#Recognize: kYmberly Keeton, M.L.S., C.A.

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kYmberly is the African American Community Archivist & Librarian at the Austin History Center (Austin Public Library). She earned her M.L.S. from the University of North Texas. At the Austin History Center, kYmberly manages the African American Community archive and narrative in Austin, Texas, which she does through the lens of the organization and as a city employee.

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

I am currently hosting a monthly book talk series and one of the books we’ve read is Shifting: The Double Lives of Black Women in America by Charisse Jones and Kumea Shorter-Gooden.

Finish this sentence: “One way the LIS profession can improve or progress is…”

…being more transparent about racism and how it is embedded within the culture of librarianship and archives. Transparency means taking ownership of your whiteness and working towards dismantling the status quo.

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

I am so proud that I decided to create ART | library deco, an online African American digital art library as a practicum during my graduate career. Today, it is a full-fledged library that has over 700 library patrons that follow and engage with the library platform. Again, I believe today it is my saving grace and allows me the opportunity to think beyond the walls that I work in from 9-6 PM. I find that I am not one of the ones that have invested my identity as a part of an institution. I am who I am. And, will always go out for what I want. What I have learned is that I am important and what I am seeking for my future is important and I be damned if I allow anyone to stop me.

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

I am currently promoting the COVID-19 INDEX. It is an online archive that is collecting experiences by people of color. Community patrons can submit here.  Earlier this summer, I also hosted A Dramatic Point Weekly Writing Series. It was a 6-week writing series for Women of Color.

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

I am happy when I know that my purpose on this earth is aligned with what God has written about me in my book of life – which plays out on a daily basis. From whence comes my help – it comes from my homey, JESUS!.

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#Recognize: Treshani Perera, M.L.I.S.

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Treshani is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin Mikwaukee, holding a dual degree: an MLIS (with concentrations in Information Organization and Archival Studies) and a Master of Music in Music History. Currently, she is a Music and Fine Arts Cataloging Librarian at the University of Kentucky. In her position as a tenure-track librarian, she also serves as the head of the Fine Arts Cataloging Unit, where she manages cataloging, processing, preservations, and special collections operations at the Fine Arts Library. Her work centers original and complex cataloging for print, sheet music, and audio-visual archival items and collections. She also exercises supervisory skills, guiding the work of two full-time employees and a part-time graduate student. 

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

My institution has a year-long library diversity internship program for undergraduate students, and I’m the internship supervisor for the program. This is my second year in this role, and I’m really proud of the work I’ve done with this program to support and mentor undergraduate students from underrepresented communities. It’s been a great way for me to continue to connect with students from racial/ethnic groups, get them involved with diversity-related programming and events sponsored by the library, and get them excited about a career in librarianship (which hasn’t happened yet, but I’m hopeful!). This position comes with a lot of emotional labor, but it’s also very gratifying to be able to give back and share life/career tips with students that have stories and experiences similar to mine. I’ve learned from them just as much as they’ve been able to learn something from me!

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

…am surrounded by people who see me for who I am and allow me to bring my whole self to a shared space. I am very grateful to the women of color in my life (both within and outside of librarianship) that uplift, support, and inspire me with their truth.

Finish this sentence: “One way the LIS profession can improve or progress is…”

…by hiring more library workers from marginalized groups and identities, and supporting/sponsoring/celebrating the work they do to advance the LIS profession. I’m also going to take this opportunity to advocate for hiring librarians of color into permanent positions and promoting us from within. I have been very fortunate to be part of a community (shout out to Libraries We Here) that nurture and support the retention and advancement of library workers of color. My wish for library workers of color is for organizations and the greater LIS profession to recognize our potential – from entry level to leadership positions – and remove barriers so that we can focus on success in this profession without constantly having to fight the system.

If you are a creator/maker, what do you make, and how does that creativity help or inspire your library practice?

Before becoming a librarian, I had an active career as a professional musician (classically trained pianist). As a pianist, I enjoyed collaborating with others, which is something I enjoy as a librarian, too. Collaborations and project work bring out my creative side, and I’ve been fortunate to have opportunities to show my creativity through various projects I oversee as part of job responsibilities. As for performing, I get to do it for fun these days. Lately, however, I haven’t been able to do much performing with a full-time job and other commitments. I’m hoping to get back into it more regularly since it’s something that brings me joy and a sense of accomplishment outside of work.

What music/artist/song are you currently into?

Lizzo!!! “Good As Hell” has been my personal anthem for 2019 (and did y’all see the video?! I mean, she’s a band nerd, too!) I’m inspired by her message of authenticity and body-positivity. Lizzo has given me plenty of reasons to smile through some dark times this year.

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#Recognize: Raymond Pun, M.L.S.

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Raymond is Instruction/Research Librarian at the Alder Graduate School of Education (California). He earned his degree from City University of New York, Queens College. At the Alder Graduate School, he acts as a solo librarian, focusing on technical and public services support. These services include acquisitions, e-resource management, instruction, research and writing assistance, and collection management. 

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

I add everything on Google Calendar as it helps me keep track of what I have to do on a day-to-day basis. Also, if there’s a project, I break it down into 30-minute blocks so it doesn’t feel overwhelming to think: ‘I have 1 hour to do this project.’

Finish this sentence: “One way the LIS profession can improve or progress is…”

…to start developing people of color in library leadership roles. This type of infrastructure supports recruitment, retention and builds on diversity, equity and inclusion efforts.

What music/artist/song are you currently into?

Artist J.S. Ondara. Check out his songs: “Saying Goodbye,” “Revolution Blues,” and “20 Times Wiser.”

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

I am working on my doctoral dissertation that examines the impact of digital exclusion on ethnic communities in California. It’s a qualitative study that traces the lived experiences and stories of those affected by the digital divide. I’m hoping to finish it up before May 2020!

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

… I enjoy helping people by connecting them with relevant and timely resources or information – particularly now with an overload of information.

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#Recognize: Ashleigh D. Coren, M.S.L.I.S.

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Ashleigh earned her degree from Simmons College and is currently Women’s History Content and Interpretation Curator at the National Portrait Gallery (NPG). In her role, she develops and assists with research projects related to the history of women in portraiture and coordinates public programs related to NPG collections and exhibitions that focus on female artists and sitters. She also creates and supports educational programs that center and share the diverse stories of women in America. 

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

I just transitioned from being a librarian to working in an museum. It’s been an incredible experience so far, and it’s been reassuring that I can take risks with my career and try new things. There is also so much overlap between the work I was doing in special collections and my new role. I feel successful knowing I can continue to leverage the strengths I developed as a librarian and archivist and pick up some new skills along the way.

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

I just finished I’m Not Dying with You Tonight by Gilly Segal and Kimberly Jones, and I’m on my library’s waitlist for Sontag by Benjamin Moser.

Finish this sentence: “One way the LIS profession can improve or progress is…”

…by less talking, more doing.

What music/artist/song are you currently into?

I’ve had “It’s Funky Enough” by The D.O.C. on repeat for a minute.

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

I’m not too keen on planners, so if a meeting or appointment is not in iCalendar on my phone, then it doesn’t exist.

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#Recognize: Twanna Hodge, MLIS

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Twanna earned her degree from the University of Washington. She is an Academic/Research Librarian at the SUNY Upstate Medical University Health Library, where she acts as the liaison to the College of Graduate Studies. She is also the diversity fellowship coordinator.

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

Pushing the Margins Women of Color and Intersectionality in LIS Edited by Rose L. Chou and Annie Pho and Diversity and Inclusion in Libraries edited by Shannon D. Jones and Beverly Murphy.

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

I am writing a book chapter.

Finish this sentence: “One way the LIS profession can improve or progress is…”

…how diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility are addressed, taught, implemented, practiced, sustained, and woven in the fabric of our profession. It is systematically and intentionally acknowledging whiteness, white supremacy, colonialism, racism, and more  — along with the dismantlement of them; moreover, understanding that as a profession, we are not above reproach, critique, or sacred, and that our biases affect us being able to provide accurate, unbiased, and courteous responses to all requests.

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

That I am ready for librarianship, but librarianship may not be ready for me. Also, that my career isn’t my life. That I should be living for myself, not just living for my career. That a balance and boundaries need to be struck and maintained at all costs.

What music/artist/song are you currently into?

Soca, Reggae, Dancehall, R&B, Alternative, Evanescence, Paramore, NF, Lizzo and many more.

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#Recognize: Derrick Jefferson, MLIS

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Derrick earned his degree in 2012 from Louisiana State University’s School of Library & Information Science. Currently, he is Associate Librarian at American University (AU), where he focuses on research and instruction. He is also is a subject specialist and is the liaison to AU’s School of Communication.

If you are a creator/maker, what do you make, and how does that creativity help or inspire your library practice?

At my organization, I’m very lucky that I’ve been supported not only as a librarian, but also in my pursuing  another master’s degree in Creative Writing. AU has an excellent program and I’m having some success in getting my work published – and I’m also working with the best faculty and fellow colleagues in the Literature department.

Because of how the university looks at scholarship  (my opening up my research, which has primarily been looking at equity, diversity, and inclusion [EDI] issues in higher education and mentoring new librarians of color), I’ve expanded that to also include my creative work. EDI work is very important to me as a queer librarian of color, and I think a lot about identity — both our own in how we put ourselves out there to the world — and in how we are received and are then congruent.  I also explore a lot of identity issues in my creative work. So, even though it may not seem like it on a surface level, a lot of these things overlap and mash up against one another and sully and stain the other while also supporting it. It’s a very beautiful ugly thing, if that makes sense — and it keeps me really pushing and pulling both sides of the brain.

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

I came to librarianship later in life. I already had a master’s degree in Film and was working in Los Angeles as a graduate advisor at the art school where I went to grad school. I was also freelancing and writing and doing other things on the side. So, by the time I went back to school for library science, I was thirty-seven years old. I think what really helped me out was that I’d already had a life, had achieved things, failed at other things, been disappointed, taken risks, experienced highs, had my heart broken, established credit, and knew that I didn’t have to do anything I didn’t want to do, if I didn’t want to do it.

I learned a lot in my MLIS program, being in post-Katrina New Orleans, working at a half dozen different libraries and thrown into library instruction my very first semester without a lot of resources. You are forced to learn quickly, get creative, and for me, I think a lot of that came from having to be savvy in life, in film, working as a producer, and being flexible at a moment’s notice. Summarily, I think what prepared me to be a good librarian was the opportunity to be in and of the world, engaged in things that had nothing to do with librarianship, being able to think critically, and understanding concepts about the larger world that now, I can apply to other things, including in my work as a librarian.

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

I never in a million years thought I would come to be so dependent on the Notes app on my phone, but hoo boy, I love that joker so much. I use it a lot, and even though the old-school, pencil-and-pad-vintage-throwback person that I am also utilizes those tools, I love how a thought can be quickly tapped into a note, saved to the cloud, and is instantly synced across my various workspaces and platforms.

While I’m waiting for the bus, or for my number to be called at the deli, or in between appointments, I have so many quick blips of nascent, still-to-be-fully-formed-or-investigated nuggets that I’ve come to rely on. Much of my use is for my creative writing, and I have a very long list of potential names for characters that really grounds me when I’m developing a character. There’s another note including little snatches of plot or events that a story could be based around, and another of a timeline of the classes I need to complete to finish my degree…but there’s also stuff for my work as chair of the ACRL EDI Committee, thoughts on the upcoming ALA Midwinter Conference, chord progressions from songs I’m interested in learning more of the theory behind, recipes…lots of recipes as I love to cook, comic books or zines I want to know more about, records I want to buy. It’s an unwieldy trove of information, but it’s *my* unwieldy trove of information.

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

I am so excited that I just signed on to work with D-Craft, which is a project for digital libraries. They’re creating a toolkit for essentially best practices for reuse, and in my consulting role, I’ll be examining and assessing how to incorporate equity, diversity, and inclusion into these best practices. I’m looking forward to taking my EDI work and applying it to a different (at least for me) context.

I’m aware of digital libraries and repositories, but haven’t had much involvement with them professionally. The team received an Institute of Museum of Library Services (IMLS) grant, and my library science education was funded by an IMLS grant, so part of me feels indebted to the organization and this is just a small token of my appreciation, being able to pay it forward.

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

…in no means a burden, obstacle, or something that defines me.”

I am very aware of my Blackness and my queerness, in addition to my other intersecting identities, and as someone who looks at EDI and identity issues, I think about these things a lot, maybe sometimes even to a fault. But in thinking specifically about race, I find it hard to really get so entangled in foolishness, gaslighting, or shenanigans. My color is a joy. I come from this lineage of African-Americans who have endured so much so that I could be here today and that isn’t something that’s taken lightly. But when you talk about race, you are inevitably also talking about power. So, when one sits down and thinks about racism, its construction, and its total nonsensical practice and application; that there are people who lean into these manufactured prisms of looking at people through this lens that ultimately puts them at an advantage, makes them more powerful, makes their standards of what’s right, what’s beautiful, what’s appropriate; when you see people who rely and fall back on this warping of fact as a defense mechanism, as a way to justify why they are better and I am allegedly worse, I’ve already lost interest. I don’t have time to fight or argue when I already know, very simply, that I’m right.

Racism is a malignancy that causes great harm, but what can you say to someone who, no matter what you do or disprove, or show to be lacking or ineffectual or flat-out wrong, is always going to feel contrary? That’s their problem, not mine. It is such a waste of time to try and deal with people informed by that toxicity and I just won’t do it.

So, are there challenges? Of course — but I also know that these issues are bigger than libraries or the profession, and I also know that I’m generous and kind and smart and funny, and I enjoy my life immensely. I can’t be invested in any kind of service to or engaged with people, concepts, or ideologies that aren’t worthy of my attention, and so I’m not. I hope my fellow librarians of color know how important it is to be selective in how they also face the challenges we encounter – as well as looking out for and supporting each other.

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#Recognize: Jeannie Chen, MLIS

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Jeannie graduated in 2018 from the UCLA MLIS Program, with emphases in academic librarianship, archival studies, literature, music and the performing arts, and Asian American Studies. She was a recipient of the 2016-17 ALA Spectrum Scholarship, the 2017 SAA Josephine Forman Scholarship, and selected to participate in the 2017-19 ARL Kaleidoscope Program (formerly the Initiative to Recruit a Diverse Workforce, IRDW). In the upcoming 2019-20 academic year, Jeannie will be working as a teaching aide in the UCLA Global Classroom Program at Jinling High School (金陵中学) in Nanjing, China. She will guide high school students through academic reading, writing and presentation, as well as critical thinking and analysis as they complete credit-bearing UCLA courses in the humanities and social sciences.

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

Since graduating from the UCLA MLIS Program, I’ve found comfort and solace in the Los Angeles Public Library services, and have been reading considerably more in non-fiction, memoir, and adult fiction genres. I use my library card to request and check out both books and films that have long been on my list (but were put on hold due to the demands of grad school), and the Goodreads website and app to set challenges for myself and keep track of all my to-reads.

“A challenge I face as a librarian of color is…”

…better understanding where my priorities lie in terms of time and energy investments. I continue to meet many students entering or just beginning library school, at conferences, events and through referrals in my professional network, [and I wonder] ‘How much information is too much to share, and which experiences can be the most helpful to them?’ Every time I meet another librarian/archivist of color (in-training or just entering the profession), I think about the ways in which our mutual experiences can resonate and build momentum, most importantly to help us survive and overcome difficult circumstances.

I hope to be as kind, wise, and understanding as the mentors who have helped me throughout my college and graduate school years. Peer support and mentorship is also an avenue I want to explore throughout my career, because I have seen the benefits of maintaining connections to the wonderful friends & colleagues I met through programs such as the Association of Research Libraries Kaleidoscope Program (2017-19).

Prioritizing my time and energy has been a consistent struggle, especially when it comes to participating in and reflecting upon both the ground-level and big-picture developments in diversity, equity and inclusivity programs/initiatives. It can be a lot to process for one person, so I hope being proactive and applying my skills in coordination and organization can invigorate and continue to nurture the professional networks I am part of. Spending time in a different country can also help me formulate different expressions and perspectives regarding critical issues and concepts in LIS, now and into the future.

What music/artist/song are you currently into?

I recently went to a summer evening concert featuring ABBA‘s music at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, and have been getting into the history of the group due to a recent visit to Sweden. Although it was not my usual genre, I found the energy of the audience and general atmosphere infectious; it was like a shot of happiness in what has been a relatively calm and peaceful summer.

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

Making the decision to work abroad in China for one year was a decision that was both daunting and yet made sense for where I am now in my career. Since graduating from UCLA with my MLIS, I realized that I needed to challenge myself in order to gain a sense of meaning and purpose in life. I like to go beyond my comfort zone and dwell within unfamiliar environments. Staying for too long in one place contributes to a sense of complacency and a narrow world perspective, whereas performing a ‘strategic uprooting’ once in a while shows me where my limits are and helps me expand them. Like pruning a rosebush to spur growth in the spring or upending a Lego creation onto the floor to explore new design possibilities, change can be a messy – but ultimately rewarding – process. I consider Nanjing to be my hometown, so I have the added benefit of having relatives in the area. Moreover, I see this as an opportunity to gain valuable instructional experience and better understand the perspectives of the high school students in the classrooms at Jinling.

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

The book I’m currently reading is Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China by Jung Chang, an author whose life story holds certain parallels to what my mother experienced growing up as a young girl during the Cultural Revolution. I want to better understand and empathize more deeply with my grandmother’s and mother’s experiences. The incredibly challenging hardships they went through are difficult to imagine in the context of my own life. As I live and work in Nanjing this coming year, I plan to spend weekends visiting my grandmother, taking courses to improve my grasp of Chinese, and exploring my family’s roots.

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#Recognize: Isabel Espinal, PhD, MLIS

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Isabel Espinal is a Research Librarian at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where she provides research support, research instruction, and collection development services. She is also the liaison to the Afro-American Studies, Latin American, Caribbean, and Latinx Studies, Native American & Indigenous Studies, Spanish & Portuguese, and Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies departments/disciplines. Isabel earned her Master’s of Library and Information Science degree from the University of California, Berkeley. She also earned a Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. 

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

…it’s a profession that suits me. The decision I made a few decades ago still has validity. Being a librarian promised to allow me to do a variety of things in my job, and I craved variety and to work with Latinx communities and Latinx materials and even to use my Spanish language in my work.

Finish this sentence: “One way the LIS profession can improve or progress is…”

By paying the people of color to get their LIS Masters degrees and by moving more of the current librarians of color into management, and specifically by adopting the diversity fellowship model and approach that I have been presenting these past two years with colleagues at UMass (Pete Smith, Kate Freedman, Laura Quilter, Annie Solinger) and that I am outlining in an upcoming book chapter with Maria Rios and April Hathcock.

It’s important that each large library across the country take up this approach, not waiting for some external entity to do it or fund it. And smaller libraries can also find a way, perhaps by pooling resources. It is clear (and super frustrating) that the LIS profession has not improved or progressed in its stated goal of diversifying its ranks, as the following chart clearly shows and as we POC who’ve been in LIS a while know – check out this tweet by the Institute of Museum and Library Services:

If you are a creator/maker, what do you make, and how does that creativity help or inspire your library practice?

I’m a poet and a translator of poems. I create poems for many reasons, mostly personal. Sometimes I read or write poetry when I’m really sad or depressed and that can inform personal or even professional situations. Oftentimes, this creativity is very far from my library practice, and at other times it’s very directly tied, as when I’ve done library programming with poets.

Poetry for me is really personal, to the point that it’s something I go to when all else fails and I’ve hit an emotional bottom, it’s like prayer, sometimes it *is* prayer. Other times poetry is what comes out of the way my mind works: on one hand, my thoughts often meander, and on the other hand they oftentimes stop at things that other people might skip over. Poetry helps and inspires my library practice in that it frees up my mind, sometimes loosens my thinking, other times tightens my thinking. It’s possible that the kind of thinking I do as a poet helped me to seek out and grasp ideas before or without them being buzzwords in LIS… I’ve been a librarian with no end of ideas!

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

My tools are pretty basic. First and foremost, but with a huge word of warning: my iPad. I have used it for my work and non-work life. I have used it to listen to music and funnel the sounds to a Bluetooth speaker. I have used it to communicate by text, email and video call. I use it anywhere I can get wi-fi and when I don’t have wi-fi, I use my iPhone as a hot-spot.

When I’m offline, I read PDFs or do work offline that I upload later. Although I prefer a laptop for many tasks, when pressed I can use the iPad for writing, spreadsheets, etc. Although I prefer to read books in paper format, I often use the iPad instead just because it’s so portable. I take photos on it and use it to edit and show photos airdropped from my iPhone. I like that I can do so much with just this one device. CAVEAT: because I had been using the iPad so much, recently I have realized it has been causing me upper body pain. Currently, I am taking a wonderful yoga class geared to help me relieve the pain caused by my iPad use.

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

…am feeling loved; when the people close to me in my life (my children, my boyfriend, my close friends, my siblings, my parents) are happy and fulfilled, when they accomplish something important to them; when I accomplish something; when I hear of a victory in some arena in which people achieved some social justice; when I hear a happy song, when I hear birds, when I feel the sun on my face; when I smell a beautiful smell in the air, like the smells created by flowers, or grass or the rain mixing with earth. There are so many kinds of happiness… I could go on and on…

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#Recognize: Nikhat Ghouse, MLIS, MSOD

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Nikhat Ghouse (pronunciation: Nik-Khaath GAWS – last name rhymes with floss) is Associate Librarian for the Social Sciences and Coordinator of the Diversity Alliance Residency Program at American University. She also is an Organization Development Consultant. She earned her Masters of Library Science from the University of Pittsburgh and completed a second master’s degree in Organization Development at American University. In her current roles at American University, Nikhat works with students and faculty in Anthropology, Economics, Health Studies, Sociology, and Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies disciplines. She also helps Diversity Alliance resident librarians as they navigate learning more about academic librarians and prepare for their careers in the field. As an Organization Development consultant, Nikhat specializes in working with libraries and other organizations in areas of change management, leadership training, equity, diversity and inclusion initiatives, and more.

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

I have an ambitious summer projects list that I have already begun tackling. The most important would be my writing projects. I have not found writing to be an enjoyable task and I still struggle with finding my process. Over this summer, my mentor from my second graduate school is supporting me through this process. I am hopeful that by summer’s end, I will understand and identify not just my own writing process, but an article or two as well.

What music/artist/song are you currently into?

I listen to a little bit of everything, Bollywood soundtracks or audiobooks when I am at home, cleaning, and cooking. When I am on long drives, I listen to the radio, and when I need to concentrate at work [I listen to] classical music. I am only just getting to podcasts as a part of my work commute.

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

Earlier in my career, I thought about leaving librarianship to go back to graduate school full-time. My timing was off and I ended up in Washington, D.C. After I finished my second master’s, the choice came back up again to leave the field and go into organization development. It was an intentional choice for me to continue to work at the intersection of libraries and organization development. I want to help libraries function effectively from the lens of diversity, equity, and inclusion as a forethought to change management and organizational effectiveness.

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

I always have more books than time for reading. I am currently reading the summer 2019 issue of The Organization Development Journal. I recently volunteered at AU’s Inaugural Antiracist Book Festival where I was able to buy a copy of Birthright Citizens: A History of Race and Rights in Antebellum America by Martha J. Jones. I’ve also been slowly reading Rose L. Chou & Annie Pho’s edited book, Pushing the Margins: Women of Color & Intersectionality in LIS. Every chapter of this book is a real gem that speaks to so many of my own experiences and my continued hope for working within libraries. My current fiction read is Your Duck is My Duck by Deborah Eisenberg.

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

Whether I am teaching information literacy to an undergraduate class or giving a workshop to the staff of a library on diversity, equity, and inclusion, I am happiest when I can make a positive and visible impact with my work as a librarian and OD consultant.

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#Recognize: Anastasia Chiu, MSLIS

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Anastasia Chiu is Cataloging and Metadata Librarian at Stony Brook University. She earned her Master of Science in Library and Information Science from St. John’s University. At Stony Brook, Anastasia catalogs music, audio and video formats, builds metadata practices for digital collections, acts as liaison to the university’s psychology and Asian American studies disciplines, and is an active member of the library’s inaugural equity, inclusion, and diversity committee. 

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

Finding a balance between “abundance” and “scarcity” mindsets in my working life. I learned and was taught a lot of things about doing my utmost for personal survival, all of which are grown from and activate a “scarcity” mindset. I also value holding space for others in my communities, and to do that, I’m finding that it’s good to recognize abundance around me and embrace an “abundance” positionality in the way that I relate to others more often.

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

I’ve been working on a book on building residency programs with Jason Alston, Jay Colbert, and Lorelei Rutledge, Developing a Residency Program. It’s actually my first book venture – I’ve never written even a book chapter, just jumped right into coauthoring a whole book. I’ve informed most of my work on the book with my own experience as a former resident in a diversity residency program, and I know my co-authors have brought their own experience in residency programs as well. It’s been a work of a lot of reflection and care, and I hope it shows in the finished product!

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

Sometime before I went to library school, I made a decision not to complain or agitate in my professional life, and to do everything in my power to assimilate until I had obtained a full-time position. I was feeling precarious because I had not-quite-ideal luck with job hunting for some years, and this was before I ever knew other queer people of color in the profession. This decision somehow felt justified under those conditions.

In retrospect, I’ve learned that that is a way of life that can do a surprising amount of harm to oneself. In never letting myself exercise and develop my own beliefs based on my own truths as a person with marginalized identities, I internalized all the -isms that I was embedded in, and I am certain that I must have inflicted them on others. I wish I’d had the courage to realize then that agitating is important work, and that there are so many other amazing people out there doing it. I hope that other people of color, especially queer and trans folks of color, who come to libraries will know this, and find us.

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

I am currently reading Critical Race Theory: An Introduction edited by Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic, and Emergent Strategy by adrienne maree brown! All thanks to the great folks in two of my current research groups/communities of practice, one focusing on critical race theory in LIS and the other focusing on relational-cultural theory in LIS. Shoutout to Fobazi Ettarh, Jenny Ferretti, Sofia Leung, Jorge López-McKnight, Veronica Arellano Douglas, Lalitha Nataraj, Alana Kumbier, and Joanna Gadsby, without whom I would never have come to read such awesome things.

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

Slack. Yeah, I know, could I be more basic? I just feel that It brings together communities that are engaged with collaborative work, but that might not be physically together very often, and that has been really important for me.

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