AALL Spectrum Blog

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The AALL Spectrum® Blog is published by the American Association of Law Libraries. Submissions from AALL members and other members of the legal community are highly encouraged. Opinions and editorial views expressed are those of the authors and do not represent the official position of AALL. AALL does not assume any responsibility for statements advanced by contributors. The previous Spectrum Blog was located at aallspectrum.wordpress.com.
5/8/2015 5:16:57 PM

Recycling De-Selected Materials

Books on a Table Under Free Books SignWith another school year coming to a close many librarians are gearing up for those exciting summer projects that had to wait until a lull in activity after final exams. Libraries are facing increased pressure to slim down collections, thus librarians may find themselves engaged in the process of de-selection this summer. While few librarians take joy and pleasure in weeding collections, the exercise can have certain benefits to the library. Yet it raises a question, what do we do with all those discarded volumes? Few images are as upsetting to a librarian as books stacked in a dumpster headed to a landfill. But what are the alternatives?

  • The May 2008 Member to Member column offered a list of creative suggestions for what to do with undesired books, directed specifically toward law libraries. The lamp made out of law books and other things to do with law books are an unexpected and entertaining option.
  • The Prison Book Program requests donations of "legal dictionaries and basic criminal law" materials, though they cannot accept "legal journals and attorney-level legal reference" materials.
  • Sarah Penniman & Lisa McColl published an excellent article in the Library Journal entitled “Green Weeding: Promoting Ecofriendly Options for Library Discards” (Lexis Academic). This article contains suggestions for libraries including traditional methods such as book fairs, swaps, and donations to local organizations, sending books to Books for America, Books Through Bars, or Better World Books, and trading up through Bookmooch.
  • Discover Books is a service that takes books that libraries no longer want and then determines how the book might best be reused, sold, redistributed, or recycled as a last resort it if there is no other option. By taking charge of this process, Discover Books frees up staff time that librarians might otherwise spend finding books a new home.
  • Weeding on a small scale? At the University of Miami Law Library we have a freebies table (pictured above) near the reference desk. Try starting your own! The library’s discard may be someone else’s treasured new find. And who knows what interesting summer reading students might happen upon as they leave for summer break?

© AJ Blechner, 2015. Reference/Outreach Librarian, University of Miami Law Library, Coral Gables, Florida. ablechner@law.miami.edu.

Posted By AJ Blechner at 5/8/2015 5:16:57 PM  0 Comments
5/6/2015 4:53:29 PM

The May Issue of Spectrum - Featuring the Final Architecture Series - is available on AALLNET

The May 2015 issue of Spectrum is now available on AALLNET. You should receive your print copy in the mail soon. Please post any feedback you may have in the comments section below!

Posted By Ashley St. John at 5/6/2015 4:53:29 PM  0 Comments
5/4/2015 7:33:45 PM

How to talk about race in the library? 3/3

This is my third and final post on how to talk about race in the library. If you have read Parts 1 & 2 then kudos to you for staying engaged in the conversation.

So far, I have recommended that readers do the following:
1. Pay attention to your needs
2. Be knowledgeable
3. Be impeccable with your word
4. Know your own triggers.
5. Do not believe your stressful thoughts.
6. Demonstrate empathy, but do not allow others to use their emotions to dominate you.

I have only 4 more suggestions.

Photo courtesy Anil Jadhav under Creative Commons License Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)  

7. Choose your strategy to match your goals.

“This racial arrogance, coupled with the need for racial comfort, also has whites insisting that people of color explain white racism in the “right” way. The right way is generally politely and rationally, without any show of emotional upset.” (White Fragility, DiAngelo, p. 61)

At the 2014 AALL Diversity Symposium, I was criticized post session and anonymously for displaying anger. For the dozen or so of you who were there, you would know that my tones were slow and measured and if there was emotion in my voice, it was gravitas at sharing my personal experiences of a racist incident that occurred in my office in 2013. My goal was not to make people comfortable, but to share my story with the intention of opening people’s eyes to the reality of everyday racism in the South today.

“I make a distinction between my professional educator role and my every day citizen role. Even though I strive to live my life in a way that treats people with compassion and respect, I do not feel I   need to nor am I able to be the perpetual educator. I do not invest the same time and energy with every individual I come across as I do with my students. When I have chosen to be in the role of educator, and this is my accepted responsibility (and for which I often get paid), I believe I have a personal and professional obligation to do my best to help students learn and grow (within reasonable boundaries.) I do not believe (nor expect from others) that I must do this with everyone I meet.” (Can You Love Them Enough, Goodman 2015, p. 72)

The strategy that you use when dealing with a racial microaggression from a professor during office hours may differ from the ones you use with a liberal friend who perpetrates a racial micro-invalidation without fully realizing what she has done.

The strategy you use on social media will be different from the one you use at a family reunion. What I am saying is that you have no responsibility to do any particular thing at any particular time, but actions have consequences, and you are responsible for your actions, so act accordingly. By dint of being not white and living in the south, conversations about race will come up (sometimes about predictable things and sometimes not). You will continue to have opportunities to contribute to the conversation. On any given day it is up to you to decide how you want to participate.

8. Accept that not every conversation will go as you might wish and just strive to get better at having conversations about race and racism. 

Practice acceptance and foster faith in the belief that we are all just bodhisattvas walking each other home.  Accept that everyone is exactly where they are at with regard to understanding how to get along in a diverse world and that is alright. Everything is exactly as it should be in our world, every bird, every flower, every blade of grass. I accept that sometimes in spite of my best intentions I will end up coming across as the angry black woman.

9. Set boundaries.

Know where your boundaries are and do some soul searching so that you know how to talk about race in a way that is authentic for you. Remember that you always have the right to remove yourself from the conversation.

10. If you spend all of your time explaining across a cultural divide, it can become tedious and demoralizing.

 Find some people who share your racial experiences. Sometimes the goal of your conversation is to get, emotional support and validation that you are not crazy and for that you need people who are capable of having the same experience.

Posted By Catherine Deane at 5/4/2015 7:33:45 PM  1 Comments