Thursday, October 18, 2018

#JCLC2018, bullet journals, and the speed of life (and work)

JCLC conference logo
It has been over two weeks since I returned from JCLC, and life has moved quickly.  This will be a catch-up blog post, covering a number of topics, and I might ramble a bit.


I had not been to either of the previous JCLC events and so I worried if I would know anyone there.  I should not have feared, because this conference drew people from across the U.S. and from a variety of different library associations. Yes, there were people whom I knew and many new people for me to meet.

Most of the JCLC participants were people of color, which made for different conversations and interactions.  This was a conference where we could talk about topics from our own perspective and make that perceptive the focus of the conversation.   You might not think that would be a huge difference, but it was.  I especially liked that those conversation were active on Twitter and are still continuing today using #JCLC2018.

One of the conversations, which arose quickly after the conference, was the role of allies, who are not people of color.  Yes, there is a role for allies, but it could be that those allies need some training so that their efforts are indeed appropriate.  That training might include more on microaggressions, for example.

JCLC did not have a code of conduct and I think that developing one could help lay expectations for the next conference in 2022.

Bullet Journaling

Because I was working the SU iSchool booth, I didn't get to attend many sessions.  However, one of the sessions I went to was on using the bullet journal method for setting daily to-do's and tracking what you are actually doing.  I went to the session because I'm always interested in productivity tools and I guess many other people are, too, since the session was standing room only!  Bullet journals are very popular and after attending the session, I decided to start one.  Yes, I can see the power of the tool.  No, I didn't buy a "bullet journal", but did purchase an inexpensive journal with blank pages. Yes, I think it is making a difference in my days.

People have asked how this topic related to diversity and the answer is "it doesn't", but clearly it was a worthwhile topic for a JCLC session based on everyone's enthusiasm. And we do need some variety in our conference sessions, right?

Public Libraries in Their Communities

Public libraries position themselves to be the center of their communities and to serve everyone equally.  There is a tension, though, in this.  While everyone needs to feel safe and welcomed in the library, and libraries strive to make that so, does everyone feel safe on the street outside of the library?  Here in Syracuse, our downtown public library has struggled with this at times, due to the homeless in the community who use and congregate near the library, and the increase opioid use on our streets.  The library has worked with others to figure out how to keep the area welcoming and safe for everyone, a task that is not easy.

In Albuquerque, the main public library attracts a wide variety of people, as it should.  It is near an area (part of historic Rt. 66) that contains bars, restaurants, and a truly diverse set of people, including those who seem both homeless and mentally unstable.  Seeing that library's environment reminded me that the struggle for equity and safety, being the heart of the community, being welcoming for everyone, etc. is a tough one.  There are no easy answers. 

Fast Life, Fast Work

Tent Rocks National Monument: Slot CanyonFinally, New Mexico was beautiful!  I took many photos, walked miles in the dessert, and visited historic places which I hope to remember forever.  People talk about the high heat with low humidity, and how different that feels, and now I understand it. 

Both life and work have moved fast since I've been back in Syracuse.  Ideas for blog posts come and then quickly fade as I move onto the next thing on my to-do list.  The bullet journal reminds me that I can't fit everything into one day, which is a lesson I need to learn anew every day.  Yes, there is copyright news that I should blog about, and I hope to do that soon.

Tuesday, October 02, 2018

Intellectual Property and the new U.S., Mexico and Canada Trade Agreement (USMCA)

The U.S., Mexico and Canada have settled on a trade agreement that is intended to replace the existing North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).  While it hasn't made the news, it does contain intellectual property provisions.  The Association of Research Libraries has created a helpful analysis on those provisions and there is also analysis by Michael Geist. The agreement's text is available on the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative web site.

Note that this agreement must be voted on in Congress, in order to be ratified, which will occur during its next session (after the November 2018 elections).

For more information, there are many news story on this, including this one from the Brookings Institution.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

#JCLC2018 : Reaching Out to Immigrants and De-colonizing the Collection

One of the benefits of being at JCLC is the opportunity to think about libraries and our collections through a different lens. We generally build services in our libraries through the default Euro-centric lens or as we might say the lens of those who colonized the U.S.  How can we de-colonize our libraries and our collections?  What is even meant by the word “de-colonization”?  What would a de-colonized library look like?  How would it better represent or be integrated into the community? How would the de-colonization translate into the libraries catalogue records? How would the staff be different?  These are all questions that have arisen in me while at this conference. I don’t have answers, at least not yet.

Today, the third day of the conference, I attended one session in reaching out to our immigrants and my notes are below.  Again, as I am typing this in Blogger on an iPad, my ability to make all the corrections that likely should be made is limited.  My apologies.  Yes, I attended a session during day two and I’ll twrite about that when I’m ready to write a wrap-up post.

JCLC conference logo

Reaching out to Immigrants: The New American Program at a

Queens Library - Fred Gitner and Xi Chen
In the U.S.
  • 14% foreign born
  • 20.7% speak a language other than English at home
  • 3.5% of the U.S. population are undocumented immigrants
  • Immigrants are twice as likely to start businesses as U.S. citizens
  • The number of undocumented immigrants coming to the U.S. by crossing the Mexican border is decreasing.
Queens County is one of the most diverse urban areas in the world.
  • 48% foreign born
  • 56% speak a language other than English at home 
  • 160 languages are spoken in Queens with people from 190 countries 
  • Their New Americans Program is celebrating its 40th anniversary.
Queens Library is for Everyone Campaign 

They have an Outreach Assistant who does Outreach to ethnic community centers and other groups.

The library does Older Adults Day each year, which is well attended.

They purchase materials in 20-25 languages each year. The languages collected are based on census survey data and community input.  The comminityassisted in selecting the materials for their Burmese collections, since no one in the library spoke Burmese. They found comeone in the community who could help in cataloguing the materials.

The library has partnered with a variety of nonprofit and government organizations.  The partnerships help both to meet their mutual goals.  The partnerships help the library increase its services to the immigrants in the community.

They offer Coping Skills Workshops to help immigrants adjust to life in the U.S.  They also offer Cultural Arts Programs.

The top five languages spoken in Queens are Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Bengali, and Russian.  The offer workshops in these languages.

They have citizenship classes, attorneys who help people with naturalization application assistance, and free financial counseling.

They now have a partnership with the Immigrant Justice Corps to assist customers with a variety of immigration legal issues including naturalizations, temporary protected status family based petitions, deportation and asylum or refugee applications, etc.

They have an Immigration Assistancd webpage,

They promote their services in variou languages and using the social media sites that are used by specific immigrant communities, e.g., WeChat.

Locking Forward:
  • Expand legal access to legal services
  • Increase online learning opportunities
  • Expand lanagusge collections to serve growing cultural communities. Match the lanagues to the community’s preferred formats.
  • Ensure adequate interpretation services

Building a Vietnamese Lanaguage Collection at CSU, Fullerton - Moon C. Kim 

The needs of a diaspora community are different than other immigrant communities.

The collection must be reflective of the community and responsive to the community.

They ran into issues in collecting Vietnamese materials: funding, no language expertise (so materials cannot be catalogued), the Virtnamese government controls all communications, etc.

How do you help immigrantsfeel safe inthe library?  Safe from ICE (Immigrantion and Customs Enforcement)? - Queens has built a level of trust over the news with its immigrant communities.  They do not invite the media to events, as one way of keeping people’s identities safe.  Lawyers have given workshops for staff to help them understand do’s and don’t.  They do not know of instances of ICE coming to libraries.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

#JCLC2018 : Day 1

JCLC conference logo
I am typing this using my iPad browser, which is not allowing me to my some corrections.  My apologies.

I’m at the Joint Conference of Librarians of Color run by the Joint Council of Librarians of Color.  What is JCLC?  Quoting its web site:

What an amazing group! When I attended regional library conferences, I may be the only person of color there, but this is a conference by and for librarians of color where diversity is the norm and it is celebrated.

I’m here to staff the Syracuse University booth and to hopefully attend a few sessions.  Today was the start of the conference and I attended two sessions (notes below).  I also spoke with a number of people who stopped by the booth.  It’s been a tiring day and a good day!


The conference began with a blessing by Christopher Chavez (Santo Domingo Pueblo)

Loida Garcia-Febo, ALA President, began by offering “good morning” in several languages. She said this our time to make a difference in our communities.  In her remarks, she noted that one of her ALA efforts is on diversity. 

Dr. John Sandstrom provided welcome from New Mexico Library Association.  He said that New Mexico is a place where every library serves people of color.

The third JCLC brought together more than 1000 people; the largest one yet.  Many of the  people at this JCLC had not been at a previous one.  JCLC will host its next conference in 2022.

The keynote was given by author Benjamin Alire Saenz, who wrote Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe ( . He referred to us a gatekeepers of American culture.  This is work we do, according to him, in anonymity. The work we do is part of the work done of the community around books, from creation to reading.  He spoke of his mother, who he described as brilliant, hard working and generous.  He asked would it be good if our elected officials had those qualities?

What makes us us?  What gives us our identity? Part of that learning comes through reading. Author James Baldwin has a huge influence on him.

Saenz talked about the brokenness of the world.  From that brokenness we need to make something beautiful.

Life is not a problem to be solved; it is a mystery to be enjoyed.

Saenz said that young people come up to him and say that he saved their lives.  He said, no, they saved their own lives by bring open to new ideas.

The day librarians and teachers all vote, we will change the world.

TRANS 101: Gender Diversity and Transgender Inclusivity in Libraries, Kalani Adolpho 

Adolpho uses the pronouns they, them, theirs

Handouts, etc., at

Gender Diversity Training
Key (western) terms:
  • Gender assignment
  • Gender binary
  • Cisgender
  • Transgender 
  • Non-binary
  • Gender diverse

Gender, gender roles, and expressions differ between culture.
Gender binary is a colonial imposition.
Gender diversity is not a recent phenomenon.

Outdated terminology:
  • Transsexual
  • Biological male or biological female
  • Sex change

Types of violence:
  • Misgendering
  • Outing
  • Transphobia
  • Cissexism
  • Cisnormativity
  • Compulsory heterogenderism

Please don’t:
  • Ask to our share someone’s birth name
  • Out someone without permission
  • Ask about someone’sgenitals 
  • Over-validate gender

Mistakes and Mishaps:
  • Do acknowledge the error
  • Do apologize once
  • Do de-center yourself

Adolpho will have information in their Google Deive on gender neutral pronouns.  Try and practice gender neutral language.  Begin using gender neutral language in daily life.

Adolpho emphasized using the terminology and pronouns which people use for themselves, but don’t guess.

Cataloguing - Library of Congress Subject Headings
  • It is problematic.
  • Identity is personal, complex, and often fluid
  • Subject headings make identities static
  • Controlled vocabulary is slow to change
  • Creates barriers to access to non-mainstream topics

When cataloguing, respect self-identification.

Problematic Areas:
  • Bathrooms
  • Actual name systems
  • Collections, formats and displays

Unfortunately I had to leave this session early because of my duties as a vendor. However, I found it to be enlightening and I have already talked with others about what I heard and learned.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Ebooks, publishers & libraries

Ebook publishers are changing how the license ebooks to libraries.  These two podcast episodes from Beyond the Book detail those recent changes.  As you might expect, the changes do not necessarily favor libraries or library patrons.

July 20: An E-books Embargo For Libraries (14 min.)
Tor Books, a science fiction and fantasy publisher and division of Macmillan, has moved to change its “e-book lending model to libraries as part of a test program to determine the impact of e-lending on retail sales,” reports Andrew Albanese, Publishers Weekly senior writer. Beginning this month, newly-released titles will not be available until four months after the publication date. The “embargo” practice has sparked a backlash by librarians.

“It’s yet another wrinkle in an already complex lending scheme that librarians must manage, and I think what is bothering librarians most of all is that [the change] came without warning,” Albanese tells CCC’s Chris Kenneally.

“I spoke to Michael Blackwell, a librarian in Maryland who is one of the organizers of ReadersFirst, a coalition of some 300 libraries dedicated to improving e-book access and services for public library users. He called the move a ‘giant leap backwards’ for libraries and disputed the idea that library e-book lending is hurting Tor’s retail e-book sales.”
Sept. 7: More Changes In E-book Lending For Public Libraries (the first 6 min. 30 seconds)
In what the publisher called “good news” for libraries and their patrons, Penguin Random House has announced that as of October 1, 2018, the house is changing its e-book lending licenses for public libraries in the U.S. The shift moves access to book titles from a “perpetual access” model (where libraries pay a higher price but retain access to the e-book forever) to a “metered model” (with lower prices on e-books that expire after two years).

“PRH top titles today are capped at $65 for a ‘perpetual access e-book license. The new top price will be $55. Lower prices are a good thing—but a $10 drop is not enough librarians say, especially if they have the burden now of relicensing John Grisham titles,” Andrew Albanese, Publishers Weekly senior writer, reports.

“What librarians really wanted from PRH was a choice. They want to be able to own a perpetual access copy or two for the collection at whatever price, and then add [more copies of the same title] to meet periods of high demand without having to buy more perpetual access copies,” Albanese tells CCC’s Chris Kenneally.

“Much of what publishers do with library e-book pricing is about defending other markets, but I think that’s shortsighted and self-defeating. If anything comes out of these changes I hope it will be to kick up a discussion about why digital readers in libraries are treated differently,” he adds.