July 1, 2015

2015 Litwin Books Award for Ongoing Dissertation Research in the Philosophy of Information

We are pleased to announce the winner of the 2015 Litwin Books Award for Ongoing Dissertation Research in the Philosophy of Information. We are granting this year’s award to Quinn DuPont of the Faculty of Information at the University of Toronto, based on his dissertation project, tentatively titled, “Plaintext, Encryption, and Ciphertext: A History of Cryptography and its Influence on Contemporary Society.” DuPont’s nominating faculty member wrote:

“His intellectual background allows for cross-pollination of rigorous theoretical approaches from different fields and is useful as a way to add dimension to media archaeology, which has its roots in history and the social sciences. This hybridization adds theory to empirical research, while forcing information studies into a theoretical conversation of its own methods.”

The award consists of a certificate suitable for framing and $1000 check.

Since this award is for ongoing research, other applicants who are still working on their dissertations will be eligible to enter their work next year, and we strongly encourage them to do so.

For more information about the award, please visit http://litwinbooks.com/award.php.

Rory Litwin
Litwin Books, LLC
PO Box 188784
Sacramento, CA 95818

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June 22, 2015

CFP: Librarians as Helping Professionals

REFLECTIONS: Narratives of Professional Helping
www.rnoph.org
Published by Cleveland State University School of Social Work
Call for Narratives: Special Issue on Librarians as Helping Professionals
Deadline: September 30, 2015
Laura Habat, Guest Editor

Reflections: Narratives of Professional Helping is a double-blind peer reviewed interdisciplinary journal that has been published since 1995. All of the journal’s issues are now available online at www.rnoph.org and via EBSCO SocIndex. This is a call for narratives to be featured in a Special Issue: Librarians as Helping Professionals.

The compelling vignettes found in Reflections narratives portray interpersonal interactions, witnessed events, and felt experiences. Rooted in key moments, this narrative content is placed within the context of a well-told story (exposition). In addition to showing and telling what happened in their practice and activism, authors often reflect on their stories and share conclusions. Reflections articles are valuable for education for practice. They also contribute to empirical knowledge about the nature of practice in the helping professions and often introduce important ideas and concepts that address unresolved theoretical problems.

The present Special Issue on Librarians as Helping Professionals will publish narratives about professional practice with individuals and communities as it relates to librarianship. Historical reflections on the role of librarianship as a helping profession are also welcome. Librarians and other helping professionals recognize the need for access to information and resources that encourage learning, enrichment, and a sense of community. Another shared value is a commitment to helping others and working with the public, including vulnerable populations. Librarianship is firmly rooted in advocacy for information and working with people to access that information. Libraries promote lifelong learning, civic engagement and community development. Librarians are both information professionals and helping professionals. We offer a unique perspective in our work with the community. This special issue is an opportunity for librarians to publish narratives which acknowledge these aspects of the profession.

Please read the Helpful Instructions on the journal website as well as the Review Guidelines prior to preparing your manuscript. Write your narrative in a style which makes sense to you, from a single vignette to longer stories with multiple portrayals of interaction and references to literature, within the range of 1200-8000 words. Submit to Reflections, being sure to choose the Librarians as Helping Professionals section when doing so. When registering for the journal, be sure to check the author box. For feedback, even on an early idea for a narrative, please contact the Guest Editor: Laura Habat, MLIS, MSW-Candidate, l.habat@vikes.csuohio.edu. Librarians wishing to serve as reviewers of submitted articles are also welcome to contact the guest editor.

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June 9, 2015

Interview with Chris Roth

Chris Roth is the author of Let’s Split! A Complete Guide to Separatist Movements and Aspirant Nations, from Abkhazia to Zanzibar, which was published by Litwin Books in March of this year. Chris is a social-cultural and linguistic anthropologist with an interest in the symbolic politics of nationalism and ethnicity. He has worked extensively with indigenous groups in northern British Columbia and southeast Alaska and is the author of an ethnography of the Tsimshian Nation. He has also done research with and about New Age and paranormal subcultures in the U.S. and elsewhere. Don’t be intimidated by his academic accomplishments though. As a writer and a person, Chris has a sense of fun and an earthy sense of humor. He publishes an entertaining and very informative blog about micronations and nationalist movements called “Springtime of Nations.” Chris agreed to do an interview with me about his book, to better give people a a sense about it.

Chris, thanks for agreeing to this interview.

I’d like to start by asking about your blog, Springtime of Nations, which kind of led to the book. Would you describe it and tell us how it got started?

I started the blog in 2011, around the time I began working on Let’s Split! In a way, the book sort of led to the blog—or they led to each other, I suppose—since I was researching the topic of separatist movements and finding that underneath all of the so-called “normal” international politics in the news there were these smaller struggles for self-determination that were being lost amid the noise, and I started presenting these stories as news dispatches from a sort of alternative international order. Of course in the years since then the world has changed a lot. Now things like the Scottish and Catalonian independence votes, and Islamic State and Kurdistan forming themselves in the Middle East, and of course the Russian puppet states sprouting like mushrooms in Ukraine, are bigger stories. I was analyzing and commenting on things like the rise of ISIS and the powderkeg of Crimea before the mainstream media were. For years I did a feature in the blog called “The Week in Separatist News,” which involved sifting through piles of news reports from around the world, and this was a fantastic way to do the front-end, moving-target research on the hundreds of movements worldwide that I discuss in the book. Lots of people, even overseas, have told me that when they Google “springtime of nations” the first thing that comes up is my blog. The Wikipedia article on the actual Springtime of Nations—the wave of European revolutions in 1848—is actually only the second hit. That kind of surprised me the first time I noticed it. So I guess people are reading it!

In addition to being fun to read, your blog really has turned into an unparalleled information resource on the topic, and so is the book. Why don’t you give an outline of the book itself?

Well, this is an example of a book written because it was a book the author wanted to read. I was frustrated that there wasn’t a single volume that gave an overview of modern separatist movements in the way that readers would be able to connect with. There were global guides to rebel movements written by security-consulting firms, there were a few books specifically on micronations, and there were some rather slapped together volumes listing independence movements which had either no maps at all or only tiny crude maps; one such book had flags, but they were in black and white, which makes one wonder: why bother? It occurred to me that a lot of the trends underlying separatist movements were bigger than local: the attempts to erase or redraw borders left over from European colonialism in places like Africa and the Middle East, grass-roots indigenous movements in places like South America and the South Pacific and the Arctic, the ongoing fragmentation of former pieces of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia, and tensions arising with those discontented with the European Union—all of these phenomena deserved to be addressed in a way that allowed the reader to see this phenomena alongside one another and interacting. This also allows readers to see larger-scale historical trends—for example, the sense that empires based in Moscow, London, Istanbul, Tehran, and Berlin (in Berlin’s case, a monetary empire) are still trying to sort out where their respective spheres of influence begin and end after the geopolitical earthquake of 1918, when World War I ended. In some ways, World War I has more geopolitical reverberations today than World War II does—that’s how the whole idea of “self-determination” “became a thing,” as they say nowadays—and its aftermath is still being worked out in borderlands like the Balkans and the Caucasus and the Steppes and the Levant. Most of all, I was lucky to have a publisher that shared my vision that a book that brought together large amounts of information that hadn’t been brought together before also needed to have that information visually presented in a new way that would grab people. One of the things I’m happiest about with the book is that as you flip through it there are these dozens of maps that are full color and that show different layers of information about a particular region—historical borders, aspired-to borders, demographic features like the distribution of different ethnic and linguistic groups, and also some of the resource areas and trade routes that sharpen a lot of the ongoing conflicts and movements. The first few map makers we talked to said, “No, no, you can’t do all that in one map, you’d better just have one map that shows the languages of the region, and another one showing what the borders were before 1918, and another one” etc. etc. And I said, “No, but it’s all connected, you can’t understand why what’s happening in Iraq and Syria is happening in the way it is unless you see it, bang, all at once.” Valerie Sebestien did our maps and they’re unlike any collection of maps I’ve seen. In conjunction with the hundreds of flag designs and the sidebars with numbers and data in them scattered through the book, and what’s I hoped would be the go-to book for anyone interested in this very central topic.

Yes, I think it is the go-to book on this topic, whether someone is looking for a reference book or a book to sit and read on a Sunday afternoon. As you recall, when we first discussed the book, I was expecting it to be much shorter, and I was surprised by the amount of work the designer had to put into it to lay out all the pages (and how much money she charged us). The length of it – it comes it at 634 large-format pages. Had you ever written something that substantial? Was it a surprise to you as well?

It was. I realized it was a big topic, but I didn’t realize how much space I would need to give it the treatment it really deserves. I envisioned something that would weigh in as much shorter. If I’d known from the beginning that the final product would be that long I might not have had the guts to jump in and start, but as it happened it just mushroomed. My other full book, which is an academic book, an ethnography of the Tsimshian tribal group in Alaska and British Columbia, was shorter, but I must say it took longer than I expected it would. I’m a perfectionist at heart, I suppose: I wanted to make sure that the issues I wanted to raise and the points I wanted to make were completely nailed down, and I took a similar approach with getting Let’s Split! to a point where I felt it was doing its full job. Of course, with Let’s Split!, there’s a difference: since I discuss ongoing political situations, I’m writing about a moving target. Some aspects of it are—I won’t say outdated—but partially superceded. That’s inevitable. But I was happy it saw print on a timetable that allowed last year’s Scottish referendum and the expansion of ISIS and the eastern Ukrainian conflict to get full treatments in there. And I feel the book sets a historical and political background for new events that may arise. When new separatist regions flare up—and I’m anticipating further disintegration in Libya and Moldova soon, as well as an acceleration toward independence in Kurdistan and regional fragmentation within England—Let’s Split! is still a place to turn to to understand the history and the dynamics.

I think we’ve given people a fair idea of the book. As a final question, what other book projects do you envision maybe doing down the road?

It would be nice to be able to update Let’s Split! every few years to keep up with current events, but whether it makes sense to do that will depend, of course, on its reception. Recently, I’ve been intrigued by deposed royal families and governments-in-exile, which is a category of non-state or pseudo-state that overlaps with the material in Let’s Split! but also gets at some of the legal and metaphysical questions at the very root of the idea of statehood, and also involves an appreciation of social structures and descent systems in different cultures, which is an interest of mine coming out of anthropology. As with Let’s Split!, one of the attractions of this topic is that it’s a zone where serious geopolitical and legal questions intersect with wildly colorful stories of real people whose stories tend to get buried in the 21st-century news cycle. I’m not sure I’m up to another giant global survey of a volume, but those are the kinds of alleys and byways of history and politics that my mind is running down lately. Readers can check out the Let’s Split! Facebook page as well as the Springtime of Nations blog to see what sorts of things are turning up in my research as I start to orient myself for the next thing.

That sounds like some very interesting material on the horizon. I hope that Litwin Books will be involved in publishing it.

Thanks very much for taking the time to do this interview.

My pleasure!

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June 8, 2015

Open Access Conference 2015: Learning from Experience

OPEN ACCESS CONFERENCE 2015:
LEARNING FROM EXPERIENCE

San Jose State University
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library
October 23, 2015

Call For Proposals

In celebration of Open Access Week, San Jose State University will be hosting
its biennial one-day conference on October 23, 2015, on all things Open: Open
Access, Open Educational Resources, Open Education. For the conference
sessions, we are interested in what worked, what didn’t work, and why in areas
related to:

–Open access publishing and institutional repositories
–Sustainability, scalability, and assessment of open access
–Open educational resources and open access applications in the classroom
–Massive open online courses (MOOCs) : copyright issues, assessment,
challenges
–Outreach, promotion, and overcoming resistance to open initiatives

We will consider proposals for individual presentations and panels organized
around a theme. Presentations are scheduled for either 60 minutes or 30
minutes. In the final program, 30-minute sessions will be paired. We are also
offering a lightning round session consisting of 5- to 10-minute presentations
showcasing your best ideas and your most educational failures.

Submit your presentation proposal to:

http://scholarworks.sjsu.edu/cgi/ir_submit.cgi?context=oa-un-conference

Deadline for proposals: July 31, 2015
Notification of accepted proposals expected: August 15, 2015

Please feel free to contact the Program Planning Committee with questions:

Ann Agee, Program Proposal Coordinator, at ann.agee@sjsu.edu and
Christina Mune, Program Planning Chair, at christina.mune@sjsu.edu

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June 5, 2015

Catch us at ALA

AC15_WereExhibiting

Catch us in the Exhibits Hall at ALA in SF. We’ll be at booth number 3538.

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June 3, 2015

Interview with Maria Accardi

Maria T. Accardi is Associate Librarian and Coordinator of Instruction and Reference at Indiana University Southeast. She served as a co-editor of and contributor to Critical Library Instruction: Theories and Methods (Library Juice Press, 2010), and is the author of Feminist Pedagogy for Library Instruction (Library Juice Press, 2013), for which she received the ACRL Women and Gender Studies Section Award for Significant Achievement in Women and Gender Studies Librarianship. Maria’s research and practical interests include critical pedagogy, feminist pedagogy, the relationships between storytelling and teaching and learning, and combating library instruction burnout. She has taught two classes for Library Juice Academy thus far. They are: Changing Lives, Changing the World: Information Literacy and Critical Pedagogy; and Feminist Pedagogy for Library Instruction. She is preparing to teach a new course for us, which will be titled, Transforming Your Teaching Toolkit. Maria has agreed to do an interview for the Library Juice Academy blog about her course and her experience teaching for Library Juice Academy.

[…Read the interview…]

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May 26, 2015

Interview with Joachim Schöpfel, author of Learning from the BRICS: Open Access to Scientific Information in Emerging Countries

Joachim Schöpfel is lecturer of Library and Information Sciences at the University of Lille 3 (France), director of the French Digitization Centre for PhD theses (ANRT) and member of the GERiiCO research laboratory. He teaches on LIS topics, including intellectual property. His research interests are scientific information and communication, especially open access and grey literature. Litwin Books recently published his book, Learning from the BRICS: Open Access to Scientific Information in Emerging Countries. Joachim agreed to be interviewed here about it.

Joachim, thank you for agreeing to do this interview. I’d like to start by asking you to tell readers a bit about yourself and what got you interested in the topic of this book.

After a PhD in Psychology at the University of Hamburg (Germany), I have been working for nearly 20 years in the French public information industry before returning to academic life. As an author and information manager, I have always been interested in open access as a set of tools and services designed to facilitate scientific communication. Most of my publications are freely available on the French open repository HAL. Also, I am interested in the development of the open access movement, in France and Germany and other European countries, but also in other regions of the world. Because of their economic and demographic dynamics, the BRICS countries play a particular role in global policies, may it be security, public health, ecology, innovation, research or education. This was the reason why a couple of years ago I became interested in open access initiatives and projects in these countries.

For readers’ info, the BRICS countries are the “emerging” economies of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. What are some of the basic differences regarding the open access movement in those countries, versus the U.S. and Europe?

Perhaps the most important difference is that the scientific output of the BRICS countries has largely been neglected and underrepresented by the international databases and catalogs; and partly still is. Language, culture, politics – all this may explain the underrepresentation but today they want to be visible and have impact on the global landscape of scientific research.

Another difference is that they had and partly still have more problems than the U.S. or Europe to get access to the core of scientific information. Again, language plays a role but also the economics of scientific information and technical infrastructures. Open access, therefore, has another and sometimes more crucial meaning for the BRICS countries, as a vector of global dissemination of their scientific results and as a way to get access to larger amounts of information than before.

So what does the book say about the open access situation in the countries discussed? Could you tell us its scope and outline it?

The book shows that all emerging countries develop an open access policy. Yet, the diversity and differences prevail. Each country pursues its own open access strategy that fits best with its economic, financial, political and scientific situation. Each strategy is specific and different, except for Brazil and South Africa which started a bilateral collaboration for OA journal publishing on the SciELO platform. However, all countries face the same double challenge, i.e. how to increase the visibility and global impact of their scientific output, and how to improve access to scientific and technical information for their research and higher education? Open access can be an answer to both.

Can you give a few interesting examples of the differences between the open access policies in these countries?

The public policy concerning open access journals is quite different between the countries. While Brazil and, to a lesser degree, South Africa, invest into a central public platform for OA journals (SciELO, SciELO-SA), the other countries and in particular China and India have another strategy, based on larger numbers of different OA servers. Another difference is the role of the public sector. Russia for instance, but also Brazil seem to consider that free access to research output is part of the social and political responsibility of the State, i.e. national or regional authorities. Open access, gold or green road, should not be controlled by commercial publishing houses. On the other hand, India and perhaps even more China foster further individual, institutional and often corporate initiatives, without clear distinction between “for profit” and “non for profit” dissemination. A third difference is related to their global strategy. While some countries focus more on regional collaborations, such as Brazil and South Africa, others (China, Russia, India) appear to seek global impact, in competition with Western countries, which means for instance, that for them the question of English content and the visibility in international initiatives are of prime importance.

The title, Learning from the BRICS, suggests that there are lessons to be learned from these countries in going forward with OA in the West. What do you think are some of the lessons to be derived for us?

One lesson is that there is no single solution or magic recipe for open access, and that a pragmatic and flexible approach fitting with local conditions seems more important than preconceived ideas about what should be done. Perhaps there is no unique or dominant model of open access. Perhaps there never will be. Perhaps, too, there is no need for a unique model, be it green or gold. Diversity may be a better option for sustainable development. Another lesson is the need for a strong commitment to open access shared by scientific and political authorities in order to increase the impact of the countries’ research output and the availability of scientific information. With the words of one of the book’s authors, Abel Packer from SciELO (Brazil): “National research policies that favour open access is the main factor to advance open access”. Yet, as our book shows, this commitment must also be shared by the local and domain-specific research communities in order to transform national policy into a success story. This is the third lesson: learning from each other does not only mean learning from failures, mistakes and dead-ends but more so and above all, learning from success. More than the understanding of problems and challenges, perhaps the real message of our book is the importance of success stories. The development of open access depends on the promotion of successful initiatives, such as SciELO in Latin America. Expect success, focus on it, and coordinate scientific and political efforts in favour of open science.

Thank for this interview, Joachim. Your insights are very much appreciated, by me and I’m sure by our readers. Litwin Books is privileged to have published this title.

Thanks to Litwin Books for support and interest!

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May 24, 2015

New issue of IRIE on Ethics for the Internet of Things

International Review of Information Ethics (IRIE)

Issue 022, Volume 22, December 2014
Ethics for the Internet of Things
edited by Hektor Haarkötter, Felix Weil

[ Current issue ]

Editors’ note:

Many science fiction phantasies already claimed that one day machines will be superior to human beings and computers will finally take over. But unlike in Stanley Kubrick’s ‘2001’ or Asimow’s ‘I, Robot’ the latest developments in the Internet of Things (IoT) give reason to suggest that if this will happen it won’t be necessarily machines that physically resemble human beings with legs, bodies, voices etc. that will do the job (robots in the classical sense). If, then it will be more like in Matrix – the physicality of the necessary intelligence (i.e. computing power) will vanish as it will be incorporated into the physical world of our daily life itself. It won’t be separate machine entities that will dominate the human kind but it will be by the embedding of computing power into the ordinary things of our daily life and their being connected with each other to form a virtual pervaded living space. A living space that then could not only be paradise (optimized by the computing power embedded to the best for mankind) or hell (used to encage and enslave its inhabitants) but even more also a pure illusion (encaged and enslaved inhabitants that are made believe and even sense realistically that they are in paradise).

This is what philosophically the Internet of Things is all about: Things won’t be physical things anymore that are independent objects for the examination, exploration and manipulation of an equally independent subject. Things will be what is presented to the subject and the subject is what the computed presentation presupposes ‘on the other side’: a user, a monitored, a … . Thus, if the things change in the IoT we will change. And thus, the underlying philosophical subject-object paradigm has to change as well taking this interplay into account. Again, not only theoretically (as depicted in science fiction far from any possible reality) but very practically regarding our daily life: how we automate our homes, how we care for elder people, the way we monitor our children, the concepts we use to organize life in (smart) cities etc. For the good (of who), for the bad (according to what norm)? This is the ethical challenge raised by the IoT and this issue presents some very interesting answers to it and where not complete answers yet very helpful outlines for possible answers an ‘Ethics for the IoT’ can give and must give (rather sooner than later).

Sincerely yours,

the Editors.

[ Current issue ]

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May 20, 2015

Interview with Mandy Henk about her LJA courses

Mandy Henk is a librarian at DePauw University, and was a law librarian at Vanderbilt before that. She specializes in access to physical materials, resource sharing, and personnel management. Her interests include social class and librarian/staff relationships, the development of international resource sharing systems, and copyright in the academy and the library. She recently published her first book, Ecology, Economy, Equity: Building the Carbon Neutral Library, with ALAEditions, which we interviewed her about in April. Mandy has a couple of classes with Library Juice Academy this summer. She recently taught Trends in Library Automation, and next month will be teaching Access Services – Keeping the Common. She agreed to do an interview with us about these classes.

[…Read the interview…]

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May 12, 2015

Call for Proposals: Topographies of Whiteness: Mapping Whiteness in Library and Information Science

Call for Proposals:
Topographies of Whiteness: Mapping Whiteness in Library and Information Science

Editor: Gina Schlesselman-Tarango
Publisher: Library Juice Press
Projected publication date: April 2017

From the materials libraries and archives collect to the spaces they design and inhabit, whiteness can be mapped and traced in library and information science (LIS). Exploring the diverse terrain of LIS, this edited collection strives to unveil, name, explore, interrogate, problematize, and ultimately fissure whiteness at work. It will provide critical accounts of LIS history, exploring the legacies and current formations of whiteness, from whiteness and technology to whiteness and library pedagogy. Offering theoretical and practical approaches, this text will consider possibilities for challenging oppressive legacies and charting a new course towards anti-racist librarianship. Finally, this text will take seriously the limitations of and problems inherent in studying whiteness.

Proposals might address the following:

– Theoretical approaches to whiteness in LIS, including but not limited to those drawn
from postcolonial, critical race, whiteness, disability, feminist, womanist, queer, media,
and architectural studies.

– Histories and legacies of whiteness and white supremacy in LIS; ways in which these
histories and legacies are tied to colonialism and cultural imperialism.

– Whiteness and white supremacy at work in LIS subfields and practices, including but not limited to archives, cataloging, collection development, information technology, instruction, and reference.

– White identity in LIS.

– The ways in which whiteness intersects with class, gender, sexuality, ability, etc. in LIS.

– Practical steps and theoretical approaches librarians can take to move beyond “checking their privilege” to engaging in meaningful anti-racist librarianship.

– The limitations of and problems inherent in studying whiteness, white identity, white
privilege, etc.

This is not an exhaustive list. Proposals are welcome from anyone involved in LIS. Contributions from people of color, those who belong to communities underrepresented in LIS, and those who work in school and public libraries are encouraged. Autobiographical accounts of white privilege should be paired with theoretical or practical suggestions for moving towards anti-racist practice.

This collection will contain papers and essays of approximately 1500 – 5000 words. Proposals should include a short biographical statement followed by an abstract of no more than 500 words describing the proposed contribution. Send proposals to gschlesselman@csusb.edu by September 15, 2015.

Timeline
Submission of proposals deadline: September 15, 2015
Notification regarding proposals: November 1, 2015
First drafts of manuscripts due: May 1, 2016
Editing and revision: June-October 2016

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May 11, 2015

2015 Solidarity Statement from Librarians and Archivists with Palestine

Arabic children's books

Bayt al-Karameh (Haifa)

In early April, members of Librarians and Archivists with Palestine went on a follow-up trip to Jerusalem, the West Bank (Ramallah and Birzeit) and ’48 (Nazareth, Haifa, and Akka). We’ve just posted a report/solidarity statement (reproduced in full below), as we did after our initial delegation in 2013. Note the last section with some specific ideas for projects and campaigns we may embark on—if you think you might like to get involved, join the LAP network. If you want to join LAP’s (low-traffic!) email announcement list, send a blank message to lapannounce-subscribe@lists.riseup.net. You can also follow @Librarians2Pal on Twitter and like our Facebook page.

Librarians and Archivists with Palestine 2015 Delegation Report and Solidarity Statement

May 2015

In April 2015, nine librarians from four countries traveled to Palestine for an in-depth trip to follow up on the work of our 2013 delegation. In 2013, sixteen librarians had met with representatives from academic libraries, cultural centers, community education spaces, family libraries, museums, media centers, special collections, and more. From that delegation, the Librarians and Archivists with Palestine network was formed, and within this network, an advisory board of Palestinian librarians, archivists, information workers, and activists was convened.

Since 2013, our small group of sixteen delegation participants has grown to a network of almost 100 members in 15 countries. We have created a website profiling organizations we met with in Palestine. We have made art, spoken at conferences, written articles, read poetry on the subway, and encouraged hundreds of people to read Palestinian literature.

Our April 2015 delegation was divided into two streams. One stream focused on academic and research libraries and issues related to knowledge production in Palestine, with a focus on such topics as cataloging and classification, library outreach, library science education and training, open access publication, translation, and technology. The academic and research libraries stream met with Birzeit University Library, the Palestinian Library and Information Consortium (PALICO), Palestinian Academic Society for the Study of International Affairs (PASSIA), Institute for Palestine Studies, and Mada Al-Carmel.

The second stream focused on access to children’s literature in Arabic, both inside the West Bank and inside ‘48 (Israel), and met with representatives from the Tamer Institute, Qattan Foundation, Al-Tufula Center, International Board on Books for Young People – Palestine section, and Palestinian public and school librarians in the West Bank and ‘48. The two streams joined to visit Maktabat Kul Shay (Haifa), Dar Al-Aswar (Akka), the Educational Bookshop (Jerusalem), and a number of other organizations.

In all our travels and work, we respected the Palestinian civil society call for boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) against Israel and did not partner with any organization that violates this call. As librarians and archivists, as people who believe in access to information, we affirm that institutional academic and cultural boycotts are appropriate responses to curtailed freedoms and are effective tools for change.

As we traveled, we continued to see and learn about the effects of Israeli occupation on Palestinian life. We passed by the weaponized apartheid wall, checkpoints, and segregated roads. We noticed the rapid proliferation of Israeli settlements on hilltops above Palestinian villages, even larger in number and size than what some of us had seen in 2013, evidence of the ongoing theft of land and forced displacement that Palestinians have been experiencing for decades.

In all our meetings, we heard about the “enemy state” designation that prevents literature from being sent directly to Palestinian stores and libraries if it has originated in Lebanon, Syria, Iran, and sometimes other countries. This is a particular problem with Lebanon, a major hub of Arabic-language publishing.

We were told about the book shipments into the West Bank that might be returned to Amman, quarantined for days (at a cost of 1000 shekels per day), or destroyed depending on Israeli inspectors’ arbitrary decisions.

People shared stories of individuals bringing books into Palestine—from London to Jerusalem, from Jerusalem to Ramallah, from Ramallah to Gaza, from Ramallah to Haifa, or from Lebanon to Jordan to Ramallah—a process that is neither scalable nor easily sustainable.

We heard about the widespread unauthorized printing and copying of Arabic-language literature that render publishing and writing risky and sometimes unsustainable ventures, but also make literature accessible to the majority of readers who have trouble affording original publications.

We heard how journalists and editors at Palestinian newspapers and magazines have adapted to continuing Israeli censorship by engaging in self-censorship.

We heard from booksellers, writers, and librarians about the need for more local stories written by Palestinians for Palestinians. One cultural center director in Nablus estimated that 90% of children’s books there have been translated from other cultures. In Haifa, librarians talked about how a lack of local young adult literature leads Palestinian teens to prefer to read in Hebrew or English than in Arabic.

People also discussed the need to get Palestinian voices out into the rest of the world, and suggested translations from the original Arabic as a powerful and necessary step in the process. Palestinian writers themselves need more opportunities to get out of occupied territory and travel.

In both the West Bank and ’48, people talked about insufficient school budgets that leave little or no money for school librarians to stock their shelves with quality books. In ’48, discrepancies in headcount calculations and funding levels hit Palestinian students hardest, leaving them with overcrowded classrooms and paltry resources.

We heard about the myriad ways that Israeli universities suppress the academic freedom of Palestinian students and faculty in ‘48—apartheid, racism, and censorship at these schools creates a chilling effect that makes it difficult for Palestinian scholars working in ‘48 to openly engage in activism and organizing on campus and to publish their work.

We were told about the limited approved vendor lists set by the Israeli government in ’48 that result in a chain of informal agents, each levying their own fees, that librarians must tap just to get needed books from desired publishing houses who aren’t on the list.

Academic librarians from the PALICO consortium spoke to us about the challenges of acquiring access to databases and other electronic resources for their library users, as so many of these tools are behind a paywall, and prohibitively expensive. We learned that the active engagement of PALICO librarians with global networks and programs like Research4Life and EIFL has allowed Palestinian academic libraries to mobilize resources for their user groups in the context of this private commodification of scholarly information sources. A librarian at Birzeit University told us, “We don’t have freedom of information and we struggle to give the right education and information to Palestinian people.”

We heard about Gaza, where 180 schools and 5 universities were damaged in Israel’s 2014 assaults on the region. Two IBBY (International Board on Books for Young People) libraries were completely destroyed. It is now virtually impossible to bring in books (among other resources) through the tunnels from Egypt to Gaza. Smaller libraries have few books despite large and avid user bases.

We met courageous and innovative publishers in the Galilee including Dar Al-Aswar, established in 1974 as part of the struggle to renew Palestinian identity and culture, and the four-year-old Rayya Publishing, which has already released around 100 books (mainly new publications) by Palestinian writers from all over.

We heard about programs to encourage reading, from “Daddy Read To Me” by Ramallah’s Tamer Institute, to bilingual (Arabic and English) author events at the Educational Bookshop in East Jerusalem, to the emphasis on learning and creativity that makes Haifa’s Beit Al-Karme “More Than a Library,” to “My Mother Is Reading for Me” for pre-kindergarten children in Nablus, to the initiative of Nazareth’s Al-Tufula Pedagogical Centre to produce children’s books so appealing they’re “eatable.”

We learned about both new and longstanding initiatives at research centres like Mada Al-Carmel in Haifa and the Institute for Palestine Studies in Ramallah, to collect, describe, digitize, and make accessible archival sources and oral histories from Palestinians in ‘48 and the West Bank.

We heard from Palestinian academic librarians developing vital knowledge platforms for their communities and for researchers around the world. The Birzeit University Law Library’s legal database Al-Muqtafi gathers and makes searchable a comprehensive collection of all legislation enacted in Palestine from the mid-nineteenth century to the present, in both Arabic and English search interfaces. Cataloguers at Birzeit created and continually add to an Arabic-language equivalent of the Library of Congress subject headings.

We saw how Mada Al-Carmel in Haifa serves as a haven and a hub for Palestinian researchers who may not otherwise find institutional support in ‘48, nurturing academic inquiry and engaged scholarship beyond the constraints of the university. Mada Al-Carmel’s programs bring seminars, workshops, and discussion groups into community spaces, and their electronically published research is freely accessible.

On the last day of our trip, Al Bireh Municipality hosted us in their public library for a meeting of our Palestinian advisory board. We reported on our week of meetings, brought forward a number of ideas, and asked people what they thought we should pursue. We learned more about struggles for different kinds of libraries in Palestine and heard a variety of views from our board members, who came from the Ramallah area, Jerusalem, and Akka, and who work in public, government, university, and school libraries, as well as publishing houses and community organizations. This was a great closing for our visit, and it helped solidify long-term relationships with our colleagues in Palestine.

Following our visit, we have a much better (though not complete) understanding of the specific issues we focused on during our trip. We are committed to working directly with our partners in Palestine on projects that are both concretely useful and politically meaningful. We hope to support professional development among library staff at universities by looking into the translation of new library science materials into Arabic; helping to raise scholarships for Palestinian librarians to attend conferences and university programs; and participating in regular discussions and workshops. We will investigate ways for people around the world to support the collections of Palestinian school libraries while discussing the political context that has created these needs. We plan to look into facilitating the translation of Palestinian children’s books from Arabic into other languages, and to distribute this literature in our communities. We hope to connect with colleagues in Gaza and raise awareness about the unique issues they face. We will continue to develop curricula to accompany the archival box set of materials that we created after our 2013 delegation. We reiterate our commitment to join BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) campaigns, to engage in critical examination of our positions of privilege, and to support Palestinian self-determination and access to information in and about Palestine.

Librarians and Archivists with Palestine 2015 delegation:

Eva Devos, Children’s Literature Specialist, Antwerp, Belgium
Jessamy Klapper, Caseworker, Brooklyn, NY, US
Jessa Lingel, Researcher, Boston, MA, US
Hannah Mermelstein, School Librarian, Brooklyn, NY, US
Melissa Morrone, Public Librarian, Brooklyn, NY, US
Vani Natarajan, Research and Instruction Librarian, Brooklyn, NY, US
Elisabet Risberg, Public Librarian, Stockholm, Sweden
Kevin Sanders, E-Resources Librarian, Bath, UK
Tom Twiss, Liaison Librarian, Pittsburgh, PA, US

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May 6, 2015

CFP – Radical Change: Inclusion and Innovation (ALISE Historical Perspectives SIG)

ALISE 2016, Boston, MA, January 5-8, 2016

Historical Perspectives Special Interest Group Call for Papers

DEADLINE: June 30, 2015

In keeping with the 2016 ALISE Conference Theme, “Radical Change: Inclusion and Innovation,” the Historical Perspectives SIG invites submissions for individual papers, or for a 3+ person panel program that examines the history of radical change, innovators, or inclusion in LIS education. Historical research that explores some of the persistent questions related to pedagogy and educational reform in LIS education is encouraged. If you have something in mind that is not related to the conference theme, we invite you to propose different topics. This call is open to anyone working in the field of library and information science, regardless of occupational label.

In order to make the July 15th ALISE SIG deadline submission, submit 300 – 500 word abstracts in PDF, ODT, or DOCX format by June 30, 2015, to Susan Rathbun-Grubb, srathbun@mailbox.sc.edu or C. Sean Burns, sean.burns@uky.edu.

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May 5, 2015

Learning from the BRICS: Open Access to Scientific Information in Emerging Countries

Learning from the BRICS: Open Access to Scientific Information in Emerging Countries

Editor: Joachim Schöpfel
Price: $35.00
Published: May 2015
ISBN: 978-1-936117-84-0
Printed on acid-free paper

The market for scientific and technical information (STI) has been dominated by publishers from the United States, Great Britain, Germany, and the Netherlands. This book takes a look at the interesting developments in publishing coming from the countries with emerging economies known as BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa), which comprise 40% of the world’s population and whose GDPs comprise 18% percent of the world’s economy. Each of these countries has a unique economic system as well as differing systems of academic higher education and research. As a result, they have each developed different models of academic publishing for the dissemination of their research results, many of which are based on principles of open access.

This book closes a gap in the literature of academic publishing by examining the strategies employed in STI publishing in these countries. As a growing part of the international STI market, they will impact the ways in which information is produced and made available in the future. The models examined here can serve as alternative options for information delivery in developed countries, and may serve as more sustainable models for emerging economies in Africa and Latin America.

Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa all developed their own way to open access, based on specific blends of green and gold road, public investment and private initiatives. What they have in common, is their commitment to research as a driver of economic and societal development and to open science as a way to enhance quality, impact and access to scientific information. Open access is not an end in itself but a means to better science.

Twelve established information professionals and scientists from seven countries contribute to this book and help the reader to understand the open access situation in the emerging countries. How are they doing what they are doing, and why? Where are the bottlenecks, and what are the challenges? What can be learned? Each chapter is introduced by “Facts & Figures,” a section with basic data about each country, on its economic performance, research and development, scientific output and open access publishing.

Brazil: The first chapter presents the open access journal platform ScieELO, the most important open access server for scientific journals worldwide, with an impact well beyond Brazil.

Russia: Chapter two provides a general overview on institutional initiatives for free dissemination of public research on the Internet, especially in the field of grey literature, in a society with strong traditions of public interest prevailing on private intellectual property.

India: Along with a detailed description of the open access movement in India, the third chapter informs about awareness and acceptance of institutional repositories and open access journals among the Indian scientific communities.
China: The author presents the results of a recent survey on the development of open access journals in China. This is interesting insofar as only very few titles are known and indexed outside of China.

South Africa: The last chapter shows how open access can increase its impact and also protect local content, and how it can build on African cultural traditions and values of Ubuntu, i.e. relatedness, sharing and generosity.

Each chapter tells a story, and each story is different. A virtual roundtable concludes the book, with a focus on shared values and engagement in the international community of open access and open science. This book provides an important overview of publishing trends in BRICS nations and will be of interest to anyone concerned with the future of academic publishing, including librarians, higher education researchers, and publishers. It also provides insights regarding copyright issues, the economics of publishing and STI, and international affairs.

Joachim Schöpfel is lecturer of Library and Information Sciences at the University of Lille 3 (France), director of the French Digitization Centre for PhD theses (ANRT) and member of the GERiiCO research laboratory. He was manager of the INIST (CNRS) scientific library from 1999 to 2008. He teaches library marketing, auditing, intellectual property and information science. His research interests are scientific information and communication, especially open access and grey literature.

Available from Amazon or your favorite library vendor.

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May 2, 2015

New book: The Dialectic of Academic Librarianship: A Critical Approach

The Dialectic of Academic Librarianship: A Critical Approach
Author: Stephen Bales
Price: $35.00
Published: May 2015
ISBN: 978-1-936117-89-5
200 pages
Printed on acid-free paper
Publisher: Library Juice Press
Available on Amazon

Oftentimes, academic librarians are not fully conscious of the role that their libraries play in late-capitalist society or how they, as information professionals, help to perpetuate this role. Adopting a dialectical materialist perspective, Stephen Bales investigates the modern academic library as an institution and academic librarianship as a profession. The author examines the academic library’s position as a culturally and historically situated producer and curator of knowledge and its instrumental role in driving social reproduction and the status quo. The book then considers the effect of academic librarians in bolstering dominant ideologies and argues instead for a transformative, engaged librarianship that recognizes and implements the academic library as a locus for positive social change. To these ends, the book serves as a tool for deepening the theoretical consciousness of practicing academic librarians and as a point of entry for praxis.

Stephen Bales is a Humanities and Social Sciences Librarian at Texas A&M University Libraries.

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April 30, 2015

1/2 hour pilot: “Sacto PL”

Who among us hasn’t dreamt of writing a TV comedy set in a library? Well, my friend Jen Ferro has done just that. You can read her 1/2 hour pilot for a “dramedy” called “Sacto PL“…

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