Twanna Hodge and Jamia Williams write: “Librarianship is an overwhelmingly white profession, with most of its racial and ethnic diversity existing in paraprofessional, precarious, and part-time positions. As two early-career Black women with experience in multiple academic and health sciences libraries, we have experienced many barriers to existing and thriving in librarianship: tokenism, racial battle fatigue, cultural taxation, and emotional labor. We regularly navigate the manifestations and effects of vocational awe as well as structural and institutional racism in academic libraries, all of which COVID-19 has highlighted and severely worsened.”
American Libraries column, Jan./Feb.
Ulia Gosart writes: “It’s not news that libraries and museums have a long and problematic history of mishandling Indigenous materials. From exhibiting culturally sensitive items to retaining materials that were unlawfully seized, the need for improvement has been clear. In response, a burgeoning number of libraries are promoting culturally responsive care of collections, demonstrating leadership and restoring a long-ignored legacy of Indigenous intellectual property.”
American Libraries Trend, Jan./Feb.
The American Library Association (ALA) announced 10 winners of its I Love My Librarian Award on January 11. Recipients were nominated by patrons nationwide for their expertise, dedication, and profound impact on the people in their communities. The virtual award ceremony will take place during ALA’s 2021 Midwinter Meeting & Exhibits Virtual at 2:30 p.m. Central on January 23 and will stream live on YouTube. This year’s award recipients include four academic librarians, three public librarians, and three school librarians.
American Libraries feature, Jan. 11
Anne Ford writes: “Library of Congress employees and contractors were among the federal workers evacuated by US Capitol Police on January 6 while a mob of Trump loyalists stormed, occupied, and vandalized the Capitol for several hours, falsely asserting that the presidential election had been rigged in favor of President-Elect Joe Biden.”
AL: The Scoop, Jan. 7
On January 7, the American Library Association released a statement from its Executive Board, condemning the recent violence in Washington, D.C.: “ALA forcefully condemns the violent attempts to undermine the integrity of our electoral process and our democracy. The threats, destruction of government buildings, and looting witnessed on January 6 do not constitute peaceful protest, but domestic terrorism,” the statement read.
AL: The Scoop, Jan. 7
The states of Washington and Oregon, along with dozens of Native American tribes and cultural groups, sued the federal government on January 4 to stop the sale of the National Archives building in Seattle. The National Archives and Records Administration facility in Seattle was approved for eventual closure and sale last year. The filing alleges that the public, including the concerned tribes and the state of Washington, were not given prior notice about the federal government’s plan to sell the Seattle building.
Reuters, Jan. 4
Jason Christian writes: “Like most idealistic librarians, kynita stringer-stanback entered the profession in part to spread knowledge to help make a better world. But the lack of racial and gender diversity in the field and an unwillingness of white and cisgender people to share power within library institutions has meant enduring repeated unfair treatment from colleagues and management, things large and small, from microaggressions to more overt discrimination.”
Scalawag, Dec. 30
Diana Restifo writes: “While the trials of educators thrust suddenly into remote teaching due to the COVID-19 pandemic have been widely examined, less frequently discussed is how librarians are navigating a similar e-learning path. If the classroom is closed, so is the school library. How do students access the wealth of learning resources within when they can’t step across the library threshold? The following steps serve as a guide for librarians and library administrators to manage their libraries as fully digital learning resources.”
Tech & Learning, Dec. 30
Rachel Ayers writes: “Libraries are magical. We know this, as readers. Depictions of libraries within the fantasy genre have certainly embraced this magical feeling…and run with it. Fantasy libraries can be (almost) neatly categorized into three essential magical types: the library containing all books regardless of written status; the library where the books speak to each other; and the library as portal to other worlds/places. But what’s truly magical about these fantasy categories is the way these magics correspond with the way libraries work in the real world.”
Tor.com, Jan. 4
Lara Ewen writes: “For 67 years, Princeton (N.J.) University’s School of Public and International Affairs bore the name of former US President Woodrow Wilson, who spoke favorably of the Ku Klux Klan, kept Black students from being admitted to Princeton during his tenure as university president, and supported the racial segregation of federal agencies. In response to student protests and the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement, in June 2020 the school dropped his name—an act that has led to a wider awareness of Wilson’s racist legacy. It also has led to repercussions at Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum in Staunton, Virginia.”
American Libraries feature, Jan./Feb.
American Libraries looks back at the stories that affected libraries and library workers in 2020, including ALA’s new executive director and headquarters and landmark anniversaries, the US Census, protests against police violence and racial inequity, and the global pandemic.
American Libraries feature, Jan./Feb.
On January 5, IFLA published a new statement on the role of library and information services in improving the way societies are governed, both through optimal decision-making within government, and effective scrutiny and engagement by parliaments and wider populations. Effective, transparent, and inclusive governance is a precondition for success in any policy designed to improve lives and communities, as recognized in United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 16.
International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions, Jan. 5