December 2, 2013
André Schiffrin, Publishing Force and a Founder of New Press, Is Dead at 78 (New York Times obituary).
I will take this as yet another occasion to recommend his very good book on the publishing industry, which he wrote in the 90s in part as a memoir, The Business of Books. He was an influence on more than just one generation of people in the book world.
October 14, 2013
A few weeks ago, I attended the opening dedication of the Jean Rice Homeless Liberation Reference Library in the Fordham area of the Bronx. (I’ve written before about Picture the Homeless [PTH], a grassroots organization of currently and formerly homeless people and allies that does advocacy and data collection, among other campaigns.) By the time I got to the event, someone was just beginning a foot-stomping rendition of “A Change Is Gonna Come,” to murmurs of encouragement from the crowd, so I suppose it wasn’t your typical library ribbon-cutting. There was wine and cheese, but there were also references to Simón Bolívar and the “shelter-industrial complex,” and the invitation postcard included quotes from Frederick Douglass (“Once you learn to read you are forever free”) and Malcolm X (“My alma mater was books, a good library”).
I love hearing non-librarians talk about what a library means to them (comment cards were also distributed at the event so that everyone could share their thoughts). One speaker described it as an avenue to read, discuss, and critique books together. Others emphasized the self-education element, with someone declaring that everyone has something to offer and something to teach (“We’re all learning”).
This library is meant to be a resource for people fighting homelessness, a space for self-education and reflection. It will be open midday (lunchtime) for now. The collection is mostly nonfiction with some shelves of fiction, and it’s a mix of reference and circulating books. There are also some materials unique to the library, including scholarship from when PTH members traveled to Colombia and other places. A review committee has been set up to vet book donations.
After the opening speeches, I spoke with PTH member Rogers, who actually used to work in the collection development department at Queens Library back in the ’80s. He told me about the divide at the time between the white librarians and the Creole publisher six blocks from the library, of which the QL staff was unaware despite such materials’ relevance to many library users. His former work at QL, he said, would be “only a shadow” of what he’ll do in the new PTH library.
A former PTH employee (and current library school student) who’s a member of the review committee recently gave me an update on how the homeless library is progressing. The committee is refining the book categories and hammering out a collection development policy. They’re building a catalog on LibraryThing, and book discussions (some with the authors present) are already taking place in the library. If you’re in NYC and want to help out, get in touch—they’re currently in need of more bookshelves, bookends, a stamp or ex libris labels, a cart, and transportation to get larger items into the space.
Some dedication attendees in the library.
September 25, 2013
September 15, 2013
Information Literacy and Social Justice: Radical Professional Praxis
Editors: Shana Higgins and Lua Gregory
Published: September 2013
Information Literacy and Social Justice: Radical Professional Praxis extends the discussion of information literacy and its social justice aspects begun by James Elmborg, Heidi L.M. Jacobs, Cushla Kapitzke, Maria T. Accardi, Emily Drabinski, and Alana Kumbier, and Maura Seale. Chapters address the democratizing values implicit in librarianship’s professional ethics, such as intellectual freedom, social responsibility, and democracy, in relation to the sociopolitical context of information literacy. Contributors, ranging from practicing librarians to scholars of related disciplines, demonstrate how they construct intentional connections between theoretical perspectives and professional advocacy to curriculum and pedagogy. The book contributes to professional discourse on libraries in their social context, through a re-activation of the library neutrality debate, as well as through an investigation of what it means for a global citizen to be information literate in late capitalism.
This book is available through Amazon.com or your library’s book jobbers.
Download a PDF of the front matter, including the title page, copyright page, table of contents, acknowledgments, foreword, and introduction.
August 31, 2013
Voltaire’s Fanaticism, or Mahomet the Prophet:
A New Translation
Translation and Introduction: Hanna Burton
Preface: Malise Ruthven
Published: September 2013
Printed on acid-free paper.
Voltaire’s play Fanaticism, or Mahomet the Prophet was controversial in its own day, and has stirred up controversy in recent decades as attempts to mount stage productions have been met with protests. Originally intended as an oblique criticism of the Catholic Church and religious fanaticism in general (as Voltaire understood it), the play stands today as an entertaining melodrama marked by gleeful irreverance and historical imagination. This new prose translation into English by Hanna Burton brings the text to modern English-speaking audiences. The translator’s extensive introduction sheds light on the history of the work and its reception by Voltaire’s contemporaries.
July 30, 2013
Feminist Pedagogy for Library Instruction
Author: Maria T. Accardi
Published: July 2013
Number 3 in the Litwin Books Series on Gender and Sexuality in Information Studies, Emily Drabinski, Series Editor
Providing both a theoretical framework and practical guidance, this title introduces feminist pedagogy to librarians seeking to enrich their teaching practices in feminist and progressive ways. Drawing heavily upon the women’s studies literature where the concept first appears, Accardi defines and describes recurring themes for feminist teachers: envisioning the classroom as a collaborative, democratic, transformative site; consciousness raising about sexism and oppression; ethics of care in the classroom; and the value of personal testimony and lived experience as valid ways of knowing. Framing these concepts in the context of the limits of library instruction–so often a 50 minute one-shot bound by ACRL-approved cognitive learning outcomes–Accardi invites a critical examination of the potential for feminist liberatory teaching methods in the library instruction classroom.
This book is available from online booksellers and vendors to libraries and bookstores. Litwin Books and Library Juice Press no longer do direct retail sales to the public.
July 28, 2013
What would have happened, do you suppose, if Malcolm Little, instead of serving six years for petty crimes, had been imprisoned for a much longer time, locked in the conditions of long-term isolation common in what’s euphemistically called “special housing” (as, for instance, the prisoners at Pelican Bay in California are)? He would not have been allowed to receive political books, would not have been able to converse with anyone. The mind that developed through reading and talking in prison during the 1950s would probably have been crushed, and there might have been no Malcolm X.
— Laura Whitehorn
In recent decades, the landscape of U.S. criminal “justice” has changed dramatically (some visualizations at The Society Pages; bibliography at LLRX.com), not that imprisonment hasn’t always been dehumanizing, racist, and generally problematic. For many years, I worked with books-to-prisoners groups, mostly NYC Books Through Bars. These are grassroots, all-volunteer projects that receive letters from individuals in prison requesting reading material of all sorts (sometimes by topic, sometimes by specific title) and then mail them donated books that—ideally—approximate what they’re looking for.
Some years ago, there was an uproar after the federal Bureau of Prisons made a decision (quickly reversed) to get rid of religious books that weren’t on approved lists for prison chapel libraries. Unfortunately, what many don’t realize is that the vast majority of incarcerated people are in state prisons, where they are subjected to the arbitrary policies of the state department of corrections, including with regard to reading materials.
When a book arrives at a Texas prison mailroom, an employee first checks the database to see if the book is already prohibited. If not, said [Texas Department of Criminal Justice staffer Tammy] Shelby, “he’ll flip it over and read the back.” If that provides insufficient information to make a decision, “they scan through it looking for key words” or pictures that would disqualify the publication. “You can pretty much tell by reading the first few pages,” she said. “We rely on them to use their judgment.” (source)
Once we got a form denying a Texas prisoner Invented Lives: Narratives of Black Women 1860-1960 by Mary Helen Washington because “page 29 contains racial material.” Books and magazines have been rejected because they apparently present “a threat to the security, good order, or discipline of the correctional system or the safety of any person” or because information in it might be “designed to achieve the breakdown of prisons through offender disruption such as strikes or riots,” without further explanation. (Some prison mailroom rejections and letters from prisoners are below.)
Why bring up all this now? As you may have heard, one of the largest prisoner resistance movements is underway. Thousands of prisoners in California have been on a hunger strike as part of a fight for human and labor rights (there was a hunger strike in 2011 with the same demands; the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said they would make improvements but have not, hence the renewed action).
Solitary confinement—considered a form of torture, especially long-term—is a common punishment within the prison system. Among the things that can get someone in trouble in a California prison is having particular literature. “‘[E]vidence’ of gang affiliation has included possession of prisoner-rights literature or books like Sun Tzu’s ‘Art of War’ or Machiavelli’s ‘The Prince.’ It has included journal writings on African American history,” Shane Bauer points out. (Incidentally, The Art of War and The Prince, I have observed over the years, are on the unofficial top ten list of requested titles by people in prison around the country.) There is a lot that can be said about philosophies of reading material as proof of (bad) character or predictor of action, or, conversely, as a therapeutic tool, and as librarians we’ve spent more time than most thinking about this. Here I’ll say only that using literature as a criterion of judgment in this way, amid the general violence and toxicity of prison, does nothing to address the wrongness that the prisoners may have done to others, the wrongness that has been done to them, and the systemic wrongnesses that have brought us to this moment of mass incarceration, a “new Jim Crow,” and a correctional officer putting into administrative segregation someone who had a donated copy of Machiavelli in his cell.
Maybe you’ve done library service in a jail or are interested in prison librarianship. Maybe you’ve visited a loved one in prison. Maybe you’ve been locked up yourself. Maybe you grew up with people who got channeled into the detention system in one way or another. Maybe you live in a town where a prison is the largest and most stable employer around. Maybe imprisonment is nothing that you or your community seems to have experienced directly. I think that regardless of which category (or categories) you’re in, we should keep in mind that at least 95% of all state prisoners will be released at some point, and how we approach crime and punishment says a lot about our collective humanity. Former and possibly future prisoners are likely users of your library. Rather than being some separate element of society, they are patrons and would-be patrons.
You can keep up with the hunger strike and support the California prisoners in a number of ways. More generally, there are alternatives to incarceration, organizations for prison abolition and projects of decarceration. And in the meantime, you can always send someone behind bars a good book.
2006 letter from a man in a “special housing unit” (SHU) in a California prison.
2005 letter from a man in “administrative segregation” in a Texas prison.
2008 rejection (“non-appealable”) by a Texas prison mailroom employee of “Nobody Knows My Name” by James Baldwin because “page 100 contains racial material.”
2009 grievance form by the prisoner who was denied the Baldwin book.
May 28, 2013
Import of the Archive: U.S. Colonial Rule of the Philippines and the Making of American Archival History
Author: Cheryl Beredo
Published: June 2013
Printed on acid-free paper
Published by Litwin Books
This book a part of the Series on Archives, Archivists, and Society, Richard J. Cox, editor.
Import of the Archive examines the role of archives in the United States’ colonization of the Philippines between 1898 and 1916. During this period the archives played a critical part in the United States’ entrenchment of a colonial state, exhibiting the flexibility and authority to enable arguments of the former colonial power’s incompetence and the native population’s incapacity.
Based on extensive research of and in archives in the Philippines and the United States, this book urges readers to consider archival history within the context of America’s imperial history. This book defines the archives broadly, as the accumulation material about a time proclaimed as “historic,” as well as the records of the Bureau of Insular Affairs and the United States’ Philippine Government, and the archives ceded by Spain per the treaty that ended the Spanish-American War.
Taking an historical approach to understanding the political function that archives played in this particular context, this book is intended for classroom use in archival studies curricula. A slim volume, it could be assigned with complementary books or articles on archives in other colonial contexts, critical analyses of libraries and archives, or any number of topics. It will also be of general interest to scholars of archival history and United States-Philippine relations.
May 26, 2013
Litwin Books and Library Juice Press have gone ahead and formally separated our frontlist and backlist titles. We’ve been going since 2006 and have quite a few books out, so we decided that the time had come to do that. Here is what is on the frontlist and backlist of the two imprints:
Library Juice Press frontlist:
Litwin Books frontlist:
Library Juice Press backlist:
- Out Behind the Desk: Workplace Issues for LGBTQ Librarians, edited by Tracy Nectoux
- Beyond Article 19: Libraries and Social and Cultural Rights, edited by Julie Biando Edwards and Stephan P. Edwards
- The Demise of the Library School: Personal Reflections on Professional Education in the Modern Corporate University, by Richard J. Cox
- She Was a Booklegger: Remembering Celeste West, edited by Toni Samek, Moyra Lang and K.R. Roberto
- The Great Depression: Its Impact on Forty-Six Large American Public Libraries, by Robert Scott Kramp
- Humanism and Libraries: An Essay on the Philosophy of Librarianship, by André Cossette
- The Politics of Professionalism: A Retro-Progressive Proposal for Librarianship, by Juris Dilevko
- So You Want To Be a Librarian, by Lauren Pressley
- Speaking of Information: The Library Juice Quotation Book, compiled by Rory Litwin and edited by Martin Wallace
- Information and Liberation: Writings on the Politics of Information and Librarianship, by Shiraz Durrani
- Questioning Library Neutrality: Essays from Progressive Librarian, edited by Alison Lewis
- Responsible Librarianship: Library Policies for Unreliable Systems, by David Bade
- Mrs. Magavero: A History Based on the Career of an Academic Librarian, by Jane Brodsky Fitzpatrick
- Barbarians at the Gates of the Public Library: How Postmodern Consumer Capitalism Threatens Democracy, Civil Education, and the Public Good, by Ed D’Angelo
- Alternative Publishers of Books in North America, 6th Edition, compiled by Byron Anderson under the auspices of the Alternatives in Publication Task Force, ALA/SRRT
- Library Daylight: Tracings of Modern Librarianship, 1874-1922, edited by Rory Litwin
- Library Juice Concentrate, edited by Rory Litwin
Litwin Books backlist:
- Vanishing Act: The Erosion of Online Footnotes and Implications for Scholarship in the Digital Age, by Michael Bugeja and Daniela Dimitrova
- A Space for Hate: The White Power Movement’s Adaptation into Cyberspace, by Adam Klein
- Rebel Literacy: Cuba’s National Literacy Campaign and Critical Global Citizenship, by Mark Abendroth
- Forty Years in the Struggle: The Memoirs of a Jewish Anarchist, by Chaim Leib Weinberg
- Library of Walls: The Library of Congress and the Contradictions of Information Society, by Samuel Gerald Collins
- Slow Reading, by John Miedema
- Personal Archives and a New Archival Calling: Readings, Reflections and Ruminations, by Richard J. Cox
- Restoring Order: The Ecole des Chartes and the Organization of Archives and Libraries in France, 1820-1870, by Lara Jennifer Moore
- Eugène Morel: Pioneer of Public Libraries in France, by Gaëtan Benoît
May 23, 2013
Jesse Shera, Librarianship, and Information Science
Jesse Hauk Shera did perhaps more than any other figure in defining library and information science in the mid 20th century. He pioneered the application of information technology in libraries and in the field of documentation, as head of the American Documentation Institute (now ASIST), as a professor at the Graduate Library School in Chicago, and as head of the library school at Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. At Western Reserve, Shera founded the Center for Documentation and Communication Research. But despite his efforts in introducing information technology to the field of libraries, Shera was a humanist and a historian who emphasized the human side of librarianship and the sociological nature of the profession, especially in his advancing years. His theory of social epistempology provided a philosophy for librarianship as a professional calling and as a research-oriented discipline, where deep subject knowledge and an understanding of the needs of readers are more important than technological tools.
H. Curtis Wright’s study, originally published in 1988 by Brigham Young University’s School of Information Sciences, is the only book-length biography of Shera that has been written. The focus of Wright’s biography is Shera’s role in defining and negotiating the boundaries of library science and information science, as he sought to make the most intelligent use of technology in libraries without getting lost in the capacities of the astounding tools that were being developed. Wright succeeds in showing how over a long career, Shera developed an intellectual foundation for librarianship that was dependent neither or the new ideas of information science and its technologies nor on traditional methods. This book is a superb introduction to Jesse Shera’s life and career and its meaning. Includes a foreword by Kathryn La Barre and an index by Victoria Jacobs.
This book is available from Amazon or your favorite vendor to libraries.
May 22, 2013
Here is an interview that Emily Drabinski did with Maria Accardi. Maria has a book coming out this summer with Library Juice Press, in the series that Emily edits….
Maria T. Accardi is Associate Librarian and Coordinator of Instruction at the Indiana University Southeast Library in New Albany, Indiana, a regional campus of Indiana University Bloomington. She holds a BA in English from Northern Kentucky University, an MA in English from the University of Louisville, and an MLIS from the University of Pittsburgh. 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 the forthcoming Feminist Pedagogy for Library Instruction (Library Juice Press, 2013). Prior to entering librarianship, Maria taught first year college composition and tutored in a university writing center, and these experiences inform her current practice as a librarian instructor.
1. Why feminist pedagogy? What brought you to this topic for a book?
I came to this topic in part because I wanted to know more about feminist teaching and learn something new, and also because I wanted to contribute to the scholarship in my profession. I am a feminist who is interested in critical, liberatory teaching methods, so bringing together feminism and teaching seemed like a natural place to start an exploration. Sharon Ladenson began the conversation about feminist pedagogy and library instruction in Critical Library Instruction: Theories and Methods in 2010, and I wanted to engage with and extend this conversation by providing theoretical frameworks and practical strategies for people interested in feminist library instruction. Also, I really wanted to just write a book to see if I could. Apparently, I can!
2. What should readers expect when they crack the spine of Feminist Pedagogy?
Readers should expect a combination of practitioner’s primer, scholarship, and memoir. I didn’t set out to write a genre-bending book, but as I engaged with the feminist literature, listened to my own voice as a writer, and found nurturing support through you, my editor, I had a real breakthrough and realized that this boundaries-straddling approach was the only way I could write this book. So readers should expect a book that doesn’t neatly fit into the typical categories of literature in our field. Readers should also expect a book that is designed to be participative; there are practical teaching strategies and ideas in the appendices that invite, and, I hope, inspire readers to enact feminist pedagogy in their own practice.
3. What did you learn about your own teaching practice as you wrote the book?
When I wrote about the importance of self-care for the feminist teacher, I realized that I was doling out advice that I needed to take myself. Feminist teaching is hard. It is emotionally and intellectually demanding. I learned that I need to give myself permission to take a break, go easy on myself, to be honest and reflective without beating myself up. This fall, when library instruction season starts up once again, I plan to carve out time to keep a reflective journal about my teaching practices as a method of self-care.
4. When you’ve presented on this work before (ACRL 2013), people have noted the connections between the kind of instruction they’re already engaging and the feminist approaches you discuss in the book. Why do you think it’s important to name some of these practices as explicitly feminist?
I think it’s important to acknowledge these things as feminist because this is how we expose the intersecting societal oppressions that are replicated and reified in the classroom. When we make explicit was is normally tacit, we help equip students to transform themselves and their lives. Feminist pedagogy wants students to become not just critical thinkers but critical actors.
5. What else should readers know about the book?
As I say in my Acknowledgements, I have always wanted to be a writer, ever since I was a little girl and wrote a poem to read at my school talent show. Writing this book is truly a dream come true, and it is maybe the bravest thing I’ve ever done. This book represents me intellectually and emotionally and it is scary to release it into the world for people to read. I just hope that people will find the book to be engaging, useful, interesting, and, dare I say it? Inspirational. I hope that it is the beginning of many exciting conversations about feminist library instruction and while I’m simultaneously terrified, I can’t wait to see what happens once people read it.
May 9, 2013
The 2013 Green Book Festival awarded its top honor in the category of Best Business Book to Greening Libraries, edited by Monika Antonelli and Mark McCullough and published by Library Juice Press.
Greening Libraries provides library professionals with a collection of articles and papers that serve as a portal to understanding a wide range of green and sustainable practices within libraries and the library profession. The book’s articles come from a variety of perspectives on a range of topics related to green practices, sustainability and the library profession. Aspects of the growing “green library movement” covered include green buildings, alternative energy resources, conservation, green library services and practices, operations, programming, and outreach.
The Green Book Festival gives awards in a number of categories, as well as overall best and honorable mention awards, which makes it a useful collection development tool for librarians.
May 3, 2013
Emily Drabinski is the editor of a book series with Litwin Books and Library Juice Press, titled, “Gender and Sexuality in Information Studies.” Originally it was “Gender and Sexuality in Librarianship,” but pretty quickly it was clear from the titles that she was lining up that the emphasis was going to be on theoretical topics that would be of interest to scholars outside the library profession, so we updated the title. It occurred to me that this would be a good time to do an interview with Emily about the series and the books that are coming up in it, and Emily agrees. So, Emily, thanks for doing this interview.
I think the way I’d like to do this is really just to get you to talk about the series and describe the upcoming books. I don’t think I have an accurate memory of how it got started, so do you want to start by telling that story? Did it derive from a particular book project?
I’m also not sure how this book series got started! It’s funny how short my memory has gotten. Thank god for google–searching back through my gmail I see that we started talking about the series in 2009, just as I was finishing up the editing work on Critical Library Instruction: Theories and Methods (with Maria Accardi and Alana Kumbier). At the time I was also circling around questions of intersections of critical work on gender and sexuality and library organization systems in my own work. We first met at the UW-Milwaukee Thinking Critically conference in 2008, where I presented a paper about queer geography and library shelf space, and I’m guessing that’s what put me in your head as someone with some content interest.
I also had editorial and clerical interest in the series. It turns out that I like working with other people on their work more than I like working on my own work, at least some of the time. I love talking to people about their ideas, shaping editorial calls, looking through raw copy for the heart of the story. It’s like an intimate friendship with ideas, and I love it. It also turns out that I’m pretty good at the clerical parts of the job, managing timelines and deadlines, versioning manuscripts, keeping track of contracts, the nuts and bolts of producing books. This is a part of the job I am getting better at. When I was working with Lyz Bly and Kelly Wooten on Make Your Own History, I was new to Dropbox and downloaded all the chapters without realizing that I’d disappeared them from the shared folder. Kelly freaked out a little, and I learned a solid lesson. Now I don’t know what I’d do without that particular cloud.
The first book was Tracy Nectoux’s Out Behind the Desk, a collection of personal stories and critical reflections on being and coming out in libraries. She pitched me the book based on the call for the series, and it felt like a great fit. While other library presses publish work on gender and sexuality studies, I felt like her book would benefit from the context of the series, being part of a set of titles addressing similar questions in a variety of ways.
I think that was a good way to start the series, although the ones you have been working on since are quite different. We published Make Your Own History last year. Do you want to describe that project and how it came about?
Kelly Wooten and Lyz Bly edited the second book in the series. It’s a collection of chapters about the the theory and practice–my favorite mix, and what makes our field so interesting to think and work in–of feminist and queer archives. Their authors are really from all over the place–the academy and activist circles, feminist presses and queer zine collections. It’s a rich set of texts that I think is the first of its kind, and belongs in the hands of theorists, practitioners, and activists. It was also a book that taught me about the importance of contracts and copyright. All of the authors were really aware of copyright issues and made their concerns very known to me–that was helpful! After working together for more than a year on this project, Kelly and I finally got to meet at a reading in Brooklyn at the Feminist Zine Fest, organized by Kate Angell and Elvis Bakaitis. The book gave us a reason to have a public conversation about feminist and queer history. That’s the real power of this series, I think. The titles enable conversations that I think we’re already having, but in a less organized way.
That book has definitely attracted interest and has been a part of conversations, which is very gratifying. That is what I hope to achieve. So we have a number of titles coming up in your series. Would you describe what’s coming up?
It is a busy, busy time for the series, with three books just about to be hot off the presses. First up is the Feminist and Queer Information Studies Reader, a collection edited by Patrick Keilty and Becca Dean. I’m thrilled about this project–it does the kind of work that I always wanted to see in the field. They’ve pulled together critical essays from feminist and queer studies and put them against similar work in information studies. So, you’ll have a chapter about the invention of transgender as a legal category next to a chapter about library classifications of identity. The book puts LIS into critical conversation with fields that work as much on classification theory as we do. It’s just fantastic. Then come two monographs. Alana Kumbier is finishing a book about queer archives theory and practice that draws on theoretical work about “the archive” to describe a number of material archives projects as well as their representations. It’s cross-disciplinary in the best way, and will find readers in fields outside of the library. Maria Accardi is completing a primer on feminist pedagogy for teaching librarians. I’m a little in love with this little book. What started as a relatively dry, academic text about feminist theory has morphed into a hybrid memoir/feminist teaching manual. I think it will be the kind of book librarians will turn to again and again–I anticipate many a coffee-stained, dog-eared copy, ripped out lesson plans, . And Rachel Wexelbaum is editing a collection about LGBTQ libraries and archives in the digital world. It’s an exciting and busy time to be involved with this series.
And while all that is going on, you are accepting book proposals and submissions for future projects in the series. How would you define the scope of the series for people who may want to submit something to it? What issues do you hope to address with future titles?
Yes, I am absolutely seeking new projects. The series has both practical and theoretical scopes, and proposals are welcome for either. In terms of practical projects, I’m particularly interested in books that provide a how-to for people in our field, like handbooks to feminist or queer cataloging, or a manual for setting up print or digital community archives for feminist collections. I also think we have room in our field for more abstract explorations of feminist and queer perspectives on knowledge production, organization, and access, as well as the politics of all three of those. I’d like the series to address a broad group of readers, those who want to open a book at 9am and then make something happen by noon, and those interested in reading and thinking through more complex arguments about the foundations and futures of our field. I am also really open to just talking with people who have only the germ of an idea. Dialogue has a way of turning a glimmer into a book for sale, so I hope people will get in touch.
That is wonderful. Readers, you can contact Emily at emily.drabinski at gmail dot com. Regarding communications with readers, I wonder if you could share some of the things that have come about as a result of these books – discussions, projects, etc. What have these books generated? I mean books in this series specifically, not your book on critical library instruction, which has had its own life post-publication.
Well, there are the concrete outcomes that are public and that I can articulate: Maria Accardi’s session about feminist pedagogy at ACRL was a direct outgrowth of her book project, and was quite well received this spring. She also just got tenure at the University of Illinois Southeast, an accomplishment I like to think this book played a hand in. Alana Kumbier presented on a chapter of her upcoming book at Barnard College’s Activism and the Academy conference in 2011 along with Jenna Freedman, who wrote an essay for Kelly Wooten and Lyz Bly’s collection. Out Behind the Desk was nominated for a 2011 Over the Rainbow award, and has been well reviewed in print and online. Kelly Wooten and Jenna Freedman spoke with me at the Feminist Zine Fest in Brooklyn. And then there are the outcomes that we’ll only see later, both in traditional ways (I’m following citations like a hawk!) and in ways less amenable to measurement. One of the reviewers of Tracy Nectoux’s book notes that the collection was “comforting.” I think he meant that he could see from reading the stories of these LGBT librarians that he wasn’t alone. I hope the series can be comforting to many readers in many ways, letting us know that we are not alone in our professional and theoretical conversations, and that they have a home on this series and on this press.
That’s right. Thanks for those links, too. I’m very pleased at the way these books have sent out waves. I hope that with future projects we can expand the range of people who will be comforted and feel included. I think that the way a book can help someone at a personal level is an extremely important aspect of publishing that we don’t normally think about when we think about scholarly communication. Which is not to diminish what could be said about your series from other perspectives.
I am wondering about your own intellectual interests, and when there might be a book in this series written by you. Any thoughts on that?
My own intellectual interests are a little bit all over the map right now–my hands are in a lot of pots as I come to the end of my tenure clock. I’ve been working with the journal Radical Teacher to go open access, and that is taking up a lot of my time. I think we’re just a week or so out from going live at http://radicalteacher.library.pitt.edu. I’m hoping to find venues to share what I learned, particularly about the kinds of worries that people who aren’t librarians have about the open access decision. I recently published the culmination of several years of puzzling through my thinking on what to do about the paradox of queer subject headings: how do we fix in place ideas and identities that change so rapidly and depend so entirely on context? That’s out in the April issue of Library Quarterly. You probably can’t tell by reading it, but it took me a very very long time to figure out how to say the pretty small something I said in that piece. We’ll see what I end up focusing on this summer: ideas of time in information literacy instruction, a curriculum analysis project I’m working on with a colleague, queer theory and retrieval systems, I’m in a bit of a reboot moment. I can’t imagine writing a book at all, let alone a book in this series. I have come to appreciate–and hope some of the authors I’ve worked with appreciate–the real pleasures of the author-editor relationship, especially at the small press scale. If I ever write a book, I think I’ll want to do it with an editor who isn’t me.
Congratulations on your article in Library Quarterly. Sounds like an exciting period, wherever things go from here in your own intellectual work. I think you are a very good editor, but I also hope that it doesn’t pull you away from your own writing too much.
To finish up the interview, I would like to ask if you have advice for writers and thinkers in our field who may have an ambition of publishing in your series or elsewhere. What do you think people should understand at various stages of working toward completion of book projects like the ones you have been editing?
Write every day. That is just the only way to write a book. Nobody sits down and writes a book; lots of people spend a little bit of time writing every day and end up with a book at the end. They aren’t exceptional people; they’re just people who decided to write more often than they didn’t. Make deadlines and meet them. When you feel like you want to stop, call your editor on the phone and let her talk you away from the shredder. And every single part of this process will take more time than you think it will, and it will be worth it. We all want to hear what you have to say.
Thanks very much for this interview, Emily. If I may say so, I think it’s a little bit inspiring!
Thanks, Rory. My work on this series feels like pretty invisible labor most of the time, so I’m glad to get a chance to talk about the project.
May 2, 2013
I want to make people aware of an important new book:
The Stories I Read to the Children: The Life and Writing of Pura Belpré, the Legendary Storyteller, Children’s Author, and New York Public Librarian. Selected, Edited, and Biographical Introduction by Lisa Sánchez González.
This is not a Library Juice Press or Litwin Books publication, but I wish that it were. It’s a landmark book that is too long in coming. Please share this info with anyone interested in Pura Belpré.
March 2, 2013
Lenny and Nina are Buried in Books
Author: Linda Cooper
Illustrator: Jana Vukovic
Published: March 2013
For children 5-7 years old.
Lenny and Nina have so many books that they cannot find what they are looking for and Grandma almost can’t find them! Beginning with this somewhat silly, exaggerated situation, this book proceeds to introduce concepts of library organization to young children in an engaging and humorous story using vocabulary they can understand and a situation to which they can relate. The children’s solution to their problem both empowers them in organizing their own environment and introduces them to how the larger culture organizes information for the community.
New from Library Juice Press.