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.

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