The Feminist Librarian: Fostering Inclusivity in the Academic Library, WAAL 2015 Conference Presentation
I had a wonderful time presenting at the Wisconsin Association of Academic Librarians 2015 conference. My poster, "The Feminist Librarian: Fostering Inclusivity in the Academic Library" included the main components for inclusive praxis which I identified as I worked to design the inclusivity ambassadorship at the UWM Libraries.
We're at that point in the semester when backpacks and stress are becoming increasingly heavy. In an attempt to stave off boredom and complacency, I have been ramping up the variety of our classroom activities. You can't have a student-centered classroom if your students aren't feeling motivated and inspired! This week, my class was discussing work. There are a lot of complex and interconnected issues here, so instead of merely summarizing these ideas in class discussion, I decided to engage my students in feminist media analysis. Particularly, I wanted to highlight those issues not emphasized in the main course text, but that I identified as integrally important to our overall understanding of the topic. I selected a variety of video clips which illustrated: The social context of the gendered wage gap, the intersections of western female empowerment and the "visible invisible" domestic labor economy, and the ways in which labor related discrimination (particularly focusing on Queer/LGBTQ+ workers) is often marginalized in labor discourse and activism.
We began with the wage gap. I showed students the following clips, and then asked them to 1) Think: How do you respond personally to the ideas in this video? Who is included/excluded here? What hidden meanings can we expose by applying an intersectional feminist analysis? How can this conversation be reframed utilizing a global perspective? 2) Pair: Discuss you reactions with another classmate or small group. What did they notice that you did not? 3) Share: As a class, let's talk about our reactions to these clips. What did we learn? What surprised us? Inspired us? Confused us?
Gendered Wage Gap:
Response: Students noted that while legal reforms have been made, social understandings of gendered labor stall real progress. Students also noted that while the Lily Ledbetter clip zoomed in frequently on women of color in the audience, the speech did not address the impact of race, class, or gender expression on wage discrepancies.
Response: The class discussed how the conception of female empowerment as increased workforce participation and equal wages for women seldom recognizes the ways in which the ability of many western women to participate equally in the labor force relies on a system which simultaneously exploits and oppresses female domestic laborers. We critiqued the ways in which the tangible and emotional aspect of domestic labor is externalized and removed from many conversations about gender and labor.
Queer/LGBTQ+ Labor Rights:
Response: The class discussed the ways in which gender and sexuality can determine our economic choices and opportunities. While the blame is often located in the worker, we must look to the ways they are cut out of the conversation surrounding labor rights and activism.
Digitizing Print Culture: Preserving Zines in Libraries and Archives by Megan Metcalf is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Though zines have had a diverse community of devoted followers since the 1930’s, zine collections in libraries and archives have only recently begun gaining popularity. Because zines are relatively new resources for libraries and archives, there are still many questions concerning the preservation needs of these non-traditional formats. Although collecting and preserving zines can present interesting challenges, they are invaluable resources that capture first hand perspectives of those outside mainstream media and popular discourse. Because zines place little emphasis on the original copy, I recommend digitization as a viable preservation and access strategy. Unfortunately, most libraries have not taken steps to digitize zine collections.
The first section of my paper will provide background information and definitions of zines and important related concepts. I make the case that the preservation of zines in libraries and archives constitutes a fulfillment of professional ethics regarding social responsibility, diversity, and equitable access. Then, I will discuss zines as ephemera, and consider established ephemera digitization projects. I recommend that librarians and archivists consider established approaches to digitizing ephemera when considering zine collection digitization. In the second section, I focus on digital preservation concerns. Considering the ethos of zine culture, I argue that not only can concerns over privacy, permissions, and copyright be easily addressed, but also that digitizing zines constitutes an effort to both preserve and promote print culture. Finally, I discuss implementing digitization for preservation and access in libraries and archives. I advocate that libraries and archives should learn from and work collaboratively with community archives, potentially paving the way for community digitization projects.
Figure 1. Image of a page from the zine, Cupsize. The use of the MadLibs logo and concept is an example of a general type of copyright concern which is characteristic in zines.
This week, I worked with an English 102 professor who requested that I design an library instruction session for his class which would help to underscore the ways in which research and sources are situated in academic disciplines. At first, I felt a little bit anxious…unsure as to how I could help freshmen students grasp this somewhat difficult concept. However, as I began to prepare my session I noticed how easily this could be accomplished utilizing the BEAM framework that is already embedded in UWM Libraries information literacy sessions. Particularly when discussing Argument and Method Sources, talking about the way that sources live within disciplines can actually make these concepts less confusing.
Similarly, I found this approach to be a great help in encouraging students to use Resources by Subject to find discipline specific databases. I demonstrated for the students how to navigate to the Resources by Subject Page, and then used it as a visual tool to explain how sources “live” within disciplines/subjects.
I asked the class questions like:
“Would an English scholar publish their work in the same places as an expert in Engineering?”
I encouraged students to think about what subject area their research topics were related to (underscoring that it might be multiple subject areas, in many cases). I then advised them to keep this in mind when selecting databases and journals.
A Discipline-Based Approach to Information Literacy