February 16, 2018

Backtalk

Submissions for Backtalk should be 850 to 900 words and sent to Meredith Schwartz at mschwartz@mediasourceinc.com

Cannabis Literacy | BackTalk

Many states are legalizing the possession, use, and sale of cannabis for medical and/or recreational purposes, even as it remains illegal at the federal level. Whether or not your library is located in one of those states, the frequent presence of the substance in the news may be raising questions for your patrons.

Do Librarians Discriminate? | BackTalk

Suppose a librarian receives an email from a man named Greg Walsh, wanting to become a cardholder or simply inquiring about the open hours. Would the librarian reply? And, if so, would the reply be polite, including for instance some form of salutation, such as “Hello” or “Good morning”? Does your answer change if the guy is called Tyrone Washington? Is a librarian treating Jake Mueller differently from DeShawn Jackson?

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.

Finding Philanthropic Funding | BackTalk

As a librarian, I feel a deep fear of the direct threat to library funding posed by the new administration. However, as a philanthropy professional, I can’t help but feel some small amount of hope.

I Can’t Hear You…but I’m Still Listening | BackTalk

As adults, we might cover our ears with our hands at a loud blast or use headphones or earbuds to curate the sounds we want to enter our eardrums, but sticking our fingers in our ears and yelling, “I can’t hear you!” is usually frowned upon. I’m not proud to say that at a recent team meeting, I did just that. Of course, I did so in jest, but it got me thinking about how easy it is to dismiss ideas that I don’t want to hear.

Why LC Should Drop Illegal Aliens | BackTalk

The Library of Congress (LC) sparked debate recently when it announced that it would no longer use the term illegal aliens as a subject heading. The library maintains that the phrase has become “pejorative,” a sentiment echoed by social justice projects such as Race Forward’s Drop the I-Word campaign. However, Republican lawmakers who introduced legislation to force the library to keep the term argue that the LC’s subject headings (LCSH) should be consistent with U.S. Code.

We Talked About Failure | BackTalk

The Utah Library Association (ULA) dove headfirst into failure on February 19–20. Along with the Salt Lake City Public Library (SLCPL), ULA hosted Strikethrough: The Utah Library Association Failure Workshop. Billed as an interdisciplinary discussion of failure for librarians, it brought together librarians, medical doctors, and performance artists.

The Case for Informed Browsing | BackTalk

Netflix knows something that libraries haven’t figured out yet: how to create categories that help people browse online in an informed yet serendipitous way.

Librarians Need Global Credentials | Backtalk

Until there is a body to take responsibility for reviewing LIS programs globally and granting the strong ones accreditation, a large number of librarians will be banned de facto from participating in our increasingly mobile information age economy. Having been a sometimes struggling expat myself (I lived in the UK and in Taiwan before Texas and the UAE), I know a little about trying to find work abroad; it can be a hell of a lot harder than it was for me, especially if you’re brown-skinned and English isn’t your first language. An international standard for accreditation for LIS degrees would go a long way toward fixing this for librarians in the eastern and southern hemispheres who want a fair shot at jobs in the northern and western hemispheres and in the complex, frustrating, bewildering, and lucrative Middle East.

Letting Go While Hanging Around | Backtalk

It has been a few months since I left the library director position of my dreams and more than 12 since making my intention public. This all adds up to a roller-coaster year of transition.