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.
Each year since grad school, I’ve tried to take one ALSC/YALSA e-course to keep my librarian skills sharp. This year I’m taking “Building Reflective Collections…Always Teens First” with Julie Stivers (@BespokeLib). I’ve loved the course so far, and I wanted to take a second to share a bit about what we did for one of the assignments.
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.