I gave my first talk in person to librarians since 2019 this week. I’d been traveling less for climate change reasons but also for “sort of tired of it” reasons before Covid hit. I’d done two talk to non-library groups–one about Fair Use for lawyers and one about Libraries of Things for recreation department workers–but NELA was my first library talk. NELA is always one of my favorite conferences. Good group of people, I have no governance/admin role, interesting programs. I’m also nearly always able to drive there.
This time I was able to check out the reports from the New England state librarians (mine was home sick, but Massachusetts seems like they’re doing great things), see Robin Bradford talk about romance novels (so informative), learn what Simsbury (CT) is doing for DEI programming, and then give my talk. The room was big and it wasn’t super full but I enjoyed it and I think my part of it went pretty well. It was basically the Fair Use talk, rejiggered to be relevant to library workers. You can read that talk here. I drove home same day which may have been a stretch since it’s over two hours each way; it’s been a long time since I was at a big event with library people, in person. I miss it.
The other big milestone was that I submitted my last column for Computers in Libraries. I’ve been writing this column either on my own or with other people for fifteen years. Since I’ve started my new gig at the Flickr Foundation I’ve had less time for all of my other paid and unpaid work and I’ve been gradually trimming back. I’ve loved working with the folks at Information Today, my editor Dick Kaser especially, but a nearly-monthly deadline was starting to feel like a lot. I loved the work I did there, even if you can’t find most of it on their website. I’d like to get back to my newsletter.
Next up will probably be pulling back a bit from ALA. I’ve been a Chapter Councilor for a long time. It’s a large commitment and I’m getting more okay with my status as someone who prefers to stay a bit closer to home for my professional development. ALA continues to be an organization that hasn’t entirely embraced virtual ways of working. My work with VLA continues to be pretty fulfilling and I intend to keep that up.
A friend writes in: What are you doing about the idiotic book bannings and attacks on Librarians and what can I do to help?
It’s a mess and part of the mess is that it’s really state by state, so what might make sense for you where you are wouldn’t be the tactic in Pennsylvania or Iowa or Arkansas.
The usual advice is still good. Consider joining your local school board or library trustee board. You could even pony up some money to your state library association and join (even as a non-library person) which would help them do this work. Continue reading “Ask A Librarian: Dealing with haters?”
Hello — I recently got back from virtually attending ALA. Virtual attendance at Council meetings continues to work pretty well and I submitted one resolution.
We had significantly shorter meetings this time because we’ve gotten the main bylaws changed and the major Council reorganization done which were big jobs. Here is my report.
Previous reports from me: June 2020, January 2021 (did not write a report), July 2021, January 2022, June 2022 (did not go to ALA ), January 2023
I filled in for outgoing Councilor Marti Fisk who moved, and was elected to a three-year term starting in 2020. I am planning on having LibLearnX in January 2024 be my last conference.
So, VLA is looking for a Councilor. It’s a pretty low-key commitment: virtual or in-person attendance at meetings twice a year where you represent Vermont’s libraries and librarians, and occasional fill-in meetings. Paying attention to ongoing ALA Council issues and communicating about them to VLA. Writing conference reports and doing an annual “State of the Chapter” survey. I’ve been a Councilor for six years total–I was an “at large” councilor in the early aughts–and it’s a great way to meet librarians at a national level and work to get things done.
Do you already attend ALA and could you take on a bit more responsibility? Please contact me if you have further questions or want to get involved.
Continue reading “Vermont Chapter Councilor Report – ALA Annual 2023”
With SRRT Councilor Tara Brady, I sponsored a resolution about making ALA governance available virtually. Right now the bylaws say that Executive Board and Council meetings “may be held in either fully virtual, or hybrid virtual-and-in-person modes.” and we want to change that may to shall. Since this involves a bylaws change (The first one with his new set of bylaws!) it was referred to the Bylaws Committee. Here are my brief remarks on why it is an important resolution.
I am Jessamyn West, Vermont’s Chapter Councilor. You should support this resolution because it addresses the following issues that ALA cares about.
1. Equity issue (one of ALA’s Four Strategic Directions, also in parity with membership meetings – also coming up as one of three of ALA’s core values) allowing more types of people to be involved in ALA governance.
2. Community Engagement issue (ALA Policy Manual A.1.6, one of ALA’s strategic objectives is removing barriers to participation via technology and innovation)
3. Climate friendly issue (2021 ALA CD #53 – ALA is trying to go carbon neutral by 2025 – this is also coming up as one of three of ALA’s core values)
4. Access issue (conference travel and accommodations and accessibility issues – coming up as one of three of ALA’s core values)
5. Safety issue (supporting our LGBTQIA+ communities when conferences may be held in places where they do not feel safe such as the IFLA World Library and Information Congress being held in Dubai, currently being explored by the Executive Board)
I move that the pending resolution be referred to the Bylaws Committee for review and further recommendation, including that the committee consult with BARC regarding any fiscal implications and that the committee report back to the Council at LLX 2024.
So it’s funny, I spent a lot of time “working my network” to try to find the right thing for me. I applied for a few jobs, had a few good interviews but no actual bites, put feelers out on social media. And, at the end of the day, the thing that wound up working for me was a random “Hey I’d really like to work here at the point at which you wind up having people working here” email.
You can read the announcement about my new (part-time, contract) gig working for Flickr Commons as their Community Manager. I’m beyond stoked about this. First week went well, here’s to many more.