Advancing IDEAs: Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, 2022 July 26

The following  post is one in a regular series on issues of Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility, compiled by Jay Weitz.

“ALA Condemns Threats of Violence in Libraries”

Photo by Kieran Sheehan on Unsplash

Responding to the evermore ominous political environment, the American Library Association Executive Board issued a statement on 2022 June 24 condemning, “in the strongest terms possible, violence, threats of violence and other acts of intimidation increasingly taking place in America’s libraries, particularly those acts that aim to erase the stories and identities of gay, queer, transgender, Black, Indigenous, persons of color, those with disabilities and religious minorities.” ALA pledges to stand with library workers, “those who govern libraries,” and community members, and “to stand up to those who would undermine” “the free and democratic exchange of ideas.”

“How Roe got to be Roe”

The Schlesinger Library (OCLC Symbol: SLR) at the Harvard Radcliffe Institute, which describes itself as “the leading center for scholarship on the history of women in the United States,” documents the evolution of both the abortion rights and anti-abortion movements in its archives. Liz Mineo of the Harvard Gazette writes in “How Roe got to be Roe” about the extensive historical materials in the collection, some of which will be part of an exhibit at the Schlesinger Library beginning in October 2022. “One of the most interesting aspects of our collections on women’s reproductive rights is that they span the very personal and very public,” says Jenny Gotwals, who is the library’s Johanna-Maria Fraenkel Curator for Gender and Society. “We know that in order for historians to tell the whole history of the conflict over abortion, we must have archives that document people who are coming to this issue from different standpoints.”

Library outreach to marginalized communities

The Oregon Library Association (OLA) Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Antiracism Committee presents the fourth episode of its new podcast, Overdue: Weeding Out Oppression in Libraries. The episode entitled “Advocating for Marginalized Community Through Outreach with Star Khan” features the recently-elected incoming President of OLA, who is Outreach Services Librarian at Driftwood Public Library (OCLC Symbol: ORDRI), Lincoln City, Oregon, USA, talking about outreach as a core service for libraries and how that work has an impact on equity. Max Macias of Oregon’s Portland Community College (OCLC Symbol: OQP) and Kristen Curé of Oregon’s Springfield Public Library (OCLC Symbol: OXY) conducted the interview with Star Khan on 2022 May 18.

“Making EDI-Related Change”

The recording of the 2022 June 16 American Library Association Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Assembly, “We are ALA: Making EDI-Related Change” is now available. The eight speakers, from a variety of public and academic libraries and other institutions, addressed their involvement with ALA equity, diversity, and inclusion initiatives, and suggested how others in the library community can have an impact.

“Language Subject Access to Indigenous Materials” in the Philippines

Cristina B. Villanueva, of the University of the Philippines Baguio, Cordillera, (OCLC Symbol: UPILS), deals with the inadequacies of Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) in “Language Subject Access to Indigenous Materials: The Philippine Cordillera Case” (Cataloging and Classification Quarterly 60:3-4 (2022) 297-314, DOI: 10.1080/01639374.2022.2075512). Villanueva advocates the use of local subject terms for Indigenous materials and suggests improvements for internal policies that will lead to better and more consistent access. “Libraries catering to Indigenous people and ethnolinguistic groups should commit to rethinking and reworking cataloging and indexing policies; creating, in collaboration with stakeholders, a local subject authority list; improving techniques in subject analysis for Indigenous materials; and utilizing an online search and retrieval system with enhanced linking and searching capabilities,” she writes.

“Disability Manga”

In ALA’s Booklist, Victoria Rahbar, web services librarian at Hostos Community College–CUNY (OCLC Symbol: ZHC) in Bronx, New York, USA, writes “A Manga Book Display for the Accessibility Resource Center” about the emerging genre she calls “disability manga.” Featured are eight series or stories “soaked in realism as they reflect the lived experience of both disabled readers and disabled manga creators.” Rahbar suggests that academic libraries display such resources at the Accessibility Resource Center or other suitable spaces for students with disabilities, where the students may be more likely to encounter them.

Reparative description for Japanese American incarceration

The Yale University (OCLC Symbol: YUS) Reparative Archival Description (RAD) Working Group presented the symposiumLanguage Matters: Defining the History of Japanese American Incarceration During World War II” on 2022 April 19 and has now made the materials available. The panelists discussed “their approaches to addressing euphemistic and harmful language in the words used to describe Japanese American incarceration during World War II.”

“LGBT Fantasy Books”

The Uncorked Librarian, a blog that “features diverse books and movies to inspire travel,” suggests “25 Best LGBT Fantasy Books” for both teens and adults. The multifaceted list includes science fiction, the paranormal, vampire archivists, wizards, politics, graphic novels, martial arts, swashbucklers, and more.

One Comment on “Advancing IDEAs: Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, 2022 July 26”

  1. Opposing views to these conversations are members of our community. Their concerns are valid. Their demands for age appropriate materials for visiting young children is rational and reasonable.

    Generalizing parents, community leaders, professionals, and the LGBTQIA+ community, as ‘book banners’, ‘right wingers’, ‘violent’, ‘republicans’, or ‘hatemongers’ is a disgraceful and close minded approach. People do not want sexualize depictions in children books.

    When libraries introduced Public PCs with internet browsing, children’s access to inappropriate materials were filtered – aka censored. Federal funding would be withheld if filters were not put in place. The ALA disapproved, but ultimately allowed for web filters to be important tools for creating a safe environment for children.

    Libraries should involve parent’s requests to relocate explicit graphics and story telling from elementary children’s access: regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

    Libraries and Librarians would gain far more support from community members, if they were to clearly state their commitment to collection development without sexualized materials targeted towards children.

    Can there be Social-Emotional Learning / Emotional Intelligence development … without sexualized storytelling? Allow parents to introduce the topic themselves. Allow schools to provide sex education to children.

    Libraries and librarians need to stop pretending their collection does not already fall short of being righteous and tolerant. Let’s talk Palestine. Let’s talk Native Americans. Let’s talk two-party political corruption. Let’s talk covid-19 vaccines, or the homeless, or media censorship. Stop pretending.

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