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.
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
Finally, 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.