Intersections

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About Intersections

Intersections, the blog of the ALA Office for Diversity, Literacy, and Outreach Services (ODLOS), highlights the work of library and information science workers as they create safe, responsible, and all-inclusive spaces that serve and represent the entire community, as well as initiatives and projects supported by the office that promotes their work. Please note that these blog posts are by individuals and do not reflect the views of their employers.


By Gavin Baker, Office of Public Policy and Advocacy, Deputy Director, Public Policy and Government Relations The decennial census determines political representation and allocation of billions of dollars in federal funding, and in 2020, libraries’ role will be more important than ever. The 2020 Census will be the first in its 230-year history that can be taken online. Libraries will need to be prepared and engaged to ensure an inclusive and complete count of our nation’s residents so every community receives the resources they deserve. Starting March 12, households...

Read more | 02/25/2020 - 10:47

By: Rick Medrano, Outreach Librarian, High Plains Library District and Rosa Granado, Outreach Manager, High Plains Library District We work in a geographically large and diverse library district, and our district has been restructuring our Outreach department for the last three years. During this time, there has often been a disconnect between branches, staff, administration, and patrons about what Outreach is and what Outreach does. Between the two of us, we have 11 years of Outreach experience. For us, and others who work in Outreach, the definition of Outreach seems apparent. ...

Read more | 12/20/2019 - 08:00

By: Kelly Sterns, Director, Walking Books Library (Independent) A day of Walking Books Library (WBL) outreach in this rural area can include noshing wild blueberries from a roadside bush, avoiding barking dogs or charging roosters as well as dropping off and picking up books. We service people in a variety of homes including trailers, tents, farmhouses, cabins, cars and apartments. We provide books to borrow for a month, free books to keep and other materials when possible such as school supplies and sometimes even microscopes! WBL was created to engage people who were not regularly...

Read more | 12/13/2019 - 08:00

Michael Mungin (he/him/his) is a Research and Instruction Librarian serving University of Washington-Bothell and Cascadia College in Bothell, WA, about 15 minutes north of Seattle. He received his MLIS from the University of Washington in 2010 and was Psychology Librarian/Associate Professor at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA from 2011 to 2017 before returning to the Pacific Northwest. His core librarian duties include instruction, outreach, collections and reference. Mungin's professional interests include virtual reference assessment, EDI assessment and accountability in...

Read more | 12/06/2019 - 14:59

By: Jenny  Chisnell, Senior Librarian of Adult Services, Harry Belafonte Library, New York Public Library “I did not see myself as a racist, because I was taught to recognize racism only in individual acts of meanness by members of my group, never in invisible systems conferring unsought racial dominance on my group from birth.” -Peggy McIntosh The year was 2003. I was about to start college and, with it, my first job in a library. The same year, a children’s book was published, called, The Skin I’m In: A First Look at Racism. 16 years later, I...

Read more | 12/06/2019 - 08:00

By: Megan Kinney, Library Manager, of Bayliss Library Names changed to protect privacy. Me: [huge smile and open demeanor, sits down at the same level] Hi, I’m Megan. I have noticed you seem new to town and I have seen you hanging out here at the library, I want you to know you are welcome here and we are happy to have you. What’s your name? Patron: [no smile, a bit guarded] I’m Lynn. Me: Hey Lynn. How are things going for you and your partner? Patron: [cracks a smile, whole body relaxes] Megan and Lynn - visiting on a bench in front of the...

Read more | 11/15/2019 - 08:00

By: Shelley O’Rourke, Librarian/Instructional Coach, North Middle School, Great Falls Public Schools Every good writer knows the key to crafting a memorable story is the balance between character and plot. To hold a reader’s interest, events in a story, as in life, impact a character, positively and negatively. When things happen to us in life, how we respond determines the outcome of our hero’s journey. In the spring of 2018, my district administration presented me with an “opportunity for leadership.” When two high school librarians retired, the...

Read more | 11/08/2019 - 08:00

By: Denice Adkins, Associate Professor, School of Information Science & Learning Technologies, University of Missouri As part of the Diversity Research Grants Program sponsored by ODLOS, we've started a monthly spotlight on research advancing issues of equity, diversity, and inclusion in libraries. We welcome your submission of research for inclusion in future spotlights, email us at diversity@ala.org. This month we highlight Dr. Julie Marie Frye and Dr. Maria Hasler-Barker project entitled “Silence or Share: How Bilingual Librarians Use Language to Support or Resist...

Read more | 11/01/2019 - 08:00

Mayumi (my-you-me) Miyaoka was born and raised in Saitama, Japan. She is a Librarian & Archivist at St. Joseph’s College New York by day and an accordionist by night. Mayumi received her master’s degree in Library and Information Science from San Jose State University and her Librarian Certificate from Meiji University in Tokyo in 2010. Before joining St. Joe’s, she worked at several special libraries including the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts as a project researcher and cataloger for a special collection of audio recordings in the Japanese language....

Read more | 10/31/2019 - 12:08

By: April Moyo, Librarian, Central Piedmont Community College This is not a new topic, but certainly one that deserves more attention. Having worked in public school libraries and now monitoring a small children’s literature collection at my community college campus library, this section always makes me smile. While working on collection development, the children’s lit section is my favorite one to review. “We Need Diverse Books” has successfully transitioned from a hashtag response to a full movement and organization, dedicated to encouraging the publication of...

Read more | 10/25/2019 - 08:00