December 20, 2014

CFP: 9th National Conference of African American Librarians

*Call for Poster Session Proposals*

9th National Conference of African American Librarians
St. Louis, Missouri
August 4-8, 2015

Please submit a poster proposal for the 9th NCAAL Conference, “Meet at the Gateway: Reimagining Communities, Technologies, and Libraries.”

The poster session committee is particularly interested in proposals related to:
Emerging Technologies
Health Information
Information and Financial Literacy

Proposals can be submitted online at:
Graduate students and early-career librarians are encouraged to apply!

Deadline for entries is April 1, 2015 at 5 pm CST.

For more information contact the poster session committee chair:

Statement from Information Studies Academics and Professionals on Documentary Evidence and Social Justice

There is a new open statement circulating, written by UCLA Information Studies faculty, led by Safiya Noble. Written in response to the events in Ferguson and the crisis that it has opened up, it expresses the political orientation of members of the LIS field. It is titled, “Statement from Information Studies Academics and Professionals on Documentary Evidence and Social Justice,” and it is the first item on the new #critinfo blog. Here’s the blog’s self-description:

This blog was inspired by working on a statement that “Black Lives Matter” to the LIS community by a majority of the faculty at the UCLA Department of Information Studies. Because there is a lack of clarity about whether UCLA resources can be used to promote such a statement, we are posting our statement here, and asking our colleagues to link to us and promote more signatures and affirmation about the importance of social justice to the LIS community.

We invite other statements to be sent to this site, which is currently maintained by Safiya Noble in the Department of Information Studies at UCLA. For more information: contact criticalinfostudies (at) gmail *dot* com

Read More

December 18, 2014

What ALA should REALLY do if they want to engage members

The American Library Association has increasingly received feedback from members saying that it’s unclear how to get involved. Over the past couple of years the association has made an effort to deal with this problem by setting up what are called Virtual Town Halls and Kitchen Table Conversations, which are opportunities for members to share their ideas. ALA is now expanding on this with a new feature on the website at This webpage is helpful, because it does indeed provide pathways for engagement with ALA. However, there is a larger problem at the root of people’s sense that the association doesn’t offer well-defined pathways in, and that is in the fact that over the years it has become less of an association of librarians and more a business serving librarians.

Membership dues presently make up 15 to 20 percent of ALA revenues, as compared to 100% in the first days of the association. (Net profits from publishing activities are greater than revenues from membership dues today.) Years ago, ALA published the ALA Bulletin, which was a monthly report on ALA’s activities that all members received. Today the publication that goes to all members is American Libraries, which is a general magazine similar to Library Journal that reports on the library scene. Speaking only for myself, my copy of American Libraries goes straight into the trash each month, because it is basically a dumbed-down version of what I can already find on the web concerning libraries. The ALA publication I do read on a monthly basis is ALA Executive Director Keith Fiels’ “Monthly Report to Council and the Executive Board,” which, thankfully, ends up getting distributed to a discussion list that I subscribe to. December’s report is 26 pages long, and tells me a few details about what different parts of the association have been up to.

Aside from the impossible, which would be to completely reorient ALA as a professional association as opposed to a business serving the profession, I have one recommendation for ALA to help engage members. That is first to completely drop American Libraries, because it serves no useful purpose any longer, and to replace it with a new ALA Bulletin, whose function would be to take the same information that is in the Executive Director’s “Monthly Report” and share it with all ALA members. Come to think of it, this information deserves to be fleshed out for a wider readership, so that the items in the latest 26-page report, for example, could be expanded to fill out a 90-page bulletin. This would go a very long way to making members feel included in what is rightfully their own association, that is, an association that is constituted by members rather than a separate entity serving members. Some of what is in the “Monthly Report” are summaries of the activities of ALA’s offices, but most of it involves the work of various committees that are made up of active members. Most members have no awareness of these committees, or even much awareness of what ALA does.

Although the new “engage” page is useful, it still has an “ALA and you” feel to it, where it should really tell members, “ALA is you,” and should provide its pathways to engagement based on that assumption. But the first step to engaging members is to include members by informing them better. There is no reason the information in the “Monthly Report” should be for Council and the Executive Board only, and not for the membership.

December 12, 2014

Program at Midwinter: The Social Justice Collaboratorium: Illuminating Pathways between Social Justice Issues and LIS

I don’t often post news about programs happening at ALA conferences, since most people reading this won’t be attending, but this one is kind of flying under the radar, especially from the point of view of people in SRRT, so it deserves highlighting. It is called The Social Justice Collaboratorium: Illuminating Pathways between Social Justice Issues and LIS. It’s being put together by the ALA Spectrum Doctoral Fellows in conjunction with ALISE. It is primarily about an online project for sharing information about social justice work being done by academics and practitioners. Here is more info:

The Social Justice Collaboratorium: Illuminating Pathways between Social Justice Issues and LIS

December 8, 2014

Barnard plans to remove 40,000 books from library

More “right-sizing” bullshit.

Barnard faculty frustrated by plans to remove 40,000 books from library

Barnard’s faculty and staff claim they were shut out of the decision-making process for the new library, which faculty say also led to the resignation of the Dean of Barnard Library and Information Services Lisa Norberg.

Administrators outlined the plan for the new Teaching and Learning Center, which includes removing 40,000 books from Barnard’s on-site collections and moving research librarians to cubicles rather than offices, at a Dec. 2 faculty meeting, according to faculty and library staff present at the meeting.

Read more…

December 6, 2014

Inland Editions

Inland Editions is a new publisher out of London that is particularly interested in libraries. They are preparing to publish their first book, which appears to be a beautifully designed art book primarily about library architecture. It’s called Bookspace, and they are running a Kickstarter campaign to fund its production. That seems a little bit hinky to me if they are a commercial publisher, but okay, they need capital because it appears to be a book that will be expensive to produce. The expected publication date is February 2015, coming right up. Inland Editions also has a blog that focuses on libraries and is quite different from the usual library-related fare, as they are not librarians but artists and intellectuals of various stripes.

December 5, 2014

Statement by Former New Republic Editors and Writers

As former editors and writers for The New Republic, we write to express our dismay and sorrow at its destruction in all but name.

From its founding in 1914, The New Republic has been the flagship and forum of American liberalism. Its reporting and commentary on politics, society, and arts and letters have nurtured a broad liberal spirit in our national life.

The magazine’s present owner and managers claim they are giving it new relevance while remaining true to its century-old mission. Instead, they seem determined to strip it of the intellectual, literary, and political commitments that have been its essence and meaning. Their pronouncements suggest that they hold those commitments in contempt.

The New Republic cannot be merely a “brand.” It has never been and cannot be a “media company” that markets “content.” Its essays, criticism, reportage, and poetry are not “product.” It is not, or not primarily, a business. It is a voice, even a cause. It has lasted through numerous transformations of the “media landscape”—transformations that, far from rendering its work obsolete, have made that work ever more valuable.

The New Republic is a kind of public trust. That is something all its previous owners and publishers understood and respected. The legacy has now been trashed, the trust violated.

It is a sad irony that at this perilous moment, with a reactionary variant of conservatism in the ascendancy, liberalism’s central journal should be scuttled with flagrant and frivolous abandon. The promise of American life has been dealt a lamentable blow.

Peter Beinart (Editor)
Sidney Blumenthal (Senior editor)
Jonathan Chait (Senior editor)
David Grann (Senior editor)
David Greenberg (Acting editor)
Hendrik Hertzberg (Editor)
Ann Hulbert (Senior editor)
Robert Kuttner (Economics editor)
Robert B. Reich (Contributing editor)
Jeffrey Rosen (Legal editor)
Peter Scoblic (Executive editor)
Evan Smith (Deputy editor)
Joan Stapleton Tooley (Publisher)
Paul Starr (Contributing editor)
Ronald Steel (Contributing editor)
Andrew Sullivan (Editor)
Margaret Talbot (Deputy editor)
Dorothy Wickenden (Executive editor)
Sean Wilentz (Contributing editor)

December 3, 2014

CFP: Justin Winsor Library History Essay Award

Justin Winsor Library History Essay Award: Call for Papers

The Justin Winsor Library History Essay Award is presented by the Library History Round Table of the American Library Association annually to recognize the best essay written in English on library history. The award is named in honor of the distinguished nineteenth-century librarian, historian, and bibliographer who was also ALA’s first president. It consists of a certificate and a $500 cash award, as well as an invitation to have the winner’s essay considered for publication in Information & Culture: A Journal of History. If the winning essay is accepted for publication, additional revisions may be required.


Manuscripts submitted should not be previously published, previously submitted for publication, or under consideration for publication or another award. To be considered, essays should embody original historical research on a significant topic in library history, be based on primary sources whenever possible, and use good English composition and superior style. The Library History Round Table is particularly interested in works that place the subject within its broader historical, social, cultural, and political context and make interdisciplinary connections with print culture and information studies. Essays should be organized in a form similar to that of articles published in Information & Culture: A Journal of History, with footnotes, spelling and punctuation conforming to the latest edition of the Chicago Manual of Style. Papers should not exceed thirty-five typewritten, double-spaced pages (plus footnotes and bibliography).

Submissions and Selection

Applicants must send five copies of the manuscript or submit electronically. The name and other information identifying the author should appear only on a separate cover letter. Applications must be received by January 31, 2015. Receipt will be confirmed with four business days.

Submit manuscripts to:
LHRT: Justin Winsor Award Committee
Office for Research and Statistics
American Library Association
50 East Huron St.
Chicago, IL 60611
or send files electronically to:
with Subject line: LHRT: Justin Winsor Award Committee

December 2, 2014

CFP: Radical Archives (Archive Journal)

Archive Journal
Special issue: Radical Archives
Deadline: April 15, 2015

“Radical archives” and “radical archiving” are concepts that continue to gain currency among archivists, artists and cultural theorists alike, but to date, discussions of “radical archives” and “radical archiving” often appear to rest on an assumed rather than articulated understanding of what these concepts mean. For this special issue of Archive Journal (scheduled for Fall 2015), we seek essays (3000 to 5000 words), reviews, and/or interviews (text, image, audio and video formats welcome) that address one or more of the following questions with the aim of bringing greater clarity to the “radical” in discussions of archives and archiving:

– What do we mean when we talk about “radical archives” and “radical archiving”? Does the “radical” point to a specific politic, to types of content, or to a set of practices that challenge archival standards?

– How might we define “radical content” and “radical practice” in relation to archives?

– Are radical practices necessarily opposed to archival standards?

– To what extent are archival standards responsive to change? Why do cultural theorists’ accounts of archives so often rest on the assumption that archives are by definition resistant to change? Is there an investment in understanding archives as sites of inflexibility and stagnation?

– Is radical content (e.g., the archives of activist collectives, social movements, or avant-garde artists) best served by practices that eschew archival standards? What are the short and long-term consequences of such decisions?

– How might community-based archives support the work of institutional collections and vice-versa? Furthermore, what questions, anxieties and/or possibilities are opened up when we begin to think about preservation across these spaces?

– What, in fact, do we mean by “archives”? For many outside of libraries and institutional archives, the term has come simply to mean a collection of “curated” materials. How do we talk about “radical archives” without a shared understanding of what an archive is, or of what it signifies for different types of practitioners and theorists?

– How might the work of cultural theorists with investments in radical, activist and queer archives benefit from a deeper engagement with the practices, discourses and perspectives of working archivists, and vice versa?

Please send submissions to guest editors Lisa Darms ( and Kate Eichorn ( by April 15, 2015. Proposals should include a brief (200-word) professional biography. An open access, peer-reviewed journal, Archive Journal seeks content that speaks to its diverse audience that includes librarians, scholars, archivists, technologists, and students.

Emily Drabinski reports on the recent Gender and Sexuality in Information Studies Colloquium

Emily Drabinski, co-organizer of the recent Gender and Sexuality in Information Studies Colloquium at the University of Toronto, has done a nice writeup about the event for the Metropolitan New York Library Council:


By Emily Drabinski, Coordinator of Library Instruction, Long Island University, Brooklyn

At its heart, our work in libraries is about finding a place for everything, and putting everything in its place. We usually think of this as work for the greater good, and it is: without ordering mechanisms like the Dewey Decimal System, cutter numbers, Library of Congress call numbers, and linked data, users would have to chance upon relevant materials and build archives anew every time, all by themselves. We need librarians! But the responsibility for organizing collections also reflects the power to determine how materials fit into these schemas. Someone—and that someone is us—gets to decide what goes where, and why.

Around 100 librarians, archivists, and information studies scholars gathered at the University of Toronto this past October to explore these issues. Organized by Library Juice Press/Litwin Books, the Gender and Sexuality in Information Studies Colloquium (#gsisc14) addressed a number of broad themes: queer theory and information organization, affect theory and archives, gender and sexuality in the library classroom and at the reference desk, pornography in library and archival collections, and intersections of gender, race, and class in the profession.

Keep reading…

December 1, 2014

CFP: IFLA Call for Papers Reference and Information Services Section: Reference as Service and Place

Call for Papers

IFLA Reference and Information Services Section

Theme: Reference as Service and Place

11-13 August 2015

University of Botswana, Gaborone, Botswana

Reference and Information Services Section

IFLA’s theme for the 2015 congress in Cape Town is “Dynamic Libraries: Access, Development and Transformation” and the Reference and Information Services Section is pleased to announce our satellite meeting building on this theme. Our chosen theme, “Reference as Service and Place,” recognizes the dynamic changes in library and information services, including reference services, while also acknowledging the still-relevant role of traditional and low-tech reference services and interactions.

IFLA notes that this congress theme aims to “strengthen democracy on a continent where libraries need to connect with civil society to demonstrate the value they add in eradicating poverty, illiteracy, unemployment and ignorance with special emphasis on early childhood development, youth services, women’s health and local economic development.” Our satellite meeting, to be held at the University of Botswana in Gaborone from August 11-13, invites paper proposals that address the ways in which reference and information services can help connect libraries to civil societies, promote local and indigenous knowledge, culture, and development, and address the education, training, and practice of librarians and library staff. We especially seek papers on the following sub-themes.