- Letter from the Editor
- SRRT Coordinator's Column
- SRRT Councilor's Report from ALA Annual Conference 2016
- Minutes from Action Council I & II
- Hunger, Homelessness & Poverty Task Force News
- International Responsibilities Task Force News
- Martin Luther King, Jr. Task Force News and
- ALA Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Implementation Working Group (EDI-IWG) News
- Ethnic Multicultural Information Exchange Round Table (EMIERT) News
- Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table (GLBTRT) News
- Sustainability Round Table (SustainRT) News
- Media Review: A Path Appears
- Essay: The Biggest Obstacle to Diversity in Libraries
- Resource: The Anti-racism Digital Library: Contribute Anti-racism Stories and Images
- Call for Editorial Board Members
- Call for Submissions
- Publication Information
by Melissa I. Cardenas-Dow
Greetings SRRT Newsletter readers! We are back again for another fall season. I hope the summer has been restful.
Over the summer, I had the great fortune of attending and presenting at the National Diversity in Libraries Conference 2016 (NDLC16) held at University of California Los Angeles in early August. I usually feel re-energized by participating in professional events that focus on diversity, equity, inclusion, and the social responsibilities of librarianship. This summer, however, I left the conference feeling emotionally exhausted and world-weary. Much of this feeling, now I think in retrospect, had more to do with my physical state--I didn't know it then, but I was coming down with a bad head cold. Still, there was something to the quality of the late-summer despondency I was experiencing that set it apart. My usual efforts to counter my fatalist thoughts and to cheer myself up were not working. At the closing of NDLC16, Mark Puente, the ARL Director of Diversity and Leadership Programs, talked about strong, sometimes conflicting feelings that come with social justice work--empathy and rage. The oscillation between compassion and anger is exhausting and can be difficult to bear. To remain caring and compassionate toward others and their difficulties in an unjust world requires a level of vulnerability and openness that can be difficult to maintain right alongside the fury and frustration of withstanding and witnessing indignities and injustice, great and small. The wear-and-tear on a person from emotional pivoting is tremendous. Yet pivot we must.
The vastness of the tasks necessary to counter oppression and inequity, even just within the institutional make-up, processes, and stated policies of a professional organization like the American Library Association, looms large. The complexities and depth of my feelings found expression through b. binaohan's blog post, which we provide an edited, reprinted version in this issue with her permission. Her post gives voice to an opinion that I think is common and valuable among those of us who labor on behalf of equity concerns, though it is not always acknowledged and is, maybe, even actively dismissed despite the truths it expresses.
The point of view conveyed by binaohan was (and still is) foremost in my mind as the work of the ALA Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Implementation Working Group (EDI-IWG) began over this past summer. In this issue, LaJuan Pringle provides us with a summary of how the work of the ALA Task Force on Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (TF-EDI) continues through EDI-IWG, of which I am co-chairing with Martin Garnar.
I'm sure I do not have to stress to you, dear readers, the importance of the work done by SRRT. Our roundtable strives to ensure that our library profession and ALA, our professional association, abide by the core values and ethics we collectively say we hold in great esteem. Our work together on behalf of SRRT and ALA allow us individual members to be informed so that we can all do the pivoting that keeps us and our profession socially responsible.
All the best,
Melissa I. Cardenas-Dow
SRRT Newsletter Editor
by Diedre Conkling, SRRT Coordinator, District Librarian, Lincoln County District, Newport, OR
The membership in SRRT continues to grow almost every month. Al Kagan, for the SRRT Membership Committee, just reported that in July 2016 our membership increased by 12.98% over July 2015, and we now have 1,088 members. This is great and it shows a need for SRRT within ALA.
Often SRRT members ask "How can I get more involved?" I always find this both an easy and a difficult question to answer. The easy answer is, just volunteer to do something. Don't wait to be asked. I know this isn't enough of an answer but it is really true. Below I am going to list some of the more official things you can do but there are many less official activities.
Let us know what you are thinking and doing: Yes, post something about what you are doing in your library or in your state association that you think would be of interest to others in SRRT. Give us some inspiration about things that we can be doing in our own communities or within ALA. Start a discussion about a topic. There are three good places to do these things. Subscribe to srrtac-l, our official discussion list, at http://lists.ala.org/sympa/info/srrtac-l and then post to the list. Post to our Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/groups/2408144515/. Start a discussion in ALA Connect at http://connect.ala.org/srrt.
Volunteer: The easiest way to volunteer may still be attending conferences and sitting in on the SRRT Action Council meetings and SRRT Task Force meetings because it is an easy way to find out what needs to be done and you can just step in and volunteer. I can assure you that your volunteering to do a task will be very much appreciated and you will get plenty of help from others, if you need it. You can also read this newsletter and find out what SRRT and the Task Forces are doing and volunteer to be part of those activities or to start a new activity for the group(s).
Run for a Position: The more official involvement is easier than you may think. You just need to do it and not wait for someone else to nominate you or encourage you.
- SRRT Task Forces: Every task force needs people who will volunteer to take leadership roles within the task force. You are probably just the right person for one of these positions. Others in the task force are always willing to help you learn how to do things and about what needs to be done.
- SRRT Action Council: All ALA members may attend SRRT Action Council meetings but only Action Council members may vote. Do you want a vote? Then run to be a member of SRRT Action Council. The terms are 3 year terms. Those elected this Spring will have terms starting at the end of the 2017 Annual Conference through the end of the 2020 Annual Conference. There are 4 Action Council terms expiring in 2017. To run for a position you need to fill out the form at https://www.directvote.net/alanomination/2017users.html. Register on the site and then go to #74 for SRRT Action Council. The more complete the information you provide the better it is for all of us when we are voting.
- ALA Council: SRRT has one official ALA Council member but it helps to promote our issues if there are even more SRRT members on ALA Council Believe it or not, it is almost as easy to run for ALA Council as it is to run for SRRT Action Council. You just need to fill out an E-Petition and then let us know you are running so that we can sign your petition. The E-Petition forms were not up yet on 9/1/16 but should be up soon [as of this issue's publication, the e-petitions are available. The e-petition form must be filed no later than 12/7/16 ~editor]. Go to Petition Candidates & E-Petition Form at http://www.ala.org/aboutala/shib_login/?q=governance/alaelection for the petition forms and instructions. When you fill out the biographical information be as complete as possible.
Write Content for SRRT Newsletter:
- Write a review: Have you read a great book lately related to social issues? Watched a documentary that you'd recommend? Added other materials to your library collection related to the values of SRRT membership? We invite you to write a review! Selected reviews are published quarterly in the newsletter. We invite you to have a look at our submission guidelines and submit your reviews to SRRTreviews [at] gmail.com.
- Write an article: SRRT Newsletter is always looking to add pieces on social issues, especially how these intersect with librarianship. Perhaps you read something in previous issues of the newsletter that you're interested in responding to or adding your voice? We welcome and want your submissions. The guidelines for article submissions, as well as the process of sending in submissions, are below.
Do you have other suggestions for how people can get more involved with SRRT? Please post those ideas on the discussion list or Facebook page for more discussion.
by Laura Koltutsky, SRRT Councilor, Social Sciences Librarian, University of Calgary Libraries and Cultural Resources
Annual Conference resulted in Council discussing several resolutions that would be of interest to SRRT members. Additionally, the Final Report of the ALA Task Force on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion and a Report to the ALA Council and Executive Board from the ALA Conference Accessibility Task Force were presented.
If you would like to read the 2016 Annual Resolutions in more detail, all Council documents are available on this page: http://www.ala.org/aboutala/council-documents-midwinter-and-annual-conference-2016.
The Resolution on ALA Support for Spectrum Scholarship Program ALA CD#41 was referred to the Budget Analysis and Review Committee (BARC) due to possible financial implications. The resolution spoke of the need for dedicated staff within the Office for Diversity, Literacy, and Outreach Services (ODLOS).
The Resolution Concerning the Role of Chapters in the American Library Association ALA CD#40_Revised, Revised was referred to a working group to be appointed by ALA President Julie Todaro at Annual Conference.
The Resolution Urging Immediate Ratification of the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired, or Otherwise Print Disabled ALA CD#20.4 was adopted at Council III.
The Resolution in Support of the Professional Cataloging Processes and Determinations of the Library of Congress ALA CD#39 was adopted at Council I. This resolution reaffirmed the decision to retire the "Illegal alien" subject heading.
Some of the resolutions were presented at the Membership Meeting on Saturday, June 25th. The Resolution Calling Upon Libraries to Build More Inclusive Communities ALA CD#44 / ALA MMD#3 was passed by membership at the Membership Meeting and adopted at Council I. This resolution, along with Resolution on Gun Violence Affecting Libraries, Library Workers, and Library Patrons ALA CD#45 / ALA MMD#4 represented the bulk of discussion at the Membership Meeting. Membership spoke eloquently on both resolutions and they both passed at Membership Meeting. Council did adopt the Resolution Calling Upon Libraries to Build More Inclusive Communities at Council I but the resolution on gun violence was in the end referred to a working group.
As SRRT Councilor, I struggled with many of the conversations at Annual conference around the gun violence resolution. The resolution was referred to the Committee on Legislation (COL), Intellectual Freedom Committee (IFC), and the Task Force on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. Attempts were made at conference to draft a compromise resolution but this was unsuccessful. Based on the process used to draft a Mass Surveillance Resolution that was adopted at Midwinter, it was hoped that a working group could develop a compromise resolution before Midwinter in Atlanta.
SRRT was asked to provide a member to participate in the working group with other membership from Council, IFC, COL, the Task Force on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, along with ALA staff from Washington Office. As the SRRT member of the Gun Violence Resolution working group, I emphasized the need for transparency and the ability for both Council and membership to provide feedback on drafts of a new resolution. Feedback was sough on ALA Connect http://connect.ala.org/node/257792 and through an anonymous Google form. The working group is currently working with the feedback gathered.
I would like to indicate that the resolution the working group had been given was quite different from that which was submitted initially in Orlando. This resolution given to the working group was one that had gone through multiple drafts at Annual 2016. The Discussion Draft dated September 19, 2016 is available through the ALA Connect link above.
submitted by Kenny Garcia, SRRT Secretary
- Social Responsibilities Round Table
- Action Council I & II Meetings
- ALA Annual Conference 2016, Orlando, FL
- SRRT Action Council I
- Saturday, June 25
- 8:30-11:30 a.m.
In attendance: Diedre Conkling (Coordinator), Nikki Winslow (Nominations Committee Chair),Kenny Garcia (Secretary), Al Kagan (Membership Committee Chair), Tom Twiss (Action Council Member), Mark Hudson (Freedom to Read Foundation & PLG Liaison), Charles Kratz (Treasurer), Laura Koltutsky (SRRT Councilor), Mary Biblo, Ginny Moore, Gary Colmenar, Damon McGhee, LaJuan Pringle (MLKTF Representative)
I. Welcome and Introductions
A. Reminder about the Membership Social with SustainRT at Marlow's Tavern from 5:30-7pm
B. Social with Spectrum and LLAMA next year?
1. SRRT may possibly coordinate a social with Spectrum and LLAMA at next year's annual conference.
II. Review of Agenda
1. Discussion on endorsing resolution in support of LOC cataloging process brought forward by ALCTS councilor.
A. Gun Violence
1. The resolution builds on previous SRRT resolution passed last year. IFRT discussed it and endorsed it in principle. Al moved to endorse it, Laura seconded. Motion passed.
B. Coverage of Medically Necessary Procedures for Transgender Library Employees
1. The language used is cautious and could be made stronger. The resolution should also include language on supporting family and dependants covered by their insurance. A resolved clause should be added to address how ALA would support coverage within the benefits provided to its employees. Charles moved to endorse it in principle, Kenny seconded. Motion passed. Nikki will email comments to Peter.
2. The discussion on full endorsement of resolution will occur at next Action Council meeting.
C. ALA Support for Spectrum Scholarship
1. The discussion on endorsement of resolution will occur at next Action Council meeting.
D. Motion on Walmart
1. The motion will be discussed at next Action Council meeting.
E. LOC cataloging process
1. Laura shared a resolution brought forward by the ALCTS councillor to ALA Council in support of the Library of Congress' process on revising subject headings. Charles moved to endorse it, Laura seconded. Motion passed.
A. Congratulations to Julie Marie Frye and Mary Biblo!
B. Appointment of a SRRT member to Action Council
1. There is an open at-large Action Council position that needs to be filled. Nikki will contact write-in candidates, send an appeal to membership via email, promote at social, and ask for volunteers at next Action Council meeting.
1. Budget remains healthy.
2. Charles expressed concern about providing financial support in travel grants to SRRT task force coordinators.
3. Kudos should be given to John Amundsen for all of the support given to SRRT.
B. Membership Committee
1. 14.2% increase in membership from the same period in 2015 (month of June), which is now at 1,091 members (June 2016 numbers).
2. Letters are being sent out monthly to members who have dropped and new members. Letters were sent out to library schools, but it was difficult to find one person at each campus to reach out to. Charles volunteered to reach out to the University of Maryland.
3. Discussion on how to get people who recently joined SRRT to become more involved. Nikki and Charles volunteered to coordinate the Nominations Committee. Should Action Council term limits be discussed at Midwinter or Annual Conference?
C. Newsletter - Melissa
1. Moved to tomorrow's agenda
a) Election of Cicely Douglas
b) Reappointment of Rebecca Martin on Editorial Board
c) Search for a new Newsletter Editor after Melissa
d) The expansion of media reviews
D. IFC Liaison - Charles
1. Moved to tomorrow's agenda
E. Legislative Assembly - Diedre
1. The Legislative Assembly discussed LSTA funding, Copyright laws, and Patriot Act
2. The Assembly wants to strengthen its relationship with next president
F. COL Liaison
1. Need a volunteer to attend meetings during Annual & Midwinter Conference
G. Task Forces
1. Proposal about funding for Task Force Coordinators - Julie
a) Julie shared a proposal to provide financial support to task force coordinators. As an alternative, a professional development grant of $250-$500 was proposed. Charles will lead a subcommittee charged with developing criteria, guidelines, conditions, and process. Charles will ask Julie to join the subcommittee. Information will be shared via email, and Charles will present for a vote at Midwinter.
2. Feminist Task Force
a) FTF is responsible for this year's Introduction to Women's Issues discussion at Annual.
b) Women in History project is conducting a Wikipedia edit-a-thon
c) ALA SRRT website needs to be updated with information on Amelia Bloomer project.
(1) Permission given for a volunteer from Amelia Bloomer project to update Amelia Bloomer section on SRRT ALA website.
3. MLK Jr. Holiday
a) Taskforce will participate in Annual Conference Diversity Fair
b) Coordinating the screening of "3' minutes" at Annual
c) Planning Sunrise Celebration in Atlanta
d) Will revive summer programs on MLK and other social justice themes
e) Need guidelines on archiving materials
(1) Will work with John Amundsen on ALA archival guidelines
a) Palestine program is being held tomorrow
(1) Publicity being done throughout ALA
(2) Interview will be held with American Libraries
(3) Interview with Progressive Librarian will be published in journal
(4) Radio interview
(5) John Amundsen's assistance was incredible
b) Next year's program possibilities
(1) Focus on climate change and partnering with SustainRT
(2) Discussion with Eric Snowden & Eric Holder
(3) Economic impact on European libraries
c) Al will be coordinator next year
5. Hunger, Homelessness and Poverty
a) There is a new listserv created to discuss homelessness issues within library spaces
b) Taskforce will nominate co-coordinator to serve with Julie
c) Vote to nominate Julie as Co-Coordinator
(1) Taskforce will nominate co-coordinator to serve with Julie
d) People to work with ODLOS on grant-funded Homelessness Educator
(1) Julie will explore this opportunity
(2) Suggestion was made to revise text from "may include" to "should include"
(3) SRRT considers it a priority for ALA to apply to grant funds and that the educator position should be held for at least a year
(4) Kenny moved a motion to support a grant funded homelessness educator, Charles seconded. Motion passed.
(a) This motion should be sent to whomever the ODLOS Director reports to
VI. Open Forum/Conclusion
- SRRT Action Council II
- Sunday, June 26
- 3:00-4:00 p.m.
In attendance: Diedre Conkling (Coordinator), Nikki Winslow (Nominations Committee Chair), Kenny Garcia (Secretary), Al Kagan (Membership Committee Chair), Tom Twiss (Action Council Member), Mark Hudson (Freedom to Read Foundation & PLG Liaison), Charles Kratz (Treasurer), Laura Koltutsky (SRRT Councilor), Mary Biblo, Meaghan Hunt Wilson, Peter Hepburn (Executive Council Liaison)
I. Welcome and Introductions
II. Newsletter - Megan
A. Election of Cicely Douglas
1. Charles moved to elect Cicely, Mark seconded. Motion passed.
B. Reappointment of Rebecca Martin on Editorial Board
1. Mark moved to reappoint Rebecca, Charles seconded. Motion passed.
C. Search for a new Newsletter Editor after Melissa
1. Melissa's appointment as newsletter editor will be up for election at next annual conference.
D. The expansion of media reviews
1. Discussion on opening reviews up to non-SRRT members (ALA members)
a) SRRT newsletter reviews should reflect the SRRT mission and vision.
b) Current guidelines restrict reviews to SRRT members.
c) There is oversight from the editor.
d) Newsletter committee will review guidelines submissions text and submit revised text at next Midwinter meeting.
e) Revised text will be voted on by Action Council at next Midwinter meeting
III. COL Update
A. Discussed on privacy guidelines for library websites
B. Discussed privacy guidelines for data exchange
C. Discussed privacy guidelines for library management systems
D. Discussed library privacy guidelines for public access
E. Discussed developing a makerspaces guide
F. Created a taskforce to develop an interpretation on equity, diversity, and inclusion within the library bill of rights
G. Committee is seeking a representative from SRRT
1. Mark volunteered
2. Charles will continue to attend meetings
A. Coverage of Medically Necessary Procedures for Transgender Library Employees
1. GLBRT decided to pull back the resolution until Midwinter
a) Coverage also needs to be addressed within ALA in how ALA provides benefits to its employees and dependents
B. ALA Support for Spectrum Scholarship
1. Discussion produced questions on the financial implications for ALA. How feasible is it to add another staff member?
2. Al moved to endorse it, Tom seconded. Motion passed.
C. Motion on Walmart
1. Concern was expressed regarding the potential partnership between ALA and Walmart, which has a history of notorious labor practices as well as same-sex bias. More information is needed on this partnership. Al moved it in principle, Tom seconded. Motion passed.
D. Gun Violence
1. Gun violence resolution referred to COL and will be presented at ALA Council III.
E. Deaf culture resolution referred to ASCLA and COL will be presented at ALA Council III.
F. Chapters resolution will be discussed at ALA Council III.
G. LOC resolution passed.
H. Inclusive communities resolution passed.
I. The IRC is proposing a Resolution on the restoration of the United Nations Depository Library System
1. Tom moved to endorse it, Charles seconded. Motion passed.
V. Summary of Planning and Budget Assembly Meeting
A. Peter Hepburn (Executive Council Liaison)
1. Information on endowment fund and answers to SRRT Action Council's previous questions regarding openness of information on socially responsible investment have not been addressed
a) Diedre should contact Susan to meet with SRRT Action Council at Midwinter.
2. SRRT membership are up
3. Update on Task Force on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
a) Executive Board accepted all 58 recommendations. Martin and Melissa will co-chair implementation task force
4. Update on Task Force on Accreditation
a)Discussions have already begun with ALISE and ASSIST. The taskforce will be discussing this topic with roundtables and ALA membership. SRRT Action Council will develop a statement.
(1) Deadline for input is mid-October.
5. Wal-mart motion will be discussed at Executive Council II when ALA Washington office makes their report to board. SRRT Action Council shared their concerns with Peter.
6. Mary expressed concern with image used in recruitment of ALA members as not diverse.
A. SRRT will continue to recruit for new Action Council members.
1. Motion was made to appoint Mark Hudson as a full Action Council member.
a) Charles moved it, Laura seconded. Motion passed.
by Julie Ann Winkelstein, SRRT HHPTF Co-coordinator, postdoctoral researcher, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
To extend my experiences with addressing homelessness through libraries, I joined the IFLA section on Library Services to People with Special Needs (LSN), which includes homelessness as one of the living conditions that may be a barrier to library services. LSN is currently working on a set of international guidelines for libraries around the world that are interested in knowing more about what they can do and what others are doing. More information about the process for creating these guidelines, including related documents, meetings and presentations, can be found here: http://www.ifla.org/node/9764.
We started with a survey and are now working on the second draft of the Guidelines. As one way of gathering feedback and suggestions on this document, as well as sharing information about homelessness and libraries, we offered a panel at the recent IFLA conference in Columbus, Ohio. This panel included a social worker, librarians from North Carolina and Queens Library in New York City, as well as a librarian from Croatia, who showed a video she created, highlighting interviews with library users who had been experiencing homelessness. For my part, I offered an overview of the Guidelines. The full papers for these presentations are available on the IFLA 2016 conference schedule website, under Session 147, held Tuesday August 16, 2016, from 1:45 to 3:45 p.m.
After the presentation we collected names of library staff who are interested in providing feedback on the second draft of the Guidelines. If you would also like to review this draft and offer suggestions or comments, please email me and I'll be sure your name is included in our email list.
At the IFLA conference, Vikki Terrile (from Queens Library) and I also presented a poster session on the representation of home and homelessness in children's and young adult literature. Our poster was titled: "Looking for Home: Missing Voices in Children's and Young Adult Literature," and it included comments on themes and illustrations in this literature.
Vikki looked at how home is represented in 150 picture books and as you can see by the poster, the representation tends to be middle class homes, with single families and ample living space. So children who are living doubled up in small apartments or who are living in shelters aren't seeing their homes represented. And as we know from the many articles written about diverse or multicultural literature, it's important children see themselves reflected in these works. It's also critical all children gain insights into lives unlike their own. This is how we create a supportive and all-inclusive society : by offering all members equal representation. We are far from that, of course, but we can continue to fight for it and this poster was one effort to do that.
For my part of the poster, I read 100 children's and young adult books, looking at how homelessness is represented. Most of the books were focused on a character experiencing homelessness, such as Great Joy written by Kate DiCamillo and illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline, Mutt Dog by Stephen Michael King, Dirty Wings by Sarah McCarry, and The Prince of Venice Beach by Blake Nelson. A few had incidental characters who appeared to be experiencing homelessness, but these are much more challenging to find, since homelessness isn't in the keyword or the subject term. As I read the books, I asked specific questions, such as: Who holds the power? Who does the saving? Who is saved? Why were these characters included? How do the descriptions of these characters compare to the terms used to describe the housed ones?
I found consistent themes in the books. A popular one is benevolence. For example, in Great Joy (which, by the way, has lovely illustrations), Frances is a young girl who is concerned about the organ grinder she sees from her bedroom window. So she invites him to her church, where she is performing in a play and where he can enjoy the warmth, food and company of others. It gives Frances "great joy" to do this and the book is really about her - it's a moral lesson on the joys of giving. The downside to this joy is that it is patronizing and disempowering for the organ grinder, since he becomes a cause rather than a person. We see this same theme in Last Stop on Market Street written by Matt de la Pe'a and illustrated by Christian Robinson (again, excellent illustrations). As I read this self-conscious attempt at representing the interactions of a grandson and his nana, I was disappointed to find they were riding the bus to serve a meal at a homeless shelter. What a difference it would have made if they were staying at the shelter instead!
The language related to homelessness is another theme. Missing teeth, dirty clothes, odor, "less fortunate," desperate for company, dependent - no matter the story, at some point negative language appears. One of my favorites is when a character is praised for treating people experiencing homelessness "just like people." What else would they be?
One reason for my research was to highlight the importance of considering the representation of homelessness when selecting materials for a library or classroom. Our work in this task force is dedicated to examining the many ways we, as librarians, can address homelessness in our libraries. Collection development is one of those.
For more information about this task force and how you can participate in the work we do, please contact me. I'd love to hear from you.
by Al Kagan, Coordinator, International Responsibilities Task Force. African Studies Bibliographer and Professor of Library Administration Emeritus - University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign and Tom Twiss, Liaison Librarian Emeritus, University of Pittsburgh
The International Responsibilities Task Force of SRRT, together with Librarians and Archivists with Palestine (LAP), organized a program entitled "Palestinian Libraries Under Occupation" for the 2016 ALA Annual Conference. The program was held on Sunday June 26 at the Hyatt Regency in Orlando and was attended by approximately 50 librarians. The two speakers were Jerusalem Randa Kamal, formerly the Director of Libraries at Al-Quds University in Jerusalem and currently President of the Palestinian Library and Information Association (PIIA), and Diana Sayej-Naser, Director of the Main Library at Birzeit University in Birzeit, Palestine, and General Coordinator of the Palestinian Library and Information Consortium (PALICO).
Their presentations focused on the severe problems and challenges that the Israeli occupation has posed for Palestinian libraries. These have included:
- the massive appropriation of private collections of Palestinian books and manuscripts in 1948 the subsequent incorporation of these materials into Israeli libraries
- the destruction of Palestinian libraries during the Israeli incursions into the West Bank in 2002 and Gaza in 2008-2009 and 2014
- current restrictions on the import of books from other Arab countries
- continuing confiscations of specific book and journal titles
- travel restrictions within Palestine and between the Occupied Territories and Israel that have an impact library users and limit cross-institutional collaboration and training
- the periodic closure of universities
The two speakers also suggested various ways that librarians and library organizations in other countries can help Palestinian libraries. In this regard they emphasized the importance of statements and resolutions on behalf of freedom of movement and free expression within Palestine and Israel. They also asked for assistance in the training of Palestinian librarians through webinars, the participation of international librarians in exchange programs and visits to Palestine, and fellowships for Palestinian librarians studying abroad. Finally, they spoke of their need for material aid in the form of book donations, provision of free access to e-resources, and financial support for digitization projects.
For an informative article and ALA Youtube interview with Randa and Diana, see "Academic Libraries in Palestine: Challenges and frustrations of information access in the Palestinian territories", American Libraries, June 27, 2016.
For the 2017 annual ALA conference, our task force is cooperating with the Sustainability Round Table--ALA's newest round table--to present a program on climate change. We are hoping to have a high profile speaker. Please watch for details in the near future.
by LaJuan Pringle, Coordinator, Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Task Force, Library Manager -- Charlotte Mecklenburg Library
The Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Task Force participated in the 2016 Diversity and Outreach Fair sponsored by DEMCO. The Task Force used the Fair as an opportunity to promote the results of the final report that was published by the Task Force on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (TF-EDI). The web links of the report were shared with participants who stopped by the table.
I participated as a panelist for the ALA Video Round Table's screening of 3 1/2 Minutes, 10 Bullets, a documentary that explores the death of 17-year-old Jordan Davis at the hands of Michael Dunn, 45. The film explores the teen's death through the lens of his parents and friends. The documentary also explores the state of Florida's Stand Your Ground law, which was the basis for Dunn's defense. The film touches on the subjective nature while simultaneously addressing the racial aspects of the case (Davis is black, Dunn is white). The documentary reflects conversations that are taking place all around the country regarding social justice, the Black Lives Matter movement, and privilege.
The Task Force is currently planning the Martin Luther King Jr. Sunrise Celebration during the 2017 Midwinter Meeting in Atlanta. We hope to finalize details within the upcoming weeks.
by LaJuan Pringle, Member - Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion - Implementation Working Group, Library Manager -- Charlotte Mecklenburg Library
The Task Force on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (TF-EDI) wrapped up its work in Orlando with a report highlighting the climate of the Association with regards to EDI, as well as a host of recommendations that will enable the Association to improve on EDI. The recommendations fall into six specific areas:
- Conference Program Planning
- ALA actions for all Annual Conferences
- Working with the community for ALA host cities
- Association Priorities and Planning
- Membership and Participation
- Recruitment, Education, and Retention
The recommendations are as wide-ranging from implementing a free pre-conference on diversity issues to developing and implementing a long-term library profession recruitment plan. TF-EDI introduced these ideas. Now comes the task putting them into action.
The TF-EDI recognized that reaching these goals would take some time. As a result, they also recommended that another group would follow them in turning these ideas into actions. The second phase of ALA's EDI efforts will consist of work generated by the Implementation Working Group (EDI-IWG). EDI-IWG has already met and begun ranking the recommendations from easy to difficult. We are also reaching out to divisions that have a stake in the recommendations before any implementation begins. EDI-IWG will work over the next three years to implement as many recommendations as possible. Thank you for your support in meeting these important milestones.
Submitted by Nikitia Wilson, EMIERT Membership Committee Chair
ALA Annual 2016 Wrap Up:
EMIERT held its General Membership Meeting for current members and those interested in joining the round table.
Eatonville Bus Tour attendees had an opportunity to visit one of the first self-governing all-black municipalities in the U.S., and the hometown of author Zora Neale Hurston.
EMIERT sponsored three panels. Inter-cultural Programs and Academic Libraries: An Urban Perspective provided suggestions on how academic library programs and librarians can support social justice through promoting inter-cultural understanding with diverse programming.
Chronicle of a People: Over 250 Years of Florida Jewish History was facilitated with the help of the Jewish Museum of Florida-Florida International University (FIU). Photographs with riveting backstories of Jews who contributed to building the third largest Jewish population in the nation were shared and discussed.
Let the Circle be Unbroken: Meditations on a Successful Mentoring Circle in 2014 provided a glimpse into a mentoring program developed by Dr. Manoucheka Celeste to pair students from underrepresented groups with faculty to meet their individual needs.
The David Cohen/EMIERT Multicultural Award was presented to Jaena Alabi, Reference Librarian at Auburn University for her article "Racial Microaggressions in the Academic Library Environment: Results of a Survey in Minority and Non-minority Librarians." The award included $500 and a commemorative plaque.
A call for nominations for the Distinguished Librarian Award began in September. The deadline was October 31, 2016. The winner will be announced at ALA midwinter 2017 and will receive the award at ALA Annual 2017 in Chicago. The award recognizes significant accomplishments in library services that are national or international in scope and include improving, spreading, and promoting multicultural librarianship. For more information about the award visit http://www.ala.org/emiert/emiertawards/emiertawards.
Submitted by Deb Sica, GLBTRT Chair
Sunday morning, June 12th, the news broke of a massacre at the Pulse Night Club. Leaving 49 innocents dead and 53 innocents wounded, no response seemed appropriate. Immediately, the GLBTRT membership struggled to make sense of the horrifying scenes in the national media.
Some of us were in complete shock and astonishment, some of us jumped into immediate and thoughtful response and some of us turned to the listserv with generous and powerful offers of responsive action. Immediately, ALA was there to support at the intersections of REFORMA and GLBTRT for the Latinx Communities. On Monday morning, we starting considering the ways we would bravely confront this unimaginable act of violence. The ALA staff and leadership were immediately responsive. We had several conference calls to discuss the overall membership feedback as we considered numerous options that would respectfully, but boldly say, "We, as a profession, stand strong with the victims and their families and against any and all violence to the GLBTQIA Latinx community." From the rainbow ribbons at conference registration to the Morning Memorial graced by the words of Representative John Lewis, from the 3M+Biblioteca Post-It Wall to the vendor support displayed at nearly every booth in the Exhibit Hall, from the OIF Read-a-thon to Queery's throwback Hug-a-Homosexual event, we came to understand what it meant to be in Orlando. The GLBTRT Social was the pivotal point of coming together for many. We celebrated enduring Pride and nothing was lost in the conversational comparisons of lives lost inside Pulse and the lives threatened inside Stonewall Inn.
ALA conferences, as many of you know, are planned decades in advance. Orlando had been set and reset for many years before this incredible act of violence. But still, we struggled with what being in Orlando would mean; both because of the Stand Your Ground Laws and in the shadow of the Pulse massacre. We discussed safety--safety for RT membership, safety for those attending the GLBTRT Social, safety for the authors coming for the Stonewall Awards. And we had to accept that our hardened reality was that no place is safe. With wild swings in just one year's time, we went from Marriage Equality in San Francisco to the life-stealing violence of Orlando. One quick year reminded many of us that time is never a promised continuum. Many individuals also acted. Some dusted off trusty button makers, others cut out Freedom Flag stickers and some made customized t-shirts. On one early morning walk, I ran into a group of incredible high school students chalking the sidewalks with simple messages of solidarity and unity. And through conversations and session topics, librarians of diverse backgrounds creatively and thoughtfully expressed what it meant to be at this very juncture in history together. Some of us even went out to the hallowed ground, spoke with people close to the victims and saw the makeshift roadside memorials and relics. Others of us could not bring ourselves to go to the site because on some level the pain was just too close for comfort. And whether you went to Pulse or not, the realization that we were helpless to random violence was seemingly insurmountable.
However, we did go and overcome as part of the long arc of ALA history. As Jody Gray, ODLOS Director, wrote to the departmental affiliates, "I don't have any answers. I don't have any words of wisdom. I don't even believe I can be all that comforting. I am just as exhausted and heartbroken as all of you are. What I do think is important, is that you know that as the director of this office I am aware and grappling with the reality of the violence that continues to impact all of the communities we work with. It is not only the communities we serve, but the people within our profession." And, GLBTRT did rise again out of Orlando. Many of us went to ALA Annual conference in Orlando scared and left brave, went angry but left inspired and reinvigorated, went isolated and left with a sense of comradery. We left proud that we could come home and provide spaces for our students and patrons to overcome bias. And, we were reminded we can build collections that can be used to debase hate-filled fallacy and we can hire staff reflective of our communities served. Our interactions are powerful and we foster conversations that can deescalate quick and reactionary violence. We left Orlando reminded and renewed that we are change agents with a deep commitment and responsibility to equity, diversity and inclusion for all. Lest we be reminded of that commitment, here.
Submitted by Rebekkah Smith Aldrich, SustainRT Member-at-Large
SustainRT presented several programs at ALA Annual Conference 2016. We were very pleased to find that two of the programs were covered by American Libraries: Striving for Sustainability: Four Librarians Show How They're Spreading Awareness and Sustainable Thinking for Libraries: There's More to It than Going Green.
In other highlights, SustainRT and SRRT co-hosted a social event for members at the Annual conference to celebrate our many connections and shared values. It was a great chance to unwind and meet new friends and colleagues.
Contribute to the Sustainable Libraries Database: The Sustainability Round Table is collecting information on books, articles, websites, blogs, social groups, and projects that fall under the umbrella of Sustainable Libraries. Please use this form to suggest resources or projects that will become part of our SustainRT Sustainability Database: http://goo.gl/forms/JMP8ua7GT6.
Membership in SustainRT is $10 per year. Add SustainRT to your membership!
From the board of SustainRT, we look forward to another great year and the opportunities for continued collaboration!
Review by Meaghan Hunt-Wilson, SRRT Newsletter Reviews Editor
A Path Appears is a documentary that informs its viewers by appealing both to one's emotions and to one's intellect. Reporter Nicholas Kristof, who authored a 2014 book by the same title, follows the links between gender inequality and poverty both in the United States and abroad. In the vein of his columns written for The New York Times, Kristof illuminates these closely-linked issues in three chapters: "Sex Trafficking in the USA," "Breaking the Cycle of Poverty," and "Violence and Solutions."
As a public librarian and literacy advocate, I saw the link between this documentary and library work right away-- we see the poor in our libraries daily. I believe it is our responsibility to better understand the hardships these patrons face in order to provide the best service possible. Kristof's work, including this documentary, provide a basis for doing so. Whether our patrons face domestic violence or hunger, human trafficking or addiction, we know that these hardships shape information behaviors. This documentary helped me to more fully understand the links between these interrelated issues, and to more fully consider how they might impact the ways in which we deliver library service.
Throughout the film, Kristof joins a number of celebrity advocates including Jennifer Garner, Mia Farrow, Ashley Judd, and others who champion causes related to women and poverty. While I am usually skeptical of actors appearing in this type of work, I found all of the advocates to be well-informed and well-spoken regarding the issues on which they spoke. In addition, these guests tie in to the documentary a number of nonprofit organizations with which they are involved. These resources, together with Kristof's book and the film, present a strong basis for anyone (information professionals included) to better understand the issues and how to get involved as an advocate. Even for viewers who do not wish to offer their free time or donations just yet, an awareness of the issues and resources are, again, helpful to anyone working out in the community.
The film aired as a series on PBS in 2015; A Path Appears is now available to stream on iTunes, Amazon, and Netflix, and has also been released on DVD.
by b. binaohan
This essay is an edited reprint from b. binaohan's blog. As such, it makes references to other posts and other online materials, which we continue to link in this issue. Many thanks to b. binaohan for permitting us to reprint this post in this issue of the SRRT Newsletter. b. binaohan is a philosopher on many subjects pertinent to social justice, especially those of us interested in the social responsibilities of our profession. binaohan's writing can be seen in many places online.
This morning I'm tickled by a confluence of events in libraryland. First is Cecily's comment about how this year's National Diversity in Libraries Conference (NDLC16) was again focused on being at the starting line. Filled with 101-level discourse and personal confessionals about how un-diversity (i.e., structural oppression) has harmed people. Then I read a rant about how all librarians are morally obliged to read diverse books. Then seeing the thread about this article on ALATT. All of which brings me to the glowing knowledge of why diversity is always doomed to fail in librarianship....
Because 'we' don't want it. I say we because I'm still technically a librarian and thus in the field (although since I've stepped away from academic activities and advocacy and I only work part-time it's a tenuous connection now). But look. Much like the diversity discourse in tech, all of this is just about posturing and all these conferences, papers, discussions, twitter chats, etc., will all amount to nothing. Which is unfortunate and sad.
Part of the problem is described in my post about Nice White LadiesTM and their role in the library. This problem isn't limited to white women, of course, with white male librarians being equally as awful in this exact same way. This problem is further compounded by the history of librarianship as being inextricably tied to the white savior complex.
Modern librarianship (marked by the rise of the public library) is and always has been about 'saving' the poor, uneducated masses and indoctrinating us so that we can be 'good citizens.' This same spirit infuses the core ethics of the field today, as we make sweeping claims about universal access to information, about how we support democracy, and how necessary we are for 'free' information.
Again complicated by narratives about why white women (since the majority of library workers are white women) get involved with librarianship. The field is gendered as a whole and we often treat it like a vocational calling. A thing we do because of a desire to help, rather than the paltry economic rewards. More than anyone else, librarians love to mythologize the librarian as heroic hero to the people. We are the Robin Hoods of Information!
In such a context it becomes impossible to make substantive changes addressing institutional oppression because we are too heavily invested in a narrative wherein the institution we exist in is Good and we are Good for working within it. And this is the primary value/assumption/myth that was the entire point of "Locating the Library in Institutional Oppression". A way to contextualize our institution and field in relationship to the historical processes that surrounded their current manifestation. A way to move beyond myths and start grappling with the reality of librarianship.
Except.... This isn't something a lot of people in the field really want to deal with. It's an uncomfortable truth that gets brushed aside whenever signs of it manage to break into our 'somebody else's problem' bubble of ignorance. Social justice/ethics/political philosophy is one of the few areas where you'll regularly spot information 'professionals' pretending that their uninformed and ignorant opinion is as solid as fact.
Example: One of the comments responding to the 'everyone must read diverse books' command was that this was unnecessary so long as we keep up with reviews and such in our literature. Which sounds like a reasonable thing until you remember that: the publishing industry as a whole isn't diverse in that people of color and other marginalized people are vastly under-represented. And then until you remember that, there are LIS studies that show that LGBT literature simply gets fewer reviews from library journals -- even when these are award winning books.
From the sounds of it (admittedly I haven't looked that deeply) it looks like NDLC16 was attended by a lot of the usual suspects. People I like and admire and who I know care a great deal about the issue. But we long ago reached the point where we are just preaching to the choir. The people who need to hear about this stuff the most aren't ever likely to bother attending such an event.
Most of them aren't even willing to do the most rudimentary research into what racism is (as an example). At least not beyond the standard 'reference resource' we call the dictionary. I read that ALATT thread and realized that most white librarians care more about being called a racist than they do about their complicity in a white supremacist institution like the library.
The thing is, your average librarian is exactly the kind of person who is the worst type of person to discuss this sort of thing with. White liberals in general react the most viciously when you start bringing up institutional racism and how it functions.
Recall the Nice White LadyTM. Recall the myth of the (white) librarian as white savior. How do you tell people who're 100% convinced that what they are doing is Good? That simply going on as they are is already a net positive for the world. I mean... they are democratizing information! They help create knowledge! They provide social programming!
After "Locating the Library" was published, people I know who are otherwise engaged in this discourse still tried to get my agreement that, overall, libraries are Good even if they are literal institutions of white supremacy. They are white supremacist, but it isn't like libraries are the police right? Or the judicial system? Couldn't we be reformed? Isn't there still something fundamentally good about libraries (and thus librarians) even if our current execution is flawed?
At that point I think I did believe that libraries could be redeemed and reformed. Now? No. It can't be. And the problem lies within us. It is because we, as a field, have very little desire to change in the radical, necessary ways that could make reform possible, that reform will never be possible.
You look at that ALATT thread and several others I've had the misfortune of reading and you realize: this is not a field invested in change. It's impossible to convince people who already believe that they are Good that change is necessary. Why change when what we do and what we are is already Good?
Libraries like the police, the judicial system, the current government, absolutely need to be dismantled. They are not better (and not worse) than those institutions, as they all belong to the same complicated web of oppression. People tend to point to our values as evidence that there is something good at the core of libraries. Except that all the other major institutions of oppression also have high-minded ideals. Police are to 'protect and serve'. The judicial system is about justice. The government/democracy are about our freedom. And on it goes.
All of these institutions have admirable values and ideals. All of them fail to come even close to touching any meaningful manifestation of those ideals. All of them must be dismantled in order for us to be free and for us to move forward.
At the end of it. Because (most) librarians don't want change, libraries aren't redeemable. And librarians are the main reason why libraries as we know them today must be dismantled along with all the other oppressive remnants of enlightenment ideology.
While I have other reasons for disliking that rant, the responses to it are far more informative than the actual article. Also here's the citation to the paper I was talking about: Howard, Vivian. 2005. Out of the Closet...But Not on the Shelves? An Analysis of Canadian Public Libraries' Holdings of Gay-Themed Picture Books. Progressive Librarian(25):62. http://www.progressivelibrariansguild.org/PL_Jnl/contents25.shtml
"How dare you call me a racist!? I put up a display for Black history month!"
By Anita Coleman anita.coleman [at] sjsu.edu
Shortly after the June 2015 Charleston AME Church shooting, my intellectual curiosity was stirred by the lack of empathy from a few of my friends, for the family and friends of those murdered. On July 7, 2015, I launched the Anti-racism Digital Library and the International Anti-racism Thesaurus (ADL/T). A research and development initiative I first investigated the Library of Congress Subject Heading "anti-racism" as assigned to books and scholarly articles in order to understand their uses. I found anti-racism was often conflated to racism, as when theological books written from an anti-racism perspective were assigned the subject heading Race relations (but not anti-racism). The tenets of Critical Race Theory hold that race is a social construction; racism is endemic, and institutional. Newer theories of classification have conclusively shown that human categorization does not conform to the classical view of hierarchies; language and fuzzy boundaries play a powerful role in how we construct categories. I pondered: How can we eliminate racism if we keep using the language of race and don't understand that of anti-racism?
The ADL/T is an attempt to answer this and similar related questions. The ADL/T seeks to serve as a clearinghouse for anti-racism related resources. Collections such as A Mote in Minerva's Eye, Comfort Women, Presbyterian Women, Progressive Christians Uniting, The Intercultural Church, and OC Cities for CEDAW, showcase diverse information resources by and about people, regions, and communities. Although some of these have a clear Southern California origin, they are nevertheless a microcosm of the larger world representing different geographical origins and culture, language group and faith traditions : Atheists, Buddhists, Christians of all denominations and non-denominations, Hindus, Humanists, Muslims, and more. Other collections such as the Anti-racist Identity, Racial Imagination, American Identity, Christian Imagination, Intersectional Invisibility, Golden Rule and American Myths (the last two forthcoming) offer new language for fueling imagination with concepts and categories that describe humanity. Emerging from the research they bring together information resources created by diverse people, groups and projects that are promoting anti-racism to help and build inclusive and caring communities. The goal of the Thesaurus is to help in the indexing and cataloging of information resources about anti-racism with headings that make clear for example, its characteristics.
Anti-racism is defined as some form of focused and sustained action, by a mix of people which includes inter-cultural, inter-faith, multi-lingual and inter-abled communities with the intent to change a system or an institutional policy, practice, or procedure which has racist effects. Intersectional invisibility, that is, discrimination and oppression in the margins and intersections of society: Class (social, economic, education), gender, language, culture and the role of faith in making the global local, empowering and supporting individuals and groups to act locally while interacting and collaborating regionally, nationally and internationally to eradicate systemic injustice, and enable fairness/equity and justice, are of special interest.
Dedication: "Libraries are always inclusive, never exclusive." - Cynthia Hurd, a 31-year library employee who died in the Emanuel AME church shooting in June 2015. The Anti-racism Digital Library and International Anti-racism Thesaurus is dedicated to the 9 victims of Emmanuel AME Charleston 2015 shooting: Rev. Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, Cynthia Hurd, Rev. Clementa Pinckney, Rev. Daniel Simmons Sr., Myra Thompson, Tywanza Sanders, Rev. DePayne Middleton-Doctor, Susie Jackson, Ethel Lance.
Funding: Funding from the Presbyterian Women of the Synod of Southern California and Hawaii and the Center for Applied Research on Human Services, San Jose State University is gratefully acknowledged.
Invitation to Join the ADL/T and Some Possible Roles:
- Contribute your anti-racism story, art, and other creative work.
- Librarians: Curate and create collections or information resources in an area of interest. Link to the ADL/T and promote it to students, faculty and colleagues; Use the materials in your teaching; Browse the Glossary and Thesaurus pages and help develop the vocabulary of "anti-racism." Other ideas and feedback is welcome!
For more information, please visit the ADL/T: http://endracism.info/.
Are you looking for a way to be more involved in the Social Responsibilities Round Table? Are you passionate about books, media and their role in social responsibility? Do you have excellent writing and editing skills? Are you good at meeting deadlines and encouraging others to meet them as well? If so, membership to the SRRT Newsletter Editorial Board might be just the volunteer position you're looking for!
SRRT Newsletter needs to fill two more openings on the Editorial Board. Editorial Board memberships are finalized by the SRRT Action Council.
If you are interested in becoming a member of the SRRT Editorial Board, please send a copy of your resume/CV, a brief letter of inquiry outlining your qualifications and interest in the position, and a writing sample and/or examples of previous work to Melissa Cardenas-Dow, SRRT Newsletter Editor, at micd.srrt.newsletter [at] gmail.com.
The SRRT Newsletter is always looking for good articles, essays and letters to the editor. The next submission deadline is December 2, 2016.
Submissions to the SRRT Newsletter may be made by any current SRRT Member or SRRT affiliate. Please send your submissions electronically in one of the following formats: MS Word, RTF, PDF, or plain text pasted into the body of an e-mail. Submissions should be 500 to 1,000 words. Graphics are encouraged. If using images that are already on the Internet, the URL of the image and a caption or description may be added to the text of the submission.
Please send original submissions and inquiries to SRRT Newsletter Editor Melissa I. Cardenas-Dow at micd.srrt.newsletter [at] gmail.com, indicating "SRRT Newsletter" within the subject line of your e-mail. A confirmation of receipt will be sent in a timely manner.
Submissions for book or media reviews should be sent to Meaghan Hunt-Wilson, the SRRT Newsletter Reviews Editor at SRRTreviews [at] gmail.com, indicating "Reviews" in the subject line of your e-mail.
Reviews submissions should be sent electronically in MS-Word format or a Word compatible format. Reviewers should keep their reviews to 300-500 words; any length much shorter or longer should be discussed with the reviews editor prior to submission. Reviewers should avoid conflicts of interest. Full disclosure should be made to the reviews editor when appropriate.
SRRT Newsletter is published quarterly by the Social Responsibilities Round Table of the American Library Association. ISSN: 0749-1670. Copyright : 2016 by the Social Responsibilities Round Table. No part of this periodical may be reproduced without permission.
Editor: Melissa I. Cardenas-Dow, micd.srrt.newsletter [at] gmail.com.
Reviews Editor: Meaghan Hunt-Wilson, SRRTreviews [at] gmail.com,
Editorial Board Members: Cicely Douglas, Michael Gorman, and Rebecca Martin.
Views expressed in this newsletter are not necessarily those of ALA/SRRT. The editors reserve the right to edit submitted material as necessary or as whimsy strikes.