Check out the Storify of our recruiting event here.
Check out the Storify of our recruiting event here.
I have long been critical of our hiring practices and interview models in academic libraries. I have sat on the interviewer side on many occasions watching candidates struggle and flounder, and it’s not their fault. It’s ours.
I have often wondered- what do we think we are measuring by putting candidates through a grueling, repetitive process? What skills or capacities are we hoping to assess that can only be ascertained through a day of grilling and interrogation punctuated with a
keynote address presentation? I have been increasingly frustrated by how our coded hiring practices burden, exclude, and disempower candidates, particularly candidates of color and first generation students, how we create opacity around hiring processes, and how we fail to make human connections.
Recently, I have been trying to think through the best means to leverage my newfound power as a department head to challenge traditional hiring practices which must be acknowledged to be well-intentioned but exclusionary at best, racist, ablest, and classist at worst.
Like many, I’m tired of describing the problems in academic library hiring processes (whiteness, privilege, and homogeneity run amok), and I want to act to disrupt them instead, already, now.
That’s why I’m proud to be a part of the work at University of Rochester’s River Campus Libraries, where we’re moving from hiring and interrogation to recruitment and conversation. Please join me and Rochelle Mazar, our Assistant Dean of Academic Engagement, for a twitter chat about our open job opportunities.
Spoiler alert: This is not enough.
But I think that we can at least begin to lay a groundwork for a kinder, more humane, and more productive process. It’s an opportunity to ask us questions and learn more about the opportunities at RCL, and it’s also a chance for us to receive feedback.
I hope you’ll consider joining us for this discussion, and that you may consider joining the team at the River Campus Libraries! At a minimum, it’s your chance to turn the tables and put us on the spot.
Note: If for any reason you are unable to participate in our chat through Twitter, you can submit your questions here or via email. I’ll be posting the full Twitter chat transcript here following the event.
You may never have met me in real life, and at times in creating this professional portfolio site I’ve wondered how much my personality has actually permeated. Do you know that I’m a joyous sort of person, inclined to chatting and boogieing to music while doing my work? I am. I’m a laugher and a gift-giver and a good friend and colleague.
Since the election, however, I have been grieving and fighting. I am continually anxious and angry but I still have my usual exuberance. It’s a heady mix that has meant I have been plunging ahead because only with the passage of time will our national nightmare end.
It’s been a rough year, dear reader. And in between pausing to worry and springing to action, I have been experiencing unprecedented professional success and recognition. I considered making a timeline of events so you could see how my recent accomplishments brutally coincided with national events, but that seems self-aggrandizing. My accomplishments are so small in the face of these injustices, and I am unable to parse my personal from my political.
So I won’t.
Instead, I’ll leave you with the Smiths, whose chiding lyrics have been my touchstone as I try to move to a more sustainable mindset for the duration of what looks to be a nasty few years. I am with you in it. I am listening to sad songs and trying my best.
One of the real delights of librarianship, from my perspective, is the varied work which lends itself to so many different styles of projects. Recently, through a UH Libraries Microgrant, I was lucky to be able to volunteer at a sponsored Feminist Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon.
The goal of the event was to encourage participants to edit and create Wikipedia entries. The event encouraged both female engagement by creating a space and training opportunity for women Wikipedia editors and encouraging editing and creation of pages for women on Wikipedia. This is an effort to confront the many aspects of gender bias on Wikipedia. I was (and remain) deeply inspired.
Which is why I want to encourage you to start editing Wikipedia too. It’s a great hobby- a real stress reducing activity, I would argue. If you’re a librarian, you probably already think about citations and sources in your free time. Why not weaponize that free time to encourage gender equality in the most widely used open source encyclopedia?
UH has created a great tool for getting started. Check it out! Get editing!
Here are some resources I have recently helped develop to facilitate and support the growth of a community of practice around Collection Data Visualization. Please use, enjoy, and collaborate.
Collection Data Visualization Wiki – A collaborative workspace for us to share and discuss standard visualizations and templates.
Data Visualization from Scratch LibGuide – A learning object with the example datasets and visualization examples I employ in the workshop of same name.
I am currently working to put together a data-visualization-for-collections listserv and wiki, but I am happy to share my powerpoints, resources, and LibGuide from the preconference and presentations I delivered at the Charleston Conference.
Rolling with the Punches…And Punching Back: The Millenial Librarian’s Approach to Library Budgets and Acquisitions
Collection Dashboards for Selectors Presentation – Collaboration with Wenli Gao
Below is a short excerpt from my forthcoming chapter in Millennial Leadership in Libraries, which is being compiled and edited by the incomporable Ashley Krenelka-Chase. Look for the book to be published in early 2017 by Hein.
“In the 21st century, the digital revolution shows no signs of slowing down. To remain relevant, any institution, including one as established as libraries, must evaluate its place in a world increasingly lived online,” posits Hendrix in a 2010 report for the American Library Association on the future of libraries.[i] The library is and will continue to be a hot bed of disruptive technology and transformation. As millennial librarians confront the very natural stress of early and mid-career, they can find natural allies, mentors, and friends among colleagues who, while perhaps transformation-fatigued, are also transformation-tested. In reminding our coworkers of this shared legacy, librarians of any generation can find a common ground to discuss past and future practices and how together we can manage the changes and transformations to come in the ever-evolving work of librarianship.
One role for millennial librarians may be to remind intergenerational colleagues that these changes and transformations have affected the functional practice of librarianship for more than fifty years. In published articles and studies that belabor the point of “existential crisis”[ii] and the “threat” of “digital revolution”[iii] we find that anxiety has become a part of professional life for many of our colleagues. Instead of participating or engaging in this anxiety around change, millennial librarians can pivot and embrace change. There is opportunity in owning transformation, reassuring anxious colleagues, and advocating for less fear in libraries. As we lean in to support our peers, we can remind them that they can lean back in some aspects of the work where we are experts. In these efforts, the natural give and take of relationship-based management may prove useful.
Librarianship is a field full of legacies including historic commitment to insuring access, to serving diverse user groups, and to supporting research. This is not to say that all legacy practices or workflows in a given institution can be viewed as positive. Rather, it is a reminder that we need to consider the ongoing impact of our work and how we enhance and shift these legacies through commitment to relationship building and leaning in where change and transformation are necessary. Of legacies and leaning in, Sheryl Sandberg notes, “Leadership is about making others better as a result of your presence, and making sure that impact lasts in your absence.”[iv]
[i] Jennifer Hendrix, Checking Out the Future: Perspectives from the Library Community on Information Technology and 21st Century Libraries (Washington D.C., American Library Association, 2010).
[ii] Bihn P. Le, “Academic Library Leadership in the Digital Age,” Library Management, 2015. 314
[iv][iv] Sheryl Sandberg, Lean in: women, work, and the will to lead (New York, Alfred A. Knopf, 2013).