Fobazi M. Ettarh at the 2019 Association of College and Research Libraries Conference in Cleveland April 13.

Why Being Bad Is Good

April 13, 2019

Most librarians, she said, believe in this dominant narrative, but the process of “examining those elements and decolonizing them can be uncomfortable for many people, causing defensive reactions and revealing blind spots in one’s perspective.” Ettarh took the traditional characteristics of the library narrative and recast them slightly to give them a realistic perspective: Libraries … Continue reading Why Being Bad Is Good



Columns Society members at University of Mississippi tell visitors about the Committee on History and Context plaque placed at Barnard Observatory.

What’s in a Building Name?

March 1, 2019

With the goal of reconciliation and justice, institutions across the US are increasingly undertaking formal measures to review who they’ve memorialized—evaluating names of buildings and monuments to determine connections to white supremacy and other forms of discrimination. Unsurprisingly, university librarians and archivists are finding a role in these discussions, providing historical materials on the buildings … Continue reading What’s in a Building Name?


In Practice by Meredith Farkas

Unintentional Inequity

March 1, 2019

Libraries rarely design services to specifically exclude certain patron groups, but exclusion is often the unfortunate result of not considering the unique needs and circumstances of all community members. For example, after my son was born, I noticed that my local library offered programs for babies and toddlers only on weekday mornings. This made their … Continue reading Unintentional Inequity


Attendees crowd around travel author Rick Steves for autographs following his Auditorium Speaker Series presentation at the 2019 ALA Midwinter Meeting. Photo: Cognotes

2019 Midwinter Wrap-Up

February 5, 2019

The Emerald City played host to more than 9,200 attendees (as compared with 8,036 in 2018 and 8,995 in 2017), who came to soak up the words of big-name speakers, learn from the practices of their peers, and network around subjects practical and theoretical. As with recent Midwinters, many sessions focused on the empowerment of … Continue reading 2019 Midwinter Wrap-Up


Racial Equity Panel Addresses Bias in Library Work

January 28, 2019

Goodwin began by asking, “Why focus on race?” Infant mortality rates are 10 times higher for people of color than for their white counterparts, regardless of any other aspect of their identity. Race, zip code, and gender affect a person’s success across many arenas, such as education, health, and criminal justice. According to Goodwin, “Racial … Continue reading Racial Equity Panel Addresses Bias in Library Work



Disability and Equity

January 2, 2019

Many people with disabilities challenge these attitudes and advocate for change. They point out that cultural attitudes often create more difficulties for them than the disability itself. Despite their efforts, stereotypes persist—even in the workplace. I recently surveyed 288 librarians, interviewing 10 who identified as having a disability, about their experiences working at academic libraries … Continue reading Disability and Equity


Underrepresented, Underemployed

November 1, 2018

Still, the Simmons College student worries that after she graduates in December with dual masters’ degrees in library science and history, her name, which is of Nigerian origin, will hamper her search for an academic library position. “My first name is something that most people in the United States would not be familiar with,” White … Continue reading Underrepresented, Underemployed


In Practice by Meredith Farkas

When Values Collide

November 1, 2018

Another core value is intellectual freedom, and we have a long and proud history of supporting it in the face of censorship. Because we attempt to represent a diversity of perspectives in our collections, displays, and programming, most libraries contain material that some patrons might find offensive. But what if a perspective repudiates the dignity … Continue reading When Values Collide


Loida Garcia-Febo

Serving with Love

November 1, 2018

While hate, authoritarianism, and open oppression are seemingly on the rise worldwide, I am heartened as I travel to various communities across the country and see light, hope, and commitment in each one of you. Library workers are continually empowering one another, and I know we are ready to deepen the difference we make in … Continue reading Serving with Love


Members of the Reformed Druids of North America (from left: Cyril; coauthor Helen Ostman; Arch-druid John "The Verbose" Martens; Courtney; and Ross) mark the Autumn Equinox. (Photo: John "the Verbose" Martens)

Neopagans and Libraries

October 31, 2018

Paganism is a broad term referring to any non-Abrahamic faith, including Hinduism and Buddhism, as well as certain modern groups. Some of the most common neopagan faiths are Druidry, which has some Celtic influence and promotes the worship of nature and the human spirit, and Heathenry, a revived worship of the Germanic gods. The largest … Continue reading Neopagans and Libraries