#Recognize: Seangill Peter Bae, MLIS

sbae

Seangill Peter Bae, a graduate of University at Albany, SUNY’s MLIS program, is currently employed at Princeton University Library as the Associate University Librarian for Scholarly Collections Services. In this role, Seangill manages access and acquisition services, being sure to “borrow or buy materials in the most efficient way possible” for “our patrons and others who need them.”

Share a useful tool or application that you use in your work or non-work life.

Wunderlist for to-do-lists, Evernote for note-taking, and several others. But my favorites are a Pilot fountain pen and Moleskine notebook.

Share a career decision. What did you learn about yourself in terms of your career?

I thought I was an introvert. But while working in the library, I found I really enjoy meeting new people and talking with them – sometimes, too much.

Describe a current project or idea that you’re working on or have recently completed.

I am thinking about how to find a way for libraries to be with our patrons when and where they start the research. Although libraries provide a nice library web site, our patrons start their research from general search engines like Google. If we cannot make them start their work from the library, how can the library assist them when they need us? When they find an important citation from the web, can the citation be linked directly to the library resource or citation? There are some tools available now to follow our patrons, and I wish to test them for my library and patrons.

Share a book that you’re currently reading, have recently read, or would like to read.

I just finished Ken Follett’s historical novel, A Column of Fire, which is the the third book of his Kingsbridge series. I read the first book of this series more than 25 years ago in Korea (in Korean), and the third one was published in 2017.

What music/artist/song are you currently into?

I listen what people call “World Music.” Recently I am trying to listen to all the different versions of “Io Che Amo Solo Te (I who love only you),” an Italian song from 1962 which has been interpreted so many singers even until recently.

Finish the following sentence: “I am happy when I…”

…See people around me are happy.

Complete the following sentence: “I am a librarian because….”

…I love people more than I love books.

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Presentation Redux: Black Students and Welcomeness in Academic Libraries

At the American Association of Geographers Annual Meeting this past April, Dr. J. Brenton Stewart (Louisiana State University School of Library & Information Science) , and I presented a poster on our study focusing on factors of welcomeness for Black Students who use academic libraries on Historically White Colleges and Universities (or PWIs – Predominantly White Institutions).

STEWART_KENDRICK_GEO

The poster, titled “The Academic Library as Place: Perceptions of Welcomeness Among Black College Students,” highlighted the background, questions, constructs, research model, and data collection and analysis of the study.  Using previous research, four constructs were developed to better understand 1) the extent of welcomeness Black students feel in academic libraries and 2) which factors most influence Black students’ perceptions of academic libraries. The constructs include:

  • Library employee interactions
  • Library-as-place interactions
  • Information needs
  • Perceived welcomeness*

*welcomeness is defined as the feeling of one being ‘gladly received.’

Data was collected via a national online survey; 165 Black college/university students in over 30 states responded.  After data collection, three null hypotheses were tested. We learned the following:

  • “Library as place” is the most influential factor for Black students’ perceptions of welcomeness. Specifically, other students/users’ behaviors and actions are most likely to affect how Black students perceive the library space/climate.
  • Interactions with library employees are not significant in Black students’ perceptions of welcomeness.
  • Information needs do not significantly affect Black Students’ perceptions of being welcome in the library as a place.

These data suggest the role/responsibility of library employees to review and update codes of conduct, to increase library user awareness of nonverbal or verbal cues of implicit bias, and scan/rectify library spaces where markings of social, racial, or other intolerance may lurk.

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Report: Deauthentication Survey Results

Earlier this year, I penned a post focusing on nascent data in my PoC Low Morale study. The data seemed to indicate another phenomenon I call deauthentication, and I crafted a working definition: 

“deauthentication is a cognitive process that People of Color (PoC) traverse to prepare for or navigate predominantly White workplace environments, resulting in decisions that hide or reduce aspects of

  1. the influence of their ethnic, racial, or cultural identity,  and 
  2. the presentation of their natural personality, language, physical and mental self-images/representations, interests, relationships, values, traditions, and more,

to avoid macro- or microaggressions, shaming, incivility, punishment or retaliation, and which results in barriers to sharing their whole selves with their colleagues and/or clients.” (Kendrick, 2018)

At the end of the survey, I invited readers to participate in a short survey about their own deauthentication experiences. The survey remains open if you would like to participate; this post reflects results as press time (67 responses). 

  • 29% African-American; 23% Multi-racial; 21% Caucasian; 18% Asian
  • 82% female
  • 72% have engaged in deauthentication
  • 69% have reduced/avoided discussions about religion, politics, or social viewpoints
  • 65% have reduced/avoided discussions about personal or family relationships
  • 62% have reduced/avoided discussions about cultural or ethnic (formal or informal) traditions
  • 56% have reduced/avoided discussions about non-work related activities, hobbies, or interests
  • 53% have changed or (re)considered food choices (e.g., what you bring to work to eat or to a workplace social event for general consumption)
  • 52% have changed or reconsidered clothing presentation
  • 46% have (reconsidered) body movements or non-verbal behaviors

Last Friday I shared some results during my presentation hosted by North Carolina Library Association’s Racial and Ethnic Minority Concerns Roundtable (NCLA REMCo).  When made available, I will share the link to that presentation.

Periodically, I will share more updates or thoughts as more responses come in.  

Works Cited

Kendrick, K.D. (2018, Feb. 5). Considering: Deauthenticity in the workplace. Retrieved from: https://theinkonthepageblog.wordpress.com/2018/02/05/considering-deauthenticity-in-the-workplace/  

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#CurrentlyHearing

TheStoryofLightEP1

SHINee, “The Story of Light EP. 1: The 6th Album” (2018)

Tracklist:

  1. All Day All Night**
  2. 데리러 가 (Good Evening)*
  3. Undercover**
  4. JUMP
  5. 안녕 (You & I) 

*Title/Lead Track

** Favorite!

NOTE: This album is 1) is part of a three-CD release campaign in celebration of the group’s ten-year anniversary (May 25, 2008) and 2) the first release after the passing of group member/main vocal Jonghyun (Kim Jong-hyun; #고인의 명복을 빕니다). I was worried about if/how they would treat Jonghyun’s voice in these track/releases; so far it’s been appropriate considering the main audience is not Western. You can hear Jonghyun clearly playing his secondary role – ad-lib/sensuality King – in tracks 1 and 3. It’s simultaneously jolting, saddening, and comforting.

Ultimately, though, the SHINee sound is still intact and far from disappointing. In fact, I hear vocal ranges that we’ve never heard from Onew, Taemin, and Key, and Minho does more singing, which traditionally, he has done very little. I’m looking forward to EPs. 2 and 3 in the coming weeks.

“Together as four, we will move forward as five.” – Lee Jinki (Onew), SHINee Leader (May 2018)

Considering: The Diversity Discount

One of my first published works focused on racial and ethnic minority matters and history in LIS; since then, my work has expanded to include other issues of professionalism, including ethics, librarian roles, and identity. Regardless of this shift, I have kept a pulse on racial and ethic recruitment to the field, not only through research, but my own lived experiences in practice. 

There are many in our field who have kept their research and service centered on diversity issues. Given the dismal numbers of various LIS-centric reports on recruitment, retention, and advancement, one can imagine the emotional labor inherent in covering these topics. 

nodiversity

Nascent data in my current study on low morale in racial/ethnic minority academic librarians reveal a troubling issue for colleagues who commit to diversity work for scholarship and research. I call it The Diversity Discount – the understanding, perception, or realization that non-PoC (and sometimes, PoC) colleagues (librarians and other “teaching faculty” or administrators) do not consider these topics as rigorous/serious/valid/worthy of critique or inquiry as *any* other topic. 

Consider the following research data commentary:

“So, a lot of my research is diversity-focused, right? So, I no longer really share any of my research with any of my colleagues. Because they really don’t care. Even though, you know, I’ve presented [and done other things]… They just don’t recognize me as an ‘expert’ in my field at all.” – Hispanic female PoC Low morale study participant

“My professional activities, my research, and my scholarship focus on people of color, unapologetically. I would say that my approach to the work of the library is probably unlike what the administrators and the faculty here have experienced. I’m not really interested in talking about where to click and that kind of stuff. I’m really interested in the social and political aspects of the library, and I feel that, you know, a lot of people believe that libraries are very neutral, apolitical organizations, and that is not what I believe. And I believe that the same, you know, social and political and cultural struggles that take place in other aspects of our lives also come into play in the library, and I’m very interested in you know, researching and evaluating and critiquing those, and I think that most people have a very different expectation of the library and the library director, and what I bring to the table does not line up with that. – African-American female PoC Low morale Study participant

“I’m not convinced that this whole [tenure and promotion] process about how one is judged is objective, and so I feel like in order to make sure that I kind of am seen as somebody who is not only doing a good job, but doing a great job, that I need to kind of make sure I have something in like, all of these different areas of focus. And just to, like, in some ways, over-perform because I’m afraid of ‘what if they look at the university work, my scholarship and my areas of diversity as not as valid,’ or, you know, things like that…” – Asian-American female PoC Low morale study participant.

Recent reviews of online commentary in various forums reveal that this is not an unpopular experience of PoC academic librarians. Currently, the shared study participant comments fall under broader themes; however, I’d like to hear more about it. 

Do you perceive that your work/scholarship focusing on diversity or related concerns is not as validated by colleagues? Have you engaged in vocational-awe-related behaviors in the hopes of validating your work to colleagues or within academia? If/when your work has been positively recognized, have you encountered microaggressions surrounding that recognition? Conversely, have you received push-back when you have attempted to defend or (re-)center the importance of these issues in practice or in theory?

How have you responded (or not) to the Diversity Discount?

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#Recognize: Veronica LC Stevenson-Moudamane, MLS

Veronica

Veronica LC Stevenson-Moudamane is currently employed in Doha, Qatar as a Primary Literacy Advocate with Vision International School. Stevenson-Moudamane’s purview includes library management, promoting information literacy skills to students, faculty, and staff, and providing leadership in developing skill-sets for literacy and reading development, critical thinking, effective research methods, and ethical information use. As an information professional with over two decades of experience, Veronica takes pride in “helping students recognize [their] responsibility to society.” 

Finish this sentence: “A challenge that I face as a librarian of color is…”

…even after 25 years of continuous upwardly mobile experience, I must still prove my worth and value.

Describe a current project or idea that you’re working on or have recently completed. 

In the American Curriculum International K-12 School where I currently work in the Middle East, it is an oral tradition/EAL (English as an Additional Language culture. Reading and exposure to the American educational subjects requirements is fairly new to my students. I’ve been working on developing curriculum that makes learning about library research skills, literature, and literacy FUN. I instituted the “Read Through the Genres and Earn Badges” Initiative and the “Be A Super Reader Challenge.” Most recently, I introduced the Poetry Genre by developing a Jeopardy!-style game where students must correctly guess the topic/animal/item in which the poem is about. School-wide currency is used to reward Teams that guess correctly, making this new initiative very popular.

What music/artist/song are you currently into?

New Age and Meditation Music.

Share a book that you’re currently reading, have recently read, or would like to read.

I’m methodically working my way through the Lady Grace Mysteries. According to Amazon, “The Lady Grace Mysteries is a detective fiction series about the escapades of Lady Grace Cavendish, a Maid of Honor to Queen Elizabeth I.” The books are written in the style of a diary. Each book sees her trying to solve a mystery of the Royal Court. The stories are also period accurate and are set between 1569 and 1570. There are twelve books so far: AssassinBetrayalConspiracyDeceptionExile, FraudGold, HauntedIntrigueJinxKeys, and Loot. I’m reading them in order and am currently on Loot.

Finish the following sentence: “I am happy when I…”

…am grounded  in what I believe–because that guides what I do. Being centered through my faith in a Higher Power, my objective quest for morality, and belief that life has a purpose external to my will is what keeps me grounded.

 

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Presentation Redux: Makerspaces at Small Libaries

MakingSpace

In 2016, my colleague Rebecca Freeman and I talked with attendees at the Metrolina Library Association about how we began budgeting, planning, and implementing Makerspaces at our small, rural library. 

After a brief discussion of the history and development of Makerspaces in libraries, we talked about how many large academic libraries have provided models for us to tweak for smaller campuses – after all, small or rural libraries have unique challenges: even less funding, less staff, and we have to overcome perceptions of what we can do and who can participate in events we host.

When we planned our first Makerspace, we had no programs budget or dedicated spaces, BUT: we had an advocate in our library leadership at the time; and we also have a campus administration that acknowledges our past programs/events successes.

After our first few Makerspace events, we were able to create a programs and events budget. Now, we have dedicated funds that we use to support our Makerspaces and other events. Additionally, we now have furniture that we have installed for these events.

Most of our Makerspace events are arts-and-crafts centered, and a variety of students, faculty, and staff or community members always attend. To date, our most popular event has been “Super Spring!” (2017), where attendees created superhero-themed magnets – our campus dean even stopped in to make one!

Do you host traditional (tech-related) or other kinds of Makerspaces at your library? Do you have best practices or projects that small libraries can scale for their campuses? Leave them below!

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ShoutOut: Ismail Abdullahi, Ph.D.

Ismail Abdullahi, (Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh)  is currently Professor at the North Carolina Central University School of Library and Information Sciences (SLIS), but I know him from my time as a Clark Atlanta University SLIS graduate student (I completed my master’s degree in Spring 2004).

From its opening with 25 students in 1948 to its eventual closure in 2005, the Clark Atlanta University SLIS mission was to prepare African American (and eventually, people from all racial and ethnic backgrounds) to enter into library service in their communities. The school has an illustrious history – the first dean of the school, Eliza Atkins Gleason, was also the first African-American to earn a Ph.D. in LIS and the first African-American on the ALA Board; other leaders of the school or graduates of note include:

As I matriculated through my graduate program, I encountered instructors who worked diligently to improve the program or impart expected (and unexpected) knowledge to me.  Dr. Abdullahi was a person who did the latter particularly well. I enrolled in several of his courses, including Multicultural Information Resources and Academic Library Management. During those classes, we covered expected topics of organizational culture, structure or how to develop, parse, or consult finding aids. It was in his lectures that he covered those things and also introduced intriguing pieces of American history, development, or experience – always with a hope, I expect – that we would use this information to better inform interactions with our future diverse users. As a (undergraduate) student from a PWI, one can imagine all that was left out of my Euro-centric curriculum. I can still remember being enthralled by, at the time, what I thought were meandering commentaries about random topics, including:

  • The arbitrary meaning and application of race (and Whiteness) in America (See, Ozawa v. United States)
  • The promotion and codification of informal racial/ethnic segregration via access to mortgage funding in the United States (See, Redlining)

Through these conversations, I gleaned that my work – my very presence – as a minority librarian would be vital, even critical to many communities that continue to suffer outright or subtly from these and other equally destructive jurisprudence or practices. Years after these lectures, the ideas surrounding these topics have stayed with me. I’ve read books about immigrants groups’ aspirations to Whiteness and pages on the history and development of neighborhoods and links to racial/ethnic marginalization.

Most importantly, Dr. Abdullahi’s lectures – and the ensuing class discussions – were the impetus of my early work.  Soon after I began my first academic position, I decided that I would focus on the history and development of minority American librarianship. To that end, I wrote and published a bibliography and an article. Dr. Abdullahi’s talks still influence my work as I have turned my focus more broadly to issues of professionalism and ethics – always remembering that these career fundamentals keep me aware of my responsibilities to my users in all the ways they appear before me.

SHOUT OUT (apologies for the colloquialism in this instance) to the esteemed Dr. Ismail Abdullahi, for his formal instruction in librarianship and informal teaching about the real life surrounding the practice of community and information service.

Recommended Reading

Asim, J. (2010).  A taste of honey. New York: Broadway Books.

Benjamin, R. (2009). Searching for Whitopia: An improbable journey to the heart of White America. New York: Hyperion. 

Roediger, D. R. (2007). The wages of whiteness: Race and the making of the American working class. London: Verso. 

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Black Magic: Curation and Capture of PoC Matters

curateTransOne of the first major SLIS projects I had to complete was a website pathfinder. The pathfinder is a bibliography that helps information seekers begin research about a specific topic or subject. In 2003 – quite a few years before the advent of digital humanities as we now apply it in LIS – the pathfinder was best way to curate items for quick access to information. Other terms for the pathfinder include subject guideresource lists, study guide, or research guides

In the 2010s, a company called SpringShare came along with a nifty, user-friendly platform called LibGuides. LibGuides were designed to make the pathfinder more dimensional by working with integrated library system platforms, database portals, and social media, and since it can be coded, designer functions on the platform are almost endless. In fact, many libraries also use the LibGuides platform to run their main website. Moreover, the platform allows guides to be related, so users can see what disciplines or courses are connected – if a librarian wants to get that granular.

While librarians have used the platform to support their campus’ degree programs or courses, they have also used the platform to curate resources about topics that affect or impact PoC (and have a valid place in courses like sociology, history, political science, critical media studies, etc.) – including:

  • Makiba Foster and Meredith Evans’ guide on the events in Ferguson, MO after the death of Michael Brown (and the associated digital repository, “Documenting Ferguson.”)
  • Kai Alexis Smith’s “Get Out” guide and Hip-Hop Symposium guide
  • Ted Bergfeit’s “Black Panther” guide
  • Iowa State University’s Ta-Nehisi Coates Black Panther guide/syllabus

and more. 

Speaking of syllabi – a more in-depth iteration of print, visual, and other resources that allow users to learn about a topic more deeply – I’ve witnessed the evolution and dissemination of community-developed learning resources like:

While these works are created outside of libraries, they act as their own powerful versions of path-finders;  moreover, such syllabi move the path-finder idea forward by using new platforms of dissemination (e.g. social media, publishing). Since they are created with the intention of supporting a course, seminar, or tightly focused discussion, the collocation and curation of resources for curated syllabi also is particularly empowering since it happens within a specialized community of learners or information-seekers. I find these syllabi a wonderful example of ways a community can interrupt and augment “traditional functions” of librarianship. Additionally, librarians can use these resources to 1) identify and connect with those communities and 2) diversify their collections.

Have you created a LibGuide covering a diversity, equity, inclusion, or other political or social – or even popular culture topic? What syllabi have you discovered? Share it below!

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