Thursday, December 31, 2020

Wrapping Up 2020: A Pandemic Influenced Year

Librarians Threaten IgnoranceThis has been quite a year, which will be reflected in this look back on 2020. 

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Those three words became more important this year. The library and information professions were already examining themselves and how to become more diverse in terms of people within the professions, content, programs, etc. We need and want to be more representative of the communities we serve. We need to include all voices. This is an ongoing struggle and one in which every ally needs to remain vocal and active. We cannot leave this work to other people. 

In October, I wrote four posts on the struggle to diversify library staff, which have been widely shared and I think have helped to inform some conversations. If you are interested in increasing the diversity of your staff - whether your in a library or not - I encourage you to read these posts. 

By the way,  many people read the first post with fewer reading the remaining ones. Yet it is parts 2 and 3 which provides ideas for improving the situation.  (I think part 3 offers a radical idea.)

Racism in the Profession

In November, an article pointed to someone in the library and information profession as being a member of a right wing extremist group. This led to a lot of chatter on Facebook and in other places about the values of the library profession and how this person did not seem to have those values. However, the truth is that the profession contains a breadth of personal values and opinions, some of which are at odds with the values practitioners believe the profession has.  

This is an area where we all need to listen to those who have been - and continue to be marginalized in the profession. After that listening, we all need to think deeply about the changes that need to be made, and then make them.

I encourage you to read the ALA's Code of Ethics and consider how that code is helping or hindering us as we try to become more inclusive.  I also encourage you to read "This Is Who We Are" by Fobazi M. Ettarh.

If you head a library, look at your meeting room policy and consider if they would allow racist or extremist groups to use a room. Is that what you want?  Then look at your collection development policy. Does it support the inclusion of racist materials into your collection?  Is that what you want? You may need to update your policies. If you want racists to use your meeting rooms and be reflected in your collection, then you need to think about what that means to your community and likely you should document your rationale and decision. Finally, start a conversation with your staff about the values of your library, as well as about diversity, equity and inclusion.  Make this a long-term conversation. You will not be able to surface concerns or problems - or create solutions - in just a few sessions. You and your staff will need to get comfortable with each other and with the conversation, before people are willing to really open up. Everyone will need to see that conversation as safe space for all opinions.

BTW I have purposely not included links to articles, etc. about the LIS person who is associated - loosely or tightly - with a right wing extremist group. Why? Because this is not about scrutinizing one person, but about looking at the entire profession. 

My Most Shared Facebook Post

Rubber bullet

Much of the conversation around racism in 2020 was due to the Black Lives Matter protests. After a protest in Syracuse in May, a colleague helped pick up the debris and found a "rubber bullet." The term rubber bullet is used to describe a range of projectiles of varying sizes, including large ones that are used on our city streets. With permission, I created a public Facebook post about rubber bullets, noting that they can do serious damage, which other attested to. A few people disagreed, because there is a smaller version, which I know are used in police training instead of "live rounds," but these large projectiles are not those. I'm glad to know that Facebook post has been shared over 2,000 times, because it surely has educated some people.

A Push to Change the Pathways to Librarianship

There is a group in ALA and in the New York Library Association which are each focused on what needs to change in LIS education or the pathways to librarianship (I see these as being entwined).  

The work of the NYLA Pathways to Librarianship Task Force is just beginning and their timeline is ambitious. As stated:

This first charge of the task force will be to work towards the development of a Statement of Principles on the topic of Alternative Pathways to Librarianship. Particular emphasis will be placed on creating sustainable practices that allow historically discriminated groups to more easily enroll in library and information science graduate programs, attain graduate degrees in librarianship, retain employment in their chosen field, and advance through the profession.  These Principles will be used to create a white paper advocating for systemic reforms and the subsequent creation of a new framework to address inequities.

In ALA, nearly 100 people have come together  as part of the Librarian Education Reform Discussion Group (within the ALA Connect platform). This group is talking "about education requirements in the future of librarianship." Members of this group are also focused on other aspects that could help to diversify the profession.  

Talking about changing LIS education or pathways to librarianship is a complicated discussion. There are more opinions than people, and there is truth in every opinion shared.  Because there are so many valid opinions (or options), selecting which one to focus on can be problematic. Do you select the one advocated by the loudest voices?  It is the one that the group selects?  Do you select the easiest to tackle? Or perhaps your research leads you to the one that will have the biggest impact? If the focus is on making changes which will help the profession become more diverse, do you have representatives from those diverse communities in the discussion and are you listening to them?

I'm involved in the ALA Connect group, but have decided not to get directly involved in the NYLA effort. I've enjoyed the ALA discussions to-date and look forward to what they continue to surface and what ideas they might bring to the profession.

Digital Lending of Library Materials

After everything began shutting down in March, due to COVID-19, the number of copyright questions library staff increased. ALA did two webinars with me, Kenneth Crews and Lesley Ellen Harris. (Part 1 post and Part 2 post contain links to the recordings.) People had questions about fair use, storytime, the digital lending of materials, and more, and we answered all of their questions.

The digital lending of library print materials is the cause of many discussions and disagreements. Yet there are libraries - more than you realize - who are engaged in digitally lending their print materials. The simplest example are academic libraries who have digital course reserves. Ecourse reserves are done in a controlled environment. Making materials available in an accessible format for those who are blind or other people with disabilities (Title 17 Section 121), is a form of controlled digital lending. Libraries are also digitizing some of their print works and making those copies available in a "lend like print" fashion.  In other words, that one digital copy can be loaned to one person at a time, and when that digital version is out on loan, the print copy cannot be loaned. Below are related blog posts and I know I'll be writing about this more in 2021.

Related blog posts: 

Report: Public Library Survey Data: Some Answers, Many Questions

As I've written about before, two years ago, the Syracuse University iSchool Public Libraries Initiative (IPLI) became interested in the IMLS Public Library Survey (PLS) data. At the time, the IPLI was doing some work on the data in conjunction with the EveryLibrary Institute. Seeing the data from every public library in our 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and our U.S. territories raised questions in us. Exploring those questions took time and required adding some skills to our team, while also understanding which of our questions were answerable and how many were not. Fast forward and earlier this fall I finished a 17-page report using the 2017 PLS data entitled Public Library Survey Data: Some Answers, Many Questions (free download).  I am still proud of this report and hope that public libraries across the U.S. will continue to use it.  


I really enjoyed the ALA Midwinter Conference in Philadelphia in January.  Now I look back at it as not only being a wonderful conference, but also my last trip before the pandemic. (Relevant ALA blog posts) That in-person conference was definitely a high point of the year, as was the virtual conference held by the New York Library Association in November. (Relevant NYLA blog posts) The NYLA Annual Conference us!ed the PheedLoop platform, which provided space for broadcasted and pre-recorded sessions, real-time chat, and a trade show.  It was more interactive than I expected, which was a huge plus. Of course, NYLA had excellent content as always.

Sticky bun from Beiler's in the Reading Terminal Market

My Last 2020 Flight

A travel highlight of being in Philly is the Reading Terminal Market. On the last day, I bought a half-dozen Amish sticky buns to bring home and put them in my backpack. A security person at the convention center wondered - as I was stuffing them in my backpack - if I could get them on the plane, which was an odd question. But later, there I was at the airport security checkpoint watching my backpack being scanned and the TSA agents staring at the screen.  One brought my backpack to me, opened it up, pulled out the bag of sticky buns and asked, "What is this?" Evidently, they did not recognize sticky buns on their scanner! (Yes, I got them home with me.) That was the highlight of my last flight of 2020.

A Change in Work!

The stay-at-home orders in March flowed nicely into my retirement from academia at the end of June. I am now Professor Emerita!

Yes, I am retired and just as busy as before. I am serving on several boards including the EveryLibrary Institute and the Onondaga County Public Library (OCPL) Board of Trustees. Being on the OCPL Board during the pandemic has been very "interesting" (in every sense of the word). Like nearly every library in the U.S., all of the libraries in the OCPL system shut their physical locations for many weeks or months due to the pandemic. However, like many other libraries, the OCPL libraries have been online for many years, including the ability to search from home for a book to reserve, access to online databases which contain high quality verifiable information, ebooks, audio books, and much more. While online programs are not new for any library, they multiplied in 2020 when meeting in-person was not possible. The OCPL libraries used storytime, performances of Shakespeare, online book clubs, craft sessions, summer reading, staff generated podcasts and YouTube videos, and much more in online formats to give people respite from the stress that 2020 provided. While many people focused on the doors being closed,  but the staff at the libraries were still working to meet the needs of our communities. We cannot forget that our libraries are very digital and are always open.

Besides serving on several boards, I'm continuing to give webinars on a wide variety of topics, including copyright (running again in February), communications, using SMART goals, productivity, and mentoring (March 2021). In terms of consulting I am talking with prospective clients about copyright projects and projects related to innovation. Innovation is something I've focused on for a long time and I look forward to putting my knowledge to work with a new organization. 

Besides my website, this blog, and LinkedIn, I've been using a new service called Lunchclub as a way of thinking about "what's next." Lunchclub provides curated one-on-one professional connection, and smart introductions to relevant people. What an interesting way to meet other people who are interested in copyright, and from difference perspectives. Paul Signorelli has written about this platform, so you can go there to read more. Lunchclub does not allow people to automatically join, but instead looks for people to be referred in some fashion.  If you're looking for a new or different networking platform, here is a link so you can signup for Lunchclub.

What else?

I'm sure there is more I should write.  I haven't talked about what I've learned about Zoom, or about the site Gather.Town (which has more functionality than you can imagine), or discovering Sardek Love's Monday "Ask a Master Facilitator" videos...or Tom Haymes' book Learn at Your Own Risk, or Paul Signorelli's book Change the World Using Social Media (which includes information from an interview with me)...or about the days I sat in front of the TV watching in disbelief all that was happening in the world. I am thankful for the light, for the good...and I look forward to what I hope will be a better 2021.

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

What is hidden in $900 billion COVID-19 relief deal? Hint: changes to IP law

U.S. Congress from Wikimedia
Yesterday the U.S. Congress passed the long awaited COVID relief bill.  Besides COVID relief for people in the U.S., it contained other things. USA Today reported:

The roughly $900 billion measure was attached to a $1.4 trillion spending bill to fund the federal government through Sept. 30, 2021 (the end of the fiscal year) to form a nearly 5,600 page-bill that is one of the largest pieces of legislation Congress has ever tackled. It also includes bipartisan provisions like the end of surprise medical billing and legislation creating Smithsonian museums for women and Latinos. clearly more than just COVID relief. What else? Fight for the Future reported:

Fight for the Future has learned that three controversial changes to copyright law: the CASE Act, Felony Streaming Act, and Trademark Modernization Act are in fact included in the must-pass omnibus spending bill lawmakers will vote on later today (bill text here). Protocol first reported on the potential inclusion of these provisions in the package earlier this month. The CASE Act would threaten ordinary Internet users with up to $30,000 in fines for engaging in everyday activity such as downloading an image and re-uploading it. 

The Verge said:

Most controversially, the CASE Act would create a quasi-judicial tribunal of “Copyright Claims Officers” who would work to resolve infringement claims. As outlined in the bill, copyright holders could be awarded up to $30,000 if they find their creative work being shared online. 


The Trademark Modernization Act would allow third parties to request the Patent Office to reject trademark applications in an effort to combat “trademark trolls” who make money off of trademarks they never planned to use.

As for the Felony Streaming Act, TV Technology wrote:

Under Tillis’ bill, any person that pirates video streams of copyrighted work will have committed a felony act and be subject to either fines or imprisonment. The previous penalty for pirating streaming content was a misdemeanor.

The bill targets large-scale, criminal, for-profit streaming services, not good faith business disputes or noncommercial activities. Nor does it target individuals who access the pirated streams, knowingly or unknowingly.

Addendum (1:25 p.m. ET): Looking at this text, on page 2592 there is an opt-out provision for libraries and archives related to the Copyright Claims Board. 

So there is much for us to pay attention to in this bill that has been passed. Sadly, everything in it was not debated and I doubt that those who voted on it had read and considered every word. The New York Times reported:

The legislative text is likely to be one of the longest ever, and it became available only a few hours before both chambers approved the bill. 

We will now need to figure out what this means to use and our organizations, and likely how to work towards modifications to these changes. Please watch social media and a variety of news sources for information, as people read the bill and reflect on its impact.

By the way, if you wonder how all of this stuff - and more - got into this bill, consider that every Representative and Senator saw this important measure as a way of getting what they wanted to have passed before this session ended. People were unlikely to vote against bill if it contained, for example, something related to Internet streaming. And if putting that stuff in meant that the bill received more votes, then they saw that as being good.  

Yes, there are people who voted for this bill that I wish had voted against it. I also wish they had just passed COVID relief earlier, so it could have been of more help to those who needed it. I also wish it had contained relief for counties and municipalities that have seen their budgets be severely impacted. I hope that more COVID relief - and not bundled with anything else - will be coming in 2021!

Addendum (1:25 p.m. ET): I'm not seeing articles yet from library sources about this bill.  If you see any, please leave a comment with a link. Thank you!

Addendum (12/30/2020): The President signed this bill int law on Sunday, Dec. 27, 2020.

Friday, December 18, 2020

#NYLA2020 Wrap-up: The joy of an online conference during a pandemic

Lunch in front of a laptop computer
Like many other conferences, the 2020 New York Library Association Annual Conference went virtual with broadcasted sessions on Nov. 5-6, and access to prerecorded content for weeks afterwards. This was a very different experience. There were no group lunches or dinners. No alumni events. No running into colleagues in the hallway. Instead we were each in front of our own computers as we attended the live sessions. That spot became where we had breakfast, mid-morning coffee, lunch, and snacks. For some, it was where they exercised while watching sessions!  So what stood out?

  • The conference used the PheedLoop platform, which allowed for live and prerecorded sessions, live chat, and a trade show. This is the first online conference platform I've used and I liked it. I'm sure there are a growing number of companies building platforms and it will be interesting to see what exists a year from now.
  • While the platform was easy to use, it needed an introduction. An online conference platform should have a 2-5 minute introductory video which explains its features. The video could be generic and played by any participant at any time.
  • The presenters - whether they were presenting live or were prerecording their material - needed good Internet bandwidth. Unfortunately, you likely do not know that your bandwidth isn't good enough until something goes wrong. Participants also needed good bandwidth. This is an area where a conference platform might provide a tool for testing your bandwidth or provide suggestions on how to get the most out of what you have.
  • Because of the combination of live broadcast and prerecorded sessions, I was able "to go" to more sessions! This was definitely a plus. In addition, NYLA recorded the broadcast sessions and made them available later, so more content to absorb.
  • The difference between prerecorded sessions and live sessions is the ability to interact with other participants and ask questions. Yes, there really is a benefit to being in the same "room" with everyone else  and the presenters at the same time.
  • Because I don't work for a library, trade shows and exhibit halls are a challenge. I want to go and see what's new, but I also know that I'm not a prospect for the exhibitors, so the conversations can be awkward. The virtual trade show (exhibit hall) allowed me to visit the vendors, look at their materials, perhaps watch a video about their products/services, and then only chat with a live person if I had a question. This translated into me going to more exhibitors and looking at more of their materials. 
  • NYLA does not have vendor-led sessions. However, I think conferences next year - and even NYLA - should consider having library space designers and architectural firms give programs on what they learned about library design from the pandemic. I think those could be well attended and very informative sessions.
  • The private chat feature allowed me to chat with a number of people, whom I had not seen in a while, and that was nice. That served a bit like running into someone in the hallway at the conference. The feature did take a little getting used to and I would hope that conference software companies work to make that feature obvious and easy.

Next year (2021) the NYLA Annual Conference is scheduled to be in Syracuse on Nov. 3-6.  Every 2021 conference is looking at their options and wondering if they will be able to hold their events in person. In addition, every 2020 virtual conferences is realizing that participants saw a benefit in having an online conference and likely want some virtual components to continue. 

Why go to an on-site conference?

  • While you might attend a conference by yourself, you are interacting with many people while you're on-site. That increases what information you are exposed to and what you learn. That is harder to do online.
  • You have more interaction with the speakers (including the keynoters), because you can talk with them before or after their sessions, or at another time during the conference. For example, imagine the conversations we could have had with the NY State Librarian if we had been in the same physical space as her? If possible, queuing up to see the State Librarian online would definitely be different than in person. Another example is a group gathering around a speaker after a session to talk about a particular point the person made. BTW this is all possible to do online, but requires more coordination.
  • While I liked visiting the exhibitors online, you could not see and touch their products. You need to be on-site for this.
  • It is easier to create small ad hoc discussion groups in person, whether that is in a session, on the trade show floor, in the hallways, or over a meal. This can be where the real learning and networking happens. The ad hoc nature of this is currently hard to duplicate online.
  • Association conferences are also places for recruiting people for committees, etc. While this is possible to do in other ways, you can't see who is stopping by your booth and showing real interesting in your materials when the event is online.
  • While not impossible, it is easier to do fun fundraisers in person.

I'm sure there are other reasons, but that is what comes to mind right now.  

I do want to say that I missed driving to Saratoga Springs, where the conference was supposed to be held. And I missed my favorite food places in Saratoga (Hattie's), as well as the independent bookstore. The MSLIS programs in NYS have alumni events at the conference, and I missed those too. 

Whatever form NYLA 2021 takes, I am looking forward to it. My hope is that it will be on-site (at least part of it).  If so, my plan is to create a food map for participants to use!  Maybe some dine-arounds? We'll see!

Thursday, December 17, 2020

#NYLA2020 : Part 3 - Notes from the on-demand sessions I watched

The NYLA Annual Conferences included 32 on-demand sessions, with the broadcast sessions being added-in after the live event was over.  Below is the third of several blog posts of things that stood out to me from the sessions I watched after the conference ended.

Grassroots Community Organizing for Socio-Economic Development

This session was broadcasted live, and I watched it on-demand after the conference was over.

Program Description: This workshop will showcase projects available to libraries in partnership with community members and organizations, as well as the meaningful impacts that they can have towards their community's socio-economic development. We will discuss library projects regarding Self-publishing and Digital Literacy, Coding, and Electronics with Underserved Populations, as well as Advocacy and Sustainability.

Program Speakers: 

Brief Notes:

  • Librarianship exists in the creative design field.
  • Social economic status (SES) is the social standing or class of an individual group. It is often measured as a combination of education, income, and occupation. 
  • SES has an impact on how people live and how they see themselves.
  • Syracuse, NY has a rich history and was a stop on the Underground Railroad. It provided resettlement opportunities for former enslaved people.  In more recent history, Syracuse built an interstate highway through the city.  Now Syracuse has pockets of extreme poverty of Black and Brown people.  80% of students in the Syracuse City School District live in poverty.  (Drobniak shared a number of statistics around this.) 
  • City of Syracuse libraries are based in areas of poverty.
  • They gave overviews of three Syracuse branch libraries:
    • The downtown branch (Central Library) sits in an area that has been revitalized with more stores and high-end housing.  There are also homeless shelters in or near this area.  Many of the visitors to the Central Library are people who live in poverty or are low-wealth.
    • The Beauchamp Branch, which Antoine works, is on the South Side of Syracuse in an area of poverty. In 2017, 31.2% of people in that zip code lived below the poverty level. The poverty level in Syracuse is now 40%.
    • The White Branch is on the north Side of Syracuse in an area with many immigrants, refugees, and New Americans. People in this area must overcome many challenges, including the challenge of learning English and finding employment.
  • What can be done? Grassroots organizing and collective action.
    • Graphic journalism workshops to alleviate trauma and increase storytelling skills.
    • Teach skills (e.g., 3-D printing) that lead the learners to other learning opportunities and then job opportunities.
    • Libraries can help community members build the skills to solve 21st century problems.
    • Teaching STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) skills.
    • Drobniak and Antoine provided many examples from the work they have done in Syracuse.


Library Law for the Win!

This session was broadcasted live, and I watched it on-demand after the conference was over. 

Program Description: Libraries are governed by a complex web of law and regulations. As trustees focus on operations, budget, and strategic planning, the need to consider legal compliance can feel overwhelming.  How can a board transform this perceived burden into a benefit? By exploring several common scenarios, attendees will learn techniques and practice with materials to help trustees not only comply with the law, but to use a focus on legal compliance to enhance your library's mission

Program Speakers: 

  •  Stephanie (Cole) Adams, The Law Office of Stephanie Adams, PLLC
Brief Notes:
  • Adams included this disclaimer on her handouts, which I want to note here: "This is not legal advice. Any compliance notes or tips in this document should be reviewed by an attorney for consistency with bylaws and other policies before being included in your institution's policies or practice."
  • How can you use library law not as a burden but as a way of helping you win or define yourself?
  • Adams laid out a fictional scenario abut a library flooding and its aftermath, and used that to discuss take-aways.
  • Take-away 1 - Every library director should have have a binder or database with all of the library's legal paperwork, including the library's charter, bylaws, information on the board of trustees, past trustee meeting minutes, board policies, plan of service, organizational chart, property deed, property survey, insurance information including the carrier's contact information, and copies of major contracts.
  • Take-away 2:Every library board member should have a binder or online file containing bylaws, current members and terms, last year's worth of board minutes, list of committees and current members, oath of office, plan of service, organizational chart, board code of ethics, all library policies, insurance summary, and conflict of interest disclosure form. 
  • Adams believes that every board member should have a script for entering executive session.  Her script says:
    • BE IT RESOLVED, that per Section 105 of the Public Officers Law, this board shall now move into executive session for purpose of discussing:
    • [SELECT:
      • discussions regarding proposed, pending or current litigation;
      • collective negotiations pursuant to article fourteen of the civil service law;
      • the medical, financial, credit or employment history of a particular person or corporation, or matters leading to the appointment, employment, promotion, demotion, discipline, suspension, dismissal or removal of a particular person or corporation;
      • the proposed acquisition, sale or lease of real property or the proposed acquisition of securities, or sale or exchange of securities held by such public body (but only when publicity would substantially affect the value thereof).]
    • [OPTIONAL Attendance at this executive session shall include non-board member ___________________.]
  • Take-away 3: Every library should have their board members and executives review and sign the conflict of interest policy annually.
  • Take-away 4: Every board should know which board committee is designated with addressing claims related to civil rights complaints (sexual harassment, discrimination, retaliation). 
  • Take-away 5: Libraries are entrusted with not only personal information, but with patrons’ confidential library records, which are protected from disclosure by CPLR 4509. CPLR 4509 says:
    • Library records, which contain names or other personally identifying details regarding the users of public, free association, school, college and university libraries and library systems of this state, including but not limited to records related to the circulation of library materials, computer database searches, interlibrary loan transactions, reference queries, requests for photocopies of library materials, title reserve requests, or the use of audio-visual materials, films or records, shall be confidential and shall not be disclosed except that such records may be disclosed to the extent necessary for the proper operation of such library and shall be disclosed upon request or consent of the user or pursuant to subpoena, court order or where otherwise required by statute.
  • Take-away 6: Job descriptions should be reviewed annually for accuracy and updated as needed. You may want to include some flexible language, so a person can take on additional duties (as what has happened during the pandemic).
    • Adams noted that the requirements on the job description should fit the duties of the job. For example, do not require a driver's license for a job, when that job does not require that the person drive.
  • Take-away 7: Independent Contractors should only be used when the term truly fits the relationship with the contractor. In other words, understand the difference between an independent contractor and employee. Who are you doing business with?  NYS Department of Labor website contains a definition of an independent contractor.
    • Talk to your insurance carrier about risk management and risk thresholds. 
    • A concern is who covers the person's worker's compensation insurance.
  • Take-away 8: Any library using volunteers should have a "Volunteer Policy" to ensure volunteers are properly vetted, covered by insurance, and the scope of their volunteer services are confirmed by a letter. 
    • Adams said that a volunteer should clearly understand what person is allowed and not allowed to do. 
    • Volunteers include students, friends of the library, and others who are providing short or long-term volunteer work at the library.
    • If students from a particular school volunteer regularly at the library, the library could create an agreement with the school and not with each individual student.
  • Take-away 9: Make sure that staff understand how to handle angry phone calls without saying anything in the heat of the moment that might disadvantage the library later. She suggested that there be script next to the phone for staff to use.
  • Take-away 10: Insurance coverage is important.

Wednesday, December 09, 2020

Article: AU Awarded $3.8 Million Grant to Promote International Right to Research in Copyright Law

American University has been awarded a $3.8 Million Grant from Arcadia Fund to promote the international right to research. "The project will study changes needed in international copyright policy to ensure equity in the production of and access to research." In the article, Sean Flynn, Director of the Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property and the project’s principal investigator said:

In many countries, library resources, for example, can only be used ‘on the premises’ of that institution. Use of educational materials is often restricted to use ‘in a classroom.’ Our goal is to promote a system in which every researcher, every student, and every citizen of every country has the ability to engage in modern research activity and enjoy its products, including across borders and utilizing online tools.

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought issues with copyright to the forefront.  I'm glad to see groups like this begin to tackle them.

Tuesday, December 01, 2020

A new generation of leaders taking up the copyright torch

Lila Bailey
This article on Lila Bailey, Esq. contains information on who are the new torch bearers for the public interest in terms of copyright law.  It says:

According to Meredith Rose, senior policy counsel at Public Knowledge, [Lila] Bailey is among a new generation of leaders who are taking up the copyright torch from the likes of Kahle, and scholars like Sameulson and Lawrence Lessig. Rose says others in this new vanguard include the journalist Sarah Jeong, law professor Blake Reid and Kyle Wiens, who has led a successful "right to repair" campaign against Apple, John Deere and others to allow individuals to tinker with the software code in their devices.

The article gives me joy to see that others are stepping into this realm. We need people to think about the public interest and not just what is good for the publishers.

Monday, November 30, 2020

Feb. 2021: U.S. Copyright Law in the Library: A Beginner's Guide eCourse

Copyright symbol by Horia VarlanRegistration is open for this six-week ALA eCourse, which will begin on Feb. 1, 2021.  We will have been in this pandemic for almost one year when this eCourse begins. I do expect that fact to influence the content and discussions, as well as our increasing need to make library materials more widely available.

Description: The library is a hub of content, all of it subject to copyright law. The legal reality of copyright is dynamic—changes in technology have created a landscape that is constantly adapting and can be difficult to predict. If you don't have any formal training in copyright law, it can be intimidating to know how to answer your patrons' copyright questions and to know what you can and cannot do with your library’s content and resources. It can be tough to understand the line between providing information and answering a legal question.

In this eCourse, consultant, speaker, writer, and educator Jill Hurst-Wahl guides you through the basics of copyright law and provides you with the foundation to become your library's copyright expert.

Each week, you'll learn how copyright law informs what libraries, library staff, and patrons can do with their materials and how you can stay up-to-date as this area evolves. You'll be able to check and affirm your knowledge through focused self-assessments.

After participating in this course, you will be able to:

  • Explain the basics of copyright law
  • Evaluate whether or not a work is copyrightable
  • Determine if a work is still under copyright protection
  • Appraise whether a work can be used under Fair Use
  • Understand how to locate additional information on U.S. Copyright Law
  • Assist a member of the community or library staff in understanding the real meaning of Fair Use

 Additional information and registration is available on the ALA website.

Thursday, November 19, 2020

#NYLA2020 : Part 2 - Notes from the on-demand sessions I watched

The NYLA Annual Conferences included 32 on-demand sessions, which are available to participants through Dec. 31, 2020.  Below is the second of several blog posts of things that stood out to me from the on-demand sessions I watched.

Congrats! You’re a Prison Librarian – Now What?

Program Description: A panel of correctional facility librarians will share their experiences and how they are able to succeed at their job. Topics will include but are not limited to collection development, working with other facility staff, and programming. Leave the session feeling re-energized and ready to tackle the daily challenges that come with working in a correctional facility.

Program Speaker:  

  • Melinda Appleby, Senior Librarian, Willard Drug Treatment Campus
  • Matthew Cassidy, Senior Librarian, Woodburn Correctional Facility
  • Diego Sandoval-Hernandez, Correctional Services Librarian, Brooklyn Public Library
  • Andrea Snyder, Pioneer Library System (Moderator)

Brief Notes: 

  • Willard Drug Treatment Campus and Woodburn Correctional Facility are part of the NYS Department of Corrections. 
  • The speakers began by giving an overview of the facilities they work in/with and then talked about what they wish they had known when they took a position in/with a prison.
  • Cassidy gave an overview of the restrictions they work under in these facilities, e.g, no phones or smartwatches, no Internet access, limited "Internet" access for the incarcerated people through specific devices.
  • Sandoval-Hernandez gave an overview of what going through security is like at Rikers Island (part of the NYC jail complex). He goes through several security checkpoints during his day.  He noted later that most of his patrons at serving shorter sentences or are pre-sentence. This means that this facilities have  a high turnover.  This also means that books often go missing, because people leave quickly.
  • Appleby talked about what typical day is like for her. Some of her day is serving classes that come in (incarcerated people working towards their Test Assessing Secondary Completion (TASC™) [formerly known as the General Educational Development (GED®)].  
  • Cassidy also talked about his typical day. His library is in the same building as the classrooms and a gym.
  • Appleby's facility is a 90-day program. Because of that, she does not do active programming, but does do passive programming.
  • A program that Sandoval-Hernandez and his team does is "Daddy and Me." They work with parents who are incarcerated and do early literacy training. They are then recorded reading a children's book. They invite the family with kids to come in (if possible) and hear the story. The kids leave with the book and the recorded story. If the family cannot come, the book and recording are sent to the family.
  • Cassidy has done reading groups using public domain books that the incarcerated have access to on their tablets. Because they are public domain books, family members on the outside can read the same books.
  • Snyder noted that in non-pandemic times her system provides books through interlibrary loan to the facilities in her region.
  • They talked about collection development for their libraries/patrons.
  • Cassidy recommended The Prison Library Primer: A Program for the Twenty-First Century (2009).
  • Both Cassidy and Appleby have a background in security.
  • Cassidy encourages any librarian, who is interested in helping others, to consider prison librarianship.  He said it is incredibly rewarding to connect the incarcerated in these isolated communities with the information that they need. Sandoval-Hernandez noted that there are many other opportunities to volunteer in jails and prisons, and make a difference.

Organizing Media Literacy Activities for Prison Libraries

Program Description: Correctional facility libraries are critical sites for adult media literacy education.  United States correctional facilities house nearly a quarter of the world's prison population, many of whom are released after decades-long sentences into a society whose patterns of media engagement are distressingly different from the media landscapes they experienced prior to their periods of incarceration. Over the past three years, more than a dozen graphic novel-based media literacy education program sessions have been successfully conducted within New York State maximum and medium-security prison libraries.  The goal of this presentation is to share information about how these sessions were conducted and explore ways media literacy advocates and prison librarians can organize and facilitate graphic novel-based media literacy activities.

Program Speakers: Drew Emanuel Berkowitz, Ph.D.

Brief Notes:
  • He is interested in media literacy using fiction. His dissertation was How is Fanfiction Framed for Literacy Education Practitioner Periodical Audiences : Media Frame Analysis. He is the author of Framing School Violence and Bullying in Young Adult Manga: Fictional Perspectives on a Pedagogical Problem (2020).
  • Those who are incarcerated need to understand how the media (not just TV as media) has changed.
  • Media literacy in a correctional facility is often taught by simulating what is occurring outside of the facility. However, simulating does not provide the full experience. For example, you cannot simulate all of the aspects of a blogging environment.
  • In a correctional facility there can be restrictions to your pedagogy. You will not, for example, have the same tools available to you.
  • Berkowitz questions what the definition of a graphic novel is. Some are quite serious (e.g., From Hell), which others are more like traditional comic books.
  • He noted that facilities have content guidelines, which can limit what you are able to use with incarcerated people. The visual component may cause a work to not be allowed, but the non-graphic novel version may be permitted.  Very interesting to think about using Watchmen (e.g., Absolute Watchmen) versus Walking Dead, both in graphic novel form. One is more real life, while the other is fantasy with zombies.
  • My takeaways from this presentation are:
    • There is a wide variety of works that fall under the heading of graphic novel.
    • Graphic novels can help someone learn about and understand a topic in a different way. 
    • Because of the appeal of graphic novels, some people may learn about a topic that they would not have otherwise. Berkowtiz, for example, noted that most men have not read a novel about the lives of teenage girls.  A graphic novel could be a way of providing that perspective.
    • Part of what can be discussed about a graphic novel is its point of view. In other words, if it is fan faction, what make it different than the original? What is that point of view trying to teach us or get us to think about?
    • When you use graphic novels in a correctional facility, you need to be flexible. While you may not be able to use the work you wanted, you may find that you can use something else.

Visualizing A More Dynamic Annual Report

Program Description: It is vital, and sometimes mandated, for organizations to produce a document that shows how they are spending money and distributing their resources. Producing a comprehensive report of the library's yearly activity need not be an arduous task, and need not become the dreaded "wall of text." Thanks to modern, inexpensive publishing tools such as Canva, it is possible to create attractive and informative documents - even on a shoestring budget. Well-visualized data can be used for conveying information to key stakeholders such as: elected officials, patrons, and your wider community. In this workshop, we will talk about best practices for turning data points into visuals, software for creative reports, and printing options for the final product.

Program Speaker: Carolyn Bennett Glauda, Southeastern NY Library Resources Council

Brief Notes:

  • Very good presentation for getting you to consider what should go into your annual report and how they might look. It is good to think about what should be in your report, rather continuing to do what you have always done. She quickly reviewed a view tools and showed some reports that she liked.
  • She has been creating the reports with SNYLRC since 2012.
  • An annual report is a document for stakeholders that chronicles the past year.  It can include narrative of the organization's activities, making use of graphics and charts.  It contains detailed financial and operation information. This is different than the annual report your library might submit to the State Library.
  • Questions:
    • Who are your stakeholders?  Make a list of your target audiences, which might include the board, elected officials, future employees, voters, or donors.  You can be specific or general.
    • What do you want to highlight? What were the big events of the year? What made this year special? What are you proud to share with your stakeholders?
    • Where are you publishing this? In paper? Handed out? Emailed? Where will you keep archival copies? Where can you publish it so it is seen to more stakeholders? Do you need multiple formats?
  • Think about what things are worth, rather than what they cost. Convey value, rather than where you spent money.
  • Include data which your audience cares about the most, then connect it to a story. How did it change a life?
  • What was your best work in the year? Let that shine through. Keep track of your wins and successes.
  • Find your best images/photos from the year.
  • Make decisions on how you will publish. Online? Print? Hybrid?  How big do you want it to be? Do you need a shorter version for specific populations?
  • It is okay to look at other people's reports and see what they did for inspiration.
  • Resources:

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

#NYLA2020 : Part 1 - Notes from the on-demand sessions I watched

The NYLA Annual Conferences included 32 on-demand sessions, which are available to participants through Dec. 31, 2020.  Below is the first of several blog posts of things that stood out to me from the on-demand sessions I watched.  

Conversations with the New York State Librarian Access

Program Description: New York State Librarian, Lauren Moore interviews Interim Commissioner of Education and President of the University of the State of New York, Dr. Betty A. Rosa about NYS libraries. The conservation is continued with a panel discussion moderated by Ms. Moore. 

Program Speakers: 

  • Lauren Moore, New York State Librarian, New York State Library 
  • Nate Hill, Executive Director, Metro Library Council 
  • Grace Riario, Chief Executive Officer, Ramapo Catskill Library System 
  • Dr. Betty A. Rosa, Interim Commissioner of Education 
  • Arlene Way, Chair, Regents Advisory Council on Libraries 

Quick notes:

  • During this program the group used the word "library" and it generally seemed to mean public libraries.
  • Dr. Rosa comes from a K-12 background, so she thinks about libraries in terms of how they support K-12 education. This may mean that she is not automatically thinking of the breadth of what libraries do.
  • Digital equity is a topic that is important to the NYS Education Department both short and long-term.
  • When school districts turned to online learning, the digital divide became more evident.
  • Moore estimated that 25% of students in NYS do not have Internet access.
  • The need for libraries to have safe spaces for staff to talk with each other about what they are going through. 
  • Libraries have always had challenges, with some more than others.  Staff need to be able to talk about these challenges without fear of losing their jobs.
  • Grace Riario talked about library staff following up with community members who have requested information. They found that touching base with those community members was important, especially for those community members who were alone.
  • Libraries cannot solve every problem. Some problems need to be solved by other groups.  However, libraries do have the ability to connect resources. Arlene Way mentioned partners including the Chamber of Commerce.
  • What is the role of the library in the partnerships it forms?
  • NYSED is planning a digital equity summit for early 2021.
  • Hill talked about building digital collections - and how they are built - as being part of digital equity work.
  • K-12 schools need to reach out to public libraries as potential partners, and not just libraries reaching out to the schools.  I know that some K-12 school administrators don't understand how public libraries (or even K-12 libraries) can support what they do.

Bringing Low Vision Services to Your Library

Program Description: Learn how librarians at Westchester County Library System and Yonkers Public Library planned an executed the launch of VisionLab. VisionLab is a pilot program intended to pave the way towards more low vision services spread throughout Westchester County’s libraries. Staff will discuss the research process used to discover stakeholders, potential partners, and the state of low-vision services in Westchester County.  Attendees will also learn how the NYS Talking Book and Braille Library, TBBL, can be a valuable partner in providing reading materials to individuals who have difficulty reading standard print due to visual, physical, or reading disability.  TBBL staff will discuss eligibility for service, provide an overview of the program, and explain how to search and request audio and braille materials.

Program Speakers:  

  • Shawn Lemieux, NYS State Talking Book and Braille Library
  • Jane Bentley, NYS Library
  • Krishna Horrigan, Westchester Library System
  • Alan Houston, Yonkers Public Library

 Quick notes: 

The NYS Talking Books and Braille Library (TBBL) - Lemieux and Bentley

  • TBBL serves over 1400 patrons.
  • TBBL circulates about 1000 audio books per day on cartridge and 300 braille books per week.
  • TBBL serves approximately 2000 institutions, who serve TBBL patrons.
  • Playback equipment is provided for the audio cartridges (actually a USB drive in a larger cartridge) for free. This equipment is accessible for patrons with a wide variety of abilities.
  • Patrons can also download audio and ebraille books through BARD (Braille and Audio Reading Download).
  • TBBL provides additional resources including:
    • NFB-Newsline - This is an amazing free audio service for those who cannot read the newspaper.
    • National Library Service for the Blind and Print-Disabled
    • Commission for the Blind
    • Bookshare
VisionLabs - Horrigan and Houston
  • The need: In the U.S., there are 52 million people who are 65 years old or older. Often people in this group can have difficulty reading print materials. In Weschester County (NY) there over 15,000 people who have difficulty reading print material, even when wearing glasses.  
  • In Westchester County, they interviewed people to understand they need as well as what services currently exist.
  • Learned that seniors often prefer low-tech solutions.
  • Grinton I. Will Branch (Yonkers) has created an initiative to seek out and service special populations.
  • What low vision services could they actually provide?
  • Newly blind adults often never learn braille, so building a braille collection did not make sense.
  • Thinking outside of the box - circulating objects.
  • VisionLabs components:
    • Hardware - sample or borrow accessible hardware
    • Education for patrons and library staff
    • Referrals
  • VisionLabs webpage
  • Accessible hardware is expensive. They were able to obtain grants to help with their purchases. 
  • Make your intentions known to potential partners. They may be able to donate funds or materials
  • With COVID-19, delayed their summer 2020 launch.  Looked at how they could work with this population online. Have been holding online programs.
  • Once libraries re-open, they can begin to acquire hardware and meet with people in-person.
  • A significant roadblock for organizations that serve this populating is marketing. They hope to boost the signal of other organizations,

Assessing Your Library’s Makerspace

Program Description: Since makerspaces appeared in the library more than a decade ago, these collaborative learning environments have grown substantially in number. As their presence has become increasingly common within our organizations, it is vital that we accurately assess their performance. The less-structured, occasionally freewheeling nature of makerspaces can make them notoriously difficult to evaluate. With that in mind, what kinds of data can we collect on our makerspaces, and what questions should we seek to answer?

Book cover

Program Speaker: Nick Tanzi, South Huntington Public Library. He is the co-author of Best Technologies for Public Libraries: Policies, Programs, and Services (2020).

Quick notes: 

  • This slides for this presentation are well-done and Tanzi really provided good content. If you attended the conference, you should watch his presentation.
  • Because makerspaces provide wide-open learning opportunities, they can be difficult to access.
  • Given our current situation in the middle of a pandemic. Tanzi encourages:
    • A flexible collection of statistics is important
    • Think beyond the physical location
    • Plan for tomorrow
  • Often times the origins of a makerspace are:
    • Excess meeting space
    • Downsized media collections or reference collections
  • This decision is made using hard data and anecdotal evidence
  • Assessment is important in creating a makerspace
  • The South Huntington Public Library makerspace sits where the reference collection used to be.
  • The SHPL makerspace contains an amazing assortment of equipment and capabilities!
  • What questions am I seeking to answer about my makerspace?
    • How many people are using my space? There are high-tech and low-tech solutions for gathering this information. How many times is the spaced used? Is the space being used by the same users (power users)? Foot traffic is different than use.
    • What technology is being used? Track machine outputs, equipment "checkouts," software launched, or even self-reporting. Tracking software usage can help you understand if you have enough (or too much) software licenses. Be upfront with your patrons that you are tracking use and why, and that you are maintaining patron privacy.
    • What are our users learning? Think learning outcomes. Are people working towards certifications (even library-specific certifications)? What are people learning overtime? Are you using a badging system, which is a form of self-reporting?
    • What value is being delivered? How can that value be communicated? Compare services to commercial alternatives. You should not be more expensive. Are you covering your costs? Is your value that you are providing critical access?
    • What else are the users interested in? Make your space user-driven.
  • Understand your internal and external customers. Track what staff is doing, as well as your patrons. How are staff using the space? What is being created that the library doesn't have to buy? Staff training has a value.
  • Strike a balance in how to collect data. It does not have to be onerous.
  • Yes, stories help. What stories does the data tell? Use data in the stories.  Package the data as a narrative.
  • Be honest in your data storytelling. Don't force a rosy story if it is not there. Maybe you have learned that you need better marketing or more programming in order to increase usage.

Friday, November 13, 2020

Article: How Controlled Digital Lending Makes an Entire College Library Available to Everyone Everywhere

There is increased interested in expanding access to materials through controlled digital lending (CDL), which I've written about before. Recently EveryLibrary published an article about CDL, its benefits, and how it preserves access.  The article begins:

Books have been circulating for thousands of years and have changed with new technologies and resources. The trends and demands of the digital world — where consumers access materials in electronic forms — means that many books that were published before the digital age are not available online or for e-readers. Librarians across the country are working on fixing this problem.
If you are interested in increasing access to materials in your library, consider reading this article to learn about the impact CDL has on the Marygrove College and its library collection.

Friday, November 06, 2020

#NYLA2020 : TERF Wars - Transphobia, libraries, and trans workers

Program Description: 

Several public libraries have played host to anti-trans speakers, despite community feedback and protests. Those libraries proceeded with events, citing freedom of speech. Trans people are dealing with a constant state of precariousness legally, socially, and in workplaces. How do we align library policies, ideals, the Library Bill of Rights, and our codes of conduct when it comes to speech attacking marginalized groups? How do we uphold freedom of speech without allowing it to be weaponized? What is our responsibility as information professionals to vulnerable members of our communities?

Program Speaker: 

  • Djaz Zulida, Brooklyn Public Library (they/them)

Dumpster fire with the text "breathe with me"
Brief notes

  • Zulida started with a short breathing meditation using the image on the right.
  • What is TERF? Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminism
  • Why are TERFs using library spaces? 
    • Space is free/cheap.
    • We are community hubs.
    • Free advertising.
    • Library policies are value.
    • Neutrality and both-side-ism.
    • Free speech.
  • Noted three libraries that held TERF events and three that we able to avoid holding TERF events.
    • Megan Murphy is a person who is connected with several of these events.
  • A silver lining to the pandemic is no library programs, so TERFs cannot come in and use the library space.
  • How do we plug up the holes in our libraries to reduce vulnerability? How do we make sure our patrons are protected from hate-filled groups?
    • Codes of conduct
    • Meeting room policies
    • Union contracts
    • Can you go beyond state or ALA guidelines?
  • Use the time now, when you do not have this as an issue to review and revise your meeting room policy.  Be proactive. If it has been an issue in other libraries, it could be an issue in yours.
  • Transgender Day of Remembrance, Nov. 20
  • What does trans inclusion look like?
  • Inclusive restrooms - menstrual products in both gender restrooms, etc.
  • Inclusive language - for example, "parents and guardians" rather than "moms and dads"
  • Pronouns - normalize sharing pronouns
  • What does trans inclusion look like?
    • Beyond Pride Month
    • Beyond Drag Queen Storytime
    • Collection development
  • Trans & Queer Alternatives to Harry Potter - Brooklyn Public Library has lists of books
  • Be mindful of what is happening in your community outside of the library. How can you support trans community members non-library settings?
  • Book list on Goodreads
  • New York Transgender Advocacy Group
  • Johns Hopkins Medicine Transgender Resources


  • Do you have any examples with language we could use to refresh our policy? Look at LGBTQ and other organizations for examples. 
  • What do you suggest we could do to encourage a more inclusive environment but receiving pushback from staff and patrons?  Find allies who can help to advocate for this.
  • I use email signatures & put my pronouns on my Zoom profile, but I still often see patrons, presenters, and colleagues using the wrong ones for me. Is there a constructive way to emphasize these language shifts? Is there an ally who can help to advocate for you and take some of the weight off of you?
  • Does anyone have pronouns attached to patron accounts? Good question!  The information could go into the notes field. Would be interested in hearing from a library that is putting pronouns in the record. You would want patrons to be able to opt-in. 
  • Do ILS's allow for genders other than male/female or pronouns? Don't know.
  • I've heard different perspectives on the relationships libraries should have with Harry Potter due to the author's transphobia. I'd love to hear your thoughts on using Harry Potter in programming/taking up library space and if it can be appropriate. What do you think? Harry Potter is not the end-all or be-all. J.K. Rowling has taken toxic stance against trans people. Her impact does not stop with Harry Potter.  There are other ways of connecting with fantasy and wizardry without using Harry Potter.  Don't throw the books out, but on other works.  Some people will say to focus on the art rather than the artist, but it doesn't hurt to focus on other authors. Be creative.



#NYLA2020 : Author! Author! – Lester Spence

Event Description:

Lester Spence is a Professor of Political Science and Africana Studies at Johns Hopkins University. He specializes in the study of Black, racial, and urban politics in the wake of the neoliberal turn. An award-winning scholar (in 2013, he received the W.E.B. DuBois Distinguished Book Award for his book, Stare in the Darkness: The Limits of Hip-hop and Black Politics) and teacher (in 2009, he received an Excellence in Teaching Award). He can regularly be heard on National Public Radio and the Marc Steiner Show.

Brief Notes:

I could not take notes fast enough! Wow...I will definitely need to listen to this again, since it was recorded.
  • Spence started by asking that we stop and breathe to calm our anxiety.  We need to be prepared for the work that is coming.
  • There are higher levels of inequality than there were in the Great Depression.
  • The New Deal and programs in the 1950s-1960s lessened in inequality for a while. 
  • inequality increased in the 1970s due to inflation and unemployment.  That created a challenge for society and the theories used to problem solve the economy.
  • During neoliberalism (free-market capitalism) efforts worked against lessening inequality.
  • It used to be that wages rose as productivity rose. Thar ended in the 1970s when productivity continued to rise, but wages did not. Wages flat-lined.
  • It used to be that you did not need a high education to provide for yourself and your family.  Now the sectors that are growing which require more education.
  • Unions have been important, but union membership continues to decrease.
  • Welfare benefits have decreased over time.
  • The number of incarcerated have increased, beginning in the 1970s. 
  • Inequality is increasing within racial groups.
  • What does this mean for cities? An increase within cities of privatization, gentrification, etc.
  • What does this mean for libraries? 
  • Some libraries are being asked to function more like businesses. More "profit" focused or being assessed on a cost-benefit analysis.  More space or programming taken up for business like use. Decreased support by municipal spending.  More need for private donations.
  • The function of libraries has changed.
  • Social justice movement - Examples:
    • Occupy Wall Street - people were articulating the wealth gap. He believes this movement had a lasting impression.  
    • Black Lives Matter - There is an interracial aspect. Who is and who isn't worthy of political care. Also a reaction to the rise of the police state. While BLM hasn't generated policy shifts, he believes it is ongoing and that it is helping us think about our racial policies more broadly.
  • What roles do libraries play?
  • These movements were an ideological move. The 1970s was an ideological crisis. Institutions built on those old ideas cannot function.  In an ideological crisis, you need new ideas.  This is where schools and libraries step in. Libraries help us find old ideas and repurpose them.  It is libraries that have space for these discussions.
  • Libraries have been victimized by the neoliberalism era.
  • These movements represent what libraries are fighting for.
  • Whatever happens with the election, we are in the middle of a cultural war about truth. Libraries are not just a byproduct of social movements, they can support them.

Responses to questions:

  • Once you individualize taxpaying and create a taxpayer identity, that means they are more aware of if they are benefitting from their tax payments. Libraries need to be aware of what taxpayers want, but taxpayers cannot allow taxpayers to arbitrate what the library does. We are in a political movement, which means that people do need to take a stance for science and truth.
  • The increased used of algorithms on the Internet - creates personalized social networks and reproduces certain times of disinformation. We need to make a push to re-democratize the Internet, which will mean pushing against several large companies.
  • Are public intellectual spaces in jeopardy? Yes. We need to fight for the rest of our lives for these spaces.
  • Taxpaying isn't about me paying you.  Taxes are paid to provide for public services and the public good. 
  • How should we instruct our patrons to research the truth using the internet or books in print/online when all they have to do is google information which may or may not be factual? Libraries should begin to have programs on how to sift out the truth. Use music, movies, lectures.  Bring people together and not just individual conversations.

Comments on ALA:

Everything ALA is doing is important. Diversifying is important. We don't do that just for the people who are discriminated again, but you are also doing for the people who are in power.  For example, the people who really need to read about Black folk are White folk.

We need to articulate about the resources that libraries have. If you distinguish them by their communities, you will see that some communities have more resources that others.  Structural racism needs to be connected to this community dynamic.

#NYLA2020 : Malcolm Hill Lecture: Sites of Action How Libraries Advance Social Justice.

New Title: 

Is Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Enough?

Program Description:

Libraries have long been places for community, learning, and sites of connection. Now more than ever, libraries have the responsibility and the opportunity to advance the stated core values of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) to structural and systemic changes that advance social change. Developing an equitable, inclusive, and social justice organization requires buy-in and work from everyone, but without leadership’s vision and support many DEI initiatives fail to make systemic change. Dr. LB Hannahs, Senior Strategist at Tangible Development and scholar on strategic diversity change, will share practical tools leaders can take to be the driver of change in your library and help libraries become sites of action for the cultural shifts happening all around us.

Brief notes:

Wow...this session was packed full of information.  For those attending the conference, this may be one you'll want to watch the recording of more than once! 

I've tried to organize my notes by the different sections in Hannahs' talk, but I might have failed at it.
  • Hannahs is from Upstate NY and went to college in several places across Upstate NY. 
  • Hannahs began has a K-12 music teacher and then switched to higher education. 
  • Has worked in DEI in higher ed and in other places.
  • People who have experience issues with EDI and those in administration have different points of view. Hannahs understands and can make connections between them.

The evolution of diversity work: Inequity Regimes in Organizational Practice

  • Three P's - Pandemic, Protest, and Politics
  • The trajectory of the diversity field began in the 1960s. 
  • Implicit bias trainings take an individualistic approach. They have not made large change in what is occurring.
  • “There is no thing as a single-issue struggle because we do not live single-issue lives.” ― Audre Lorde 
  • All organizations has inequality regimes.  Inequality is built into what they do. Organizations are not inherently neutral.
    • The basis of inequality.
    • The shape and degree of inequality
    • Organizational processes that produce inequality
    • The visibility of inequality and the legitimacy of inequality
    • Control and compliance

Tangible steps for change

  • The feel good parts of diversity can be damaging. We need to get to the riskier parts. We need to treat it like a disease. Working on this is not always pleasant.
  • Diversity focuses on numbers
  • Equity focused on policies and practices
  • Inclusion is the work to make ensure that all people feel that they belong. How do practice accountability? How do you manage conflict?
  • (Social) Justice is work that is focused on systemic or transformative change at the root of the problem and attempts to right historical wrongs.
  • Social justice practices = Anti-racist practices
  • Neutrality is no longer an option
  • Where Does Your Organization Fall on the Scale of Anti-racism? (2020)
  • Anti-Racist Organization Development

 How to be an anti-racist leader (did not get all the steps mentioned)

  • Think beyond equity, diversity, and inclusion
  • Vigilant self-awareness
  • Acknowledge white supremacy and its impact
  • Reflect on your leadership team
  • Identify and acknowledge the problem
  • Do an assessment. Think tactically.
  • Define DEI for your organization. Where is it? How explicit is it?  It is integrated into your mission, etc.?
  • you also need to do strategy development, implementation, learning....
  • Anchor yourself and your organization in common language.


  • Is a community an organization? Yes...but work internally first, then apply it externally. 
  • How do we respond to organizations that aspirationally call themselves anti-racist though they acknowledge they are “not there yet” to encourage the motivation for change without misrepresenting the current culture? Anti-racism is a practice, not a destination.  It is okay that you want to be one and to work towards it.
  • For a library just getting started, is it best to invite those interested employees in meeting regularly (with administration's support) to begin to form a solid foundation, then move toward all-staff and board education? Yes, bringing the people together who want to do the work is good. However, they need the skills, power, and budget. Be clear about purpose and capacity.
  • How do we help communities understand the difference between equality (the same for everyone) and equity (the need for some to be elevated or receive more in order to receive justice)? There are lots of good resources available on the Internet and many examples.
  • What if you are the only person of color in your workplace? Build your support network. Find your allies and accomplices. Understand your capacity on any given day to be "the" spokesperson. 
  • Our staff reflect the community. Some of them are racist. Any words of advice? Raise the expectations of what is permissible at work.