials and services.
    • Host 3 programs throughout the year that reflect the results of the survey and available potential partnerships.
  • Developing lasting and authentic relationships with the LGBTQIA+ community.
    • Begin a practice of regular, open conversations with the LGBTQIA+ community through programming and consultations.
    •  Track partnerships (which organizations or individuals, the nature of the partnership, frequency of partnering).
    • Establish a formal process of introducing new staff to the LGBTQIA+ community and partners so that relationships are not lost due to staff turnover.

Description of Community You Wish to Engage:

I wish to engage adult, age 18 and up, LGBTQIA+ community members within the KCLS service area. These folks may or may not be current library patrons. The folks who join the inaugural LGBTQIA+ Advisory Programming Group will be individuals who either represent themselves or organizations they work for. They will reflect the diversity of King County (“diversity” defined in accordance with KCLS’s Mission, Vision, and Values) (KCLS, n.d.b.).   

Action Brief Statement:

For LGBTQIA+ Community Members:

Convince LGBTQIA+ community members that by joining the LGBTQIA+ Advisory Programming Group they will establish practices and programs which will more accurately and authentically represent and serve their community because their input will directly guide the development and evaluation of new programs, resulting in hyper-local and timely responses to community needs and interests.

For All Library Staff:

Convince library staff (all levels) that by adopting a participatory service model for adult queer programming they will increase LGBTQIA+ patron trust in the library which will lead to increased usage and funding because more LGBTQIA+ community members will be deeply engaged with the library now that it is interacting more directly with their marginalized community, generating more stories and evidence to share with financial stakeholders.

For LGBTQIA+ Library Staff:

Convince LGBTQIA+ staff members that by joining the LGBTQIA+ Advisory Programming Group they will be given an opportunity to share their blended knowledge from their personal identity and their professional library training and experience which will allow them to bring their full selves to their work in a non-tokening manner because they will only be expected to speak for themselves, not for an entire group.

Evidence and Resources to Support Technology or Service

Participatory Service – Why and How:

Casey, M. (2011, October 20). Revisiting participatory service in trying times. Tame the Web. https://tametheweb.com/2011/10/20/revisiting-participatory-service-in-trying-times-a-ttw-guest-post-by-michael-casey/

Stephens, M. (2016). The heart of librarianship: Attentive, positive, and purposeful change (1st ed.). ALA Editions. Amazon.com – Read “Age of Participation” section.

Smith, C. (2017, June 25). Madison’s library takeover: Blending outreach with adult programming to increase community investment. American Libraries. https://americanlibrariesmagazine.org/blogs/the-scoop/madisons-library-takeover/?utm_content=buffer8a08c&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer

Teen Advisory Groups:

Teen advisory groups offer a similar model to the LGBTQIA+ Advisory Programming Group.

Thinking Big Advocacy Contest Task Force. (2011, January 13). Thinking big about… Teen advisory boards and library programs. YALSA. http://yalsa.ala.org/blog/2011/01/13/thinking-big-about-teen-advisory-boards-and-library-programs/

Teen advisory groups. (2015, May 15). Teen Services Underground. https://www.teenservicesunderground.com/teen-advisory-groups/

Engaging LGBTQIA+ Staff:

ALA GLBTRT (2016, April 9). Open to all: Serving the GLBT Community in Your Library. American Library Association.  http://www.ala.org/rt/sites/ala.org.rt/files/content/professionaltools/160309-glbtrt-open-to-all-toolkit-online.pdf

Kuecker, E. (2017). Recruiting and retaining LGBTQ-identified staff in academic libraries through ordinary methods. In the Library With the Lead Pipe. Retrieved November 15, 2020. http://www.inthelibrarywiththeleadpipe.org/2017/recruiting-and-retaining-lgbtq-identified-staff-in-academic-libraries-through-ordinary-methods/

Nectoux, T.M. (Ed.). (2011). Out behind the desk: Workplace issues for lgbtq librarians. Library Juice Press.

KCLS Communication Technology:

KCLS. (n.d.). KCLS Bloggers internal document: unpublished. – Review for style guide, image guidelines, how to review and publish new content, and content strategy/team expectations.  

Microsoft. See files shared with you in OneDrive. https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/office/see-files-shared-with-you-in-onedrive-2c14e8e6-4e52-4c61-9778-7155d33534a1

Technology for Teachers and Students. (2019, June 24). Beginner’s guide to OneDrive for Windows – UPDATED tutorial. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hkf1p1Y6rFQ

Zoom. Getting started. https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/categories/200101697-Getting-Started

Zoom. Mobile. https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/sections/200305413-Mobile

Mission, Guidelines, and Policies Related to Technology or Services:

The overarching mission, vision, and values of KCLS (KCLS, n.d.b.) will provide general guidance for the LGBTQIA+ Advisory Programming Group. A preliminary mission for the group will be drafted by the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) committee, in consultation with the newly formed DEI department. Once the group is formed, the group will edit the mission and create a set of norms to be approved by the DEI Director.

KCLS has standard policies for how to negotiate a partnership with community organizations and individuals, and what to pay them. These policies will be adhered to. Opportunity for feedback on everything, including these policies, will be integrated into the group’s practices and shared with KCLS leadership and the Board of Trustees.

According to state law, all volunteers at KCLS must complete a standard application form that requests criminal history information. The forms for other volunteer opportunities can be used for the LGBTQIA+ Advisory Programming Group. I recommend adding a question about whether the applicant will be representing themselves or an organization, and if they select organization the form would provide a space for them to list the name (for example, Gay City). I would also suggest adding a space for pronouns on the form near the applicant’s name and removing the requirement for “sex” (gender assigned at birth) on the form unless it is required by law. If it is required by law, I suggest adding a note about this, explaining why and the form options. It will also be important for the application to outline the extended time commitment of participants and any technology requirements (with plans for both during and not during a pandemic).

To reinforce the participatory nature of the group, library staff’s opinions and ideas should not be privileged over that of community volunteers. If there is conflict between library practices and community volunteer ideas, I encourage the group to dig deeper, get inquisitive, and find a solution that fits both perspective’s needs while capturing feedback on how to change relevant library practices and policies in the long term. Policies that will likely create such a dialog are around hate speech versus hateful conduct, what constitutes harm (legally and in terms of lived impact), and intellectual freedom. I also encourage the group to consider the practice of “progressive stacking” (Gannon, 2017) for communication. All this information, including any changes that are made throughout the group’s history, will be posted to the blog to maintain transparency and accountability.

Funding Considerations for this Technology or Service:

Staff Time

The most expensive piece of this service will be staff time, as noted in the “Madison’s Library Takeover” article. In the group’s current iteration, staff spend anywhere from 1 to 5 hours a week on group related tasks, depending on how close we are to an event. Because the primary requirement to participate as a staff member is to identify as LGBTQIA+, all involved staff will have different pay rates. Based on the flexible scheduling needs and job scope, however, librarians are the most likely of staff classifications to be asked to participate. They are also some of the highest paying jobs in the system outside of management and administration. If this group were to begin in 2021, when KCLS will still be operating under adjusted business hours due to the pandemic changing service needs and shrinking our budget, all staff will have to work within their regularly allotted hours and not rely on substitute time to do work. This could be compensated for by either adding more staff members (which would likely require more time up front as there are more interpersonal dynamics to negotiate but require less time from each person as the group becomes more established), or the group could considering shrinking the number of events they hope to accomplish within the first year.   

Technology

All the technology (Zoom, Office 365, and social media accounts) is already paid for and available to programming staff at any time. The LGBTQIA+ community volunteers would not need their own accounts as they can use the free version of everything to access documents and meetings. They may need assistance with access to the internet and devices until the libraries reopen physically. As of November, 2020, Washington state libraries are allowed to open to the public on a limited basis and KCLS is currently purchasing the necessary supplies and developing the necessary procedures to do so safely. Should Washington libraries become less accessible due to the pandemic, hot spots could be distributed to participating community members if grant funding can be secured.  

KCLS DEI Programming Budget

The KCLS DEI department has a budget for programming that is separate from branch programming budgets. While the exact number for 2021 is unknown at this time, in the past the department has been able to fund presenters up to $150 a person, per event. While the community participants planning the events will not be paid for the planning and evaluation portion of the events, if they were to participate as a panelist or moderator, they would be eligible for this funding. Additionally, all other community organizations and individuals we partner with for events would get paid this honorarium.

KCLS Foundation

According to their website, the KCLS Foundation “provide[s] support beyond public funding for initiatives and resources that enable the King County Library System to better serve the needs for our community.” (KCLS Foundation, n.d.b). The Foundation regularly helps with large and unique system-wide programs such as Summer Reading and traveling STEAM kits. Their 2020 initiatives suggest a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, which suggests that they would be open to considering programs proposed by the LGBTQIA+ Advisory Programming Group (KCLS Foundation, n.d.a.).   

Action Steps and Timeline

April 2021 – September 2022

Due to budget and staffing limitations in place because of the pandemic, I recommend this program plans on a Fall of 2021 launch, with “launch” being defined as the LGBTQIA+ Advisory Programming Group forming. Leading up to that, the internal approval process can begin.

April – June Internal approval process [up to 10 weeks]:

  1. Project is pitched to the existing LGBTQIA+ programming group, to gauge interest. The group will discuss it and, if they are interested, draft a pitch for the DEI Director [2 weeks].
  2. The current Diversity Program Coordinator who is in both the newly formed DEI department and the existing LGBTQIA+ programming group will pitch the participatory service idea to the DEI Director. The DEI Directory will review it, discuss it with KCLS Leadership, and approve it [2 weeks]. If there are changes suggested, this stage could take up longer [up to 1 month].
    Approval granted.
  3. The volunteer application form will be edited to fit the specifications of the LGBTQIA+ Advisory Programming Group, will be approved by the DEI department, and will be uploaded to the KCLS website, due to go live only after the internal approval process is complete [1 week].
  4. The existing LGBTQIA+ programming group drafts a mission for the LGBTQIA+ Advisory Programming Group [1 week].
  5. The existing LGBTQIA+ programming group collaborates with the Graphics department to design flyers and the Online Services department to design social media posts (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, library blog, library podcast, and library newsletters). A list of community partners with whom to share the opportunity is made, their contact information updated [2 weeks].
    Internal approval process complete.

July – August Recruitment [up to 2 months]:

  1. Marketing is posted and shared with community partners. Recruitment for community volunteers will be open for 2 months [2 months, possibly longer or can be re-opened if volunteers are not available for the first pilot year].
  2. Happening concurrently to external recruitment is internal staff recruitment. All interested staff, either from the existing LGBTQIA+ programming group or not, must seek approval from their direct supervisor (as all committee and working group participation must be). They will submit their name to the Diversity Program Coordinator who will make a selection that represents a system-wide, cross-functional team (“vertical teams”) (Casey, M.E. & Savastinuk, L.C., 2007, p. 45) [2 months – same 2 months as step 6]. 

September Launch [3 months]:

  1. Once the group is assembled, the community members are trained in KCLS technology [1 month].
  2. The whole group meets for the first time, gets to know each other and establishes norms [1 month].
  3. The group edits the Mission. It is approved by the DEI department. The norms and new Mission are shared in a blog post [1 month].

(December 2021 – September 2022) Program Planning, Hosting, and Evaluation [10 months]:

  1. Group identifies community needs and potential community partnerships. Picks one to focus on for first program, assigns tasks, reaches out to community partners [1 month].
  2.  Secures partners, drafts and distributes marketing, builds connections to KCLS materials and services [1 month].
  3.  Hosts program. Has a meeting to debrief about the program, from the planning through the live event. Share a blog post with program information and LGBTQIA+ Advisory Programming Group reflections [1 month].
  4.  Group identifies community needs and potential community partnerships. Picks one to focus on for second event, assigns tasks, reaches out to community partners, recruits additional community volunteers and staff participants as needed [1 month].
  5. Secures partners, drafts and distributes marketing, builds connections to KCLS materials and services [1 month].
  6.  Hosts program. Has a meeting to debrief about the program, from the planning through the live event. Share a blog post with program information and LGBTQIA+ Advisory Programming Group reflections [1 month].
  7. Group identifies community needs and potential community partnerships. Picks one to focus on for third program, assigns tasks, reaches out to community partners, recruits additional community volunteers and staff participants as needed [1 month].
  8. Secures partners, drafts and distributes marketing, builds connections to KCLS materials and services [1 month].
  9.  Hosts program. Has a meeting to debrief about the program, from the planning through the live event, and to debrief about how this participatory service model is going. Shares a blog post with program information and LGBTQIA+ Advisory Programming Group reflections. Develops a list of best practices and seek approval for continuation from the DEI Director [2 months].

Based on my experience with programming, 2-3 months to plan a program is plenty of time, even when working with community partners. The most likely opportunities for time extensions will come if there is a lot of discussion during the internal approval process, if there is a lot of turnover in either the staff or community volunteer participation, or both (this turnover could lead to pausing for training, time to consider new perspectives, and new opportunities for partnerships to pursue), or if KCLS Foundation funding is needed (which would trigger a variable grant timeline application). While this is a rough timeline, I encourage the LGBTQIA+ Advisory Programming Group to be adaptable to community needs, to have compassion with one another when life and work take time away from this project, and embrace the process as much as they do the results (the programs).

Staffing Considerations for this Technology or Service:

Staff who are currently participating on the LGBTQIA+ programming group can apply to participate, as well as other LGBTQIA+ staff who are not currently in the programming group. The goal is to have 20 staff assigned to the group who can rotate through and help with scheduling coverage during a year when KCLS is unlikely to have extra hours available. With meetings happening remotely that can be recorded, staff can catch up on meetings they miss. Tasks that can more easily be done while also managing curbside pickup and other pandemic-related services will first go to staff whose jobs are less flexible, making it more possible to get a greater cross-section of staff positions. Examples of such tasks include social media, editing documents, researching community resources, and compiling relevant materials lists. Tasks will also reflect job descriptions so that no one is asked to work out of their scope which could trigger a temporary pay increase. Once the system allows substituting to resume, staff can have their hours shifted to cover these tasks, just like pre-pandemic committee policies outline, and non- LGBTQIA+ Advisory Programming Group staff can cover their regular duties. 

Training for this Technology or Service:

Staff will not need training in the communication technology because they are the standard systems we currently use. Community volunteers will be offered training. Online Services staff will conduct small group Zoom trainings (a common practice for both staff and community partners now that all programming is conducted via Zoom) and send copies of the KCLS Bloggers guiding documents and a link to a YouTube video explaining OneDrive. Online Services staff will conduct the trainings remotely if the pandemic is still a factor and will offer both remote and in person training options if the pandemic is no longer a consideration. Training will occur when the volunteers are onboarded in September 2021. It may also occur as new volunteers join throughout the life cycle of the LGBTQIA+ Advisory Programming Group pilot.

Promotion & Marketing for this Technology or Service:


[Image ID: A pride flag flows into an image from the movie “Paris is Burning”. On top of the flag in a black box is “(R)evolution of Pride: A Film & Discussion Series” written in white letters.] (Federal Way Libraries, 2020)

KCLS has standard promotion outlets: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, system-wide and local newsletters, a podcast, and several blogs hosted on the main webpage. All these outlets will be used to market the opportunity to apply for the LGBTQIA+ Advisory Programming Group. Programs designed by this group will also be marketed this way. It will be important to brand all postings effectively by including broad keywords, industry-specific language, community-specific language, and program-specific language.

The most successful marketing KCLS has done also includes reaching out to community partners who use their own marketing streams to share the information. KCLS has worked with many organizations geared toward serving the LGBTQIA+ community. The LGBTQIA+ Advisory Programming Group will reach out to these connections, some of whom may be a part of the LGBTQIA+ Advisory Programming Group.

While it is important to have digital marketing, especially during pandemic, it is also important to have traditional marketing, such a flyers, shared in community spaces. There are several LGBTQIA+ businesses who may be willing to share a flyer in their window or on a community board. Members of the LGBTQIA+ Advisory Programming Group will explore their neighborhoods and make a list of potential advertising partners. It will be important to research why the partnership benefits the businesses willing to help, not just ask them to promote the group and the programs.  

Evaluation:

Sources of Feedback

Comments during programs.

Comments on all marketing materials.

Surveys sent to attendees, program presenters, and the LGBTQIA+ Advisory Programming Group after each event.

Debriefs after the programs are recorded for analysis by the LGBTQIA+ Advisory Programming Group.

Notes from any check-ins throughout the process are captures for periodic review.

Surveys sent to the LGBTQIA+ Advisory Programming Group at the end of the pilot program (see timeline) to capture remaining questions that have not been answered through previous debriefs, check-ins, and feedback gathering.

Goals and Their Evaluations

  • Increase trust between the LGBTQIA+ community and KCLS.
    • Evaluate transparency
      1. How was information shared within the LGBTQIA+ Advisory Programming Group? What was the feedback on these practices?
      2. How was information shared with KCLS staff? What was the feedback on these practices?
      3. How was information shared with the LGBTQIA+ community? What was the feedback on these practices?
      4. How was information shared with the broader KCLS service community? What was the feedback on these practices?
    • Evaluate accountability
      1. If failure occurred throughout the process, with whom was it communicated? Were lessons learned and next steps identified?
      2. If failure occurred, which changes were implemented?
      3. Were all commitments throughout the pilot program kept? If not, why? How can the group change to assure making their commitments?
  • Have adult queer programming reflect the intersectional needs of the local LGBTQIA+ community.
    • Which identities were present and absent within the LGBTQIA+ Advisory Programming Group?
    • Which needs were addressed and which needs are still waiting?
    • What was the feedback on the intersectionality of both the LGBTQIA+ Advisory Programming Group and the programs that were produced?
      1. Surveys will be sent out after each program to participants, presenters, and the LGBTQIA+ Advisory Programming Group.
      2. The chat from the programs will be saved for analysis by the LGBTQIA+ Advisory Programming Group.
    • Program success?
      1. How many programs were hosted?
      2. What was the attendance (number per program, had anyone attended other programs in the series)?
      3. Attendees and presenter satisfaction?
  • Developing lasting and authentic relationships with the LGBTQIA+ community.
    • How many existing partners did the LGBTQIA+ Advisory Programming Group partner with? Describe the nature of the partnership.
    • How many new partners did the LGBTQIA+ Advisory Programming Group make? Describe the nature of the partnership.
    • Did anyone outside of the LGBTQIA+ Advisory Programming Group express an interest in joining the LGBTQIA+ Advisory Programming Group?
    • Did the participants, both staff and community volunteers, express an interest in continuing the LGBTQIA+ Advisory Programming Group?
    • Describe the process of on-boarding new community volunteers after the launch of the program. How did the team adapt? How were relationships built?
    • Describe the process of on-boarding new KCLS staff after the launch of the program. How did the team adapt? How were relationships built?

From the events the current LGBTQIA+ programming has hosted, I know that many compelling stories come from these types of programs. Marginalized community members feel seen and the programs can be a true bonding experience and a beautiful opportunity for intergenerational connection and learning. The impact of the HIV/AIDS epidemic is still felt throughout the LGBTQIA+ community among several other stressors and inequities that cause the LGBTQIA+ community a lot of pain (Fredriksen-Goldsen et al, 2015; King County Health Department, 2019). These programs can help to address the isolation, information needs and interests, and community care needs of this population.

There are many opportunities to build on this pilot program. Once the pandemic is over, in-person programs can resume which leads all kinds of new and different interactive programming (such as crafting together for a drag puppet show). The LGBTQIA+ Advisory Programming Group may also expand its scope to advise KCLS on collection development, anti-bias training, and policy development. The feedback gathered throughout the pilot program can help guide expansions.  

References

ALA (n.d.). Libraries respond: Services to LGBTQIA+ people. http://www.ala.org/advocacy/diversity/librariesrespond/Services-LGBTQ

ALA GLBTRT (2016, April 9). Open to all: Serving the GLBT Community in Your Library. American Library Association.  http://www.ala.org/rt/sites/ala.org.rt/files/content/professionaltools/160309-glbtrt-open-to-all-toolkit-online.pdf

The Canadian Press. (2019, October 29). Hundreds protest Toronto library event featuring controversial speaker. CBC. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/megan-murphy-toronto-library-protest-1.5339909

Casey, M.E. (2011, October 20). Revisiting participatory service in trying times. Tame the Web. https://tametheweb.com/2011/10/20/revisiting-participatory-service-in-trying-times-a-ttw-guest-post-by-michael-casey/

Casey, M.E. & Savastinuk, L.C. (2007). Library 2.0: A guide to participatory library service. Information Today, Inc.  

Federal Way Libraries. (2020, September 29). Online: (R)evolution of Pride Film & Discussion Series – Paris is Burning [Event post]. Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/events/330181681395811/?post_id=330181711395808&view=permalink

Fredriksen-Goldsen, K., Shiu, C., Kim, H., Emlet, C.A., & Goldsen, J. (2015). At-risk and underserved: LGBTQ older adults in Seattle/King County. Aging with Pride.

Gannon, K. (2017, October 20). The progressive stack and standing for inclusive teaching. The Tattooed Professor: History, Teaching, and Technology with a Custom Paint Job. https://thetattooedprof.com/2017/10/20/the-progressive-stack-and-standing-for-inclusive-teaching/

The gender spectrum collection: Stock photos beyond the binary. Vice. https://genderphotos.vice.com/?fbclid=IwAR1l44e10d0im2NDjiI2dklK12ZacyocXAp6_Ie_gmPZQCFDrag4BREaAK4#Work

Green, M.H. (2019, June 29). King County libraries’ Drag Queen Story Hours engage many and enrage others. The Seattle Times. https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/drag-queen-story-hours-spark-outpouring-of-support-despite-protests/

Hansen, B. (2019).  Drag king Thadayus reads from “Julian Is a Mermaid” as he hosts Drag Queen Story Hour at the Fairwood Library in Renton on Thursday. The book is about a little boy who is enchanted at the sign of sparkling mermaids and wants to imitate them. [JPEG]. The Seattle Times. https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/drag-queen-story-hours-spark-outpouring-of-support-despite-protests/

KCLS. (n.d.a). KCLS Bloggers internal document: unpublished.

KCLS. (n.d.b). Mission, vision, and values. https://kcls.org/mission-vision/

KCLS Foundation. (n.d.a.). Annual reports and newsletters. https://www.kclsfoundation.org/annual-reports-and-newsletters

KCLS Foundation. (n.d.b.). What we do. https://www.kclsfoundation.org/what-we-do

King County Health Department. (2019). King county community health needs assessment 2018/2019: LGBTQ community spotlight. King County Hospitals for a Healthier Community.

Kuecker, E. (2017). Recruiting and retaining LGBTQ-identified staff in academic libraries through ordinary methods. In the Library With the Lead Pipe. Retrieved November 15, 2020. http://www.inthelibrarywiththeleadpipe.org/2017/recruiting-and-retaining-lgbtq-identified-staff-in-academic-libraries-through-ordinary-methods/

Microsoft. See files shared with you in OneDrive. https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/office/see-files-shared-with-you-in-onedrive-2c14e8e6-4e52-4c61-9778-7155d33534a1

Nectoux, T.M. (Ed.). (2011). Out behind the desk: Workplace issues for lgbtq librarians. Library Juice Press.

Paul, C. (2019, December 9). Amid outcry, Seattle Public Library weights decision to provide venue for ‘radical feminist’ event criticized as anti-trans. The Seattle Times. https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/amid-outcry-seattle-public-library-weighs-decision-to-provide-venue-for-radical-feminist-event-criticized-as-anti-trans/

Smith, C. (2017, June 25). Madison’s library takeover: Blending outreach with adult programming to increase community investment. American Libraries. https://americanlibrariesmagazine.org/blogs/the-scoop/madisons-library-takeover/?utm_content=buffer8a08c&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer

Stephens, M. (2020). Participatory Service & Transparency [Panopto Video]. Retrieved from San Jose State University The Hyperlinked Library canvas:sjsu.instructure.com

Stephens, M. (2016). The heart of librarianship: Attentive, positive, and purposeful change (1st ed.). ALA Editions. Amazon.com

Teen advisory groups. (2015, May 15). Teen Services Underground. https://www.teenservicesunderground.com/teen-advisory-groups/

Technology for Teachers and Students. (2019, June 24). Beginner’s guide to OneDrive for Windows – UPDATED tutorial. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hkf1p1Y6rFQ

Thinking Big Advocacy Contest Task Force. (2011, January 13). Thinking big about… Teen advisory boards and library programs. YALSA. http://yalsa.ala.org/blog/2011/01/13/thinking-big-about-teen-advisory-boards-and-library-programs/

Zoom. Getting started. https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/categories/200101697-Getting-Started

Zoom. Mobile. https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/sections/200305413-Mobile

Learning Everywhere

“A lifetime isn’t long enough for the beauty of this world and the responsibilities of your life.” – Mary Oliver

In the infinite learning module, “Learning Everywhere”, Dr. Stephen’s says, “as part of the Hyperlinked Library model, we are talking about learning in all of its different forms in libraries, both externally to our public and internally for ourselves… libraries help people learn.” (Stephens, 2020). He goes on to explain that learning can happen both formally and informally, which reminded me of the Danish Four-Space Model. There is the learning space, the meeting space, the performance space, and the inspiration space. All of these spaces coexist and blend to build on a person’s curiosity (Velásquez, 2015). With these ideas circulating in my head, I found it helpful to reflect on how I use the library and its spaces (especially the digital spaces!).


[Image description: There are four overlapping circles filled in with different shades of grey. The top left circle says “excite”, the top right circle says “explore”, the bottom left circle says “create” and the bottom right circle says “participate.” Outside of the circles are the words “experience” (above the “excite” and “explore” circles”), “learning space” (by the “explore” circle), “empowerment” (to the side of the “explore” and “participate” circles), “meeting space” (by the “participate” circle), “involvement” (below the “create” and “participate” circles), “performance space” (below the “create” circle), “innovation” (to the side of the “create” and “excite” circles), and “inspiration space” (above the “excite” circle). Below the image are is the title, “Figure 1.1 Danish Four-Space Model”.]

For this exercise, I decided to look back on my time over the last few months and tell myself my own story. What has sparked my curiosity lately, how did I follow it, and how did I engage the library in my quest? Taking inspiration from LibraryEmoji (Stephens, 2016), here is my story:


[Image 1 description: A white woman with shoulder-length hair that blends from red to purple, wearing a blue dress and a gold necklace, is smiling and waving. Her midsection has the word “hello” written on top of it in large yellow and blue letters. Image 2 description: A string of emojis – a house, a sad face that is crying, a television, two green leaves, a cactus, a plant branch with seven green leaves, a face pinched in curiosity wearing an eye glass and an inquisitive look, a stack of books, a smiling face. Image 3 description: A white woman with shoulder-length hair that blends from red to purple, wearing a blue dress and a gold necklace, is smiling and poking her body out from behind a tree with a brown trunk and green foliage sitting in a brown pot.]

This emoji story tells the tale of what I’ve been most interested in during COVID, particularly during the various lockdowns and restrictions enforced in my area. I was sad, so I was searching for soothing videos on YouTube to stream on my large TV. I came across “Plant Tube” (videos about plants) and became engrossed. After watching several and seeing so many new-to-me beautiful green things, I wondered if I could care for a plant too. When I went to work at my library, I browsed the shelves and collected some books on houseplants and their care. Taking care of the houseplants I’ve purchased during COVID has brought me some much-needed calm, I find it quite restorative. That is why my emoji story ends with both a smiley face and a more personalized bitmoji of me by a tree. And the learning hasn’t stopped! I’ve continued to browse the library catalog for more books, I’ve bookmarked library programs to attend, and I’ve made a note to review our streaming video catalog for more instructional videos. I’ve done this from computers, tablets, and my cell phone. I’ve used library technology (catalog, databases) and general technology (YouTube, my devices). I’ve even found some plant podcasts to listen to! As Dr. Stephens said in his lecture, technology helps us learn everywhere.

There is more to my story, more to why I was searching for soothing videos and freely accessible information to help me follow my new interest. If someone were to ask, we could talk all about my personal history with plants, my current questions about what the politics of houseplants are, my curiosity around connecting with nature and seeking more ways to live in harmony, how my finances mean that I rely even more on the library than I used to, and so much more. My emoji story just shares a glimpse what is there. The library is a part of my story, and when I think about libraries from this perspective, I have an overwhelming need to connect to my colleagues and patrons and learn their stories. What is their library story? I’m reminded of the guidance I was given for library advocacy – help representatives have a meaningful and personal experience with the library, that way they are more likely to fund them. When people ask “Why libraries? Are they even relevant anymore?” these are the stories I’d like to share, the ones that reflect our community’s curiosity and connection.

Works cited:

Stephens, M. (2020). Learning Everywhere [Panopto Video]. Retrieved from San Jose State University The Hyperlinked Library canvas: sjsu.instrcuture.com

Stephens, M. (2016, June 15). LibraryEmoji. Library Journal. https://287.hyperlib.sjsu.edu/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/LibraryEmoji.pdf

Velásquez, J. (2015). Real-world teen services (1st ed.). American Library Association. Amazon.com

New Horizons: Accessibility in Libraries

It has been a while since I’ve posted anything for our class. As it so happens, part of the “why” behind this has to do with this post’s topic – disabilities. I’ve had depression for most of my life and the coping mechanisms I usually rely on weren’t accessible due to COVID-19. I’ve been learning new coping skills, but that takes time. What I can say today, as I write this, is that I’m happy to be re-engaging with our course and with all of you.

Accessibility has been on my mind more and more. The more I engage with fat activism and fat studies, the more I learn how my fatness is intertwined with disability. Between this and my depression and dyslexia, accessibility in libraries has deeply personal stakes.

I follow the social model of disability which asserts that disabled people, such as myself, have impairments, and that the world is not designed with us in mind; the world itself is disabling.

… “disability” is not just a medical matter but is also a socially constructed experience. Disability scholar-activist Mike Oliver (1990) coined the phrase “social model of disability” to describe this framework in which the focus shifts from individual persons’ medical diagnoses and impairments toward the material, physical, and social environments that impose limitations or create barriers for people with impairments. By reframing disability as an experience that is shaped by social, cultural, historic, political, and economic factors, disability scholars and activists are able to explore how these factors impact people’s lived experience of impairment. Equally important, this reframing allows scholars and activists to analyze the social practices that actively disable people: marginalization, stigmatization, disenfranchisement, stereotyping, and the perpetuation of inequitable living and working conditions. (Kumbier, A. & Starkey, J., 2016, p. 473).

There are many ways to improve accessibility in libraries and similarly minded institutions (such as museums). One way is to increase digital access to experiences and information. The Prado Museum’s 3D printing is an amazing example. Could you imagine if libraries did the same with illuminated manuscripts? Or with pulp fiction covers?

Mike McShane’s article “Is Virtual Reality the Future of Field Trips?” talks about the positive impact interacting with museums and other spectacular destinations has on participants – “critical thinking, historical empathy, tolerance…”. Virtual reality technology can build on digital field trips, taking them well beyond the bounds of even a museum. “There are explorations of the International Space Station, the Juno mission and the human respiratory system.” We librarians speak of stories as transportive and transformational, this technology can help us do the same with our materials in new ways, reaching new communities (don’t forget about the long tail!).


[Ms. Frizzle is wearing a planet-themed space suit, captaining the school bus in space. She is turning away from the front windows and asking her students “And how are all my astronauts doing?”]

Watch the episode (The Magic School Bus Gets Lost In Space) with descriptions and captions here.

When libraries and whole communities were shutting down, myself and other staff started compiling a list of various free resources to help with engagement, education, and entertainment. Virtual museum access and similar access to nature were high on the list and were well circulated on social media.

Interested in learning more about accessibility in museums? Check out this Disability Visibility podcast episode. A transcript is available.

But what happens after COVID-19? What happens when the work from home schedules dissipate? Will the accessibility gains and lessons learned be lost? For that matter, what is going on now, while COVID-19 is still very much a part of our daily lives? Libraries across the United States have started to reopen to varying degrees, and my library system is in the process of implementing their next opening Phase 2.5.

Staff in my system and across the country are concerned, especially disabled staff. #CripLib held a discussion on this topic on July 21, 2020. You can read the archive of their chat here, under “Past Chats.”

While no one can predict the future, we can continue to fight for a more accessible present and future. If you’d like to engage more in this work, check out Care Work: Dreaming Disability Justice by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha which is a great primer and includes notes of several other resources. You may also be interested in the video I linked in my last blog post. Take care everyone, I’m glad to be back!

Works cited:

Halliday, A. (2015). The Prado Museum creates the first art exhibition for the visually impaired, using 3D printing. Open Culture. http://www.openculture.com/2015/03/prado-creates-first-art-exhibition-for-visually-impaired.html

Kumbier, A. & Starkey, J. (2016). Access is not problem solving: Disability justice and libraries. Library Trends, 64(3), pp. 468-491. https://doi.org/10/1353/lib.2016.0004

McShane, M. (2018, June 13). Is virtual reality the future of field trips? Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/mikemcshane/2018/06/13/is-virtual-reality-the-future-of-field-trips/?sh=1d4e99bf1809

Hyperlinked Environments: International Librarianship

As I get closer to concluding my MLIS, I have growing concerns around Competency O. My courses so far have not addressed this competency in more than an offhand manner, providing little to no guidance or opportunities to develop portfolio pieces. That is why I was so excited to see global communities as one of the sections for Module 6: Hyperlinked Communities.

I watched Professor Sellar’s presentation, “What Does it Mean to “Do” International Librarianship” and as she opened with, I too had been interpreting it too broadly, including the very nature of our hyperlinked world and diverse collections as aspects of international librarianship. However, Professor Sellar defines international librarianship (IL) as,

a field of activity (rather than a scientific discipline) which promotes, establishes, develops, and evaluates library and allied services and librarianship globally. The activities are conducted in a relationship between parties at various levels, ranging from individuals to governments. These parties are located in two or more nations (countries). There is reciprocity, exchange, cooperation, and these parties have significant librarian representation. (Sellar, 2017)

“What Does it Mean to “Do” International Librarianship”

This presentation was adapted from Professor Sellar’s article (2016), “Strategies for Engaging in International Librarianship: Misconceptions and Opportunities.” In the article she asserts that responsible IL is paired with critical librarianship. Critical librarianship “help[s] us recognize privilege, redress power inequities, and give voice to our global partners,” (Sellar, 2016, p. 3). Critical librarianship is a practice built on a philosophy (a praxis) that recognizes the harm libraries as institutions have perpetrated and the ways they continue to perpetuate harm. It asserts that libraries and librarianship are not neutral, they are inherently political and have an obligation to recognize their politics and work to “fight attempts at social oppression” (Farkas, 2017). One of the harms libraries have participated in has been colonization. Professor Sellar brings this up both in her talk and her article. What hides within both Professor Sellar’s presentation and article are the terms racism and white supremacy. Professor Sellar says that US MLIS students center the US as the norm in the beginning of their IL work. Peter Lor, an often referenced IL scholar, designed a pyramid of IL practices, with the bottom representing descriptive and early practices of IL, and the top being the goals of reciprocal IL practice (exoticism, philanthropy, national influence, international understanding, internationalism, cooperation, innovation, advancing knowledge, and self-understanding). Exoticism and philanthropy, reinforce whiteness, are often racist and tied to white saviorism. Critical librarianship can hopefully help us learn from these harmful practices and guide us towards restorative practices, both in IL and more broadly in librarianship.

When I think about critical librarianship, decolonization also comes to mind. A few resources that I will be using to learn more about decolonizing are “Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples” by Linda Tuhiwai Smith and “Decolonization is Not a Metaphor” by Eve Tuck and K. Wayne Yang. One of the people I follow on library Twitter shared the abstract for “Decolonizing is Not a Metaphor” with me after I commented on this thread. Also shared on this thread is the chapter “Refusing the University” by Sandy Grande in “Toward What Justice? Describing Diverse Dreams of Justice Education” edited by Eve Tuck and K. Wayne Yang. Decolonizing is relevant to IL both because, as Professor Sellar notes, libraries have a history of participating in colonization, as well as because IL is about nations working together in a reciprocal relationship and learning from each other, and tribes are nations.

As librarians pursue IL, especially within a critical librarianship framework, I hope US libraries seek to learn how to be anti-racist. Yesterday I attended (virtually, streaming on Zoom via Facebook Live) a presentation called “Roundtable Talk: Disability Justice and Abolition.” This talk was hosted by Alternatives to Calling the Police During Mental Health Crises, The Abolition and Disability justice Coalition, NYC Transformative Justice Hub, #LetUsBreathe Collective, The Fireweed Collective, Project LETS, CAT-911, and CripJustice, moderated by Leah Lakshimi Piepzna-Samarasinha (she/her), and the panelists were Elliott Fukiu (he/him), Andrea Ritchie (she/her), and Yolo Akili Robinson (he/him).

During this event, Andrea Richie said that all helping systems police bodies and that abolition cannot just be constrained to the police, it must also include all institutions that practice policing. I believe there is an opportunity in IL to come together across borders to address these practices in libraries (which are common practice in US and Canadian libraries but may not be in other nations). Libraries often partner with police and depending on how behavior is “monitored” and staff are trained, policing may also be done directly by library staff. These are racist practices that need to change.

Works cited:

Farkas, M. (2017). Never neutral: Critical librarianship and technology. American Libraries, 48(1-2), p. 70. Retrieved September 25th, 2020, from https://americanlibrariesmagazine.org/

Sellar, M. (2016). Strategies for engaging in international librarianship: Misconceptions and opportunities. School of Information Student Research Journal, 6(1). Retrieved September 25, 2020, from http://scholarworks.sjsu.edu/slissrj

Seller, M. [SJSU SLA]. (2017, November 28). Melanie Seller – Comp O [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ARxmfHl6ILc&list=PLv18c1UbxHQlYN7ZCWOn1F5VrBc3NJ68n&index=3&t=2521s

Reflections on Hyperlinked Communities: The Digital Divide, Algorithmic Justice, and Advocacy

The more I learn about technology and the role the Internet plays in our lives, the more I see how far society, in terms of laws and shared norms, is lagging in their familiarity with, and responses to, digital technology. We see this clearly in the ever-present, if morphing, digital divide. Jessamyn West’s 2014 article, “21st Century Digital Divide”, Jaeger, Bertot, Thompson, Katz, and Decoster’s 2012 article, “The Intersection of Public Policy and Public Access: Digital Divides, Digital Literacy, Digital Inclusion, and Public Libraries”, and Dr. Nicole Turner Lee, Honorable Jessica Rosenworcel, Commissioner of the FCC, and Dr. Cathy Trimble’s, Principal of Francis Marion School 2020 discussion “What’s Being Done to Address the Growing US Digital Divide” all agree that this is issue isn’t going away which means that libraries, which are often part of the stop-gap “solutions” to the digital divide, need to be more involved. Librarians are tasked with advocating for public policies that impact our services and connect with our values. We are committed to equitable access, but what does access mean when we not only have the digital divide, but related issues of digital literacy and structural oppression in the digitized sphere? Dr. Lee highlights this point, “But the challenge we have today is that the digital divide looks very much like other inequalities that we have not quite solved.”  

Access is not the only issue with digital technologies that reflects existing inequities. Boyd opens her 2016 article, “What World Are We Building?”, with “It’s easy to love or hate technology, to blame it for social ills or to imagine it will fix what people cannot. But technology is made by people. In a society. And it has a tendency to mirror and magnify the issues that affect everyday life.” As The Intersectional Internet: Race, Sex, Class, and Culture Online made clear, and Boyd reiterates, oppression and power dynamics play out online. These structural inequities are present in who has access, what type of access, which platforms are used, and how those platforms serve them. Algorithms are not neutral, they reproduce the biases present within society. While society is catching up in their understanding of the Internet, the Internet is mimicking them in the meantime. In “Surveillance in an Era of Pandemic and Protest”, Dr. Simone Browne highlighted the very recent examples of Zoom not recognizing Black faces and Twitter cropping out Black people by default over white people in photos; “There’s still a lot to be done when it comes to the way that these technologies [sic], they’re not outside of the social conditions in which we live, of which you know white supremacy and global anti-Blackness.”

“Surveillance in an Era of Pandemic and Protest”

Just like on the issue of the digital divide, the answer for libraries to these issues is not to step away from technology, but to embrace it and to explore it, together, and use a participatory engagement model to make changes to our services that include feedback on how technology is bringing folks together and also keeping them apart. Digital technologies aren’t going away, “Using and offering access to technology – new and old—are part of what we do” (Stephens, 2017). While digital technologies sometimes reproduce harm, they have also given our communities so much (this angle is also explored in The Intersectional Internet: Race, Sex, Class, and Culture Online and the Brookings Institution’s conversation, “Technology’s Role in Catalyzing Social Activism: Can Mobile Devices Help Translate the Black Lives Matter Movement and Social Activism Into Real Change for Black Americans?”). Today’s call to action: add digital justice and algorithmic justice, in addition to the digital divide, to your list of advocacy efforts.

Special thanks to Ariel Dyer (@dyerariel) who shared the event, “Surveillance In an Era of Pandemic and Protest” in the Connections Café.

Works Cited

Boyd, D. (2016, January 25). What world are we building? Data Society: Points. https://points.datasociety.net/what-world-are-we-building-9978495dd9ad#.auzbwo27v

Brookings Institution. (2020, April 9). What’s being done to address the growing US digital divide [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jZMnfHP2bSY

 Brookings Institution. (2020, September 15). Technology’s role in catalyzing social activism: Cam mobile devices help translate the Black Lives Matter movement and social activism into real change for Black Americans? [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VbyDa3J5jg8

The Intercept. (2020, September 21). Surveillance in the era of Pandemic and Protest [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wJ_jvdAP-7U&list=WL&index=21

Jaeger, P.T., Bertot, J.C., Thompson, K.M., Katz, S.M., & DeCoster, E.J. (2012). The intersection of public policy and public access: Digital divides, digital literacy, digital inclusion, and public libraries. Public Library Quarterly, 31(1), 1-20. https://doi.org.10.1080/01616846.2012.654728

Noble, S.U., & Tynes, B.M. (Eds.). (2016). The intersectional internet: Race, sex, class, and culture online. Peter Lang.

Stephens, M. (2017, April 20). Libraries in balance. Library Journal. https://www.libraryjournal.com/?detailStory=libraries-in-balance-office-hours

West, J. (2014)). 21st century digital divide. Librarian.net. http://www.librarian.net/talks/rlc14/

“The Intersectional Internet: Race, Sex, Class, and Culture Online” edited by Safiya Umoja Noble and Brendesha M. Tynes (Book Context Assignment)

Enter any library, pick up any book on library services from the past decade, or take a class on librarianship and information services and you will come away with the same takeaway – libraries are changing. Libraries, of course, are not the only thing that has changed, the whole world has! The internet, and especially Web 2.0, has greatly increased our ability to connect with one another by breaking down the barriers of time and space. A primary goal of libraries is to serve their patrons’ information needs. As the needs change, including how people express their needs and want them addressed, so too, do libraries.

In libraries, a participatory service model actively seeks feedback and engagement from staff and the service population (both users and non-users) to co-create services and guide change. In the era of Web 2.0, much of this engagement occurs through the use of digital technology (Casey & Savastinuk, 2007). Michael Stephens describes this model of librarianship as the “hyperlinked library,” “Hyperlinked library services are born from constant, positive, and purposeful adaptation to change that is based on thoughtful planning and grounded in the mission of libraries.” The mission of libraries, Stephens says, “is that the library helps people make sense of the world.” (Stephens, 2020).

As libraries embrace this calling and continue to use more digital technology to engage both internally and externally in their pursuit of change, what do we need to keep in mind? We need intersectionality. As stated in the blog post “Casey and Savastinuk’s Library 2.0 from a Social Justice Framework”,

In addition to changing social norms, policies, and practices, the tools we use to navigate Library 2.0, our technology, must also be examined. Technology is critical to the “how” of Library 2.0. It is how to efficiently facilitate increased interactivity (Casey & Savastinuk, 2007, p. 77), including feedback. While the foundational readings for this course do not directly address diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice in connection with technology, The Intersectional Internet: Race, Sex, Class and Culture Online edited by Safiya Umoja Noble and Brendesha M. Tynes does.”

The internet has changed so much, and while optimists hoped that in addition to transcending the boundaries of space and time the internet would also transcend race, gender, and other differences, this did not turn out to be the case. The power dynamics at play outside the bounds of technology have been recreated within their walls (Noble & Tynes, 2016, p. 74, 119, 120, 148, 171), and while this should not deter us from using technology, as stewards of information and those who use these tools to gather, disseminate, and create information, we must be aware of how racism, sexism, and classism show up online so that we can counter it. We must also be aware of how technology can help us in this fight.


[Image description: Cover of the book. It is black, with white ones and zeroes overlaying one another. The title of the book, The Intersectional Internet is written in large white letters, with the subtitle Race, Sex, Class, and Culture Online written in small white letters underneath. Below the title is a light blue strip with the names of the editors, Safiya Umoja Noble and Brendesha M. Tynes, written in white.]
[Image description: Dr. Noble poses in front of a a white wall, wearing a black leather jacket over a white v-neck shirt. Her hair is brown and curly, worn down, comes to about her shoulders. Her skin is a light brown and she has brown eyes. She is smiling at the camera.]

[Image description: Dr. Tynes poses in front of a white wall, wearing a charcoal, sleeveless top. Her hair is black and straight, worn down, comes to about her shoulders. Her skin is medium brown and she has brown eyes. She is smiling at the camera.]

In 2016, academic publisher Peter Lang Publishing, Inc. published a collection of essays edited by Dr. Safiya Umoja Noble and Dr. Brendesha M. Tynes called The Intersectional Internet: Race, Sex, Class, and Culture Online as a part of the Digital Formations series edited by Steve Jones. Touted by the publisher as “the best source for critical, well-written books about digital technologies and modern life,” (Jones, n.d.) The Intersectional Internet is an analysis of “the politics of technology and the technology of politics” (Mejia, 2016, p. 237) with a goal of understanding “how intersectional power relations function within the digital” (Noble & Tynes, 2016, p. 1). The editors of this collection, as well as all the contributors, are cross-disciplinary scholars from Turkey, Canada, and the United States, specializing in media, communication, sociology, library and information studies, education, psychology, journalism, and critical culture, gender, and race studies. All of the contributors use an intersectional lens to analyze their topic, building on the work of Black feminism. Split into two sections: the first section reflects on how social norms present outside of technology are recreated within the digital landscape; the second section “address[es] how cultural values are articulated through technology design, in terms of both hardware and software.” (Noble & Tynes, 2016, p. 9). Part one draws heavily from “Race and racism in Internet Studies” by Jessie Daniels and part two draws on The Culture of Technology by Arnold Pacey. The most significant takeaway from this collection is that neither the internet nor information in neutral and an intersectional understanding of the politics of the digital landscape is critical to helping information professionals understand the impacts of using digital technologies on those who are marginalized. If the library is truly there to help people make sense of the world, and if Library 2.0, a participatory service model, is employed to do so, librarians must understand the relationship between digital technologies and power. Catherine Knight Steele’s essay quotes Linda Thomas on the same point, “Inclusive construction of knowledge denotes exploring sources that culturally may be vastly different from our own epistemological points of departure. It may be knowledge based on human experience as well as theory; and it decidedly involves inclusion of the ideas, theories, orientations, experiences, and worldviews of persons and groups who have previously been excluded. (p. 496).” (Steele, 2016, p. 76).

One of the impetuses behind the first essay in this collection, “Digital Intersectionality Theory and the #BlackLivesMatter Movement” was the “lack of racial empathy in her examination of discourses about the death of Trayvon Martin,” (Noble & Tynes, 2016, p. 5). This essay is particularly relevant now. With the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and Tony McDade in 2020, and many others, and the unceasing violence towards Black and Brown bodies, libraries have grappled with how, and in some cases whether or not, to support #BlackLivesMatter. The changes being demanded from libraries and culture at large are clear and libraries are responding with new programming, booklists, diversity, equity, inclusion statements, and structural changes to their organizations. The feedback from those whom libraries serve, both users and nonusers, has streamed in through various social media platforms, sometimes curated by libraries and sometimes not. The timing of the ensuing protests and demands for change has corresponded with the COVID-19 pandemic, a time during which many libraries have closed their physical locations and are only able to connect with patrons through digital technology. Libraries have been innovating in real time, adopting more digital technologies and adjusting their service deliveries in ways that reflect the realities of both the pandemic and the #BlackLivesMatter movement. As libraries pursue these changes, the intersectional lens used throughout The Intersectional Internet: Race, Sex, Class, and Culture Online is uniquely positioned to serve libraries.

Examples of Libraries Supporting #BlackLivesMatter

Black Lives Matter – Shoreline meets with local library staff.

Urban Libraries Council Statement on the Role of Libraries in Dismantling Systemic Racism.

ALA Libraries Respond – Black Lives Matter.

Examples of Libraries Using Digital Technologies During COVID-19

Bothell Library launches their first Instagram readathon, #summerromance2020. This is a round up of the favorite picks and this was the most popular post.

King County Library System now uses Zoom as one of their online programming platforms. Check out these three programs from this summer.

  • Healing Racial Trauma Amid COVID-19
http://o https://kcls.bibliocommons.com/events/5ea9dcb6385cb03a0010b6c4
[Image description: Ashley McGirt, a Black woman, poses in front of a tan background. She is smiling at the camera, wearing a burnt orange blazer, wearing her long black, wavy hair down.]
  • Quarantine Cocktail Book Club – The Sip & Savor
o https://kcls.bibliocommons.com/events/5eaf03b96ac4a82400bc319c
[Image description: A group of 5 people, some white, some Black, some fat, some straight sized, sitting together on orange couches in a white room, clinking their wine glasses together and smiling.]
  • (R)evolution of Pride: A Film and Discussion Series
http://o https://kcls.bibliocommons.com/events/5ef25c1e651c5f4500503d58
[Image description: A series of vertical stripes in red, orange, yellow, green, blue, brown, and black fade into a black background. There is a white outline of a fist, beneath with is the date June 29, 7-9pm, and an image of lgbq+ activists of color standing outsides, with white words superimposed over their image saying “Stonewall Forever”. In the top left corner of the main image is a black box with the title of the event, reading “(R)evolution of Pride: A Film & Discussion Series”]

The King County Library System’s podcast, The Desk Set, streamed the audio of their Juneteenth event: “Ijeoma Oluo and Ahamafule J. Oluo in Conversation”.

https://kcls.org/blogs/post/juneteenth/
[Image description: A tall stack of books with their spines out borders the left side of this image, set up against a royal blue background. There are yellow words with the name of the podcast, “The Desk Set”, and the logo for the King County Library System, beneath which white lettering reads “King County Library System”]

On September 4, 2020, “The Trump administration… instructed federal agencies to end racial sensitivity trainings that address topics like white privilege and critical race theory, calling them “divisive, anti-American propaganda.”” (Schwartz, 2020; Vought, 2020). In a related statement, Trump has also threated to pull funding from schools that include the 1619 Project in their curriculum, another initiative that uses intersectionality and critical race theory (ABC 7 News, 2020). Many libraries receive federal funding so what this memo could mean is worrisome. There is precedent for federal funding dictating changes to library policies and practices, even when they go against library values such as intellectual freedom- internet filtering for minors is an example. The digital tools used by libraries to connect and communicate are critical to guiding change in a participatory manner, especially right now. While some feel that “The Net is not a medium any more than a conversation is a medium,” (Searls, D. & Weinberger, D., 2015), some users of digital technologies, such as YouTuber Mr. Pregnant disagree, believing that “the Internet… is a medium of expression” (Christian, 2016, p. 102). Libraries support freedom of expression through their intellectual freedom value. They also rely on this expression as a form of feedback and connection, two elements that are central to Library 2.0 and the hyperlinked library (Casey & Savastinuk, 2017; Stephens, 2020). For librarians to process this feedback, they need the intersectional lens, but intersectionality, like critical race theory, is likely to fall under Trump’s decree. If the impact of this September 4th memo hits libraries, libraries and communities will suffer from an inadequate understanding of the feedback marginalized communities provide and service will suffer.

The internet changed the world and the world continues to change, as do libraries. Neither the internet nor libraries are neutral and digital technologies libraries use to connect with their patrons and each other and to drive change should be evaluated through an intersectional lens, taking into consideration the design of the technologies, its uses, and its varied impacts. The Intersectional Internet: Race, Sex, Class, and Culture Online is in conversation with many of the themes in The Hyperlinked Library course, such as participatory culture (2016, p. 64, 75, 147, & 151), communication (2016, p. 74, 161), feedback (2016, p. 75, 89, & 248), community (2016, p. 89, 99, & 246), transparency (2016, p. 56, 149, & 157), and change (2016, p. 63, 133, & 163). It also addresses state violence and control (2016, p. 22-40, 51, & 171-193). This book, with all it has to offer both in answers and opportunities for further scholarship, is an important read and contains lessons that can be immediately applied to libraries, moving the text from theory to practice, or praxis.  

Casey and Savastinuk’s Library 2.0 from a Social Justice Framework

Casey and Savastinuk define Library 2.0 as:

– Library 2.0 is a model for constant and purposeful change.
– Library 2.0 empowers library users through participatory, user-driven services.
– Through the implementation of the first two elements, Library 2.0 seeks to improve services to current library users while also reaching out to potential library users.

(Casey & Savastinuk, 2007, p. 5)

Participatory practices rely on feedback, both from users and non-users, and staff. Staff feedback is solicited via technology – the “tools” of Library 2.0 – and through an organizational structure that includes vertical teams that investigate opportunities for change (ideas), plan, implement, and evaluate them. Vertical teams and communication help to cement buy-in from staff, which makes the likelihood that changes will be embraced and successful more likely.

Vertical teams are team structures that include staff from all levels of an organization – from frontline staff to the directorial level, and everyone in between. Vertical teams, like vertical communications, serve to flatten the organization, reinforce the sense of worth of staff from all levels of the library, and instill a sense of responsibility that everyone feels towards everyone else.
(Casey & Savastinuk, 2007, p. 45)

With technology ever-evolving and rotating team membership, how do we ensure that the methods we use to solicit feedback reflect the values of diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice? Why are these values necessary to the success of Library 2.0?

In an essay advocating for equity and justice over diversity and inclusion, Dr. D-L Stewart shared the following,


[Image text: “Diversity asks, ‘Who’s in the room?’ Equity responds: ‘Who is trying to get in the room but can’t? Whose presence in the room is under constant threat of erasure?’ Inclusion asks, ‘Have everyone’s ideas been heart?’ Justice responds, ‘Whose ideas won’t be taken as seriously because they aren’t in the majority?’ Diversity asks, ‘How many more of [pick any minoritized identity] group do we have this year than last?’ Equity responds, ‘What conditions have we created that maintain certain groups as they perpetual majority here?’ Inclusion asks, ‘Is this environment safe for everyone to feel like they belong?’ Justice challenges, ‘Whose safety is being sacrificed and minimized to allow others to be comfortable maintaining dehumanizing views?”]

His words remind us that not everyone’s feedback has been (and often still is not) included. Casey and Savastinuk argue for the need to institutionalize a culture of change (p. 39). I argue that institutionalizing change is not enough. The values of equity and justice must also be institutionalized and regularly practiced so that the changes which are solicited and pursued truly reflect the needs of all staff, users, and nonusers. The way to tie Casey and Savatinuk’s Library 2.0 model to these values is through the library’s mission and community’s needs (p. xxiv). Libraries are grappling with how their services and core values can and should align with diversity, equity, and inclusion (ALA). Dr. Stewart’s work challenges educational institutions, and now libraries, to go further and seek justice.  

In addition to changing social norms, policies, and practices, the tools we use to navigate library 2.0, our technology, must also be examined. Technology is critical to the “how” of Library 2.0. It is how to efficiently facilitate increased interactivity (Casey & Savastinuk, 2007, p. 77), including feedback. While the foundational readings for this course do not directly address diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice in connection with technology, The Intersectional Internet: Race, Sex, Class and Culture Online edited by Safiya Umoja Noble and Brendesha M. Tynes does. I will explore this book for my Context Book assignment.  

References

American Library Association. (n.d.). Equity, diversity, and inclusion. ALA. http://www.ala.org/advocacy/diversity

Casey, M.E., & Savastinuk, L.C. (2007). Library 2.0: A guide to participatory library service. Information Today, Inc.

Liu, E. [@eddieliuwho]. (2020, July 14). Diversity asks, ‘Who’s in the room?’ Equity responds: ‘Who is trying to get in the room but can’t? Whose presence [Photograph]. Instagram. https://www.instagram.com/p/CCpQBWggK2_/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

Noble, S.U., & Tynes, B.M. (Eds.). (2016). The intersectional internet: Race, sex, class, and culture online. Peter Lang. Stewart, D. (2017, March 30). Language of appeasement. Inside Higher Ed. https://www.insidehighered.com/views/2017/03/30/colleges-need-language-shift-not-one-you-think-essay

Stewart, D. (2017, March 30). Language of appeasement. Inside Higher Ed. https://www.insidehighered.com/views/2017/03/30/colleges-need-language-shift-not-one-you-think-essay

Introduction

Hello and welcome!

My name is Genesee and my pronouns are she/her/hers. I chose this course because it felt especially timely given how libraries are changing, both in general and in response to COVID-19. Like so many library systems, the system I work for rapidly increased their online presence beginning in March. I was recruited to participate in our online programming and local social media pages, experiences which have given me much to ponder as I transition back to the branch for curbside holds pickup service. What will my system hold on to post-COVID? What have we learned? What can we try next? When it came time to register for fall, the syllabus for this class mirrored my questions and experiences in digital services, “This course provides a roadmap toward becoming the Hyperlinked Library: transparent, participatory, playful, user-centered, and human, while still grounded in our foundations and values.” The class seemed to promise a clear structure while also encouraging creativity, a balance reinforced by the introductory materials. Getting the most out of my classes means finding a way to immediately apply my studies to my current library work. I believe with this class I will be able to do just that.

I’m about two-thirds of the way through my degree, only 12 credits left after this semester. I’ve been combining Youth Services with Management and have filtered my coursework through a diversity, equity, and inclusion lens. I recently completed an internship during which I assisted a professor with his course development, allowing me a peak behind the curtains at instruction. I’m hoping to arrange an internship that will qualify for this program as I’d very much like more hands-on experience with teen librarianship. Hopefully next summer, when I’m planning on doing an internship, this pandemic will be under control!

When I’m not working or studying, I spend most of my time in book clubs and nurturing my first plant. The pandemic sent me seeking soothing media and I stumbled across PlantTube. I am now the proud #newplantparent to a beautiful Snake Plant I’ve named Medusa!

[Image description: A snake plant with several long green and yellow leaves is planted in a dark teal ceramic pot, standing on an end table that has black metal legs and a natural wood slab. The plant is sitting in front of a white wall, between a window and a glass door.]

Sadly, reading has been difficult for me so my book club participation is suffering. At last count I was in 9 monthly clubs – it’s gotten a bit out of hand! My favorite 2020 reads so far are Heavy by Kiese Laymon, We Have Always Been Here by Samra Habib, The Light Brigade by Kameron Hurley, The Heiress Effect by Courtney Milan, With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo, and Cantoras by Carolina de Robertis.

Library memes amuse me in general, the ones created by @james.patterson.official especially so. Enjoy!

[Image description: A person in gold chain mail, a helmet with wings, a red cloak and wearing a face mask is holding a copy of a James Patterson book and a scanner in self-defense while a mob of vampires and skeletons in armor reach for them. They are saying “The Governor said everything is fine so here’s your holds I guess. Don’t lick them.”]