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A Response to “Yes but…”

The following is a letter from Candise Branum, ACRL-Oregon President

A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of attending the ACRL-Washington/Oregon Joint Conference at Pack Forest. The conference theme was Whiteness and Racism in Academic Libraries: Dismantling Structures of Oppression; I’ll write a separate review of my experiences at the conference in another article, but I left the conference feeling like I had some specific tools to confront microaggressions in the workplace and a bit more hopeful about the possibility of change in academic library culture.

And then less than a week later, the latest issue of OLA Quarterly was delivered to my inbox. The closing article, Yes, but… One Librarian’s Thoughts on Doing It Right was extremely disturbing; as many of our colleagues have already pointed out, the article diminishes the work, experiences, and knowledge that women of color provide in leading discussions of Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (EDI), and instead centers the author’s own experience as a white woman as the “right way” to do this work. This is an inflammatory article, in which the author specifically names and critiques BIPOC (black, indigenous, people of color) scholars and allies for intentionally making white people feel bad and uninformed.

There is no excuse for this. We need to do better.

White librarians have to reckon with both our institutional and our own individual roles in white supremacy. Hosting White Nationalist groups explicitly puts the safety of our communities at risk; this is not a question of intellectual freedom, but of ensuring that our communities literally are not in fear for their well-being. As allies, white librarians must be the ones to step up and do the emotional labor of working towards racial justice, and not just waiting for our BIPOC colleagues to point out injustices; if we are passive or neutral, we are inherently supporting the racist, white supremacist status quo. There is no getting over this: the culture will not change unless white librarians force a change.

Since returning from Pack Forest, I’ve been doing some soul searching about my role in disrupting whiteness in both my personal life and my professional one. I’d like to explore how ACRL-Oregon as a body can propel the conversation forward in a community-driven and constructive way, and to build a network of librarians unified in doing work (not just making statements) towards racial justice. I obviously don’t have all the answers, but I do still have hope that our community will continue to grow together, and that we can work together in confronting white supremacy in our profession.

Some additional reading:

Candise Barnum
ACRL-Oregon President, 2019-2020

Congratulations to ACRL-OR/WA 2019 Scholarship Winners!

Congratulations to Katherine McDonald and Tova Johnson who both recently received $155.00 scholarships from the ACRL-OR scholarship committee to cover registration costs for the 2019 ACRL-Oregon and Washington Joint Fall Conference. The conference is October 24-25, 2019 at the Pack Forest Conference Center in Eatonville, WA. The scholarship is designed for those who live and/or work in Oregon and more information can be found on the ACRL-OR Scholarships page.

Katherine is an MLIS student living in Clatsop County, Oregon. She volunteers as a tutor for Clatsop Community College’s literacy program, focusing on ESL (English as a Second Language) adult students. Katherine works to improve the dialogue and understanding towards the marginalized demographics of Clatsop County.

Tova is a Health Sciences librarian at OHSU (Oregon Health & Science University). She is looking forward to this conference because it addresses racism in academic libraries. Tova works to make academic libraries more diverse, inclusive and equitable for all.

Apply now: Scholarship applications open for ACRL-Oregon/Washington Fall Conference

ACRL-OR has funds to award two scholarships to attend the ACRL Oregon and Washington Joint Fall Conference. This year, the Washington chapter is hosting the conference on October 24 & 25 at the Pack Forest Conference Center in Washington. Apply now!

How can the scholarships be used?

The scholarship covers the registration fee of $155 for the conference, which includes room (dorm option) and meals.

Who is eligible?

This scholarship is designed for those who live and/or work in Oregon. For those who live and/or work in Washington, please refer to the ACRL-WA site for conference scholarship information. Those meeting at least one of the criteria below are eligible to apply.  Each criteria met will be awarded points in the evaluation process (see below under how the application will be evaluated).

  1. First-time attendee of the joint conference.
  2. ACRL-OR member.
  3. MLIS student in an ALA-accredited program who lives in Oregon.
  4. Paraprofessional employee in an Oregon academic library.
  5. Part-time or temporary employee in an Oregon academic library.

Who is not eligible?

  • Those who do not live and/or work in Oregon.
  • Those who meet none of the criteria described above.
  • Those who have received a Fall Conference Scholarship in the past.

How will applications be evaluated?

A point system will be used to rank applicant eligibility (First time attendee: 2 points; ACRL-OR member: 2 points; MLIS student: 1 point; Paraprofessional: 1 point; part-time or temporary employee: 1 point).  In addition, application essays will be evaluated for:

  1. Financial need.
  2. Interest in the conference theme/program.
  3. Plans to apply knowledge gained at the conference.

Deadline:

The deadline for the 2019 Fall Conference Scholarship applications will be Friday, September 13.  Apply now!

Applicants will be notified shortly after the application period closes. Registration for the ACRL Oregon and Washington Joint Fall Conference is open until Friday, October 4th.

For more information, please contact:

Meredith Farkas
meredith.farkas@pcc.edu

Call for Proposals: ACRL WA-OR Joint Fall Conference

Whiteness and Racism in Academic Libraries: Dismantling Structures of Oppression

The Fall 2019 conference takes place amongst intensified organizing of white nationalists on college campuses, continued brutality against black and brown communities, policies that restrict immigration and border movement, and policing of body rights. In libraries we are making strategic claims towards equity, diversity and inclusion, yet our profession remains centered on cultures of white supremacy.

This conference is an effort to openly acknowledge the ways that whiteness and racism are supported in our libraries, and strategies for practicing anti-racism across the breadth of our work. The goal is to explicitly name the racist hegemony that underpins libraries and library work. Intersectional anti-racist practices must be central to our work in order to resist causing further harm. Investigations into how racism operates in tandem with white supremacy are essential to our work of making libraries sites of equity and social justice. This conference calls on each of us to take active engagement in understanding and learning about racism in libraries, making ourselves and our library systems those that resist oppression.

We invite proposals to join and extend these conversations. Sessions will consist of presentations, facilitated conversations, or trainings and workshops. While theory and praxis are central to this work, we seek sessions that help library workers to examine and name racialized power dynamics, and to practice building anti-oppressive communities and services. We recognize that anti-racism work is not perfect, and we expect proposals may include lessons learned for approaches that did not go as planned. Proposals that highlight these lessons learned should keep the focus on the ongoing work of dismantling racism and those most impacted by it.

Example topics for presentations and workshops may include, but are not limited to:

  • Addressing white fragility and its impacts in libraries
  • Policy audits and changes
  • Resisting white nationalist organizing
  • Leadership, recruitment and hiring practices that support library workers of color
  • Support, retention and graduation of students of color
  • Experiences of library workers and students of color
  • Activism and programming that centers students of color
  • Addressing and resisting cultures of white supremacy
  • Affinity and caucus organizing in libraries
  • Bystander intervention training
  • Lessons learned from interventions, policy changes, programming, etc.

How to Submit

Submit your proposals using our online form by August 9, 2019.

https://forms.gle/LKCDovn6fb4KzgzH6

Resources

If you are just beginning to engage with racism and whiteness and need a starting point, we recommend beginning with Tema Okun’s white supremacy cultureJennifer Brown, Jennifer Ferretti, Sofia Leung, and Marisa Mendez-Brady’s 2018 article We Here: Speaking Our Truth; Robin DiAngelo’s book White Fragility: Why It’s Hard for White People To Talk About Racism; and Lorin Jackson and LaQuanda Onyemeh’s web-based forum WOC+Lib.

Questions

ACRL WA-OR Joint Conference is held on October 24-25, 2019 the the Pack Forest Conference Center in Eatonville, WA.

For questions or comments contact president@acrlwa.org

 

Incorporating Mindfulness Into My Teaching

Hi! I’m Meredith Farkas, ACRL-Oregon’s VP/President-Elect and a librarian at Portland Community College. Like many of my colleagues on the ACRL-OR Board, I attended the ACRL-PNW Conference at Pack Forest in October. For me, the highlight of the conference was a session entitled “Contemplative Pedagogy: An Ancient Solution for a Modern Problem” presented by Nicole Gustavsen of UW-Bothell/Cascadia College and Heather Newcomer of Olympic College. The session described mindfulness practice and how it can benefit us — both professionally and personally — and our students in our continuous-partial-attention-driven, technology-filled world. Nicole and Heather had attendees participate in a breath and body guided mindfulness exercise and then described how they used mindfulness exercises at the start of some of their classes and the benefits of doing so. You can view their slides as well as their list of resources which include the breath and body scan script they used with conference attendees.

Title Slide from Contemplative Pedagogy Presentation

I was inspired by the idea of using brief (2-5 minute) mindfulness exercises at the start of class to better connect with students and help them focus on what we’re doing. I recognize the challenges we have as librarians in building rapport within the context of a one-shot instruction session and this activity seemed like a small change I could make that might help students see that I recognize research can be challenging and am here to support them. That week, I had a Reading 115 class coming in and I thought this would be the perfect group to try this with because a lot of students I’ve worked with in Reading 115 classes in the past have had issues with self-confidence around their academic abilities. I hoped that this might bring their stress level down or at least help them let go temporarily of some of the other things on their minds.

I made a few minor changes to the breath and body scan script Heather and Nicole used so it would fit my own presentation style and then tried it with the class. When I first came into the classroom, students were chatting, texting, sending emails, and all the usual things we see students doing before class. I started by introducing myself and talking a bit about how research can be stressful, how I’m here to support them in that, and that we’re going to do a quick breathing exercise to help us focus on the task at hand. As I read the script, every student participated and the room was silent. Once I’d finished, I found that the class was focused in a way I’d never seen before in my teaching. I don’t know whether or not it brought students’ stress levels down, but it definitely facilitated a solid transition between what they were doing before and what we were all working on together. I also found that when I gave students time in the second half of class to work on their own research, more students in the class asked me for help than usually do. Whether that was a fluke or they really felt more comfortable seeking help from me after the exercise I don’t know for sure, but I feel like it was well worth sacrificing a few minutes of class time to do.

Space Slide from Mindfulness Presentation

Winter term has recently started at Portland Community College, and I’m excited to start more of my classes this term with a breath and body scan. It’s always exciting to go to a conference and be able to apply something from it to your own work, and I want to thank Heather, Nicole, and the ACRL-WA Board for providing us with the opportunity to learn all this!

 

ACRL-OR report from 2017 Joint Conference

ACRL-OR was well represented at the ACRL Joint Conference for Washington and Oregon at Pack Forest in mid-October. The conference theme “Tried and True or Shiny and New” gave the attendees from both Oregon and Washington an opportunity to explore such topics as just in time assessment and how OER is being integrated and implemented at Tacoma Community College.

A huge hit was the short talks of epic fails!  Presenters shared their library moments, programs and classes that were duds or even huge mistakes. Each of the “failed” librarians learned something from their experience and bravely and nobly, shared their lessons learned with the conference attendees.

ACRL-OR was able to meet in the evening to discuss the upcoming scholarships for professional development with enhanced funding from LSTA monies and kick around ideas for next Fall’s joint OR/WA ACRL conference at Menucha where the Oregon group will host and provide programming. Lots of great ideas were brought up by the attending group. Two themes, “Collaborating for Greater Impact” and “Reimagining Advocacy” were seriously discussed but neither was chosen as a final theme at the time.

Since the conference, the ACRL Board has decided on the theme of “Reimagining Advocacy: Personal, Professional, Political.” If you have any ideas for conference speakers, the board would love to hear them! Contact Steve Silver at acrlor@olaweb.org.

Congratulations to the recipients of the ACRL-Oregon fall conference scholarships!

ACRL Oregon is delighted to announce the winners of scholarships to attend the ACRL Oregon and Washington Joint Fall Conference at Pack Forest later this month. They are:

  • Elaine Goff, from Willamette University and a student at Emporia State University (first-time conference attendee, MLIS student, and paraprofessional employee in an academic library)
  • Lily Morgan, from the Art Institute of Portland and Concordia University (first-time conference attendee and part-time employee in an academic library)

Congratulations to these ACRL-Oregon members! We are looking forward to a great conference.

ACRL OR/WA Conference Registration Closing Soon!

Picture of cabins at Pack Forest Conference Center

Pack Forest Conference Center

We are only three weeks away from the 2017 ACRL OR/WA Joint Conference at Pack Forest and that means registration will be closing soon!

This year you can expect a fabulous line up of speakers and presenters, a highly entertaining Thursday evening social gathering, and top-secret, highly useful swag that is NOT a tote bag. In short, you don’t want to miss out this year!

The full conference program and registration information is available at http://acrlwa.org/.

Registration closes Wednesday, October 4th  but why wait? Register today!

Costs are below, and include lodging and meals.

  • Members – $140.00 ACRL-WA, ACRL-OR and CLAMS members
  • MLIS Students – $100.00  Currently enrolled MLIS students residing, working, or attending school in Oregon or Washington.
  • Non-members – $150.00

Questions? Contact ACRLWA President Eli Gandour-Rood at egandourrood@pugetsound.edu or ACRLWA Vice-President Madeline Mundt at mundtm@uw.edu.

Scholarship applications open for ACRL-Oregon/Washington Fall Conference

ACRL-OR has two scholarships available to attend the ACRL Washington and Oregon Joint Fall Conference. This year, the ACRL Washington chapter is hosting the conference on October 19 and 20 at the Center for Sustainable Forestry at Pack Forest.

How can the scholarships be used? 

The scholarship covers the registration fee of $140 for the conference, which includes room and board.

Who is eligible?

This scholarship is designed for those who live and/or work in Oregon. For those who live and/or work in Washington, please refer to the ACRL-WA site for conference scholarship information. Those meeting at least one of the criteria below are eligible to apply.  Each criteria met will be awarded points in the evaluation process (see below under how the application will be evaluated).

  1. First-time attendee of the joint conference.
  2. ACRL-OR member.
  3. MLIS student in an ALA-accredited program who lives in Oregon.
  4. Paraprofessional employee in an Oregon academic library.
  5. Part-time or temporary employee in an Oregon academic library.

Who is not eligible?

  • Those who do not live and/or work in Oregon.
  • Those who meet none of the criteria described above.
  • Those who have received a Fall Conference Scholarship in the past.

How will applications be evaluated?

A point system will be used to rank applicant eligibility (First time attendee-2 points, ACRL-OR member-2 points, MLIS student-1 point, Paraprofessional-1 point, part time or temporary employee-1 point).  In addition, application essays will be evaluated for:

  1. Financial need.
  2. Interest in the conference theme/program.
  3. Plans to apply knowledge gained at the conference.

Deadline:

The application period for the 2017 Fall Conference Scholarships will be Wednesday, September 13 to Wednesday, September 27.  Apply now!

Applicants will be notified shortly after the application period closes.

Registration for the ACRL Washington and Oregon Joint Fall Conference is open until Wednesday, October 4.

For more information, please contact:

Stephanie Debner, ACRL-OR Board Past President
sdebner@uws.edu
University of Western States

Registration Open for the ACRL WA/OR Joint Conference

We are delighted to announce that registration is now open for the 2017 ACRL Washington & Oregon Joint Conference.

Please join us on October 19th and 20th to share ideas and inspirations, build community, and enjoy the idyllic setting at Pack Forest Conference Center in Eatonville, WA.

Our keynote speaker will be Dr. Carole Palmer, Professor, Associate Dean for Research, and Interim Dean at the University of Washington Information School, who will speak on “Preserving Principles and Transforming Practice: LIS Expertise for the Data Age.”

Register today!  Registration closes October 3rd, 2017.

Registration costs are below, and include lodging and meals.

  • Members – $140.00 ACRL-WA, ACRL-OR and CLAMS members
  • MLIS Students – $100.00  Currently enrolled MLIS students residing, working, or attending school in Oregon or Washington.
  • Non-members – $150.00

**Watch for the ACRL-OR conference scholarship announcement coming very soon**

Further information, including the full conference program, is available at http://acrlwa.org/

Questions? Contact ACRLWA President Eli Gandour-Rood at egandourrood@pugetsound.edu or ACRLWA Vice-President Madeline Mundt at mundtm@uw.edu.