#CurrentlyWatching

Rambalac is a YouTuber who walks the streets of Tokyo and nearby environs. His *extremely* HD camera and audio offer stunning immersive experiences and opportunities to consider the commonalities and unique qualities of life in Japan. 

As an information professional, I particularly appreciate the geo-spatial metadata he includes about his walkabouts.

NOTE: The high-definition features of Rambalac’s videos may spark Autonomous Sensory Meridian Responses (ASMR)

Enjoy.

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La Loria Konata and I have launched a podcast series called #FixMyLibrary. We’ll explore various topics centering American libraries, discuss broader implications in the LIS field, and debate possible solutions. 

Our first episode discussing recent events at Catholic University’s Law Library is now up.

You can follow us on Soundcloud and Twitter and join our conversations using #fixmylibrary. If you have an LIS problem you want us to consider fixing, send your questions and requests to fixmylibrarypodcast@gmail.com.

 

 

Considering: Oppressed Group Behavior

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While analyzing data for my PoC academic librarians low morale study, I came across behaviors that seemed to fall under the realm of oppressed group behavior (OGB) – known more colloquially as “eating one’s young” the “one” being the profession and the “young” meaning not necessarily the age of the target, but the lesser years of professional experience the target has (e.g., a new member of a profession).

The behavior and term was studied, coined, and eventually applied  to the nursing field by researchers Friere (1970) and Roberts (1983). The Centers for Disease Control sums up the definition of oppressed group behavior in the nursing profession:

Nurses as a group display some characteristics of being oppressed including low self-esteem and feelings of powerlessness. When an individual or group not only feels but is relatively powerless compared to another, they can take it out on one another within the oppressed group, especially on someone even less powerful. (2013)

It goes on to share the outcomes of such behavior, showing the emphasis on the links of power and professional hierarchies:

In addition to the systemic factors described by the Joint Commission … incidents of verbal abuse or violence between physicians (or other authority figures) and nurses can leave nurses feeling powerless, especially when they believe their options for recourse are limited by an administrative process that will side with the more powerful abuser. The nurse’s frustration and suppressed anger can end up being redirected laterally against her coworkers or downward against CNAs and other less powerful staff. (2013)

In oppressed professional groups that manifest OGB, the main ways more experienced group members abuse newer members include silent observations of newer group members’ struggling to fulfill job-related duties and/or acclimate to the workplace and berating or ostracizing newer group members who try to avoid abuse that is generally seen by established group members as a rite of passage. You can see an example of the former behavior (although highly dramatized) here: 

While my current PoC study includes OGB-centric data, my work with folks in the low-morale course suggests that OGB may be a phenomenon in LIS as a whole. Considering some of the similarities LIS shares with nursing profession (feminization, LIS/Librarian perceptions, credentialing in the field), I believe OGB deserves exploration and attention as it relates to  and impacts our practice, and in our professional literature.

Works Cited

Centers for Disease Control. (2013). Workplace violence prevention for nurses. Retrieved from https://wwwn.cdc.gov/wpvhc/Course.aspx/Slide/Unit4_7

Friere, P. (1970). Pedagogy of the oppressed. New York : Herder and Herder.

Roberts, S.J. (1983). Oppressed group behavior: implications for nursing. Advances in Nursing Science, 5(4): 21 -30.

That’s What I Thought You Meant, ALA…

A few weeks ago, ALA released a reinterpretation of their Meeting Room Statement within the Library Bill of Rights. The updated language was purportedly included to clarify equitable access to community groups – the problem is that the language posited hate groups as equitable to community groups.

If a library allows charities, non-profits, and sports organizations to discuss their activities in library meeting rooms, then the library cannot exclude religious, social, civic, partisan political, or hate groups from discussing their activities in the same facilities. (ALA 2018)

Read more here to understand why this is problematic.

The outcry from the general library world (and some places outside of it) was swift and damning. Soon after the release of the update, the We Here community drafted and sent a petition to ALA, which included asked ALA Council to hold a vote for rescinding the interpretation.

Today, ALA announced that ALA Council voted to rescind the problematic updates. A recap:

Out of 179 Councilors, 146 voted:

  • 140 Yea
  • 4 Nay

As a result, the policy reflecting the 2018 updates will be removed from the ALA website and the Council will continue to work to revise the document. Their new revisions will be presented on October 1, 2018 in preparation of another vote before ALA Midwinter in 2019.

ALA, you are one step further on the Path of Knowing Better. So, let’s Do Better.

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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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