Advancing IDEAs: Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, 2023 February 21

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

Black History Month

The blog of ALA’s Association of College and Research Libraries, “Toward Inclusive Excellence,” gathers some of the “most relevant and poignant pieces that explore the intricacies of what it means to be Black in the United States” in “Celebrating Black History Month with Noteworthy TIE Content, Part One.” Reviews, interviews, podcasts, and blog posts are included. ACRL’s Choice further celebrates with “Commemorating Black History Month – A Choice Round-Up,” more interviews, reviews, webinars, and podcasts from the past year for learning about Black history.

Photo by Filip Kominik on Unsplash

Humanity in hiring

The latest entry in the “Academic Library Workers in Conversation” series in College and Research Libraries News (Volume 84, Number 2, February 2023, Pages 55-58) is a discussion between Mimosa Shah, now associate curator at the Harvard Radcliffe Institute Schlesinger Library (OCLC Symbol: SLR), and Dustin Fife, college librarian at Colorado College (OCLC Symbol: COC), about making hiring practices in academic libraries more equitable, inclusive, and humane. In “Obstacles and barriers in hiring: Rethinking the process to open doors,” Fife sums up the recommendations succinctly as “focus on the humanity of the candidates.”

Drag story hour planning and safety

Urban Librarians Unite, the “passionate group of urban library professionals and advocates working to build community centered 21st Century Libraries,” has created the timely Drag Story Hour: Planning and Safety Support Guide for library workers who “have been trying to be inclusive of their whole community while still keeping staff and patrons safe.” The brief document discusses community involvement, talking points, safety guidelines, event planning, and helping library leaders stand up with facts.

American Indian, Asian, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander “Talk Story” grants

In a partnership between the Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA) and the American Indian Library Association (AILA), four Talk Story: Sharing Stories, Sharing Culture grants of $500 each will be awarded, two from each organization, as part of “a family literacy initiative that connects Asian, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, and American Indian communities across generations.” Libraries and other community organizations that serve Asian American and Pacific Islander, and American Indian and Alaskan Native families and children are eligible and encouraged to apply by the March 15, 2023 deadline.

Inclusive metadata

As part of ALA’s Core Interest Group Week, the Core Metadata Interest Group will present a free program consisting of two presentations on inclusive metadata on March 9, 2023, at 11:00 a.m. Eastern. Katie Dunn, Electronic Resources Librarian at the University of Wisconsin Law Library (OCLC Symbol: GZL); and Samantha Garlock, Cataloging Specialist of Distinctive Collections at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Memorial Library (OCLC Symbol: GZM), will speak about “Public-facing statements on harmful language in library description: Recommendations for implementation.” Elyse Fox, Digital Initiatives Librarian; and Lynn Drennan, Archives and Manuscript Coordinator, both at California State University, Sacramento (OCLC Symbol: CSA); and Pachia Vang, Hmong Textile Specialist, Culture Through Cloth, will present “Words Matter: Supporting a Community Archive Through Inclusive Cataloging.” A recording of this Core Virtual Interest Group Week Session on Inclusive Metadata will also be made available in mid-March, in case you cannot attend live.

Metadata for LGBTQ+ communities and Puerto Rican artists

Also as part of ALA’s Core Interest Group Week, the Core Cataloging Norms Interest Group will present a free program about “Cataloging/Metadata Norms and Workflows.” Karen Snow, Professor at the School of Information Studies, Dominican University (OCLC Symbol: JDE) in River Forest, Illinois; Brian Dobreski, Assistant Professor at the School of Information Sciences, University of Tennessee-Knoxville (OCLC Symbol: TKG); and Heather Moulaison-Sandy, Associate Professor at the iSchool at the University of Missouri (OCLC Symbol: UML), will speak on “LGBTQ+ Identities, Language, and the Library Catalog.” Then Dinah M. Wilson Fraites, Cataloging Librarian at the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus (OCLC Symbol: PBR) will recount the creation of “Culturally-Rich Name Authority Records in RDA for Puerto Rican Artists.” Join the presentations live on March 10 at 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time, or catch the recording when it is made available in mid-March.

“Protecting Innocence” in Louisiana

Following up on the “‘Protecting Minors’ in Louisiana” item in the 2023 January 10 Advancing IDEAs, the Attorney General of Louisiana, Jeff Landry, announced the release of a report entitled “Protecting Innocence,” which requires a reader to enter one’s date of birth to verify one is over the age of eighteen. Journalist Alena Noakes of Louisiana station KALB reports in “AG Landry releases ‘Protecting Innocence’ report on sexually explicit content in public libraries” that “In 54 pages, the report details existing Louisiana law around the public library system, model legislation, suggestions and samples of language amendments to collection development policies and procedures and nine examples of sexually explicit content in the libraries. The examples cited are those the AG deemed sexually explicit.” Noakes goes on to say that “Three of the nine examples within the report are graphic novels containing LGBTQ themes.” Noakes further reports on the reaction of ACLU of Louisiana Executive Director Alanah Odoms: “Today’s proposals would empower state and local officials to pick and choose what material is ‘sexually explicit’ and, therefore, restricted or removed from circulation entirely. In any government censorship regime, there are winners and losers. And it is not lost on anyone that the vast majority of titles and authors criticized by the Attorney General today are by and about people of color, women and the LGBTQ+ community.”

Radical Librarianship Institute

Registration is now open for the inaugural season of the Radical Librarianship Institute (RLI), funded by the Mellon Foundation (OCLC Symbol: XQA) and supported by the California Rare Book School (CalRBS) and the faculty of the Department of Information Studies at UCLA (OCLC Symbol: CUG). RLI describes itself as “the most extensive library continuing education program focused on supporting library professionals to push for widespread systemic change that is centered on social and racial equality, collective action, community strengthening, and public participation.” RLI “is open to any employee of a library or an organization that performs similar social or community functions.” RLI includes five days of intensive training, 2023 July 31 through August 4, followed by support for implementing the program at each participant’s home institution, October 2023 through April 2024. Full details about the program, the personal and institutional requirements, and the application process are available at the Radical Librarianship Institute site. The deadline for applications is 2023 March 3.

Chinese American Librarians Association’s 50th

To commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the Chinese American Librarians Association (CALA), the CALA Academic Resource and Repository System (CALASYS) and the Wikidata Chinese Culture and Heritage Group are hosting a free series of webinars, “Describing Chinese Rare Books and Cultural Heritage Collections.” The first session is on February 23 at 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time, featuring Jackie Shieh, Descriptive Data Management Librarian at Smithsonian Libraries (OCLC Symbol: SMI), describing the advantages and challenges of using Wikidata for the National Museum of Asian Art Chinese Ancestors Portraits collection.

Afro-Latina writers

As the daughter of a Black American father and a Puerto Rican mother, writer and professor Jennifer Maritza McCauley struggled to find books that reflected her multiple identities. In her “10 Afro-Latina Writers You Should Read Right Now,” McCauley brings attention to truth-telling women “whose work has given me strength, validity, and power” in her February 2023 Electric Lit essay. McCauley teaches literature and creative writing at the University of Houston, Clear Lake (OCLC Symbol: UHC).

Intellectual freedom lessons

ALA’s Intellectual Freedom Round Table will present “Intellectual Freedom Challenges: Lessons from the Frontline” at 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time on March 1. Megan Lotts, art librarian at Rutgers University (OCLC Symbol: NJR); Martha Hickson, librarian at North Hunterdon High School (OCLC Symbol: LI7) in New Jersey; and a public library staff member, each of whom had to deal with a recent challenge, will talk about what worked, what did not work, and what they wish they had known beforehand.

“Librarians With Spines, Part 2”

The Oregon Library Association (OLA) Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Antiracism Committee presents the thirteenth episode of its podcast, Overdue: Weeding Out Oppression in Libraries. The episode entitled “Librarians With Spines, Part 2, with Autumn Anglin, Max Macias, and Yago Cura” is the second of two parts in which the trio of “information agitators” talk about radical librarianship and the necessity of a firm support system when undertaking antiracism work. Anglin, Macias, and Cura, the forces behind the “Librarians With Spines” blog and the now-three volume anthology of essays of the same name, talk about putting together the third volume and prospects for the future of LWS. Anglin, Macias, and Cura spoke with Constance Palaia, Library Manager at Fruitdale Elementary School in Grants Pass, Oregon, and Ericka Brunson-Rochette, Community Librarian at the Deschutes Public Library (OCLC Symbol: DCH) in Oregon on 2022 December 23.