Intersections

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About Intersections

Intersections, the blog of the ALA Office for Diversity, Literacy, and Outreach Services (ODLOS), highlights the work of library and information science workers as they create safe, responsible, and all-inclusive spaces that serve and represent the entire community, as well as initiatives and projects supported by the office that promotes their work.


July 17, 2018 Case in point. Language added to the Library Bill of Rights Meeting Rooms: An Interpretation included the words “hate speech” and “hate groups.” This sparked outrage in many members of the association and gave rise to the narrative that ALA supports hate groups and does not value diversity. Context is also important. Calling out “hate groups” in today’s divisive political climate leads many to assume “white supremacy groups.” Groups that have historically been aligned with condoning and instigating physical...

Read more | 07/17/2018 - 12:58

  By Lara K. Aase | In March, the American Indian Library Association rescinded its 2008 Best Young Adult Book Award for Sherman Alexie’s Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian . AILA, the voice of many non-Native as well as Indigenous librarians in North America, spoke up because we could not honorably remain silent. We are the oldest library association representing and led by American Indians, and we felt the need to make a statement on behalf of those who have not yet spoken. (https://americanindiansinchildrensliterature.blogspot.com/2018/03/american-indian-library-...

Read more | 04/09/2018 - 12:57

By Kate Kitchens | An idea struck me last summer to do a compilation zine where queer people could submit their stories and images related to their experiences with libraries or information seeking in general. My call for submissions on Twitter got hundreds of retweets and I thought, “Dang, how am I going to have time to read through all the submissions?!” And then I received zero submissions, so I had plenty of time.  While I still think a queer library experience compilation zine would be stellar--I decided to make a zine myself in the meantime. In “Librarian Field...

Read more | 01/05/2018 - 10:04

By Tess Goldwasser | Do you work for a library in a small, rural, conservative community? Are you a frontline staff member there, with no managerial or administrative authority? Do you wish you could do more to make your library more inclusive to the LGBTQIA+ community, but meet with resistance? I hope it’s not just me! I’ve been working as a frontline staff member at a small town library for nearly a decade. I have struggled with trying to affect positive change at my library in the area of inclusivity. It can be disheartening to feel you’re not supported by your library...

Read more | 06/01/2017 - 11:03

By John Amundsen (jamundsen@ala.org), with Monica White and Denise Glaudé | In spring 2016, Denise Glaudé, Chair of Archives and Heritage of the New York Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta reached out to ODLOS to tell us about how the sorority raised funds to sponsor bookmobile services in the Jim Crow south, providing access to information for African Americans when public library services were often unavailable to them. Founded in 1913 at Howard University in Washington, DC, Delta Sigma Theta is a non-profit sorority for college-educated women that focuses on programs serving...

Read more | 05/30/2017 - 11:22

By Samantha Yanity (syanity@ala.org) | On February 6, 2017 librarians and library advocates gathered from across the country for the Project Welcome: Libraries Serving Refugees and Asylum Summit in downtown Chicago. At the poster session, I was struck by a vivid image of a hijab-clad woman with the words  Amira in America tucked neatly into the back of her wrapped head.  Curious, I walked over to the poster to get a better view and picked up a copy of Amira in America – a comic coloring book and resource guide recounting the intimate experience of Syrian refugees.  ...

Read more | 05/09/2017 - 09:30

By John Amundsen (jamundsen@ala.org) | Last month, our colleague Samantha Yanity wrote a post on Intersections on how librarians are ‘superheroes’ - providing access to information and resources that can change lives, and making their communities more inclusive and equitable. During National Library week, we asked our members to share stories on how library workers are changing lives in their every day work. We also invited folks to follow and share their stories on social media, using the #LibrarySuperhero hashtag.   Submitted Stories Annette M. Vadnais - Undergraduate...

Read more | 04/14/2017 - 10:37

By Amanpreet Kaur, Rachelle Nelson, and Rebecca Stuhr (amankaur@upenn.edu) | In 2005, the University of Pennsylvania's Vice Provost & Director of Libraries, Carton Rogers, charged a group to promote diversity in Penn Libraries.  The team consisted of 4 librarians and a representative from the University's Office of Affirmative Action & Equal Opportunities Programs. The team named itself “GOLD” - the Group on Library Diversity, and initially addressed the issue of young people of color not being aware of librarianship as a career choice. GOLD designed a 7-...

Read more | 04/03/2017 - 13:00

By Emma Wood (emma.wood@umassd.edu) | A few years ago I created a LibGuide on the topic of same-sex marriage.  The online guide presented resources and strategies for finding gay marriage articles and caselaw, with a heavy focus on surveying state legislation.  At the time, several organizations were tracking the legislative process with virtual maps of the U.S., and digitally illuminating each state that passed a marriage equality bill.  My LibGuide linked to these maps which, back then, were a spectrum of color and topographical variance.  In 2015, the Obergefell[1]...

Read more | 03/30/2017 - 11:30

By Ann Plazek (plazek@mcdl.info) | Project Read is a partnership between the Medina County Sheriff’s Department and the Medina County District Public Library.  Is your library outreach department interested in working with your county jail or prison system?  Not sure how you would fund such a project?  Here is how we got started… Our MCDL Outreach Department approached the superintendent of our county jail about starting a program similar to Storybook Project that was started in Texas.  The goal of the program is to educate incarcerated parents about the...

Read more | 03/13/2017 - 11:44