A couple months ago, I wrote a post about performative allyship as it relates to storytime—specifically, my own storytimes. I conducted a diversity audit of the books I used during storytimes at my branch and realized that I was failing as an ally and social justice advocate. I decided to make a change and resolved “to read at least one book featuring characters of color or another marginalized identity in every storytime I lead.”
A year ago, I left my AmeriCorps position at an inclusive preschool and child development center for my first true librarian gig. My time with AmeriCorps was one of the most rewarding, confusing, challenging, and life-changing years in my life. For a moment, I thought I would ditch librarianship altogether to become a preschool teacher. Instead, my experiences kindled the special passion I have for early literacy in my library work.
Even though I broke my suitcase and got lost way more times than I’d like to admit, I made it safely back to Eugene! Last weekend was full of so many surprises—including some hard truths. Rather than delve too deeply into it all, I’m going to suggest that you take a look at my and other contributors’ guest posts on the ALSC Blog. There was so much coverage of the conference that you’ll almost feel like you were there.
Greetings from Chicago! This is the second time I’ve visited the Windy City for one of the American Library Association’s conferences and I’m really excited because this is the first time I’ve attended as a bonafide librarian. Huzzah! I’m also on two committees this year: the 2017-2018 Rainbow Book List Committee and the 2017-2019 Notable Children’s Digital Media Committee. And, if that weren’t enough to keep me busy, I’ve also volunteered to document my conference experience over at the ALSC Blog. Be sure to pop on over there if you’re feeling #alaleftbehind.
As you should have heard by now—come on, even Cosmo is reporting on it—the current President’s proposed budget cuts include eliminating all funding for the Institute of Museum & Library Services (IMLS). I don’t need to tell you what this means. I don’t need to tell you that libraries aren’t dead. I don’t need to tell you to call your representative, or post on social media in resistance. YALSA is already doing that, along with ALSC and ALA. I am so proud to be a member of each of them.
By now, many of you will probably have read the WSJ article about school librarians. Correction: white male school librarians. You’ve probably also seen—and hopefully participated in—book Twitter’s rage about the deliberate erasure of female voices (not to mention voices of color). If so, good. If not, you have work to do.* I’m angry, too. Me, a cis white male, who has been called a “rock star,” “amazing,” or (my favorite) “brave” because I am male in a female-dominated profession. Yes, I’m privileged. But I’m still angry.
This is a post about “performative allyship,” a phrase that I’ve been hearing about a lot lately. You can read more about it here, or you could honestly just look it up on Twitter and see what all the people there have to say about it. As I understand it, performative allyship is a theatrical performance. It’s all show and no action. It’s saying you’re interested in a Black Lives Matter march on Facebook but not actually showing up. Or it’s saying Beyoncé deserved the Grammy instead of you but you still accept it.