SRRT Newsletter - Issue 207, June 2019

Contents

 


Letters from the Co-Editors

by Melissa I. Cardenas-Dow and Julie Winkelstein

Julie Winkelstein

From Julie:

Dear Readers,

Welcome to the June issue of the SRRT Newsletter. As usual for June, we've included information about events and schedules for ALA Annual coming up very soon. For those who are able to attend, we hope to see you at our SRRT events, including the Action Council meetings and the Friday night All Task Force meetings. It is at these meetings that you can engage with the work of SRRT and hear from others who are also committed to social responsibility through libraries.

However, please keep in mind that there are many ways to be involved in SRRT virtually. For example, we are currently looking for new Editorial Board members and would love to hear from you if you would like to join us.

Julie Ann Winkelstein
SRRT Newsletter Co-Editor

 

Melissa Cardenas-Dow

From Melissa:

Hello everyone,

As Julie mentioned this is the pre-ALA Annual Conference issue of the SRRT Newsletter. This issue has information on events and resolutions that many SRRT members have worked on. We hope you can take part.

So many changes abound in SRRT circles, so we invite everyone to become more actively involved. Have a look through this issue and see just a few things we have going on. We hope to see you at one of our programs and events!

Melissa Cardenas-Dow
SRRT Newsletter Co-Editor


 

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SRRT Coordinator's Column

by Charles Kratz, SRRT Coordinator, Dean of the Library and Information Fluency, Weinberg Memorial Library, The University of Scranton, Scranton, Pennsylvania

Charles Kratz

Congratulations to our newly elected SRRT Action Council Members-at-Large:

  • Marna Clowney-Robinson
  • Stavroula Harissis
  • April Sheppard

We look forward to them joining Action Council after the 2019 ALA Annual Conference. And thank you to everyone who stood for election this year.

 

ALA Annual Conference 2019
We look forward to seeing you at the 2019 American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference in Washington, D.C. where the Social Responsibilities Round Table (SRRT) of the American Library Association (ALA) and the Alternative Press Index celebrate 50 years of activities in the broad community of libraries.

We will celebrate each organization's 50th anniversary with a social gathering and discussion with Phyllis Bennis of the Institute for Policy Studies at Busboys & Poets, 450 K St. N.W. in Washington, DC. The event will take place during the Annual Conference of the American Library Association (ALA) on Saturday, June 22nd and runs from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m. Ms. Bennis will speak on "War Dangers Rising: Trump Foreign Policy & Lack Thereof."

It is my great honor to serve as SRRT Coordinator as we celebrate this 50th Anniversary milestone. SRRT is more important than ever in our profession and in today's society as we fight harder than ever for democratic principles and progressive priorities. Concern for human and economic rights was an important element in the founding of SRRT and remains an urgent concern today. Libraries and librarians must recognize and help solve social problems and inequities in order to carry out their mandate to work for the common good and bolster democracy.

The Social Responsibilities Round Table was founded in January 1969 at the tumultuous American Library Association's Midwinter Meeting in Atlantic City. SRRT works to make ALA more democratic and to establish progressive priorities for the Association and the library profession.

The Alternative Press Index is published by the Alternative Press Centre, an independent library in Baltimore, Maryland. It was founded in March 1969 by student activists at Carlton College in Minnesota. The Index fosters progressive social change by providing better access to what used to be called the "Underground Press," and what we now consider alternative, radical, and leftist periodicals.

Phyllis Bennis directs the New Internationalism Project at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, DC. She focuses on the Middle East, U.S. wars, and United Nations issues. She is also a fellow of the Transnational Institute in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Her writing appears regularly in The Nation magazine and other independent periodicals. Among her latest books is Understanding ISIS & the New Global War on Terror: A Primer.

 

SRRT International Responsibilities Task Force (IRTF) program: Stephen Kinzer at ALA Annual 2019
Besides our regular roundtable meetings, the International Responsibilities Task Force of the Social Responsibilities Round Table (SRRT) of the American Library Association (ALA) will present a talk by Stephen Kinzer, noted journalist, author, and scholar on "Subverting Other Peoples' Elections: History and Resources" on June 23, 2019, 1:00 -2:30 p.m. in the Washington Convention Center, Room 158A-B. A few of Stephen Kinzer's books include Bitter Fruit: The Story of the American Coup in Guatemala, with Stephen Schlesinger (1982), All the Shah's Men: An American Coup and the Roots of Middle East Terror (2003); Overthrow: America's Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq (2006), and The True Flag: Theodore Roosevelt, Mark Twain, and the Birth of American Empire (2017).

Stephen Kinzer is an award-winning foreign correspondent who has covered more than 50 countries on five continents. His articles and books have led the Washington Post to place him "...among the best in popular foreign policy storytelling." The Huffington Post wrote "Stephen Kinzer is a journalist of a certain cheeky fearlessness and exquisite timing."

Kinzer spent more than 20 years working for the New York Times, most of it as a foreign correspondent. His foreign postings placed him at the center of historic events and, at times, in the line of fire. While covering world events, he has been shot at, jailed, beaten by police, tear-gassed, and bombed from the air.

From 1983 to 1989, Kinzer was the New York Times bureau chief in Nicaragua, and he covered war and upheaval throughout Central America. From 1990 to 1996, Kinzer was the chief of the New York Times bureau in Berlin. There he covered the transformation of the Eastern European countries and the wars in the former Yugoslavia. From 1996 to 2000, Kinzer headed the newly opened New York Times bureau in Istanbul, Turkey, from where he covered the new nations of Central Asia.

He has taught at Northwestern University and Boston University, and is currently a Senior Fellow in International and Public Affairs at the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University. He writes for various publications including the Boston Globe, The Guardian, and the New York Review of Books.

 

All ALA RTs membership numbers, April 2019
Below is the latest membership breakdown for SRRT and other round tables that saw an increase in April 2019. It lists the name, total number of members, and percent increase compared to last year.

 

ALA Group Membership Numbers Percentage of Growth from Last Year
Social Responsibilities Round Table (SRRT) 1916 +6.27%
Ethic & Multicultural Information Exchange Round Table (EMIERT) 959 +3.12%
Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Round Table (GLBTRT) 1465 +3.68%
Library Instruction Round Table (LIRT) 1813 +1.91%
Library Research Round Table (LRRT) 1373 +0.44%
New Members Round Table (NMRT) 1525 +3.81%
Sustainability Round Table (SUSTRT) 1114 +44.86%

ALA has 58,136, -1.99%

 

SRRT Newsletter is looking for Editorial Board members!
The SRRT newsletter is looking for new Editorial Board members. If you would like to become more involved in SRRT, this is a great way to do that! We need people who are committed to social responsibility and social justice, who are interested in editing, writing and being part of a team, and who have ideas to share about the content of the newsletter, which has been in existence for exactly 50 years. Come contribute to this history! 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 co-editor, at micd.srrt.newsletter@gmail.com and Julie Winkelstein, SRRT Newsletter co-editor at jwinkels@utk.edu.

 

Needed: Web managers for SRRT Website!
Do you have an interest in web design + maintenance, some time to volunteer, and looking to get more involved in SRRT?

The Social Responsibilities Round Table is currently recruiting volunteers to serve on a small team of web managers for SRRT's website. The web management team will be responsible for updating and maintaining the website in a timely fashion, working to ensure the accuracy and functionality of the site while complying with accessibility standards, coordinating cohesion across task force, committee, Action Council, and general pages, and handling routine maintenance tasks such as link checking. One of the first projects of the group will be working with the SRRT staff liaison to determine and implement an updated structure on the website and take an audit of missing information. This team will be considered an ad-hoc committee for the time being, with the possibility of institution as a standing committee.

The website uses Drupal, a content management system, so interested volunteers do not need to have programming or development experience, though we hope to have volunteers with a mix of experience levels! All volunteers should have:

  1. at least a medium comfort level with technology,
  2. time to complete a brief Drupal training and review help documentation shortly after being selected, and
  3. the time and interest to dedicate to the group to improve SRRT's web presence.

 

If you have any pertinent experience, let us know! Note: all volunteers must be current SRRT members.

Please contact SRRT Action Council Coordinator Charles Kratz and SRRT staff liaison Briana Jarnagin if interested.

 

Get involved with SRRT
If you would like to become more involved in SRRT's task forces, please let us know so we can direct you to a task force representative. The SRRT Task Forces are Feminist Task Force (FTF); Hunger, Homelessness, & Poverty Task Force (HHPTF); International Responsibilities Task Force (IRTF); and Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Task Force (MLKTF). You can also click on the volunteer form to use to serve on ALA, Divisions and Round Tables committees/task forces. This form includes volunteer opportunities in SRRT.

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SRRT Schedule at ALA Annual Conference 2019 in Washington, D.C.

ALA Annual Conference 2019

 

Friday, June 21, 2019
SRRT All Task Force Meeting
7:30-9:30 p.m.
Grand Hyatt Washington, Penn Quarter AB

Includes meetings for:

  • Feminist Task Force
  • Hunger, Homelessness and Poverty Task Force
  • International Responsibilities Task Force
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Task Force

 

Saturday, June 22, 2019
Action Council Meeting I
8:30-11:30 a.m.
Washington Convention Center, 301

Program: Hate Speech and Libraries
1:00-2:00 p.m.
Marriott Marquis, Supreme Court

Discussion Group: Women's Issues in ALA
1:00-2:00 p.m.
Marriott Marquis, University of DC

Social Responsibilities Round Table 50th Anniversary Social
7:00-10:00 p.m.
Busboys & Poets
450 K St NW, Washington, D.C. 20001
 

Sunday, June 23, 2019
Program: Subverting Other People's Elections: History and Resources
1:00-2:30 p.m.
Washington Convention Center, 158A-B

Action Council Meeting II
3:00-4:00 p.m.
Renaissance, Meeting Room 08 & 09

Progressive Librarians Guild Meeting
4:30-5:30 p.m.
Renaissance, Meeting Room 12, 13, 14

Progressive Librarians Guild -- Braverman Prize Dinner
6:30-8:30 p.m.
Haad Thai
1100 New York Ave. NW

 

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Feminist Task Force News

by Sherre Harrington, Director and Liaison to Mathematics & Natural Science - Berry College Memorial Library, Mount Berry, Georgia

Attending ALA Annual 2019? Join us!
Feminist Task Force will be at the SRRT All Task Force Meeting on Friday, June 21, 7:30-9:30 p.m. at the Grand Hyatt Washington (Penn Quarter A&B).

We'll be planning for 2019-2020, which includes a celebration of FTF's 50th Anniversary on Sunday, June 28, 2020, at Chicago's feminist bookstore, Women & Children First.

Ongoing FTF projects include the Amelia Bloomer Project, Women of Library History, and the resolution to rename the Melvil Dewey Medal to remove Melvil Dewey's association with the award. FTF meetings are very informal, with a focus on creating ways for folks to bring new ideas and get involved.

Women's Issues in ALA Discussion Group on Saturday, June 22, 1:00-2:00 at the Marriott Marquis (University of DC)
Every ALA Annual Conference we hold this program as an opportunity for people to discuss real issues that are important to them as well as learn about how to get involved with women's groups in ALA. The topic for this year's discussion will be to discuss how, despite having a banner year addressing diversity, inclusion, and equity within libraries, racism and sexism continue to interact in the ongoing oppression of marginalized members of our profession.

Sponsored by the SRRT Feminist Task Force (FTF), the ACRL Women & Gender Studies Section (WGSS) and the Committee on the Status of Women in Librarianship (COSWL).

Keep up with FTF news:

 

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Hunger, Homelessness and Poverty Task Force News

by special guest writer Tammie Benham
 

The following is an invited essay. For more information about the HHPTF or for questions and/or comments, please contact the co-coordinators Julie Winkelstein at jwinkels@utk.edu or Lisa Gieskes at lgieskes@richlandlibrary.com.
 

Trauma-Informed Professional Development

I participated in a workshop not long ago where the presenter talked about strategies he'd found effective for "dealing with" "chronically" homeless people. The strategies were good public service practices for service to the general public. Knowing where your exit is and having a backup in case things get out of hand, courtesy and intonation when speaking to patrons, all good choice training for professional development.

However, part of the information presented in the workshop was used as a premise for understanding individuals labeled "chronically homeless," or in the presenter's shorthand, "The Homeless." This attempt to provide social context triggered some pretty strong emotions for me. I have now sat through this presenter's workshop, read the book, watched the online modules, and spoken with others who also had cognitive dissonance related to this author's content. None of my attempts to further understand the motivations of the presenter alleviated the anxiety I felt. Instead, I felt my irritation rise. It was only as I began to consider my own personal experiences and what I have learned regarding trauma-informed practices that I began to understand my reactions and put them in context.

In his book, Trauma-Sensitive Mindfulness: Practices for Safe and Transformative Healing, author David Treleaven tells us, "Unless people feel some degree of safety, it becomes extremely difficult to self-regulate and stay self-regulated." Further, Treleaven says, "Understanding social context enables us to attune more accurately and skillfully to our (patrons)--something that helps establish safety, which is key to trauma-sensitive practice."

The problem was this: my employer-sponsored professional development workshop, which I was required to attend, was making me feel unsafe. I had recognized the basis for the presenter's information as biased because I had survived poverty and lived as a homeless person and had a different viewpoint. I also recognized that individuals being labeled as "chronically homeless" may have been without a home but were likely suffering from mental health issues or substance use or abuse. I had a social context that was uniquely different from the presenter, mine was first person.

Social context, or the immediate physical and social setting in which people live, can be a person's past or present home life, which is typically not something known by staff. Or social context can be the immediate environment in which the person is interacting with library staff, or how they are being treated or have been treated by other patrons or staff. It helps to understand potential social context to deliver good customer service. We do this automatically in most instances. Courtesy is met with courtesy, friendliness with at the least, a professional demeanor. When unexpected or unpredictable behavior happens, reactions become a challenge and speculation is made. In some instances, undesirable behavior is blamed on whether or not a person has a home--if they are perceived as "homeless," we can then attribute unexpected behavior to a cause instead of a reaction to the actions of staff or others.

As defined by author Brené Brown, empathy fuels connection. Empathy is a vulnerable choice made by an individual to gain understanding in certain situations. If life experiences have not been shared with a patron then it takes more work to be empathetic, thus making effective customer service more difficult. If staff have not experienced mental illness then labeling someone as "homeless" becomes an easier method to understand motive than taking the time to build empathy for actual events.

One step toward building empathy for individuals is to understand the issues causing "undesirable" behavior. One study called national attention to a previously unidentified national health crisis. The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) Study asked participants if they had experienced a list of ten childhood traumas. The higher number of traumas participants had experienced, the more likely they were to have not only psychological effects, but physical issues as they aged, culminating in early death. About 1 in 7 children have experienced abuse or neglect in the last year. As children grow into adults, some of them will become individuals who experience homelessness. Some of "them," including me, will become librarians.

The prevalence of experienced trauma in our patronage should encourage staff to build customer service skills that serve any patron where they are at any point in time. We cannot see the scars of childhood trauma. We do not know the past experiences of our patrons. Homelessness is a changeable condition of, not a defining factor for, an individual that can occur at any point in time.

Childhood trauma is not something we can control or easily understand. What we can control in all situations is our own behavior. When we react in calm, predictable ways when unpredictable behavior is presented, then we are truly serving the individual.

Additionally, when professional development is presented in a way that considers the social context of staff, and is appreciative of and sympathetic to individuals receiving the information, they are better able to self-regulate, relax, and learn to become better employees.

 

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International Responsibilities Task Force News

by Al Kagan and Tom Twiss, Co-Coordinators of the IRTF

IRTF will present a program on "Subverting Other People's Elections: History and Resources," featuring the award-winning journalist, author, and scholar Stephen Kinzer. The program will be held at the ALA conference in Washington DC on Sunday, June 23, 1-2:30 p.m. in the Washington Convention Center, rooms 158A-B. As controversy continues to swirl around Russian interference in US elections, Kinzer's work -- including his books Overthrow: America's Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq (2006) and, most recently, The True Flag: Theodore Roosevelt, Mark Twain, and the Birth of American Empire (2017) -- reminds us of the long and sordid history of U.S. interference in the politics of other countries.

IRTF has also organized a discussion group on "Hate Speech and Libraries," which will be held at the Annual conference on Saturday, June 22, 1-2:30 p.m. in the Marriott Marquis Hotel, Supreme Court room. Speakers will be Sofia Leung, who is the Teaching & Learning Program Manager at MIT, Liaison Librarian to MIT's department of Comparative Media Studies, and member of the We Here supportive community for library and archive workers of color; and Tom Twiss from SRRT.

The task force is bringing three resolutions to the Action Council and ALA Membership Meeting: the Resolution on CIA Recruitment at ALA Meetings is in response to CIA recruiting in the exhibit hall at previous meetings, including the recent Midwinter Meeting and the forthcoming Annual Conference in Washington, DC. If passed by the ALA Council, it would prohibit such recruiting in any format or venue at all ALA meetings.

The second is Resolution in Support of the Right to Publish Leaked Documents and for the Dismissal of Charges Against Julian Assange. It would reaffirm the decision in the Pentagon Papers case that the press may publish any US documents, no matter if they were obtained legally or illegally. It calls for dropping the current charges against Julian Assange under the Espionage Act, which we consider the "criminalization of journalism," words from Jeremy Scahill.

The third is Resolution in Defense of the Free Speech Rights of Palestinian Rights Activists. It addresses already-passed state laws and similar legislation already passed and currently before Congress. These acts would punish First Amendment protected speech regarding advocacy of the campaign for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) regarding Israel, and would conflate criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism. The BDS campaign is similar to the successful boycott against South Africa which helped to overthrow the white-minority regime.

We urge all SRRT members who attend the Washington, DC ALA Annual Conference to come to the ALA Membership Meeting on Saturday, June 22, 4:30-5:30 p.m. in the Washington Convention Center, Ballroom A and vote on our resolutions. If we get sufficient attendance, we can definitely pass these resolutions and send them on to the agenda of the ALA Council for consideration. We are depending on your participation to make this happen.

Resolution on CIA Recruitment at ALA Meetings
Whereas, the American Library Association (ALA), has expressed "...its unswerving opposition to any use of governmental prerogative which leads to the intimidation of the individual or the citizenry from the exercise of the constitutionally protected right of free expression" (originally passed in 1973 and reaffirmed in 2017, ALA Policy Manual B.2.4);

Whereas, the American Library Association has encouraged its members to resist "...improper uses of governmental power" (Also ALA Policy Manual B.2.4);

Whereas, "ALA condemns the use or threat of use of torture by the US government as a barbarous violation of human rights, intellectual freedom and the rule of law" (A Resolution Against the Use of Torture as a Violation of the American Library Association's Basic Values, CD#59, June 30, 2004, passed but missing from Policy Manual);

Whereas, the American Library Association opposes "...the use by government of disinformation, media manipulation, the destruction and excision of public information, and other such tactics" (ALA Policy Manual B.8.9);

Whereas, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has used all the methods described above in its work around the world; for example: intimidation of Congressional staff and members of Congress regarding declassification of the 2014 Senate Report on the CIA's Detention and Interrogation Program, the assassinations of many government leaders as detailed in the 1975 Church Committee Report, instigation of coups as detailed in Stephen Kinzer's books, the use of torture from Operation Phoenix in Vietnam to Abu Ghraib Prison in Iraq and Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, the false reports of the Tonkin Bay Incident that led to the Vietnam War, and the false news stories in major media outlets around the world including its own secretly-sponsored news bureau, Forum World Features (1958-1966); and

Whereas, the CIA continues to use many of the methods described above for manipulating foreign elections, overthrowing democratically elected governments, and generally interfering in the affairs of countries around the world; now, therefore be it

Resolved, that the American Library Association (ALA)

  1. prohibits CIA recruitment at all ALA conferences and meetings.

 

Mover: Al Kagan
Seconder: Tom Twiss

 

Resolution in Support of the Right to Publish Leaked Documents and for the Dismissal of Charges Against Julian Assange
WHEREAS, We are living in a media environment where publishers and journalists are now routinely attacked from the highest levels of government; and

WHEREAS, This environment in the United States has opened the door for similar prosecutions in other countries around the world; and

WHEREAS, Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks, has recently been indicted with seventeen charges under the Espionage Act for engaging in the normal journalistic practice of soliciting leaked government documents; and

WHEREAS, The American Library Association signed a 2010 open letter with many other organizations asking the United States government to reverse its order to US government agencies blocking access to WikiLeaks, in support of publishers' and citizens' first amendment rights, and against the possible application of the Espionage Act against WikiLeaks; and

WHEREAS, As Daniel Ellsberg recently said, the prosecution of Julian Assange under the Espionage Act is the most serious attack on the First Amendment since his own prosecution in 1971, and is a broad threat against all publishers in the United States, and no matter what one thinks of Julian Assange, this is a case concerning "straight journalism," undertaken for political motives because of political offenses; and

WHEREAS, In the Pentagon Papers case, the Supreme Court explained that every person has the right to disseminate truthful information pertaining to matters of public interest even if the information was obtained by someone else illegally; therefore be it

RESOLVED, that the American Library Association calls for the dismissal of charges under the Espionage Act against Julian Assange.

Mover: Mark Hudson
Seconder: Al Kagan

 

Resolution in Defense of the Free Speech Rights of Palestinian Rights Activists
Whereas, the American Library Association (ALA) "opposes any use of governmental prerogatives that lead to the intimidation of individuals or groups and discourages them from exercising the right of free expression as guaranteed by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution" (ALA Policy B.2.4 Governmental Intimidation); and

Whereas, ALA "opposes any legislation or codification of documents...that undermine academic or intellectual freedom, chill free speech, and/or otherwise interfere with the academic community's well-established norms and values of scholarship and educational excellence" (ALA Policy B.2.5 Support of Academic Freedom); and

Whereas, S.1, the Strengthening America's Security in the Middle East Act of 2019, which the U.S. Senate passed on February 5, 2019, and its companion bill H.R.336 in the House include the Combating BDS Act, which would condone state laws penalizing businesses and individuals who participate in boycott, divestment, or sanctions ("BDS") activities and other politically motivated boycotts against Israel and Israeli controlled territories, and

Whereas, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has determined that the intent of the state laws condoned by the Combating BDS Act "is contrary to the spirit and letter of the First Amendment guarantee of freedoms of speech and association;" and the National Coalition Against Censorship has similarly opposed the act on First Amendment grounds; and

Whereas, federal courts have blocked implementation in three states of the sort of anti-BDS legislation condoned by the Combating BDS Act; and

Whereas, the Supreme Court has ruled that boycotts for political, social, and economic change are protected speech under the First Amendment; and

Whereas, the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement is a non-violent movement, modeled after the struggle against apartheid in South Africa, on behalf of Palestinian rights; and

Whereas, S.852, the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act of 2019 currently before Congress provides a definition of anti-Semitism to be used for the enforcement of Federal antidiscrimination laws concerning education programs or activities, but

Whereas, according to the ACLU, the "overbroad definition of anti-Semitism" in S.852 "risks incorrectly equating constitutionally protected criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism, making it likely that free speech will be chilled on campuses;" and

Whereas, the ACLU, the Alliance for Academic Freedom, the Bill of Rights Defense Committee and Defending Dissent Foundation, the Center for Constitutional Rights, Defending Rights & Dissent, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, and Kenneth Stern who authored the definition of anti-Semitism employed in the bill have all opposed the bill on free speech grounds; now therefore be it

Resolved, that ALA opposes the Combating BDS Act of 2019 contained in S.1 and H.R.336; opposes S.852, the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act of 2019; and opposes any federal or state legislation that would restrict the First Amendment rights of Palestinian rights activists, including activists in the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

 

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Martin Luther King, Jr. Task Force News

by LaJuan Pringle, Library Manager -- Charlotte Mecklenburg Library

The Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Task Force will meet on Friday, June 21, 7:30 p.m. at the Grand Hyatt Washington. The task force is eagerly planning next year's Martin Luther King Jr. Sunrise Celebration, in Philadelphia, and is soliciting feedback for the program. We will also discuss planning an event for the 2021 Annual Conference in Chicago.

If you're interested in joining the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Task Force, I am always looking for support. If you're attending the conference, you are invited to join us during the business meeting on Friday evening. However, if you can't make it to the meeting, you can always reach out to me via email if you want more info on the task force. Thanks!

LaJuan Pringle
Chair, Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Task Force

 

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Book Review: Feminist Pedagogy for Library Instruction

Reviewed by Kristan Shawgo, Social Sciences Librarian, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Feminist Pedagogy for Library Instruction. 2013. Maria T. Accardi. Sacramento, CA: Library Juice Press. ISBN: 9781936117550. 160 pages. $22.00. See book description from Library Juice Press.

Feminist Pedagogy for Library Instruction

The library users we work with face a landscape of divisive politics, white supremacy on college campuses (and beyond), and an overload of information they may not be sure they can trust. Faced with these obstacles and knowing information literacy is mission critical, you may be looking for a primer on critical, anti-oppressive, feminist pedagogical practice. Author Maria T. Accardi's book, Feminist Pedagogy for Library Instruction, is an invaluable place to start. Ms. Accardi explains that "feminist pedagogy is broadly concerned with social justice and sees education as a site for social change and transformation, exposing and ending oppression against women and all other kinds of marginalization: racism, xenophobia, classism, ableism, and so on." Her book is an excellent representation of this definition filled with personal reflection, a historical look at academic culture, and how-to's of feminist pedagogy.

Ms. Accardi's writing is historically rooted and seeks to explore the culture of academia and library environments. Her book is divided into four neat chapters starting with a primer on feminism and one on the concept of feminist pedagogy, followed by a chapter on how feminist and critical pedagogy fits into the library classroom. The last chapter explores a topic rarely considered in library instruction -- how to conduct a feminist assessment of student learning.

Ms. Accardi grounds her writing in personal stories and reflection, especially in her conclusion which is a frank discussion of loneliness, self-care, and roles librarians take in caring for others. The book deftly embodies the second-wave feminist theory, the personal is political. She openly shares her pedagogical successes and failures with a focus on lessons learned. The absolute highlight of the book appears just before the index -- 36 pages of appendices filled with thorough examples of active learning exercises for the classroom and a variety of feminist assessment techniques. This slim title is packed with extensive references and further reading on critical and feminist pedagogies as well as self-care.

This practical text has led to impactful changes in my own pedagogical practice. As Ms. Accardi explains, "feminist pedagogy is... concerned with the validity of experiential knowledge, or the knowledge produced through the actual lived experience of students, and privileging students' voices over the teacher's voice, which is no longer viewed as the ultimate authority." Incorporating her recommended practices of think/pair/share, student led demonstration, and hands-on individual searching into my regular teaching practice has decentered the library classroom and produced excellent results. Students are engaged and such practices move away from deficit thinking, instead reminding students what they bring to the table. Other suggested practices include carefully selecting database search topics (i.e., barriers transgender patients face in finding affirmative medical care) and examples of scholarly articles (i.e., a scholarly article on reproductive justice for women of color) that bring attention to oppression and marginalization.

Ms. Accardi is the Coordinator of Instruction and Reference at Indiana University Southeast. Feminist Pedagogy for Library Instruction is the third entry in the press's series on gender and sexuality in information studies. In 2017, Ms. Accardi continued her dedication to feminist pedagogy scholarship by editing The Feminist Reference Desk: Concepts, Critiques, and Conversations (also published by Library Juice Press). She also teaches an online class on feminist pedagogy in libraries through the press.

While Ms. Accardi's book does focus on library instruction, it could easily apply to feminist pedagogy in any classroom setting, presentations, and meeting facilitation. This book would be an excellent addition to any library collection, but especially for the academic library setting. Those interested in this title, may also want to consider adding Living a Feminist Life by Sara Ahmed, Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Freire, and Critical Information Literacy: Foundations, Inspiration, and Ideas by Annie Downey, among others, to their collection.

 

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Book Review: Black Man in a White Coat: A Doctor's Reflections on Race and Medicine

Reviewed by Madeline Veitch, Research, Metadata, & Zine Librarian, SUNY New Paltz and SRRT Newsletter Reviews Editor

Black Man in a White Coat: A Doctor's Reflections on Race and Medicine. 2015. Damon Tweedy, M.D. New York: Picador. ISBN: 9781250044631. 304 pages. $18.00 See book description from Picador.

Black Man in a White Coat

To seek medical care in the United States is to engage with a medical establishment that has tortured and used Black people to construct the very bodies of knowledge it then offers back to patients in the form of treatments and protocols. The Tuskegee Study, the theft and monetization of Henrietta Lacks's cells -- these are just a couple of the better known historical examples of White doctors and researchers treating the bodies of Black people like property. Unabated, racism in U.S. medicine continues to manifest in increased mortality rates for African Americans facing a range of common conditions including cancer, heart disease, and pregnancy.

In Black Man in a White Coat, Dr. Damon Tweedy reflects on his experiences around race and medicine, first as one of a small number of African American medical students in his class at Duke University, then as a hospital resident and practicing physician in psychiatry. His use of personal stories drawn from his training and direct work with patients help to shed light on the myriad ways that racism impacts African Americans in the healthcare system ranging from the biases and inhumanity of individual practitioners to the second-rate care offered by neoliberal outpatient programs billed as improving health outcomes for rural communities with "free" treatment.

In the case of the latter, he discusses a community health clinic program operated by Duke through which he saw primarily patients of color in economically depressed areas, many of whom had not had access to regular care for ongoing medical issues like high blood pressure and diabetes. After a period of time working with the program, Tweedy came to question a model in which poor black patients see a different clinician every time they come to the clinic -- always a medical student with oversight from a resident -- who could offer free samples of needed medications but only until those supplies ran out. Certain tests and procedures he had been taught to employ as standard protocol in the environment of a teaching hospital were not even on the table at this satellite clinic. He noted that while medical students were drawing educational benefit from this experience, patients were set up for inconsistent and incomplete care.

One of the strengths in Tweedy's narrative is his willingness to put his own emotional experiences down on paper. Medical program and hospital environments are deeply hierarchical and Tweedy talks about what it's like to navigate racism, and more generally inequality, in his working and learning environments from a variety of positions -- the student and young resident with little power to challenge the status quo to the practicing physician whose choices can either re-create or interrupt patterns of oppression in someone's care. In one of his first stories from his student days, he talks about a White professor gruffly approaching him at the beginning of a class meeting asking whether he had "finally come to fix the lights." He had assumed Tweedy, one of his students, had to be a handyman sent by the facilities department to make repairs. Tweedy traces the emotional impact of this exchange on him over the course of the semester, and through several conversations with other Black medical students, pointing to cumulative power of microaggressions to impact educational experience and the feelings of belonging so central to wellbeing.

This book will be of interest to both public and academic library audiences. A compelling read, it could make for a very good jumping off point for in-class discussion among pre-med students.

 

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Voice From the Past: From SRRT Newsletter #2, September 1969

SRRT Newsletter Issue 2

In each issue of the SRRT newsletter, we offer readers a glimpse into the SRRT past by quoting from archived newsletters. The archives are available online.

The following excerpt is from the second SRRT newsletter, published in September 1969. We continue to be impressed by how relevant these historic writings are.

From page 6: "Related Groups' Activities"

"The NATIONAL CALL FOR LIBRARY REFORM has addressed a statement, reproduced in part below to library workers, library school students and faculty.
The statement urges us
To accept our moral responsibility.
To commit ourselves to social and political issues such as war, poverty, and racism.
To commit ourselves to the restructuring of the American Library Association into a democratic and vital organization.
To commit ourselves to reform the structure and content of library education.
To commit ourselves to take action in support of librarians in cases where job security and integrity are threatened.
To commit ourselves to the communities' participation in determining the services which are relevant to it.
To insure that library workers have a voice in decisions that affect them:
To commit ourselves to the formation of a national association of library workers.
Finally to reaffirm our total commitment to library services and to every individual's right to free access to information."

 

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Call for Newsletter Co-Editor and Additional Editorial Board Members

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!

We are in need of at least two members who can serve on the Editorial Board as soon as possible.

Editorial Board positions are determined by the SRRT Action Council.

The SRRT Newsletter Co-Editor must be a member of SRRT and will serve as a member of the SRRT Editorial Board. The duties of the SRRT Newsletter Co-Editor, in collaboration with the Co-Editor, are to establish with the approval of the SRRT Editorial Board and SRRT Action Council the editorial policy of the SRRT Newsletter; prepare the SRRT Newsletter for online publication; handle solicitation of material, editing, and input of material, and layout; work with ALA ODLOS and other necessary offices to ensure access to SRRT Newsletter and its archives; publish the texts of all resolutions passed by SRRT Action Council; and publish the text of any constitutional or by-laws changes to be submitted to the SRRT General Membership Meeting. The SRRT Newsletter Co-Editor works with all the members of the SRRT Editorial Board to fulfill all these duties.

If you are interested in becoming members of the SRRT Editorial Board or applying to be the next SRRT Newsletter Co-Editor, 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 co-editor, at micd.srrt.newsletter@gmail.com and Julie Winkelstein, SRRT Newsletter, at jwinkels@utk.edu.

 

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Call for Submissions

The SRRT Newsletter is always looking for good articles, essays, and letters to the editor. The next submission deadline is August 30, 2019.

The SRRT Newsletter invites submissions from library and information workers, students, educators, and all others who recognize the critical importance of libraries in addressing community and social issues. Submission content should align with the goals of SRRT: matters of social responsibility and values, current social needs, and opportunities and problems as they relate to libraries, library workers, or the communities they serve.

Please send your submissions electronically in one of the following formats: MS Word, RTF, PDF, or plain text pasted into the body of an email. 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 email original submissions and inquiries to SRRT Newsletter Co-Editors Melissa I. Cardenas-Dow at micd.srrt.newsletter@gmail.com and Julie Winkelstein at jwinkels@utk.edu, indicating "SRRT Newsletter" within the subject line of your email. A confirmation of receipt will be sent in a timely manner.

Submissions to SRRT Newsletter Reviews
Submissions for book or media reviews should be sent to Madeline Vietch, SRRT Newsletter Reviews Editor, at veitchm@newpaltz.edu, indicating "Reviews" in the subject line of your email.

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.

Submissions to SRRT Newsletter Letters to the Editors
The Newsletter invites readers to submit letters to the editors relating to social responsibilities and libraries. The letters should be respectful and thoughtful, either respond to specific content in the newsletter or include suggestions for topics of interest to SRRT members to be addressed in future issues. We will only publish letters of more than 200 words in exceptional circumstances.

Letters may be edited for length, grammar, and accuracy. You will be notified if your letter will be published.

Submit your letters to Laura Koltutsky at laurakoltutsky@gmail.com. Please indicate "SRRT Newsletter Letter to Editors" in the subject line of your email. You may submit your letter as an attachment in one of these formats: .doc, docx; or in the body of your email message.

Letters must include your full name, address, a telephone number and email address if you have one. This is for us only -- we don't share this information.

 

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Publication Information

SRRT Newsletter is published quarterly by the Social Responsibilities Round Table of the American Library Association. ISSN: 0749-1670. Copyright © 2019 by the Social Responsibilities Round Table. No part of this periodical may be reproduced without permission.

Co-Editor: Melissa I. Cardenas-Dow, micd.srrt.newsletter@gmail.com

Co-Editor: Julie Winkelstein, jwinkels@utk.edu

Reviews Editor: Madeline Veitch, veitchm@newpaltz.edu

Editorial Board Members: Laura Koltutsky 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.

 

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