Critical information literacy ∴ Cultural & media studies ∴ Library Padawan at IU-Bloomington ∴ Sous les pavés, la plage ∴ We are, as always, stubborn, stoked, and petrified - GY!BE ∴ @foureyedsoul
Languages animate objects by giving them names, making them noticeable when we might not otherwise be aware of them. Tuvan has a word iy (pronounced like the letter e), which indicates the short side of a hill.
I had never noticed that hills had a short side. But once I learned the word, I began to study the contours of hills, trying to identify the iy. It turns out that hills are asymmetrical, never perfectly conical, and indeed one of their sides tends to be steeper and shorter than the others.
If you are riding a horse, carrying firewood, or herding goats on foot, this is a highly salient concept. You never want to mount a hill from the iy side, as it takes more energy to ascend, and an iy descent is more treacherous as well. Once you know about the iy, you see it in every hill and identify it automatically, directing your horse, sheep, or footsteps accordingly.
This is a perfect example of how language adapts to local environment, by packaging knowledge into ecologically relevant bits. Once you know that there is an iy, you don’t really have to be told to notice it or avoid it. You just do. The language has taught you useful information in a covert fashion, without explicit instruction.
I am not sure that the gender imbalance in librarianship is discussed as often as it should be. Yes, there have been endless conferences on boys and reading, and the emphasis on nonfiction that has come with the Common Core is sometimes framed as an effort to bring more books boys like into the curriculum. Yet, I wonder what would happen if, say, if the American Library Association approached a group that was as male as librarianship is female–in sports, business, military, business (I realize that women are rising in all of these fields)–and conducted focus groups on what K-12 libraries are, can be, and should be. The meetings would be private and have no determinative role–so there would be no danger that libraries would suddenly need to change the books they buy, or drop printed books–but there would be an influx of new ideas from a different perspective. In turn, adult males–who often have least contact with a school or public library, yet frequently vote in local elections, might see more reason to support existing or increased funding for libraries. While this would not address the gender gap in librarianship, it would bring a new set of ideas and actors to the field while it remains primarily female.
As an adult male—a white one, at that—I’m well aware that if I bring substantially “new ideas […] to the field,” it’ll be in part because too many folks who look like me will only begin to listen to an idea when it comes out of my mouth, even as I literally explain to them that I’m repeating something I read from bell hooks, Wendy Brown, Rosi Braidotti, Lisa Nakamura, Samuel Delany, etc.
Sure, many patrons might be drawn to librarians who look like them.
Of all the problems facing librarianship, our gender gap barely registers—and if it does, it’s as a symptom rather than a cause. However, the underlying issues that perpetuate it, and that render a female-dominated field less respected/funded, do actually merit sustained work.
Let’s use our time addressing important problems, not distractions that are simple to count.
I’m in my second-ish semester of my library & information science program and predictably considering what everyone starts to think when winter begins to thaw: making my own website over spring break.
Most library folks seem to use WordPress, but I’m intrigued by the prospect of trying something a little more hands-on to start out.1 So far I’ve seen good results with Jekyll, Octopress, MultiMarkdown CMS, and Pelican, but I don’t know what they’re like to set up and keep going. [Edit 2014-03-06: Just saw Anchor CMS as well!]
Anyone out there have experiences to share with alternatives to WordPress for a personal website/blog? Or at least interested in reading about my dabblings, trials, and tribulations in future posts?
I can always pull a Sir Robin and bravely run away, should the need arise. ↩
no one can tell you how to be punk i don’t think but here are some guidelines:
be aggressively nice and kind to every one you meet
apologize when you know you’ve fucked up
don’t apologize for being you or doing what you want to do unless it hurts someone else
listen to other people
don’t be afraid to make yourself heard
listen to whatever music you want to listen to and don’t let anyone tell you it’s not good enough (this also applies to other things in your life)
don’t tell anyone else their music isn’t good enough (this also applies to other things in their lives)
dye your hair crazy colors
don’t dye your hair crazy colors
respect every one until they give you a reason not to
buy a (p)leather jacket if it’s $500 or it’s $5 who gives a fuck it’s a leather jacket, seriously this one is a requirement
take selfies, self-love is super punk
like and comment on other people’s selfies, self-love feels like a risk
tip all service workers and be ridiculously nice to the people who make your food, pick up your garbage, ring up your groceries, etc.
the point of punk is that it is inclusive
the point of punk is that it is inclusive
anybody can be punk unless you’re a racist, sexist, cis-sexist, homophobic, classist, elitist asshole if you are any of those things you will never be punk idc how many leather jackets you own or whether or not you’ve been to warped tour
If you are a library who self-identifies as a member of one or more minority or marginalized communities, what sort of advice would you have liked to hear before you attended library school? What advice is useful to you now that you’re working as a librarian?
Porter Wesley was well known among scholars for her ability to identify obscure and otherwise difficult-to-find tidbits of information, which scholars recognized as invaluable in their efforts to better document African and African American history.
In honor of Black History Month in the United States, we’re recognizing African American librarians like Dorothy Burnette Porter Wesley. The Oxford African American Studies Center is free for Black History Month. Simply use the Username: blackhistorymonth and Password: onlineaccess to login.