November 21, 2017

Faculty and Archives Partner on MIT and Slavery Project

One of the newest courses on offer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is “MIT and Slavery,” collaboratively taught by Steven Craig Wilder, Barton L. Weller Professor of History, and Nora Murphy, archivist for reference, outreach, and instruction. The undergraduate class will focus on researching MIT’s historical ties to slavery and the slave trade, as well as the role the slave economy played in other American engineering and science institutions.

Evanston Public Library’s Lesley Williams Resigns as Community Calls for Equity Audit

Update: According to a FOIA request submitted by the Chicago Tribune, EPL will pay Williams $110,000 as part of her severance. The agreement carries a stipulation that neither party will pursue legal action, but does not include a confidentiality clause.

Following two disciplinary hearings, a suspension, a FOIA request, and years of conflict with the library director and board, Lesley Williams, former head of adult services at Evanston Public Library (EPL), IL, announced her resignation on June 29.

Why Social Justice in the Library? | Outreach + Inreach

Libraries of all types are reevaluating the role they play in their community, questioning whether it is still good enough to provide equal access, or if it is time to pursue an active equitable access that focuses on empowering the less powerful and amplifying the voices of the unheard.

Obama Center Garners Praise, Concerns Over Local Impact

On May 3, Barack and Michelle Obama joined a crowd of approximately 300 Chicago community leaders at an invite-only forum to unveil renderings for the OPC and answer questions. “It’s not just a building. It’s not just a park,” the former president told the assembled crowd. “Hopefully it’s a hub where all of us can see a brighter future for the South Side.”

Tolerance Is Not Good Enough | BackTalk

In early 2017, a call for chapter proposals began circulating on library Listservs for a forthcoming book titled Tolerance: Social Justice and Activism in Libraries, Moving Beyond Diversity to Action. The aim of the book is to discuss how librarians can take diversity, social justice, and social change to the next level and promote tolerance in libraries. As a librarian, scholar, and educator who specializes in issues of diversity and social justice, and how to integrate them into LIS pedagogy and education, I was instantly taken aback by the use of the word tolerance. Tolerance and diversity are not words I regularly put together; in fact, I view them in opposition to each other.

Joy Doan and Ahmed Alwan: Examining Status Microaggressions and Academic Libraries

Ahmed Alwan and Joy Doan are research, instruction, and outreach librarians at California State University, Northridge (CSUN). A discussion of Jaena Alabi’s work on racial microaggressions in academic libraries led them to consider other intersectional microaggressive instances in that environment—in particular, status-based microaggressions experienced by academic librarians in their interactions with non-librarian teaching faculty. From that conversation, their Microaggressions & Academic Libraries project was born.

Conference Catch-Up

The 2017 conferences held by the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) and Electronic Resources & Libraries (ER&L), in March and April respectively, covered trends ranging from diversity to emerging technology.

Jamillah Gabriel, Thinking Outside (and Inside) the Box

When Jamillah Gabriel, African American studies information specialist and the manager of the Black Cultural Center Library at Purdue University, IN, realized that there weren’t many book box subscription services that focused on African American literature—and those that did were targeted to children and young adults—she decided to start her own. In summer 2016 Gabriel launched Call Number, a monthly literature subscription box for adults featuring works by non-bestselling black authors.

Paralibrarian of the Year 2017: Patricia Pacheco

Just two years after she immigrated to the United States from the Dominican Republic, Patricia ­Pacheco landed a library assistant position as the first bi­lingual staff member at the Sterling Branch of the Loudoun County Public Library system in Virginia. She had been a kindergarten teacher for nearly 20 years and had dealt with children of all ages in her home country. Early on in her time in the States, she volunteered part time in the Ashburn Library of Loudoun County. So when the Sterling branch announced that it sought a bilingual staff member, Pacheco applied and was hired. That was back in May 2015.

Librarians Mobilize Resources, Information, and Solidarity in Response to New Administration

The results of the 2016 presidential election caught many by surprise. With the election of Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States, and his immediate remaking of American policy through executive orders, public and academic librarians began to mobilize. From book displays addressing resistance and inclusivity, to graphics proclaiming that all are welcome in the library, to topical LibGuides, to online groups organized by discipline or principles, library staff and supporters across the country joined forces with like thinkers to do what they do best: share information where it’s most needed.