It’s been a challenging week. Today, I came across this blogpost from the Nocturnal Librarian (Deb Baker), which includes a recounting of our meeting at the ACRL Conference earlier this month:
[I met Kaetrena at ACRL and I asked her] how she does it. She works in a library with 2 librarians, like I do. I wanted to know her secret to doing more with less. Her advice? Take care of yourself, so you can take care of others. Take your lunch. Go home on time. So as we enter the last few weeks of the semester I will be working hard to work less hard — to come home to my family in the evenings close to when they are expecting me. To take a real break every day. To keep myself physically and mentally rested, hydrated, and happy. I’m going to try to give myself permission to be more like my favorite Zen master, a grey tabby called Gwen: [photo of cat chillin]
This is my mission: to help others dismantle the subversion of LIS values, enjoy their whole selves and lives, and reclaim their health. Deb’s statement is both affirming and a reminder to me to maintain perspective. I’m really thankful to Deb for sharing her point-of-view.
Following are my remarks after being presented with the 2019 Association of College & Research Libraries 2019 Academic/Research Librarian of the Year Award.
Good morning everyone! I hope you’re having a great conference. I sure am!
I am unbelievably honored to be recognized with year’s Academic/Research Librarian of the Year Award. This award begins with nomination from our peers, so I’m infinitely thankful to those who did so on my behalf. They are folks who have provided guidance and support of my career for a long time, and I am grateful for their confidence in me. I’d like to thank ACRL: the ACRL Academic/Research Librarian of the Year Award Committee and ACRL President Lauren Pressley, whose ears I fear may be still recovering from the trauma of my screams of joy upon hearing I was named for this honor. I’d also like to thank GOBI Solutions from EBSCO for their support of librarians and of this award.
I began my career at a large academic library in a rapidly growing metropolis; while there, I was never really sure of the impact of my work on library users. A few years later, I continued my career at a small academic library in the University of South Carolina system, where I sharpened my campus outreach and research skills.
Currently, I am at an even smaller campus in the USC System in Lancaster. We currently have an FTE just over 1,300. Those questions about my impact on users are now clearly answered almost daily, and my research efficacy continues to grow. However, we are a small library in a rural area; thus, any constraints of funding, staffing, resources, and so on, are more deeply felt at libraries like mine – particularly at Lancaster, where we have been operating without a library director since 2015. Many of the things I’ve spearheaded stem from my wish to offer our students access and exposure to the same things they would encounter at larger institutions, and to let them know they are welcome via a sense of community. I am thankful for the opportunity to be creative and effective in my daily practice of academic librarianship, which I believe this award recognizes and validates.
Recently, I have been talking with our colleagues about their organization’s cultures – in particular, about workplace morale. This research has plainly revealed the intersections of ethics, leadership, organizational culture, collegiality, and well-being in our profession, and sparked in me a desire to serve my colleagues and co-workers where the reduction or eradication of workplace abuse and neglect is concerned. Today and moving forward, I invite you to join me in helping prioritize library employees’ professional and personal well-being as they relate to the larger LIS field and in our daily practice.
I’d like to acknowledge and thank the other librarian who works with me. Her name is Rebecca Freeman. She stands with me daily as we co-lead Medford Library. We co-lead it – I do not do anything by myself.
Thank you to my entire family, and especially parents: My mother, Athena Davis and my father, Timothy Davis, who have encouraged my curiosity, love of language, reading, and learning, and respect for education – in any form – from an early age. I also want to thank my partner, Brenton Kendrick, and my little one, Ethan (who are here today). I am honored that they share my life with me. They also bring me positive energy, joy, comfort, and so much love. They are who I live for, and for whom I do all that is good and correct.
My proposal with Ione T. Damasco, “The Low Morale Experience of Minority Academic Librarians: A Review,” has been accepted for presentation at the IDEAL ’19 Conference, which takes place in Columbus, OH in August.
This will be the first time Ione and I will present together, even though we have been research partners and friends for a long time. I’m really looking forward to attending the conference and engaging in the line-up of sessions.
My alma mater, Winthrop University, invited me to join their “My Winthrop Experience” alumni profiles. I was happy to share how Winthrop University was a great match for my current career and aspirations. #Live. #Learn. #Lead.
Dr. Sandy Littletree earned her Masters of Science in Information Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. In 2018, she earned her Ph.D. from the Information School at the University of Washington, and soon, she will join the faculty there as a Lecturer. In that full-time faculty role, she will be focused on teaching and service.
Finish this sentence: “A challenge that I face as a librarian of color is…”
Explaining issues of Indigenous librarianship to people who have unacknowledged stereotypes of both Indigenous people AND librarians.
Share a career decision. What did you learn about yourself in terms of your career?
I recently had several career opportunities to pursue. The decision process was agonizing as they were all good opportunities, REALLY good opportunities, all taking me in very different directions. In the end, I decided to continue down the path of teaching, service, and research in LIS. This opportunity will allow me to continue to contribute to the LIS field and hopefully make an impact on future professionals as they enter the field. I learned that I am still passionate about building relationships with students, mentoring, as well as wanting to shape the field through curriculum and research.
Share a book that you’re currently reading, have recently read, or would like to read.
I just received a short note that in part, shares:
“[I] just read your article on [African-American] male librarians and really appreciated your research and insight…Your article helped me to realize a few things about myself and the profession and perhaps a shift in direction can rekindle my passion for the work.”
It’s wonderful to know thatstudy– published in 2009 – still offers a positive impact to readers.