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:

A picture of a tiny cactus. The text reads, "I am a tiny cactus
I believe in you. You can do the thing."
The following links are the ones I originally included in an email to our staff. You can use them for your own education or to help parents and caregivers. Click the names of the articles to go to that link:

Here are a few additional resources for reading, reflection, and action:

How to Tell the Difference Between Real Solidarity and 'Ally Theater' at Black Girl Dangerous: there's been a lot of talk about "what makes an ally" since last Tuesday and with good reason. If you see a Good Privileged Person tell people to ask a marginalized person for education right now, please call them out on that because no one is here to make privileged people feel better  or ~see the light~ right now. Suggest articles. Suggest tweetstorms. Suggest sitting with feelings. Do not suggest making marginalized populations do extra work right now. They didn't make this mess.

On Safety Pins, Advocacy and Our Field at Reading While White:  We have work to do and we can't wait until that work is perfect; but we need to educate ourselves before we act to avoid doing more harm.

Storytime Underground's Post-Election Tweetstorm published by user jodunne: If you're not following Storytime Underground on Twitter, please do so immediately. I see my job completely differently than when I started, in part because of them (and while you're at it, read my total love letter of a Mover and Shaker nomination I wrote for SU founder Cory. I mean every single word more than ever. Ignore the broken GIFs).

Everyday Diversity: Beautiful Human Soul Anna Haase Krueger created this amazing resource called Everyday Diversity to help us fill our shelves and programs with great books with diverse characters. These books are not about ~being diverse~; they just happen to be good books with diverse characters.If you're ready to answer the call set forth at Reading While White about diverse materials, her blog is a stellar place to start.

How to Set Boundaries with People who Hate Boundaries at Captain Awkward: well, this is timely AF. There are also links to the Southern Poverty Law Center on how to respond to bigots in everyday conversations. PRO-TIP: when I am attempting to educate on Facebook (which I've done more when it comes to Good Privileged People lately because damn I can't take how shocked everyone is), my favorite move when there is too much stubborn BS is to reply with "OK" and then turn off the notifications for that post. I will usually see it again in my feed days later with paragraphs-long replies about how that person is Not All That Bad. Like, they can't handle it. They basically implode upon themselves in an effort to confirm themselves as a Good Privileged Person. It's a wonder to watch. I was reminded of this when I read Captain Awkward's use of "OK" and chilled silence. It really works, folks.

Lastly: feeling it? Want to do something? In the library world, one action you can take is filling out the Diversity Within ALSC Task Force survey. You don't need to be an ALSC member to take it. It asks about barriers to involvement in ALSC, among other things. Let them know our organizations and profession need to be more inclusive!

Have any links to add? Post them in the comments!


  1. Thanks for sharing. You are amazing. We have much work to do

    1. Thanks Cheryl! But I'm not. I'm regular ol', but I'm working and trying. Glad to hear you are ready too :)