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.

Wednesday, September 05, 2018

Copyright: Forever Less One Day (7 min. video)

While not a copyright expert, C.G.P. Grey has provided an interesting and entertaining look at the length of copyright protection in this short video. By the way, while I like the video, one error which stood out to me is that the length of copyright in 1790 in the United States was 14 years, with the possibility of renewal for another 14 years.  Yes, that does equal 28, which is what he said in the video, but only 14 years was guaranteed with additional action by the creator.