June 5, 2014
Last summer I went with a delegation of information workers to Israel/Palestine. As our post-trip solidarity statement said: We bore witness to the destruction and appropriation of information, and the myriad ways access is denied. We were inspired by the many organizations and individuals we visited who resist settler-colonialism in their daily lives. We connected with colleagues in libraries, archives, and related projects and institutions, in the hopes of gaining mutual benefit through information exchange and skill-sharing. We learned about the common and unique challenges we face—both in different parts of Palestine and in our home contexts.
Below is the press release that Librarians and Archivists with Palestine (LAP) is issuing today. Please read on and join the network if you are moved to.
Librarians and Archivists with Palestine Launches New Website and Solidarity Network
contact: librarians2palestine AT gmail com
June 5, 2014
On the 47th anniversary of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, and after 66 years of dispossession of the Palestinian people, a group of librarians and archivists is launching a network of information workers in solidarity with the Palestinian struggle for self-determination. In summer 2013, information workers from the U.S., Canada, Sweden, Trinidad & Tobago, and Palestine went to Palestine to connect with colleagues in libraries, archives, and related projects and institutions, in the hopes of gaining mutual benefit through information exchange and skill-sharing. In the months since our journey, members of the Librarians and Archivists to Palestine delegation have publicly discussed what we witnessed during, and learned from, our trip—in local activist spaces, at scholarly conferences, and in publications.
Today, we’re thrilled to announce the launch of a new name, a new website, and a new network. We have updated our name from Librarians and Archivists to Palestine to Librarians and Archivists with Palestine (LAP). This change reflects the fact that we are more than a visiting delegation; we are committed to ongoing work on projects of solidarity in support of Palestinian libraries and archives.
Our new website, librarianswithpalestine.org, includes information and observations about places we visited—research and cultural organizations including Birzeit University, the Issaf Nashashibi Center for Culture and Literature, the Tamer Institute for Community Education, and the Saffourieh Museum for Heritage and Return—photos, and a compilation of LAP publications such as zines and articles.
Most importantly, we are excited to launch a broad-based network in solidarity with the Palestinian struggle for self-determination. Any self-defined information worker who agrees with our principles is invited to become a LAP member. Members can also join solidarity project working groups and contribute their skills to support access to information in and about Palestine.
For more information and to join the network, please visit librarianswithpalestine.org. The public is also invited to LAP’s open house on Tuesday, June 17, at Interference Archive in Brooklyn, NY, where we will be displaying prints, zines, and photos from our new portfolio created with Booklyn Artists Alliance.
May 9, 2014
Some people from Radical Reference have put together a zine with anti-surveillance resources for the discerning library worker-slash-activist. (Full title: We Are All Suspects: A Guide for People Navigating the Expanded Powers of Surveillance in the 21st Century.) As I wrote on that site, the zine includes “know your rights” info; suggestions for applications, browser plug-ins, and other tech tools for online privacy; and, of course, a reading list!
Download it from the Rad Ref page, where there’s also contact information if you want to get involved in similar privacy education projects.
We Are All Suspects: A Guide for People Navigating the Expanded Powers of Surveillance in the 21st Century
April 15, 2014
Just a heads-up: There are assorted chapters from Informed Agitation: Library and Information Skills in Social Justice Movements and Beyond now available for free online, linked from the authors’ bios on the book’s website. Check it out…
January 22, 2014
Two certificate programs at Library Juice Academy are starting in February: The Certificate in User Experience (UX) and the Certificate in XML and RDF-Based Systems. Both of these programs are six courses in length, and both have been taught once already in the past year.
The first class in each of these programs starts February 3rd, and enrollment is possible through February 10th. Through February 10th, you can also register for an entire series and get a 10% discount.
We interviewed instructor Robert Chavez about his series, if you’d like to learn more about what is covered in it and why it might be right for you. (The main goal of the program is to give you you competency as a coder in XML and RDF-based systems that create, transform, manage, and disseminate content and metadata.)
The UX series is designed to teach you the fundamentals of user experience (UX) and how to apply user-centered strategies to library websites and beyond. We interviewed Rebecca Blakiston, who organized the series, so that she could describe it more fully to people who may be interested. In December, the instructors for these courses got together and put on an “Unconference” at the University of Arizona, where they discussed the topics of their courses. Their presentations are available online.
December 23, 2013
The instructors for the Library Juice Academy Certificate in User Experience organized an Unconference on UX at the University of Arizona recently, as a follow-up to the first round of classes in the certificate program. On December 6th, they each gave presentations on their areas of expertise and participated in a panel discussion. The presentations were recorded, and they’re on Youtube and available for your viewing pleasure and learning. If these presentations are interesting to you, consider taking some of the classes.
October 16, 2013
Certificate in Library Management
This series of classes, developed and taught by Deborah Schmidle, provides a strong foundation in managerial skills, and is intended for new managers or those who would like to enhance their current knowledge base. Though these courses touch on organizational theory, the primary focus is on practical skills that can be readily adapted to individual needs.
The six four-week courses in this program complement and build upon each other; however, they have also been developed as stand-alone courses and can be taken as such. Participants who successfully complete all six of these courses will obtain a certificate of completion for the series.
Courses in the series:
* Effective Communication Strategies
* Planning and Leading Productive Meetings
* Strategic Planning: Setting Directions for the Future
* Critical Strategies for Implementing and Managing Organizational Change
* Growing, Developing, and Retaining Dynamic Staff
* Telling Your Story: Successful Marketing Strategies for Librarians
These courses will run from March through August, 2014. You can register for all six courses in the certificate program from the website, at a 10% discount.
Deborah Schmidle is currently the principal consultant at Schmidle Consulting Services. She has developed and taught numerous organizational development-related workshops and has facilitated strategic-planning processes for libraries and library organizations. She holds an M.L.I.S. from Syracuse University and a Certificate in Contemporary Leadership from the School of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University. Prior to retiring in March 2013, she was Director of Research & Learning Services at Cornell University Library (CUL).
August 15, 2013
Jeremy McGinniss is the Library Director at Baptist Bible College and Seminary in Clarks Summit, Pennyslvania. He is the instructor for the Library Juice Academy offered next month on Student Staff Development. Jeremy agreed to an interview to give people more of an idea of the content of this course and his background as the instructor, as well as some of his interests.
August 9, 2013
There is a Facebook group that will serve as the start of a network for librarians with philosophy backgrounds. It is called Philosopher Librarians. Join if this description works for you:
Welcome, librarians who have degrees in philosophy, whether they be undergraduate degrees, masters degrees, or phds. We’re here because of what we have in common, and perhaps also to plan an event. Interested in the philosophy of libraries? The philosophy of information? Collection development for philosophy departments? Quirky things that only philosopher-librarians say? We’re a different breed; here is the place where we can speak our language. The group is also open to people who just know they belong here.
I am hoping that we will build enough of a network to have a luncheon at ALA, perhaps with a speaker and the announcement of an award winner.
August 6, 2013
Librarians and Archivists to Palestine has just published a post-delegation statement (reproduced in full below). The statement has also been posted on the widely-read Middle East website Mondoweiss, where there is some additional discussion and context in the comments (one commenter even wrote, “Once again, it is librarians who step up where others fear to tread,” which may not be totally accurate but is still nice to hear). If you want to join LAP’s (low-traffic!) email announcement list, send a blank message to email@example.com. You can also follow @Librarians2Pal and like our Facebook page, and stay tuned for a full report and events, possibly in a town near you!
Update, 8/6/13: There is one edit and one addition to the statement. See asterisks below.
We are an independent group of librarians and archivists who traveled to Palestine from June 23 – July 4, 2013. We come from the US, Canada, Sweden, Trinidad & Tobago, and Palestine. We bore witness to the destruction and appropriation of information, and the myriad ways access is denied. We were inspired by the many organizations and individuals we visited who resist settler-colonialism in their daily lives. We connected with colleagues in libraries, archives, and related projects and institutions, in the hopes of gaining mutual benefit through information exchange and skill-sharing. We learned about the common and unique challenges we face—both in different parts of Palestine and in our home contexts. 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.
Our group was small, our scope limited. We traveled only to Palestine, and only to parts of Palestine. We were not able to visit Palestinian communities in Gaza, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, or elsewhere, and our trip was only the first step in creating a network of information workers. We were privileged to visit cities, villages, and refugee camps, and to meet with grassroots activists and institutional representatives. In the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and 1948 Palestine (Israel), we engaged with librarians and archivists about their projects and their struggles.
As we travelled we saw barriers to movement everywhere: walls, checkpoints, turnstiles, metal detectors, segregated roads, surveillance watchtowers, military patrols, security cameras, and settler militias. We saw communities devastated by criminalization and incarceration. We visited the rubble of villages that were destroyed in 1948, and we witnessed the ongoing Judaization of Palestinian communities through new housing developments, unequal provision of municipal services, and the Hebraization of place names. We saw new Israeli settlements hovering on hilltops above Palestinian villages, evidence of the forcible land grabs and displacement that Palestinians have been facing for decades. We met families that have struggled and suffered through egregious violence and yet work every day to secure education, opportunities, safety and a more just world for their children.
The erasure of Palestinian culture and history is a tactic of war and occupation, a means to further limit the self-determination of the Palestinian people. Yet the richness, beauty, and complexity of Palestinian existence was everywhere evident, in the historical and contemporary cultural material produced by writers, poets, journalists, artists, archivists and librarians, and in the histories passed down through stories and from person to person. We bore witness to a culture of resistance, which in all its myriad forms resoundingly refutes the notion that Palestine does not exist.
Our experiences in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and 1948 Palestine (Israel) were complex, challenging, beautiful and deeply meaningful. We met creative, committed, and courageous activists, visionaries, cultural workers, artists, librarians and archivists. Everywhere we went we witnessed the daily lived realities of occupation and colonialism, as well as ongoing resistance and the persistent quest for justice:*
At Aida Refugee Camp located in Bethlehem, we saw how the Apartheid Wall prevented the community from accessing nearby olive groves which had been used for relaxation, studying, animal grazing and agriculture. We also heard about the Lajee Center’s project to map the people’s histories of the camp.
In Nabi Saleh weekly nonviolent demonstrations against the confiscation of the community’s land and water are met with extreme violence from the Israeli military. The villagers are using video to document the violence they experience, as well as collecting the empty tear gas canisters and shell casings which are used against them. This documentation is used by the community to honor their resistance, to communicate their struggle with the wider world, and to dispute false accusations in the courts.
School librarians described the difficulty in obtaining Arabic language children’s literature, especially in 1948 Palestine (Israel). Many of the available books are low-quality translations from Hebrew, and Palestinian children have little access to their own literary heritage.
We visited the destroyed town of Saffourieh and heard from former resident Abu Arab about his experiences fleeing the town as a child during the Nakba. Abu Arab has a museum of Palestinian material culture, which he developed out of his work as an antiques collector. The museum challenges the process of ethnic cleansing and the erasure of cultural memory. Abu Arab is the brother of poet Taha Muhammed Ali.
Throughout Palestine we encountered cultural production by youth to preserve traditions, by the Yaffa Youth Movement in Jaffa, the Yafa Cultural Center in Balata Refugee Camp, and the Lajee Center in Aida Refugee Camp.
We witnessed the documentation of prisoners’ lives, a central experience in the Palestinian struggle against occupation. At the Nablus Public Library we saw the marginalia and creative book repairs in a former prison library collection, and at the Abu Jihad Museum for the Prisoners Movement Affairs we learned about a project to collect and digitize prisoners’ notebooks from across the West Bank.
We learned from the Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association that the Israeli military is currently detaining 4,900 Palestinians, including 236 children and 8 members of Palestinian legislature.
In East Jerusalem we visited the Nashashibi Center for Culture and Literature, a rebuilt family library from which all the books were stolen during the Nakba in 1948. We also visited the Orient House, which was closed by the Israeli government in 2001 and had significant portions of its archival collections confiscated.
Librarians at Birzeit University told us of their success in petitioning the Library of Congress to adopt a call number for the First Intifada, recognizing it as a unique historical period even as it was still happening: DS128.4.**
During a meeting with the organization alQaws for Sexual & Gender Diversity in Palestinian Society, we learned about the process of organizing across the West Bank / 1948 Palestine border, the articulation of Palestinian-specific understandings of sexual identity, and the Singing Sexuality project, which discusses sexuality through music.
In Lyd, not far from Tel Aviv, we saw where the library of the local school was removed and replaced with a police station.
We visited the Wadi Hilweh Information Center in Silwan, where residents of the neighborhood create grassroots media about the settler violence they experience on a daily basis.
At the El Bireh Municipal Library we learned about the Tamer Institute, which produces and publishes Arabic language children’s books that are distributed to libraries and community centers throughout Palestine.
Recognizing the barriers to movement and access that often keep the aforementioned organizations and projects from connecting with each other, and appreciating the importance of accountability to the communities that hosted us in Palestine, our delegation organized a public forum in Ramallah on our last evening together. We shared our initial ideas and asked for feedback about our observations.
While the delegation has ended, our work will continue: we will seek out and convene events in our home communities where we can share our knowledge about the effects of occupation and colonialism on libraries, archives, and Palestinian society; we will publish reports, articles, and zines that document the challenges faced—and the amazing work being done—by Palestinian information workers; we will develop an international network of information workers to facilitate skill-sharing, solidarity work, and community among librarians and archivists in Palestine and abroad; we will lobby national and international library and archival organizations to take tangible steps against the occupation and in support of Palestinian perspectives in information work; we will join Palestinians, Israelis, and international activists in campaigns for boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) against Israeli apartheid and colonialism. We will continue to learn and adapt our strategies to changing realities and will engage in critical examinations of our own positions of privilege. Through these activities we will work to support access to information in and about Palestine and Palestinian self-determination.
Librarians and Archivists to Palestine 2013 Delegation:
Bronwen Densmore – New York City College of Technology
Molly Fair – Interference Archive; Justseeds Artists’ Cooperative; CUNY TV
Che Gossett – Independent Archivist, Philadelphia
Amy Greer – Doctoral Candidate, Simmons College
Blair Kuntz – Near and Middle East Studies Librarian, University of Toronto
Grace Lile – WITNESS
Josh MacPhee – Interference Archive; Justseeds Artists’ Cooperative
Rachel Mattson – University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana; Jews for Racial and Economic Justice
Hannah Mermelstein – Saint Ann’s School Library; Adalah-NY: The New York Campaign for the Boycott of Israel
Andrea Miller-Nesbitt – Liaison Librarian, McGill University
Bekezela Mguni – Independent Librarian; New Voices Pittsburgh: Women of Color for Reproductive Justice
Melissa Morrone – Public Librarian
Vani Natarajan – Barnard College Library
Elisabet Risberg- Librarian, The International Library in Stockholm
Maggie Schreiner – Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archive; Rude Mechanical Orchestra
All organizational affiliations are listed for identification purposes only and in no way indicate a position taken by such organizations on the issues raised in this statement.
*For a more complete list of projects and organizations we visited, please see this handout we distributed at our public forum in Ramallah at the end of our delegation.
**An earlier version of this statement listed the call number as DS119.75. Birzeit University librarians have clarified that DS128.4 was the number assigned during the First Intifada, whereas it appears that the Library of Congress assigned a new number (DS119.75) after the Intifada ended. Birzeit University continues to use DS128.4. We apologize for the error.
July 11, 2013
Robert Chavez is the instructor for all six courses in our Certificate in XML and RDF-based Systems, which starts next month. He has taught a couple of the classes previously, and we interviewed him about those back in November. Robert has agreed to another interview, this time about the six-course sequence as a whole. Robert is currently a Content Applications Architect at the New England Journal of Medicine, and has worked as an electronic text specialist at Indiana University Bloomington and at Tufts University.
June 26, 2013
Librarians and Archivists to Palestine is underway! The first of its kind, this delegation is 16 information workers from the West who are spending time in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories to meet with archivists and librarians at a wide range of organizations and institutions. We’re discussing issues (some of which we all face, even in our different contexts), exchanging ideas, considering skillshares, and building relationships.
Want to follow LAP’s activities? There’s an email announcement list that you can join by sending a blank message to firstname.lastname@example.org. Most of our delegation’s regular updates during our travels will actually not be on the email list, but through three main venues:
Once we are back, we will also send updates about possible work moving forward based on our conversations on the ground. So far, four days in, there’s a lot of food for thought.
June 19, 2013
Weeding the Academic Library With Confidence
Instructor: Samantha Hines
Dates: July 1-28, 2013
Credits: 1.5 CEUs
All libraries need some regular weeding, but many of us don’t know where to start. An important but often overlooked part of collection development, deaccessioning materials is a vital way to keep your library’s collection useful for your institution. This four-week, asynchronous online course will provide, through readings and exercises, guidance on how to focus a library’s collection and identify where to prune and what to keep. We will explore how to keep faculty (moderately) happy during the weeding process, and what to do with the downsized materials once the decision to deaccession has been made. Students will develop principles on maintaining a manageable library collection during the course which will guide their institution well into the future, while also learning about the mechanics involved in a weeding project.
Samantha Schmehl Hines received her MS in Library and Information Science from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in 2003. In 2004 she was hired as the Social Science Librarian by the Mansfield Library at The University of Montana-Missoula and is currently the Distance Education Coordinator and Head Librarian for the Missoula College campus of The University of Montana. She writes and presents widely on issues of online library services, information literacy instruction, and library middle management, and is the author of Productivity for Librarians (2010, Chandos).
Visit Library Juice Academy for more.
June 1, 2013
We have set up something called Library Juice membership, where you can pay a small annual fee to get benefits related to what we are doing here at Library Juice Academy and Library Juice Press, as well as networking and communication opportunities. Memberships are open to individuals and institutions. This is all set up and ready to go. I am excited about where it might lead. Collaboration anyone?
May 24, 2013
Martin Wallace is a Science & Engineering Librarian at the University of Maine, Orono, and serves as Maine’s only representative to the Patent and Trademark Resource Center (PTRC), a program administered by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. He is serving his third term as secretary of the Patent and Trademark Resource Center Association (PTRCA). He is teaching a class for Library Juice Academy next month in patent searching, and he agreed to do an interview to help people gain a sense of what they will learn in the class, as well as what got him to the point of teaching it for us and what he is about as a person.
Cody Hennesy is the E-Learning Librarian at the University of California, Berkeley. He has coded a variety of academic library sites and tools and recently developed the front-end for the online resource maintained by Library Juice Press, Alternatives in Print: A Directory of Alternative Publishers and Critical Periodicals. He is going to be teaching a class in Drupal for libraries next month with Library Juice Academy. He agreed to do an interview to give people a clearer idea of what will be covered in the class, as well as a bit about him and his background and interests.