Wednesday, January 29, 2020

#ALAmw20 Day 2: Sustainability, Diversity, Change, and More

Sustainability Is Now a Core Value. So... Now What?

Speakers: Rebekkah Smith Aldrich and Matthew Bollerman

As the session description says, "In 2019 ALA Council voted to make sustainability a core value of librarianship. So what's next? How do we embed this new core value in our work as a profession, in our libraries, and in our association?"

Smith Aldrich and Bollerman took turns talking about sustainability.  They noted that we - as individuals - want the people we care about the most to have the best possible lives...and that we want the same for our communities, too. Sustainability is one way of providing the best possible future for those around us and our communities. As libraries, however, we are late to this game.

Smith Aldrich and Bollerman are working to get sustainability as a topic in the MSLIS programs and in ALA accreditation. They noted that three MSLIS programs have already inserted sustainability into their coursework (Syracuse University, San Jose State Univ., and Rutgers).

Image of the triple bottom lineThey see sustainability as having a triple, interconnected impact, which they call the triple bottom line:
  • Environmentally sound (earth)
  • Social equitable (people)
  • Economically feasible
ALA has adopted 52 recommendations related to sustainability (2018) and provides information about this in a guide and elsewhere (like the Sustainability Round Table). Smith Aldrich and Bollerman recognize that using sustainability thinking can feel overwhelming, so they encourage people to empowered to start small.
They provided examples of what organizations are doing, including the City of Santa Monica (CA) Ofice of Wellbeing.

One final thought was that we all should be advocates for the ground we are on.  For me, that thought of focusing on the ground we are on, makes this all even more important.

Making Real Change: Moving beyond the Interpersonal to Create Actual Diverse, Inclusive, and Equitable Environments for Both Library Users and Employees

Speakers: Erin Elzi and Elia Trucks

Anti-oppressive practices (AOP) grapple with power inequities that uphold structural forces like racism and sexism. Librarianship has primarily focused on individual expressions of AOP. However, AOP must include institutional and ideological change, which can be more challenging.

This session will discuss the AOP framework, explore examples of AOP in libraries, and give participants tools for starting larger conversations at their own institutions. Participants will discuss what their institution is doing that focuses on the individual, and explore how theories of organizational change can be used towards institutional AOP.
First of all, it is important to note that their resource list is available and is being updated.  That resource includes a link to their presentation slides.

Second, a significant part of this session was conversation at our tables, where we talked about our institutions and other situations.  I wrote down these things to remember:
  1. Archives save the past, but do not confront it.  We need to confront and discuss the past, not just preserve it.
  2. We need to do bystander training.  People may not naturally know what to do if they witness bias or racism.  By stander training can help.
  3. People need training on how to talk about race, gender, etc.  This should include discussion and training related to pronouns.
  4. Some of the events we hold in our libraries should include a training element for staff.  For example, staff may need training in order to support a controversial event or an event that new for them and the library.  A colleague at my table mentioned the need to hold conversations and training with staff ahead of a drag queen story time event.  Staff may not have interacted with drag queens and may not know how these story times can open positive conversations about gender and gender

Big Shifts: Libraries, Collections, Networks

Speaker: Lorcan Dempsey

Academic libraries increasingly define themselves in terms of student success, research support, and community engagement. We are seeing a major shift from the centrality of the collection, to services and to deeper engagement with changing research, teaching, and learning practices. This presentation will frame important changes, identify patterns in library responses, and discuss how they can use trends to their advantage. It will draw on an extensive record of OCLC Research work on the future of libraries, on the shifting boundaries and character of library collections, on research support, on library collaboration, and on the shift to open.

Map of geographic regions with large print collections

Dempsey said that we used to have limited resources and an abundance of attention.  This is when you needed a lot of patience to locate needed information.  Now we have an abundance of resources and a deficit of attention. Everyone wants information quickly.

Dempsey moved quickly through his presentation and my notes feel very incomplete.  I want to note, though, that he mentioned: 
  • Pluralizing collections
  • Analyzing collections at scale
  • Optimizing collections
  • The rise of the collective collection  
  • Shared collection
  • Specialized collection
  • Facilitated collection
He said how we have moved from owned collection to collective collections:
  • From owned collections to
  • Borrowed collections to
  • Licensed collections to
  • Demand driven collections to
  • Shared collections to
  • Facilitated collections to
  • The collective collections
We need to understand the impact of our networked and digital environment on our collections, our staff, and the users of those collections.  We now have a blurring of workflow and a complex research infrastructure.

Finally, the identity of our libraries has been tied to their collections.  That is no longer true. Rather we need to focus on the services that bring those collection to those who need them, and on the needs of our communities. This will impact how we talk about how collections, our work, our budgets, etc.  In this environment, people skills are move important.

From Non-Voters to New Voters: How Libraries Can Engage Their Communities in the 2020 Elections and Beyond

Speakers: Nancy Kranich (moderator), Gavin Baker, Kendra Cochran, Maggie Bush, Jean Canosa Albano, Michelle Francis. Abby Kiesa

All of these speakers talked about how they have taught other about voting in our elections. 

  • Talk with people about the daily impact of their vote (or their decision not to vote).
  • Education whomever comes to a program on voting.  It does not matter how many people come, because even educating one more people is important.
  • Focus on young people.  People who vote once are likely to continue to vote, so getting young people to vote could launch them to become life-long voters.
  • People need to learn that they have a voice and power.
  • People's traumatic interactions with the government can stop them from voting.
  • Basic information about voting (where, how to, etc.) can be very helpful.  Some have held dry runs, e.g., taking people to where the polls will be, showing them in advance how to use the voting equipment, discussed who is on the ballot.
  • Civic education is important.  Educate people on the law.
  • Educate people about the issues.
  • Hold sessions on what is it like to run for office.
  • Host events so people can meet and greet the candidates.
  • Train your staff to do voter registration.
Helicopter book storage and seating area from Brodart

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