A brief interruption from children’s books to librarianship instead:
Almost two years ago, I was on a panel at the WiLSWorld conference where I casually mentioned that we had managed to build the beginnings of a diverse staff at the Appleton Public Library where I’m Assistant Director.
The iSchool then invited me to do a one-hour presentation about diverse hiring. I went on to do the presentation at the Wisconsin Library Association last fall as well. This winter, iSchool once again approached me, this time to do a continuing education class about diverse hiring and retention.
I do not see myself as an expert on these subjects, more a practitioner who has learned a few things along the way. And I’ve learned even more as I researched the subject enough to fill an entire course.
The class I will teach this summer looks deeply at personal biases and privilege. It explores the deep whiteness of the library profession and how via hiring practices and approaches libraries can address that problem. My hope is that we can have great conversations about the issues and learn a lot together.
Now back to the children’s and teen lit focus!
The American Library Association’s Office of Intellectual Freedom has compiled the list of the top ten titles challenged in 2018. This list is released during National Library Week, celebrating the role of libraries of all types in resisting challenges and celebrating intellectual freedom all year long. Books are challenged for a number of reasons, though you will see the ongoing trend of many of the books being about LGBTQIA+ topics or having a strong sense of humor.
OK, so does anyone else make predictions each year? I’m rather stunned to not see And Tango Makes Three on the list!
Here are the Top 11 Most Challenged Books of the year:
1. George by Alex Gino
2. A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo by Jill Twiss, illustrated by EG Keller
3. Captain Underpants series by Dav Pilkey
4. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
5. Drama by Raina Telgemeier
6. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
7. This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki, illustrated by Jilllian Tamaki
8. Skippyjon Jones series by Judy Schachner
9. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
10. This Day in June by Gayle E. Pitman, illustrated by Kristyna Litten
11. Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan
ALA Annual was amazing this year, filled with big names like Hillary Clinton and Brené Brown. It was inspiring and uplifting, encouraging and full of lots of books too.I’m not here to gloat about the bags of books I got, though many will grace this blog as I try to read them all. I have piles of pins to decorate my office tack-board, pads of paper and post-it notes to use for the year, and trinkets for co-workers to share.
Since I can’t share the physical books and trinkets with you, I want to share seven pieces of wisdom I heard at the conference that I’ll carry forward in my work at the library:
- If you are silent, you are part of the problem. – This was said about LGBT, diversity, management, teamwork and social justice in general.
- Advocacy – the importance of libraries not being neutral but also having a social justice position is crucial. In order to serve our entire community, we need to advocate for them.
- Customer Service is changing, including the no service desk model in Gwinnett County and Open+ being used to extend hours in a staff-free way.
- Change is constant, and we need to be part of it. Making bold changes in library service keeps libraries relevant and responsive to community needs. Changes should be done with your own specific community in mind.
- Communication is crucial. Communication is important not just by leadership but from staff too. It needs to be two-way and compassionate. Staff need to feel safe and supported in order to embrace change and enjoy their work.
- Management needs to focus on earning trust and supporting staff whether through major changes or changes in culture. Control needs to lessen, hierarchies are problematic, and staff need to have a voice. Management needs to give staff enough power that it makes management uncomfortable.
- Books are back – more physical books than ever were on the exhibit floor. The move away from e-book samples and timed ARCs was vividly different from three years ago.