Tuesday, November 29, 2016

"A Lot of Librarians Are Spoonies": An Accessibility Series Post

Accessibility series logo
Jessica Schomberg is one of my first collaborators on this blog series, and I'm excited to learn more from them as we explore this topic. 

Jessica is currently serving as Library Services Department Chair at Minnesota State University, Mankato, where their other hats include Media Cataloger and Assessment Coordinator. Jessica tweets as @schomj.

It wasn’t until I read Susan Wendell’s The Rejected Body last year that I started really recognizing and internalizing the idea that I am a person with disabilities. I grew up with Type 1 diabetes, have had thyroid disorders for a few decades, and was recently diagnosed with general anxiety disorder and depression.

When I first joined Twitter (in 2009!), I primarily followed librarians and people with diabetes. I initially lurked during #critlib (critical librarianship) and #dsma (diabetes social media advocacy) chats and followed a lot of people who talked about things that resonated with me. Over time, I began participating in those chats and started to realize that my diabetes and my work life actually do intersect a lot -- and that it’s okay. I also heard about the term spoonie and began interacting with other members of the spoonie community. Through these opportunities, I learned that a lot of librarians are spoonies. And a lot of librarians live with mental illness. Talking with others like me gave me the confidence to seek out support for depression when I needed it.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Librarianing is a Political Act

White text on a gray background:
"Librarianing is a political act"
I feel like everything we do as library staff is political. Everything we do (at least, youth services library staff) can help to affect the social order through our communities perceptions of themselves and the world. We can empower marginalized groups, and remove barriers to service, or we can assert the status quo. We well better be deliberate about it.

Yesterday morning I wrote a letter to ALA regarding the latest statement by their Washington Office. After that I saw that the executive board has responded to the many letters they’d already gotten, addressing some main concerns but ultimately not redacting the statement of the Washington Office (which is more for the public than for members). I am posting this letter publicly, edited from its original for clarity, in solidarity with those who have already; and to possibly validate the feelings of those who felt the same types of feelings I did when reading the statement. I understand it is imperfect.

Monday, November 14, 2016

This Week in Professional Development

Picture of a brain with a thought bubble.
Text reads, "This week in
professional development."
Well, that was/is horrifying.

I don't have much else to say. I am not shocked.

Right now I have to say how happy I am to work in Youth Services. The work we do today can help shape the future. The first thing I did Wednesday morning was send my county library staff a few resources in anticipation of reference questions they'd inevitably get. I'm expanding that list here. We need to be critical of our own biases and equip ourselves as information professionals to fight for our community's children; especially those from marginalized populations.

Libraries are not neutral spaces. To say that they are is at best disingenuous. Every decision we make is a political one, and impacts the societal climate; and we need to stay conscious of what informs our decisions every day.

Here we go:

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Accessibility Series: Definitions and 5 Quick Tips

Accessibility series logo
UPDATE: Welcome, new readers! if you're interested in guest posting, please click here for more information. 

On Saturday, I was honored to present at the Oregon Library Association Children's Services Division fall workshop, as part of an afternoon on diversity. I figured a lot of what I talked about might be a good starting point for this accessibility series! Note: I am very new to this activism and, probably like many of our guest posters, still battling my own internalized ableism. If you see something that is incorrect or needs to be amended or updated, please email me at brycedontplay at gmail dot com. 
Here we go: