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.


By Tom Twiss (ttwiss@pitt.edu) | This past June two leading Palestinian librarians addressed the ALA annual conference in Orlando on the topic “Palestinian Libraries Under Occupation.” The program with Randa Kamal, President of the Palestinian Library Association, and Diana Sayej-Naser, director of the main library at Birzeit University and general coordinator of the Palestinian Library and Information Consortium (PALICO, represented the culmination of more than a year of effort and collaboration between Librarians and Archivists with Palestine (LAP) and the Social...

Read more | 12/21/2016 - 16:41

By Andrew Luck | When the Paterson Free Public Library applied for the ALA/Dollar General American Dream grant, we had few ESL resources when compared to the needs of the community.  The city of Paterson is over 50% Hispanic with burgeoning Turkish, Arab, Bengali, and African communities as well.  Additionally, with almost 50% of the city’s population “not in the labor force”, over a quarter of the population living below the poverty line, and the high school graduation rate at 70%, it was clear that the residents of Paterson would benefit from more ESL offerings...

Read more | 11/11/2016 - 11:00

By Tina Williams (twilliams@whiteoaklibrary.org) | Reaching out to the community is a vital part of Library services. Five years ago, I started the Outreach Services Department at the White Oak Library District with the charge to serve the older adult population. Our District is comprised of approximately 80,000 people across three towns. Older adults make up almost one quarter of the population. I started by getting to know the community and figured out how the Library connects to their daily lives. We serve patrons in various types of communities: independent living communities,...

Read more | 11/07/2016 - 15:17

By Teneka Williams (twilliams@georgialibraries.org) | In the past year, librarians in the communities of Ferguson, MO, Baltimore, MD, and Charleston, SC were confronted with civil unrest while trying to maintain a presence in the community as common ground for all served in their community.  As 21st century librarians, we are aware of the technological advances that are steadily increasing our need for continued training.  However, as the last year has shown, we are in need of sociological training for communities as our world becomes smaller and more diverse.  ALA Core...

Read more | 10/31/2016 - 11:22

By Katrina Spencer (katrina.spencer@wisc.edu) | In October of 2016, a group of students from the i-School at the University of Wisconsin at Madison met to discuss ways to better serve Spanish-speaking patrons. This document includes some of the observations that arose during that discussion, oriented primarily towards reference/service/circulation desk interactions in public libraries, and humble suggestions about providing service to this growing demographic. While this conversation began in reference to Spanish-speaking communities, many of the points below will be relevant for serving...

Read more | 10/25/2016 - 11:50

By Micah Kehrein (Micah.Kehrein@spl.org) | At the beginning of 2016, the American Dialect Society announced that the word of the year is the singular ‘they.’ For me, this was really exciting, because “they” is my gender pronoun, and over the 5 years that I have asked folks to use this pronoun for me, I’ve definitely heard my fair share of “It’s not proper grammar.” Not anymore, folks! But back to the reason for this blog post, they is a really useful word for library employees and really, folks in customer service in any profession. As a...

Read more | 10/24/2016 - 11:38

By Melissa Cardenas-Dow (melissa.cardenasdow@gmail.com) | There’s nothing like talking about earning power to drive home the idea of survival. In the world of work in library services in higher education settings, survival often equates to working as adjunct, visiting, or temporary librarians. There are many reasons why an academic librarian, with a graduate degree or two or three and experience in academic reference and instruction services, would choose to work as an adjunct. The academic librarian desires more experience. The flexibility in time commitment might be more desired...

Read more | 10/11/2016 - 15:16

By Sarah Kostelecky (sarahrk@unm.edu) | Where do you go to find information about events not being covered by the mainstream media?  As a Native American from Zuni Pueblo, New Mexico and Education Librarian at the University of New Mexico, I find my social media connections to be a valuable resource to find this type of information. I started seeing posts and photos of protest about the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) in late August.  I was surprised to learn the Dakota pipeline’s proposed route is only a few miles shorter than the more well-known Keystone XL pipeline...

Read more | 10/06/2016 - 11:39

By Raymond Pun (raypun@csufresno.edu) | The digital divide: we hear it so often in our profession. It’s an ongoing struggle across the country particularly in an age of digital information and technology. As someone who has worked in public libraries in New York, I’ve interacted with many patrons who either do not have access to technologies at home and/or do not possess the skills in using computers, tablets, etc. Now as an academic librarian, I’ve been thinking a lot more about community engagement and outreach services in Fresno County, California where I am...

Read more | 09/30/2016 - 14:43

    By Jody Gray | It is common knowledge that among people of color and American Indians there is a coping mechanism called “code switching.” Basically, the idea is that an individual alternates their behaviors or language to fit a particular situation. It is so common, it often plays out as just our survival instincts taking over.   As someone who has worked in the field of equity and diversity for over a decade, I’m not immune. Code switching can lead to me compartmentalizing parts of my identity to stay present in the work at hand. For the most...

Read more | 09/19/2016 - 16:24

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