ALA Midwinter

I attended ALA Midwinter in Denver, Colorado this February, which was a good experience, but when I got home from the trip, I felt worn out. I had a very busy fall. During the conference, I was wrapping up a book review, putting together a conference proposal, and working on my review documentation. As I sat in my room munching on a salad while writing, I realized this was not dissimilar to what I was doing at home most nights after work–still working, not spending time with others, not exercising, etc. I had been stretching myself too thinly and not taking care of myself. I took a step back from social media, turned down requests, canceled a few things, and used some sick days to start getting a little help. Making the right steps to get myself back on track have helped me feel a little better, and I plan to begin writing here a bit more now that I have some more energy. As a way to jump back in, I have a quick Midwinter overview.

This was my first time attending Midwinter, which I attended to co-lead ACRL’s Library Marketing and Outreach Interest Group (LMOIG) discussion with my co-convener Jen Park. It was lovely to meet her in person, and we actually ran into each other in the restroom on the way to the ACRL Leadership Council meeting. I’ve really enjoyed working with her!

LMOIG Leadership Team

After the Council meeting, we attended the Opening Keynote, given by #BlackLivesMatter co-founder Patrisse Kahn-Cullors and #1000blackgirlbooks founder Marley Dias. It was a humbling experience, and I was amazed to meet them both and receive signed copies of their books, one of which I gifted to a co-worker.

I only attended a few other meetings, but I enjoyed the Undergraduate Librarians Discussion Group (UGLi DG) meeting. I also experienced falling snow for the first time.

I visited the Denver Public Library, which has seven floors and is home to the world renowned Western History Collection.

Reforma held a fundraiser at Museo de las Americas; the museum had just opened a new exhibit on pachuco culture. (I somehow missed Junot Díaz appearance at the fundraiser, though! And this is a small gallery! I’m hoping he showed after I left, but I did leave at about 10 pm.)

Lowrider piñata

I think I had the most fun at the Denver Art Museum. I actually liked that it wasn’t that large, and I managed to see everything except for a few things in a just a couple of hours. I’m not one to write reviews, and I actually wrote one for their Facebook page. In case you don’t have a Facebook account, here is the text:

I really enjoyed my visit!

I was actually able to see most of the museum in a couple of hours, which was perfect as I am in Denver for a librarian conference full of meetings. As a librarian, I was very moved by Xiaoze Xie’s book censorship exhibit. I also thought the Stampede: Animals in Art exhibit was a lot of fun.

I happened to come by during the #heartsforarts campaign and spotted a few make-and-take craft carts and the participatory poster about what visitors treasure about the museum. I also saw an area that has soft seating and Spanish- and books available for young children. I really like that there are interactive activities for people of all ages to enjoy.

I love the integration of Spanish throughout the museum, as well–from the descriptions of items to the books available for children. I would love for my mom to come visit as her predominant language is Spanish.

I also took note that the museum is free for all children 18 and under. What a wonderful way to make art available to our youth!

From fun exhibits, interactive elements, and integration of both Spanish and English, I highly recommend this family-friendly art museum.

I generally don’t go on many excursions between conference sessions, but I’m glad I took the time to do a little exploring in Denver. In June I’ll be attending ALA Annual in New Orleans, which will be full of programs, including a co-sponsored program by the LMOIG and University Libraries Section Academic Outreach Committee, and, hopefully, a little sightseeing, too.

#WeNeedMixedBooks

Today is Father’s Day, and just last week, it was the 50th anniversary of the Loving decision. The anniversary gave me some time reflect on my mixed heritage. My dad is white and originally from Arkansas (he moved to CA in the 1970s), and my mom came to the U.S. from Mexico as a young adult. (My mom has been a citizen since the 1980s.) My parents got married in 1979. Here is one of their wedding photos.

Parents' wedding photo

Growing up, I didn’t know many mixed families, just mine, but that appears to be changing! It dawned on me recently that I have several friends raising children who are of mixed heritage. Here are some relevant articles on Loving, as well as the growing numbers of Americans who are mixed:

My sister and I started our school experience as Spanish-speakers; as the youngest, my brother didn’t have the same challenge. I didn’t realize we were “different” until elementary school, when kids didn’t believe some of my first cousins and I were related. Or worse, this woman who asked my mom if I was adopted. There is nothing wrong with adoption, but the question was to point out difference, and it was a terrible position to put her in, as well as for her child who was old enough to understand. I’ve seen and heard a lot from folks who are comfortable in addressing their fellow white person, as well as those who are comfortable speaking in Spanish as though I’m not there or can understand, not to mention the feeling that you don’t fit into neatly arranged categories. (This is just meant as a summary, and I’m also not going to get into my privilege as a very white and now graduate-educated Latina; I’m well aware.)

Books would have definitely helped with my identity issues, and, fortunately, times seem to be changing a bit. Prior to becoming an academic librarian, I worked as a bilingual (Spanish/English) library assistant in the children’s department of the Stanislaus County Library, and I about cried when I came across a picture called Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match. With the Loving anniversary, a friend of mine tagged all her friends in interracial marriages and partnerships, which prompted a very cool string of comments and photos. Our mutual friend made a special tribute about her marriage and family, and, from our exchange,  I found out that she had shown photos of my family to her daughter who is also half-Latina and half-white. I mentioned the Marisol McDonald book, and I let my friend know I would do a search for some more kids’ books. Although there is a disparity in representing children from a variety of backgrounds in children’s books in general (see the #weneediversebooks campaign), The Washington Post‘s “Where Are All the Interracial Children’s Books? points out that there aren’t many picture books that feature mixed children. I started doing some searching for pictures books about mixed families and children, and I was surprised to find a small but growing body of books (note that the lists below often share titles).

Now, this is somewhat of a side note, but I think Mixed Remixed, which is “a film, book & performance festival celebrating stories of the mixed-race and multiracial experience,” is so interesting! I had never heard of it before. I took a peek at some resources, I found this really cool list of TED Talks linked on the Mixed Remixed website, “6 TED Talks, By, For, and About Biracial and Mixed-Race Folks.”

I’m also glad to have found an online community of librarians who identify as POC that I can reach out to thanks to a librarian friend. Some members of the group mentioned that I ought to listen to The Mash-Up Americans podcast and the  Other: Mixed Race in America podcast. Code Switch also recently had an episode called A Prescription for ‘Racial Imposter Syndrome,'” which another librarian mentioned that she really identified with as a mixed person who grew up with her white parent. It has been great to hear about the multicultural families some of these librarians are raising, as well.

Left My Librarian Heart in San Francisco

I went to my first American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference in 2010, just a mere semester and a couple of weeks into library school. I was doing a fellowship in DC at the time, and the conference happened to take place there that summer. It was incredibly overwhelming because it’s a giant conference, and I didn’t know anyone or much of anything back then. After that, I didn’t go for a few years. I had promised myself that I wouldn’t go until I was working somewhere full-time. At one point, I was working four library positions, so it was hard to take time off as a part-time employee. I was also really concerned with saving money because my husband was working so hard while I was in school and hunting for a full-time job; it made me feel bad not to be contributing as much as he was putting in.

Fast track, so I went to the conference in Las Vegas last year. I meant to start this blog after I got back to talk about all the things I went to and saw, but now I’ve come back from the conference in San Francisco.

This year, I took my sister with me. Kory, my husband, was going to go with me, but it ended up not working out with his job. My sister and I played Eloise at The Plaza for a few days since I booked at the Westin St. Francis. It’s so fancy it took a minute to figure out the elevator. In between my conference sessions, meetings, and meet-ups, we had a fabulous time shopping, eating Thai, crashing in on the Philippine Independence Day outdoor concert featuring Jessica Sanchez, and catching bits of the SF Pride Parade.

What I love about the craziness of ALA is that it’s mashup of everything library–you can be talking to a public library director, teacher librarian, vendor, dean of library services, reference librarians, librarians who don’t work in libraries. It’s everyone from the rock stars to the in-the-trenches librarians. This happened to me last year. I didn’t realize who I was talking to was a more well-known person until half an hour had passed because Twitter pics are not the same. I almost died. lol

The meeting I most anticipated this year was the Association of College and Research Libraries Library Marketing and Outreach interest group (ACRL LMO IG). Last year, I found myself at a really small meeting for a new interest group. This group has really given me something to focus on in the midst of all the things I can’t necessarily do at work. The IG is just a place to share ideas and inspire others. The idea is that states will have their own meet-ups. I signed up to be Central CA’s rep for ACRL LMO IG last year, and I recruited a librarian at the local UC to help me begin tapping into the Sacramento-Fresno area, but for one reason or another, we didn’t get started. As luck would have it, I happened upon a librarian from a private university about 30 minutes north of me who was on sabbatical when I had contacted her about getting together to form a regional group. I’m excited to see if we can wake up our sleepy area. Those So Cal and Nor Cal librarians are a little more social than the Central CA bunch.

Here’s what else I went to:

Lucha Corpi, Javier Huerta, and Viola Canales: Mexican-American Poetry Panel reminded me of my childhood–making trips to the discount supermarket, visiting Don Juan Foods where my mom worked as a cashier in between cannery seasons at Del Monte, and eating raspas and playing Lotería with my cousins. My upbringing in a tight-knit Mexican-American family in an even tighter-knit Protestant domination has had such a significant impact on my life, I can’t even explain but in poetry. And I haven’t written poetry in many years, partly because I’m not very good at it.

Framing and Enhancing Visual Literacy: Using the New ACRL Framework to Develop Effective Art Instruction was a really great panel that featured librarians at different institutions who incorporate visual literacy into their instruction based on the new framework and Standards for Information Literacy. There were some great lessons and ideas for how to do this, but the one that sticks out to me most was a lesson on how an image of a snake charmer became the image associated with Mami Watta, an African water goddess.

Current Topics Discussion (ACRL IS), which focused on how to establish and strength our partnerships with faculty members, which was led by Amy Wainwright, a fantastic librarian I have gotten to know a little bit through ACRL LMO IG. We discussed problems we have, as well as possible solutions for improving our relations with faculty members. Because I’m at such a small campus, I kind of have an edge when it comes to this, but there is always room to improve, and I know that my slight shyness does get in the way.

Multimodal Literacy and Comics, which focused on how comics can help people see different viewpoints, particularly those from the position of a person of color. These provide another narrative that students might not encounter in school which focuses on the traditional canon. I’m a person who wasn’t exposed to comics until I was 20, and by exposure I mean not exactly reading them but getting to know someone who reads them. I also grew up not having books with characters with my family dynamic in a bilingual/bi-racial household. Let me say, when Marisol MacDonald Doesn’t Match arrived at the public library I was working in at the time, I cried made me cried in the children’s department workroom.

PR Xchange is basically displays and examples of libraries’ marketing materials that you can take home. If you know me, you know that I absolutely love this stuff. That’s a nice display sign,” is something I say on a regular basis. Not that my own designs are gorgeous; my job is way too Jill of all trades to be perfection in one area.

And a million posters…

But I found it on Google: Teaching college students Critical Digital Literacy

College student engagement in information literacy activities across the disciplines

Dogs, Donuts and other Distractions: Assessing Finals Week Activities at Academic Libraries

One-Shot Assessment on the Fly: Using Free Mobile Technology and Polling Software

Plotting a new “maptastic” course: building community and unearthing collections through pop-up exhibits Click here for a copy of the poster.

Sustainable Assessment: Using Google Forms for Library Instruction

All in a Day’s Work: Workplace Information Literacy from a Student Perspective

Can You Kern? Librarians as Graphic Designers

The Undergraduate Experience: Is it Enhanced Through Employment as a Library Student Worker? Click here for a copy of the poster.

Wikipedia: Metaliteracy in the digital landscape

I had a great time. I learned a lot. This sort of makes up for having to miss the ACRL conference in March. Next year, the ALA Annual Conference is in Orlando. ACRL won’t happen again until 2017, but CARL, the CA chapter of ACRL has a conference in 2016. I signed up to help out with the planning recently, so I will go to that. I think I might go to Internet Librarian in October. I’ve always wanted to go, and a colleague mentioned to another colleague that it’s one I would probably really enjoy.