With the current political milieu, many of us have found ourselves thinking more about social justice, activism, and our personal as well as professional roles in politics. We have questioned the role of library staff and libraries in this context.
Su Epstein Author Archive
Su Epstein holds a doctorate in Sociology from the University of Connecticut and began her career teaching Criminology, before changing careers to Libraryland. She is currently the Library Director at Saxton B. Little Free Library in Columbia, CT. Su is currently reading Odd Apocalypse by Dean Koontz.
We have all experienced the public’s perception that libraries are quiet peaceful places, in which staff merely sit around and read. This idyllic image is frequently presumed about my library as we are relatively small and rural. Although we have had some significant incidents, such as the elderly gentlemen who drove his car six feet into our building, these are infrequent and we are thankful that we do not often experiences the challenges that some of our more urban colleagues face daily. Still, we are not immune.
In other blog posts I have expressed my beliefs that especially in today’s world, civility is imperative. I have also expressed a belief that librarians have a responsibility to lead tolerance. In response to these expressed beliefs some have challenged civility is a silencing tool of oppression and that tolerance is an unacceptable dodge of acceptance. I believe these responses indicate experiences in which civility or tolerance have not been practiced.
Our gallery space has now completed three cycles. My library board and the public love the space; they are thrilled to see original art work in the library. However, I am now learning that I was not as prepared as I believed.
It is both a blessing and a curse of public library librarians that we are busy. Whatever our title or job description, most of us wear many hats and juggle multiple and diverse responsibilities. For many, we consider ourselves lucky when we find time to go to a conference, read a list exchange, or even visit pages such as this. Unlike our academic counterparts, most of us have no direct mandate to share our experiences, to present, or to publish.
Fines are a tangible reminder of the patron’s responsibility, the library’s importance, and the consideration of others.
The public library by our mission and place within communities across the country is in a position to help facilitate positive social change.
In my view, librarians are second responders; a later role that is much needed and of significant importance. We are the group that enters the picture during the second wave of disaster relief, when many others have forgotten or grown weary of hearing of the situation.
Saying no does not mean being rude or mean. Sometimes saying no is necessary.
On Monday April 3, 2017 President Trump signed a bill repealing internet privacy rules.
As librarians we are not only on the front line of information sharing, we are also its guardians. I believe we need to hold creators accountable. If you don’t know or understand research methods – learn them! If a source or organization will not provide or support the process, don’t support it. We need to start treating data with respect or all information will soon become meaningless.
If you have not heard, book-selling giant Amazon currently has book*stores* in Seattle, San Francisco, and Portland with plans for more stores near Chicago and Boston. With Amazon also initiating a cashier-free grocery store, many have been speculating both why and what next.
When my library was renovated, the moving process involved notifying vendors, changing utilities, and managing our accounts. From the start, I kept copious notes of who I talked to and the content of our conversations. Here’s how it paid off.
Back in January, I wrote on Leading Tolerance. Leading tolerance is moving beyond the concepts of diversity and multiculturalism and engaging in actions that demonstrate a willingness to coexist with those opinions and behaviors different from one’s own. It does not mean agreement with a differing perspective, but respect for that alternative perspective
Every day I see people in the library printing out electronic communications so they can review and have the information on paper: bank statements, emails, receipts, coupons, directions. People like paper, which brings me to a conundrum for my library.