Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Don't call it a comeback

I was surprised to find that this blog has been quiet since September. While I had the best of intentions in keeping it up-to-date, the blog suffered as I spent my first semester of graduate school treading water. That first semester was such a humbling, challenging experience as I learned about how to balance my time, how to feel afraid and keep going, and how to make friends as an adult. And while I am glad I won't have to do the part of graduate school where you're just starting out again anytime soon, I wouldn't trade those formative experiences.

While I was busy doing graduate school things, I kept an eye on what was happening in libraryland. And as I stretch my blogging muscles in order to get into the groove of a regular writing practice, I wanted to offer my hopes for libraryland in 2018.

1. I hope that libraries and those who staff them will finally accept that libraries aren't neutral actors and, as such, can choose where they stand. I think that librarianship as a whole has bought into the idea vocational awe to the point that we believe that there is such a thing as neutrality within libraries and that it is our obligation to pursue that neutrality. But if 2017 taught us anything, it's that there isn't time for us to indulge these fantasies about neutrality. Those in our community, especially our most vulnerable, desperately need us to provide access to the information they need to live and they need us to provide spaces where they can exist without fear.

2. I hope that those of us in librarianship with privilege will stop using social media to be unkind about our colleagues and those who use our spaces. Look, I like hot takes as much as the next person and I've been guilty of being a jerk on social media. But I feel like a lot of spaces in social media have become an echo chamber for hot takes. And while there's room for dissent in social media, we should be willing to own our words instead of thinking that social media platforms give us the protection to say really awful things. In 2018, I hope more of us use our platforms to critique the systems and structures around us in a constructive way and to use our platforms to amplify marginalized voices.

3. I hope that all of us can make space for intentionally making space for the things that matter most to us. In my last Higher Ed. in the United States class of the semester, one of my classmates was talking about how much needs to change in higher education and how it feels really hopeless. Unsurprisingly, my comment was something along the lines of 'Okay, sure. But each one of us is passionate about a different aspect of higher education, right? What if we all put our greatest efforts into changing one aspect of higher education? That's how we change things.' Maybe the things you feel most passionate about are closely linked to librarianship and maybe they aren't. Whatever you're passionate about, find a way to talk about it or write about it or in some way give some of your energy to it. I have been had the privilege of being fixed in place from fear during most of 2017, but I want to practice what I preach so I'm going to start making space for the things that matter most and use my words and my work to try to create change.

I have the intention of getting back into posting more regularly in 2018. School starts up again next week, but I feel more confident in my abilities to prioritize and make space for the things that matter most to me.

Stay positive,

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