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Spaces of (Dis)Comfort

Photo of the NYPL Rose Reading Room

NYPL Rose Reading Room by Sebas Ribas via Unsplash.com

When my partner and I decided to spend our sabbatical year in Houston, we thought long and hard about where we wanted to live. Criteria included:

  • In Town (we’d had enough of rural suburban living)
  • Affordable (think very small apartment)
  • Within walking/biking distance of Rice University (where my partner would be working on his research)
  • Zoned to a good public school (my son was starting kindergarten)

That last criteria, when combined with the others, pretty much restricted us to a very small and tidy garage apartment in a very upscale neighborhood near Rice University and the Texas Medical Center. When deciding on a place to live, I had lots of discussions about what made a school a “good school” with other POCs, white friends who get it, and my parents, who were both public school teachers. “Good school” is such a loaded term, and is often, unfortunately code for “white” for many white people and POCs alike. For us, good school meant a school that wasn’t falling apart, had caring teachers, a diverse student body, and good learning opportunities for students. Our son’s school has all of these things, thanks to the VERY WEALTHY families who live within its zoned boundaries and their ridiculously expensive property taxes.

As much as I love my son’s school, it makes me very uncomfortable on a daily basis. My husband and I might posses combined education equal to or greater than most of the parents in the neighborhood, but it certainly doesn’t translate into dollars (thanks, academia!), and it shows. The school repeatedly asks for money for upkeep, special events, classroom needs, teacher professional development, etc. and I can’t help but think a) I don’t have that kind of cash; and b) there are other schools with a much poorer tax base that need that money so much more. I was terrified at kindergarten registration that we wouldn’t have the necessary documentation to prove that we were actually living within the school zone boundaries after being asked to bring in far more documents than the school district actual requires because, and I quote “so many families try to sneak in” (side note: what does that say about other schools in this district and distribution of funding?). I felt small and brown and poor as I waited for the registrar to give us the ok (which we eventually got, after having to go home for more documentation). I felt like I was trying to sneak in.

I feel like an imposter at PTO meetings. Despite the diversity of the school, I can still count the number of black and latino students on my hands. The wealth is overwhelming. There are small apartments and duplexes hidden in this neighborhood, but I don’t ever meet those parents at PTO meetings or school events because they are, as I would be if I weren’t on sabbatical, working. I want to feel as though I have every right to be at this school with my son, but somehow I haven’t internalized the comfort in all situations that comes naturally to my white, male partner.

I write all this not to air my grievances at public school funding or socioeconomic stratification in large cities–ok, maybe I want to do this a little. I write this because I don’t stop to think often enough about the ways in which students may feel completely out of place and uncomfortable in our library spaces. There are likely many students who walk into an academic library for the first time and immediately think: nope, not for me. I had a wonderful time at the Identity, Agency, and Culture in Academic Libraries conference at the University of Southern California this summer, but again, felt way out of place in that library space. It felt old and dignified and rich and not for me. I feel that way (and did when I was an undergrad) about the Rice University library as well. It sounds ridiculous but if I see heavy wooden trim and oak desks I immediately feel like someone is going to tell me “I’m sorry but you can’t be in here,” and I’ve worked in libraries for 10 years!

There’s something about the University of Houston library and my local public library that doesn’t feel that way at all. They’re bright and bustling. I hear people speaking Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, and a host of other languages I can’t readily identify. It’s loud. I see brown faces studying, working the service desk, conducting campus tours, and leading story time. It all makes a huge difference. It makes me feel like I belong.

I know that there is this tendency to want to blame people for their own feelings of imposter syndrome; that somehow it’s their fault that they are feeling that way and should just get over it. I want to call bullshit on that tendency. There are real divisions in our society that break down along racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic status lines. Class, gender, and sexuality all have an impact on how we experience the world. We can’t expect all students to find our libraries comforting and helpful unless we think about ways to actually make those students feel welcome and comfortable. Re-examining our library spaces shouldn’t be confined to studies of function and use; they should include studies of feelings as well, particularly those feelings of students who never set foot in our spaces because it’s a source of discomfort to them.

I don’t know if I’ll ever feel 100% comfortable among the parents and teachers at my son’s elementary school, but I keep going to school events in hopes that one day I’ll sit next to another parent living in a duplex or garage apartment in this neighborhood. We’ll see each other’s worn out shoes, Target t-shirts, and outdated phones and think: Yes, I do belong here.

 

 

 

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Growth in Connection

two hands holding one another

Hand in hand as one by Anete Lusina via Unsplash.com

Last summer I read Women’s Growth in Connection: Writings from the Stone Center, and it may have changed my life. It was published in 1991 by a group of women psychologists working at the Wellesley College Stone Center as a feminist response to traditional (aka clinically accepted, aka Western, aka masculine) models of human psychological development. It turned the notion of women as emotionally deficient on its head, arguing that existing models of development didn’t account for women’s experiences in the world. The Stone Center scholars, clinicians, and educators used their experiences working at women both in and out of Wellesley to describe what they saw as a relational model of human development, one where women, and really all of us, grow in our lives through relationships with others. What traditional developmental researchers at the time saw as co-dependency, these women framed as a healthy way of working through the world. Their development of relational cultural theory was, and continues to be (to me) mind-blowing. We grow through connections with others. We grow through relationships.

Before reading these essays and case studies I’d never really stopped to think why I’d internalized this idea of being independent, alone, and totally self-sufficient as being successful in life, when culturally, my Mexican-American upbringing always stressed family and strong ties among women within that family unit. It also forced me to think about ways in which I was forcing that independence, and really distance, on my son, who is just naturally one of those children who thrives on the confidence and positive reinforcement he receives from close meaningful relationships. Why can’t he take a bit more time to grow through our connection as mother and son?

This collection of course also brought to mind so much of the work that we do in libraries. I have a chapter in the forthcoming book, Reference Librarianship & Justiceon relational theory, the concept of mutuality, and reference work, and am thinking more and more about the ways in which so much of our work as librarians is rooted in relationship, and how those relationships can either be vehicles for empowerment and personal growth, or simply leave us unchanged and unmoved. There is of course, the issue that relationships require the involvement of someone beyond yourself, but in keeping with the writings of the Stone Center folks, there are ways in which we can move through the world that increase the likelihood of more meaningful, even powerful relationships.

The word empathy gets thrown around a lot these days, in conversations about everything from child-rearing to website development, to user experience research. What I like about the Stone Center definition of empathy is that it is a deep connection in which people are open to truly understanding one another. It is affirming and mutually enriching. It isn’t about using empathy for some kind of corporate gain like creating a better user interface, or selling more product. It’s about using empathy to forge a meaningful connection that will help both people grow and change.

But back to librarianship…

I’ve been thinking so much about the notion of the “information literate individual” and how our concept of this mythical person in many ways conflicts with a relational theory of development and also contradicts itself. In academic libraries we want to create independent, information literate researchers, but we also want them to know that they are part of a scholarly community. We want them to have their own voice and question the authority of others, but we don’t talk about the ways in which we all compromise both our voice and authority in our daily lives. We want our students to be able to do things on their own, do their own work, find their own information, but so much of our work is about working together with other colleagues, faculty, and and students. Our Framework for Information Literacy talks about communities of learning and seeking guidance from others, but I wish it also spoke to the need for relationships in learning and understanding the world of information, and the ways in which we as librarians can forge those relationships.

I’ll end with one last thought from the October issue of the SGI Living Buddhism magazine, which, in the way that all things converge in my life, was about mentoring relationships. The description of mentor-mentee or teacher-student relationships was so in line with relational theory. The bonds we make with our students and colleagues shouldn’t be hierarchical; the foundation should be one of “mutual trust” and “common purpose.” When we work together, through a relationship, towards a shared goal, we bring a piece of ourselves to the interaction, but we also open ourselves to possibility and growth. In those moments I’m happiest being a librarian because I’m happiest as a person. I feel as though I’ve actually connected to someone else and made a small imprint on them, and they’ve done the same to me.

 

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Why Do You Teach?

True confession time, y’all: Until last month I had never written a teaching philosophy statement.

I’ve been teaching in academic libraries for 10 years and have managed to evade formally articulating my approach to teaching in writing. I can write student learning outcomes all day and night, love to talk pedagogy with brilliant colleagues, and relish the time I now have to think about revising my college’s information literacy education program. You want a blog post about my teaching style and thoughts on critical information literacy? YOU GOT IT. So why did I find writing a teaching philosophy statement so daunting? Here are a few reasons:

Reason 1: It Feels So Formal (also Intimidating) 

There is something about including the word “philosophy” in anything that makes me want to run far, far away from it. It feels not for me, and if I’m being honest, a bit intimidating. As much as I truly believe in bell hook’s idea that you don’t have to know theory to have lived it, as much as I feel that critical theory has made me a better person, there is something about “philosophy” that still feels “other” and intimidating. It makes me instantly defensive. It makes me think of PhilosophyBros: those guys who want to “engage in a lively debate” in which they are always right, you just don’t follow their impeccable logic and therefore don’t understand they are right. I feel like I don’t have the language for philosophy and I question if I actually want it.

All of this is to say that tacking the word “philosophy” after teaching is a sure way to get me to shut down and hide. It seems silly, but the only way I could even begin to write a teaching philosophy statement was to begin by thinking about it as a “teaching approach” statement or a statement of pedagogy. A slight shift in wording made all the difference to me, and allowed me to think about the theories that influence my teaching, and what my teaching looks like in practice.

Reason 2: My Teaching Changes

No big surprise here. Who I am as a teacher now is not the same as who I was 10, 5, or even 1 year(s) ago. I love Sarah Crissinger’s comment about her own teaching philosophy statement, which she describes as “a living, developing document that I hope will continue to grow and change as I grow and change.” It can be hard to start writing a document you know will likely be obsolete in the next few years, so I had to start thinking about my teaching philosophy statement the same way I think about my CV. I’m going to update it every year. Some years might mean drastic changes while others might just mean a slight tweak or two.

Reason 3: Why am I Writing This? 

The easiest answer to this question is because a job application requested it. It’s why my partner and my non-librarian academic friends all wrote their teaching philosophy statements. They were a required part of the job hunt documentation. In those situations your teaching philosophy isn’t really for you and might not even accurately reflect who you are as an educator. It’s a performative document that is hopefully true to you, but being 100% honest, you have to eat, and that teaching philosophy statement is meant to help you land a job. However, by taking a suggestion from the lovely Sofia Leung, Teaching and Learning Program Manager at MIT Libraries, you can MAKE your teaching philosophy a piece of critical self reflection. Sofia suggests asking yourself the following questions:

  • What does teaching mean to you?
  • Do you think of yourself as a teacher and why?
  • What kind of teacher do you want to be?

I love the idea of exploring all of these questions in a statement on teaching, and even adding on the way more basic question: “Why do you teach?” Your teaching philosophy statement can be just for you, and that’s ok.

Reason 4: Writing a teaching philosophy takes time…right?

Yes, and no. A second piece of advice I received about writing a teaching philosophy comes from Dani Brecher Cook, Director of Teaching & Learning at UC-Riverside. She shared an exercise from her 2016 UCR Library Instruction Mini-Retreat, that encouraged teaching librarians to remember:

  • There is no right or wrong way to write a teaching philosophy.
  • Write in the first-person, present tense.
  • Imagine that you are explaining how you teach to someone who is not a librarian (or maybe even an educator!).

*from Crafting Your Teaching Philosophy

I like Dani’s approach to this document because it’s something that can start small. This is so important for both new librarians and (overworked) experienced librarians. Your teaching philosophy statement doesn’t need to span pages, but it does need to reflect who you really are as a teacher. It can be short or long, as long as it feels like you.

My Teaching Philosophy Statement

So what did I end up writing? A short, flawed, but good enough teaching philosophy statement. You’re welcome to read it, just know that it will never be a final draft, I’ll always cringe reading parts of it and feel like it’s just not quite right. It’s messy the way that teaching is always a little bit messy, and that seems pretty true to myself right now.

 

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New Beginnings, Time to Write

Liam, first day of Kindergarten

First Day of School: Before the tears

My partner and I dropped my son off at school for the first time this morning. He’s been in a daycare/preschool since he was 1.5 years, so we thought today would go…not well, necessarily, but at least ok. He’s an introverted, anxious kid, who has confessed to being “nervous about going to school” more than once in the past few weeks. School has been pushed back by almost 2 weeks thanks to Hurricane Harvey, so he’s had a lot of time to stew in his anxiety. Of course he cried and said he wanted us to stay with him. His teacher calmly ushered us out of the classroom. We kept it together pretty well until we left the school grounds, then added our own tears into the mix. Despite drinking too much coffee I’m still thinking about him: Did he stop crying soon after we left? Is he ok? Will he be scared to use the school bathroom? Will he eat his lunch? Does he know how to open his juice box? Will the other kids be nice to him? Will he make a friend?

There’s a lot out of my control.

What is in my control is the time I spend while my kid is at school. I think of today as a new beginning for him and a fresh start for me. My family’s sabbatical transition has been marred by health crisis and hurricanes, but today is what I dub the “official start of my sabbatical.” It’s time to write. It’s time to read. It’s time to reevaluate that overambitious list of projects I scrawled out in my sabbatical proposal. I’ll hopefully be writing and posting on a more regular basis, and chatting with colleagues over Google Hangouts and coffee. I’m excited about the scholarship possibilities this next year will bring, and I hope that school drop offs get easier. I wish you all the best possible start to your new academic year.

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Life Trajectories

Photo of rocket trajectory in the evening

Photo by SpaceX on Unsplash

So much about the world and country we live in sucks right now. If you want to read a really smart, nuanced librarian take on Charlottesville, white guilt and aggression, and subtle racism, read Fobazi Ettarh’s latest gem of a blog post. I’ve been limiting my news and social media intake these past few weeks in part to keep my sanity by avoiding our joke of a president and the non-stop show of outwardly condemning racism that’s easy to condemn. But really I’ve been avoiding the greater world because my small, personal world has become a bit overwhelming.

If you follow me on Twitter, you may have seen me mention that my partner has type 1 diabetes, and has since he was seven years old. Thirty years of a degenerative disease has done a number on his vascular system, his eyes, his kidneys, his mental health, and really, his body overall. I don’t want to disempower him, shame, or belittle him by stating this. Living with diabetes is HARD, and it takes a strong person to live that life.

A few weeks ago we began our journey back to Houston, Texas for a one-year academic sabbatical. We had plans to make this year one of renewal for ourselves–professionally, personally, and physically. My partner was going to focus on both his research and his health, and get the latter back on track through regular exercise and generally better living. But upon arrival to Houston, he landed himself in the hospital. The upside: It’s one of the best hospitals in the country for diabetics. The downside: Things are not good, and his various specialists recommend both a kidney and pancreas transplant. His sabbatical leave may end up morphing into medical leave, and his research may take a back seat to regular doctors’ visits, injections, and other maintenance medical appointments.

I write about this because my partner’s life is inextricably woven into my life, and my life is my family, myself, and my career. A month and a half ago I wrote about my own career reflections, my hopes for my future librarianship path, and my thoughts on my potential career trajectory. I don’t want to say that all of those ideas have been thrown out the window, but I will admit that these days I am thinking of my career in terms of

  • Where can I live and work that will give my partner access to the kind of quality, specialty medical care that he needs?
  • Is this a place where we can live on a librarian and academic (maybe part-time/adjunct) academic salary?
  • Will this job provide us with excellent health care benefits?
  • Is this a place where I have a support network to help with childcare when my partner is having a bad health day?

Rural Southern Maryland isn’t exactly a hotbed of medical research and specialized health care. It’s far from both of our families, and cost of living is surprisingly high. It likely isn’t going to be the right place for us long-term. I am thankful for the excellent health benefits the University of Maryland system offers, but the fact that they are being best used in the Texas Medical Center in Houston is worth noting. What does this mean for my own sabbatical? For my own career? I don’t know yet.

So much of the career advice literature focuses on the “career trajectory,” when really we’re on a “life trajectory” and the career piece is just a small part of that. My career has been shaped by all kinds of difficult, exciting, disappointing, happy life events and it certainly seems as though that will continue to happen. Am I disappointed? Sure. On my worst days I feel like my career will never move up and on. But when I am really honest with myself, I can’t and don’t see my career as suffering at the expense of my personal life. I don’t have two lives–one at home and one at work. It’s all me and it’s all one, and I need to find a way to be the best of myself in whatever situations I find myself in.

I’ve made no secret of my admiration for Zoe Fisher, and her latest essay on her recent career and life change is inspiring. I find strength in her sense of self, in her passion and motivation to do good. I want to try to gain a little of that each day. If I could bottle up that Zoe essence, I would (in a totally not-creepy, not-Victorian-penny-dreadful-novel kind of way). In the meantime, I’ll continue to write, read, learn, reflect, and repeat.

 

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On Ambition & Happiness

Finding my way back from the Land of Librarian Burn Out has meant doing a lot of what anxious introverts like me do best: constant introspection and self-reflection. It’s not quite obsessive, but it isn’t a slacker-style navel-gazing either. It’s almost like therapy homework: deep thinking paired with constructive action. I’ve been reading through Maria Accardia’s writing on librarian burnout, ordered this book in hopes of creating a more meaningful work experience, ordered this other book to help me do better in my current role, and am talking to friends in and out of Libraryland and academia about career choices and general life happiness.

I have zero conclusions and virtually no wisdom to share, but I have thoughts. So. Many. Thoughts. Hang in there kitten-poster-style:

Thought #1: I am in a good situation.

This is something I am constantly trying to keep in mind, particularly on days that aren’t going well. Talking to a friend this weekend was a good reminder of all the ways in which my partner and I are living that academia-dream life. Tenure! A house! Health insurance! I enjoy the work of being a librarian. I have a whole sabbatical year to question my career confusion (among other things). What other career gives you that option? Also: University of Maryland affiliated institution benefits are amazing.

Thought #2: I am tired of being so risk averse.

My parents were both school teachers. They each taught at the same school, in the same subjects for over twenty years. TWENTY YEARS! My mom went back to school in her 50s, earned a master’s degree, and switched to a different education-related career but still worked within the same school district. That was the model I had for career trajectories. I thought I’d get a job after graduating from college and that would be MY JOB. I’m on my 3rd professional, full-time, post-college position and have been overcome by fear each and every time I switched jobs. My first month at my first library job I was sure the people who hired me were going to regret it. At the job I have now I negotiated a higher salary than what I was offered but agonized over doing so (really over even just thinking about it).

I look at interesting job postings these days and immediately begin to catalog all of the reasons why I can’t/shouldn’t/won’t apply for that job. What will my partner do at this new location? Will he be able to get a job? Can we afford to buy a house there? I don’t have the exact required qualifications. I don’t know if now is the right time to make a move. What if I regret it? What will I be giving up tenure for instead? 

You get the idea.

I am so tired of doing this. I am tired of shutting down options before they even present themselves. I am tired of being afraid of taking a risk in my professional life. I am tired of not possessing the confidence of a mediocre white dude. I read Jessica Olin, Michelle Millet, Maura Smale, and April Hathcock and think: YES. GET IT. So why shouldn’t I?

Thought #3: I may be more ambitious than I originally thought.

This thought came from a recent G-chat with my virtual library work-wife. Why am I even looking at these job postings if I am not secretly, or not so secretly interested in library leadership? Why am I writing about the pitfalls of instruction coordination if I can’t see a better, alternative model for this professional position? Why do I bother to write about libraries and librarian identity here and elsewhere? Why do I present?

I do these the last few things in large part because they make me happy. I like to learn. I like to read and write and think (and repeat). I never thought I’d want to be in an administrative or managerial position in libraries, but I do see the limitations of the position I’m currently in. I remember reading a blog post a few years ago that I cannot for the life of me find or name about whether or not to “go deep” or “go up” in a career in libraries. One option was to work hard as a liaison librarian, gain tenure and continue to grow/refine your practice. The other was to consider management or leadership positions. I always wondered why it was presented as a dichotomy. Why can’t you do both? Can I?

Thought #4: (which is really more like a question) How can I take a more active role in cultivating my own happiness at work? 

I am definitely hyper-aware of workplace structures–both at the library and institutional level–and the ways in which I can work to change them, or not. They have a huge impact on my day-to-day happiness at work. I also have a role to play. I don’t buy into the grit/resilience narratives so many people are trying to sell these days, and I recognize there are limitations to the power I have over my own workplace situation. But I do have some power over myself at work. So how can I use that to help me be happier?

I’m sure I’ll have more #IntrovertThoughts over the next year that I’m away from work, and hopefully they’ll work themselves into more constructive / concrete ideas and actions.

 

 

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What Does Research Look Like?

I’m participating in the St. Mary’s Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF, but really, SMURF) this summer as more than just a librarian and EndNote software troubleshooter. Thanks to a series of un/fortunate events, I’m a research mentor for an amazing religious studies major investigating Muslim Americans’ experiences at work through a series of interviews. She is specifically focused on: policies regarding religious practices; Muslim Americans’ relationships with coworkers, supervisors, and employees; and their sense of inclusion in the workplace. My mentee and I have an interesting relationship. She’s without a doubt more knowledgeable about Islam than I am, and I bring a knowledge of qualitative research about work in feminized professions that makes our pairing a really constructive one.

Apart from our weekly meetings, my mentee and I are part of a larger SURF cohort of students and faculty who gather every Wednesday for discussions, activities, and presentations of their research in progress. The group is a bit science-heavy, which is to be expected, but there are students from the humanities, social sciences, and theater/art departments in the mix, too. It’s been fascinating to examine the idea of “research” from a multi-disciplinary perspective and learn more about my faculty colleagues’ personal and professional epistemologies. One of the more challenging discussion questions our SURF cohort unpacked was What does all research, regardless of discipline, have in common? (That’s a rough summary since I can’t remember the exact question–Sorry, Liz!).

Keeping in mind that this question was being discussed by anthropologists, chemists, artists, biologists, filmmakers, and well, librarians, you can understand how there would be disagreement. I had at least one person try to convince me that the scientific method is applicable to ALL research. (Nope. Not here for that.) Where everyone seemed to agree, or at least come to a shared understanding, was about the affect and emotions surrounding research.

Research requires persistence.
You have to be flexible to be a good researcher.
Research is all about creativity.
You have to be curious.
In research, it’s ok to make mistakes. You just need to learn from them.

We could all agree on the dispositions that a good researcher would possess, regardless of discipline, methodology, or project. It was a much more engaging approach to discussing research and creative activity, and it’s one I wish I could better incorporate into my college’s curriculum. I’ve tried to focus on information exploration and curiosity in my own IL classes and workshops, but I only see my students once or twice a semester. My emphasis on process and research dispositions is fleeting, which is why I think it’s important for faculty to reinforce those ideas throughout the semester. It’s what I like best about this SURF program. It’s a deep dive into research as an iterative process–a messy, frustrating, confusing, satisfying, engaging, fascinating process.

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New ACRLog Post

I have a new post up on ACRLog today: You Are What is Killing Librarianship.

After a few weeks spent conferencing, coming to terms with burnout, and just basking in the smarts and awesomeness of librarian colleagues across the country, I’m hoping to do a lot more writing as I ease into sabbatical. Despite the click-bait-y title to my ACRLog post, it is my attempt to share the way I’ve been trying to work through my own burnout, work angst, and professional frustration.

More to come!

 

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Conflicts in Curriculum Mapping


Last week I presented at the 2017 LOEX Conference with my Instruction Coordinator colleagues Joanna Gadsby (UMBC) and Natalie Burclaff (University of Baltimore). We wanted to tackle the messy, complicated process of curriculum mapping for information literacy programs, but not in a this-is-how-you-do-it sort of way. We each (briefly) shared our own experiences with the curriculum mapping process at our home institutions, but really tried to focus on

  • what makes curriculum mapping problematic
  • the ownership of information literacy and its impact on educational planning
  • the tensions between critical pedagogy and curriculum mapping
  • conflicts between our personal pedagogical values and the entire notion of curricular efficiency planning
  • and ways to incorporate our teaching values/identity and reflection into the planning process

Like our topic, our presentation is a little messy and a little complicated. We don’t purport to have all the answers. We just want to let other teaching librarians and information literacy coordinators know that if curriculum mapping has you scratching your head, rolling your eyes, or feeling the panic, we are with you.

Slides are above, and clicking on the gear will get you to our speaker notes.

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An Apology

freddy-castro-133326.jpg

Photo by Freddy Castro via Unsplash.com

Last week I wrote a blog post about burnout, specifically, my own struggles with burnout these past few months. I ranted. I wrote. I cried. I wrote some more. What I didn’t stop to consider before I clicked published was the way some of my writing might make someone feel.

I was frustrated, and remain so, about what I believe is a general devaluing of feminized labor in libraries (e.g. teaching, cataloging, etc.), and librarianship’s tendency as a field to constantly want the next big thing. It makes me feel #libraryleftbehind and like there’s not a clear place for me, and others like me who focus on teaching information literacy to undergraduates in the library of the future where everyone rides hoverboards.

What I didn’t mean to do was call out people in non-teaching focused library positions, such as those who work in digital scholarship, web services, user experience research, digital humanities, scholarly communication, or other specializations. The people in these positions do good work–important work–and should be valued. They help improve the work I do as a teacher, and I have much to learn from them.

That unintended call out was wrong, and I am sorry.

I don’t want to play at competing for status at the expense of others. I am still frustrated that teaching jobs in academic libraries seem to be the only ones open to recent graduates, and that teaching in academic libraries doesn’t seem to be a specialization. I don’t want teaching elevated above others’ jobs. I just want to feel like the work I do is important to my library and my college, to my colleagues and my peers. I think it’s what we all want: to matter, to feel valued.

Apologies again. I value you.