Advancing IDEAs: Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, 2023 January 24

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

Neurodivergent library workers, part two

In Part Two of “Library Workers Who Are Neurodivergent,” former school librarian and special educator Kelley McDaniel talks with an anonymous neurodivergent former library worker who eventually found retail customer service to be more welcoming. In spite of having earned a B.S. degree in Information and Library Science, they were unable to advance. “Throughout both of my long-running library jobs at two different libraries I made repeated attempts to expand my hours and pursue advancement, and I was repeatedly turned down (at best) or ignored (at worst),” they said. Urging libraries to be “direct and straightforward” rather than employing “quiet firing” methods in such cases, they still hope someday to find decent library work. The interview appears in the January 2023 issue of the American Library Association-Allied Professional Association (ALA-APA) Library Worklife.

OCLC Cataloging Community Meeting

OCLC Cataloging Community Meeting

Twice a year, OCLC presents our Cataloging Community meeting. We have regularly included a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) discussion panel as well as updates on initiatives to foster DEI in library metadata and cataloging workflows. The next meeting on Friday, February 3, 2023, 2:00-4:30 p.m. Eastern Time, will begin with a DEI panel to include Patricia Harpring, Managing Editor of the Getty Vocabulary Program of the Getty Research Institute (OCLC Symbol: JPG) talking about the Getty vocabularies; and Sara Levinson, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (OCLC Symbol: NOC), joined by Pamela Louderback, Northeastern State University (OCLC Symbol: OKN), discussing the Subject Authority Cooperative (SACO) Funnel for Latin American and Indigenous Peoples of the Americas. There will be time for questions and answers. As always, the virtual Cataloging Community meeting is free and open to all and will be recorded. Please register whether you would like to attend live on February 3, 2023, 2:00-4:30 p.m. Eastern, or you would prefer to receive the full recording following the event.

Legislative protections for pregnant and breastfeeding working mothers

The Fiscal Year 2023 Omnibus Spending Bill, signed by President Biden on 2022 December 29, included two bills in support of pregnant and breastfeeding mothers who work. The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) “prohibits employment practices that discriminate against making reasonable accommodations for qualified employees affected by pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.” The Providing Urgent Maternal Protections for Nursing Mothers Act (PUMP) “expands workplace protections for employees with a need to express breast milk.” Both bills are briefly explained in “Increased Legislative Protections for Pregnant and Breastfeeding Workers that Employers Need to be Aware of,” which appears in the January 2023 issue of the American Library Association-Allied Professional Association (ALA-APA) Library Worklife (Volume 20, Number 1).

Diversity in juvenile biographies

Five librarians at the University of Central Florida (OCLC Symbol: FTU), home to the School of Teacher Education and the Curriculum Materials Center (CMC) Library, have studied the subject headings in the bibliographic records for nearly a thousand juvenile biographies for access to the gender, race, ethnicity, and nationality of the biography’s subject. “Juvenile Biography Collection: EDI Analysis and Enhancement” (Cataloging and Classification Quarterly, 2022, Volume 60, Number 8, Pages 836-857) reports on their audit, the biases built into Library of Congress Subject Headings, the resulting difficulties in satisfactory discovery, and some of the local solutions they devised.

Respectful descriptions

Camille Callison, University Librarian of the University of the Fraser Valley (OCLC Symbol: FVL) in British Columbia, Canada, and Dr. Stacy Allison-Cassin, Assistant Professor in the
School of Information Management at Dalhousie University (OCLC Symbol: DAK) in Nova Scotia, Canada, have written about “News From Canada: Respectful Description Initiatives in Canada” in the IFLA Metadata Newsletter (December 2022, Volume 8, Number 2, Page 5). They report on a May 2022 event centered on respectful terminologies, including the Respectful Indigenous Terminologies Platform Project of the National Indigenous Knowledge and Language Alliance (NIKLA-ANCLA). The recording of the complete one-day session, “Respectful Terminology: Creating a National Framework,” includes presentations from across Canada.

“Inclusive Leadership”

The Association for College and Research Libraries (ACRL) will present a free webinar in “Inclusive Leadership” at 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time on Tuesday, February 7, 2023. The panel — including Annie Bélanger, Dean of University Libraries, Grand Valley State University (OCLC Symbol: EXG) in Michigan; Maisha Carey, Deputy University Librarian and Director of Organizational Learning, University of Delaware Library (OCLC Symbol: DLM); Dr. Jolie O. Graybill, Dean of Libraries, North Dakota State University (OCLC Symbol: NWQ); and Elaine Westbrooks, University Librarian, Cornell University (OCLC Symbol: COO) in New York — will discuss how to build diversity, equity, and inclusion into one’s approach to library leadership and decision-making, among other topics.

Engagement with Indigenous communities

WebJunction will present a free webinar on February 15, 2023, at 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time, featuring Naomi Bishop, Health Sciences Librarian at the Phoenix Biomedical Campus of the University of Arizona (OCLC Symbol: AZU), and Akimel O’odham (Pima) from the Gila River Indian Community. “Native Stories, Native Peoples: Opportunities for Library Engagement” will consider how libraries can connect with their past and present Indigenous communities with accuracy and respect and how that fosters service to all communities. As is usually the case with WebJunction presentations, a recording will be made available after the live session, along with accompanying materials and additional resources.

Sources of “preferred” terms

A book review (College and Research Libraries, January 2023, Volume 84, Number 1, Pages 158-160) by Anastasia Chiu, Scholarly Communications Librarian at New York University (OCLC Symbol: ZYU), calls attention to Stefan Vogler’s 2021 work Sorting Sexualities: Expertise and the Politics of Legal Classification (University of Chicago Press). Although the book’s focus is on “the ways that sexuality is seen and understood in different legal settings,” Chiu notes that it can also shed considerable light on how critical cataloging “often means participating in battles that are really about who gets to be seen, counted, and treated as human.” Vogler considers two realms in which courts deal with personal sexuality: “LGBTQ+ asylum determinations in US immigration, and the evaluation and carceral placement of sex offenders.” The establishment of legal categorizations and terminology in such contexts does not necessarily lead to the best “preferred” terminology in library contexts. As Chiu asks, “What are the legal and social routes by which this language finally makes its way to libraries through written and classifiable resources? And when we use state-sanctioned language and state-based criminal classifications to describe and organize our resources, are we aware of how the state derived that language? Do we understand the political and cultural forces that shape how we describe our own resources?”

LGBTQ materials in Oregon

In December 2022, Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB) reported that the board of trustees of Crook County Library (OCLC Symbol: CCLIB) in Prineville, Oregon, rejected a proposal “to segregate LGBTQ-friendly children’s books into a separate section.” A standing room only crowd at the 2022 December 8 meeting “had spoken overwhelmingly in support of keeping the books where they are” and the board agreed in a 4-1 vote. In May 2022, a group of local elementary school students had visited the library and one took out an LGBTQ book, after which the school ceased sending its students to the library, without explanation. Supporters of the proposal claimed that marking or segregating the books would clarify the materials for those who wanted to view or to avoid them. “Crook County library board rejects proposal to segregate LGBTQ books” notes that this is just one of hundreds of libraries across the United States where such resources have been targeted for various forms of censorship.