Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Booknote: Where are all the librarians of color?

Rebecca Hankins and  Miguel Juarez, Where are all the librarians of color?: the experiences of people of color in academia. Sacramento, CA: Library Juice Press, 2015. 978-1-936117-83-3.

Genre: nonfiction
Subgenre: LIS, minority studies, academia
Format: trade paperback
Source: My library (Hutchins Library, Berea College)

This may be one of those books that more librarians should read, especially non-POC librarians. For me, I had some mixed feelings as I read it. In part, much of what I read is stuff that I have experienced; some of it is part of my life experience. Also, after a while, the book can get a bit repetitive on things like arguing for recruiting more minorities and why that is good for the profession. Now, I agree with those ideas, although I am very skeptical of encouraging people to apply for work in a field with  an over-saturated job market. Just run an online search or two to find plenty of tales of woe from unemployed and underemployed librarians. And no, telling people to just "look for alternative career paths" is not exactly a great solution or comfort. So with those concerns, I kept reading the book.

If anything, the best parts are the individual stories of those who made it and are gainfully working in the profession. Also, the parts on mentoring and networking at small, local levels were good. There was not enough of that. However, there were many mentions of ALA programs which,  while they may be good, often boil down to "pay to play" (you have to be a member to gain access, and there is no mention of the significant expenses nor the fact many people of color, or just plain many people, might  not have good enough finances to afford said access) and being the right age. As I discovered from personal experience, being too old even if  you are a newly minted MLS can limit some of your options.

The book is organized as follows:

  • A short preface by Loriene Roy.
  • An introduction by the editors. 
  • Three sections on  the following topics: 
    • "Setting the stage for diversity in the profession." 
    • "How diversity benefits the profession." 
    • "Personal diversity stories." 
  • The book has a total of 13 essays.
 The book does provide a good start on an important topic: the experiences of librarians of color in academia. It can be lonely for us in academia, so at least through this book we get reassurance that we are not alone. For librarians of color who keep up, much of the material is likely familiar ground. For everyone else, especially academic administrators, the book may be an important read. It is not a book to read cover to cover as it can be pretty dry as much LIS literature can be. If you read a bit here and a bit there, and maybe talk about it with others, you may get more out of it. 

I liked it, but I think I liked the idea more than the execution. LIS school libraries may want to acquire this one. I would also say that colleges and universities with strong interests in minorities and their condition, such as HBCUs and Hispanic-serving institutions among others, need to have this. It was part of why I ordered it for our library, the history of our college. Other campuses interested in diversity may want to consider it.

3 out of 5 stars.

* * * * * 

Some additional reading notes:

On  the "pay to play:"

"Such involvement is voluntary and both membership and association work are usually dependent upon the individual paying personal due and creating a plan of involvement-- from attending meetings and conferences to serving on committees and/or election to various offices" (viii). 

No mention of the  often prohibitive cost of membership (and let's not even go into meetings and conference costs, and woe unto you if your employer lacks the funds and/or willingness to send you anywhere). Two, also not mentioned, is that for many on a tenure track line, being involved is often required, so it is not always "voluntary."

The isolation, which is something I can relate to:

"As libraries remain predominantly staffed and structured by the majority White culture, the few librarians of color often find themselves feeling marginalized and without access to a supportive group of similarly diverse-minded colleagues to whom they can relate and confide. This in turn can also affect their own advancement in the profession, as professionals are generally better equipped to grow and succeed when they have such collegial group environments and networks at their disposal" (32).

A quote I liked that I think more libraries should mind:

"Running an effective library goes beyond just doing a 'good thing' for a particular minority group; in other words, doing the best work with all of the staff involved is, at a fundamental level, an ethical, inclusive organizational practice to which libraries should aspire" (34).





Friday, January 13, 2017

My Reading List for 2016

Welcome to my 2016 Reading List where I take a look at my year in reading. I feel that I started strong, but then the latter part of the year my reading just slowed down. The lousy election season in the United States certainly did not help my reading mood in the later part of the year. Also new this year is my study of Tarot and oracle cards. I am teaching myself how to read Tarot as a hobby and mainly as a meditation and reflection tool. I have found this new interest to be a calming element. In terms of work, I am entering my fifth year working at Berea College, and overall, it is going well.

Blogging here at The Gypsy Librarian has slowed down. While I still read LIS literature here and there, I am not reading as much as before. In addition, I find that I honestly could not care less about a lot of the drama in the library field, which means I am not inclined to blog about it. But if something comes up that may be of interest, I will post about it here. As I mentioned in last year's report, I am at peace with blogging less here. I've got other more interesting things going.

Blogging at The Itinerant Librarian has gone along nicely. That blog is growing into a good book review blog. I review both new and older selections I get from various sources. If you think you have a book I may want to read and review, check out my book review statement. I read a lot, and I read a variety of things, but I do not read everything, which is why I created the review statement. Reading and reviewing books is one of the best parts of being a librarian and reader. As I mentioned in last year's reading report, getting to know a few authors and editors is also a nice part of being a book blogger.

So, without further fuss, here is the list of books I read in 2016. As always, an asterisk (*) after a title indicates a book I reread:

January:

  • Jane Lyle, Tarot Deck: Explore the Power of Tarot (book and deck kit).
  • Troy Little, Hunter S. Thompson's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
  • Russell Brettholtz, Side-Kicked.
  • Rob Williams, Star Wars Rebellion, Volume 2: The Akahista Gamble
  • Don Brown, Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans.
  • Paul M. Barrett, Glock: The Rise of America's Gun.
  • Lewis Black, Me of Little Faith (audiobook edition)*
February:

  • Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti, Harley Quinn Volume 3: Kiss Kiss Bang Stab
  • Greg Rucka, Shattered Empire (Star Wars graphic novel)
  • Jen Campbell, The Bookshop Book
  • Natasha Knight, Given to the Savage
  • John Leguizamo, Ghetto Klown
  • Elizabeth Warren, A Fighting Chance (audiobook)
  • Margie Lapanja, Food Men Love
  • Julio Patán, Cocteles con historia
  • Donnie Cates, The Ghost Fleet, Volume 1: Deadhead
  • Ted Rall, Bernie
  • Kevin B. Eastman and Peter A. Laird, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Ultimate Collection, Volume 3

March:

  • Jim Berg, The Jumbo Duct Tape Book
  • Daniel Lipkowitz, LEGO Star Wars in 100 Scenes
  • Sarah Bowen, Divided Spirits
  • Harlan Ellison, Night and the Enemy
  • Sean Ryan, New Suicide Squad, Volume 2: Monsters
  • Tom King, Grayson, Volume 2: We all Die at Dawn
  • Rob Williams, Martian Manhunter, Volume 1: The Epiphany
  • Masahiko Murakami, Nichiren
  • Christopher Hansard, The Tibetan Art of Positive Thinking.
  • Kim W. Andersson, The Complete Love Hurts
  • Jerry Scott, Zits Unzipped
  • Charles Soule, Lando
  • Staci Mendoza, Reading and Understanding the Mysteries of the Tarot.
  • Robert Kirkman, Battle Pope, Volume 3: Pillow Talk
  • Jerry Scott, My Bad: a Zits Treasury.
  • Robert Kirkman, Battle Pope, Volume 4: Wrath of God

April:

  • Isabella Alston, Tarot Cards
  • Jessa Crispin, The Creative Tarot
  • Josh Mack, The Hobo Handbook
  • James Swallow, The Blood Angels Omnibus, Volume 1.
  • Richard Matheson, Hell House
  • Dick Lehr, Black Mass
  • Scott Snyder, Batman, Volume 8: Superheavy
  • Bathroom Readers' Institute, Uncle John's Factastic Bathroom Reader

May:

  • Louis Jordan, Llewellyn's Complete Book of Tarot
  • Patrick Gleason, Robin: Son of Batman, Volume 1.  
  • Brian Azzarello, Batman: Europa
  • Josephine Ellershaw, Easy Tarot (book and deck kit).
  • Scott Adams, When Did Ignorance Become a Point of View (Dilbert).
  • Jeff Jensen, Green River Killer
  • Donny Cates, The Ghost Fleet, Volume 2: Over the Top
  • Jason Aaron, Vader Down
  • Daniel Way, Deadpool by Daniel Way: The Complete Collection, Volume 1
  • Wilfred Santiago, 21: the Story of Roberto Clemente

June:

  • Thich Nhat Hahn, Silence
  • Sarah Cooper, 100 Tricks to Appear Smart in Meetings
  • Ellen DeGeneres, Seriously...I'm Kidding (audiobook).
  • Erik Burnham, Ghostbusters International

July:

  • Nicholas Pileggi, Casino.  
  • Adrian Tomine, Scenes from an Impending Marriage
  • David Wilkie, Coffee with Jesus
  • Corinna Sara Bechko, Aliens/Vampirella.  
  • David Wilkie, A Second Shot of Coffee with Jesus
  • Tom King, Grayson, Volume 3: Nemesis
  • Benjamin Law, Gaysia
  • Rachel Kramer Bussel, ed., Dirty Dates
  • Barbara Moore, Tarot for Beginners
  • Amanda Conner and  Jimmy Palmiotti, Harley Quinn, Volume 4: A Call to Arms
  • Sarah A. Chrisman, True Ladies and Proper Gentlemen

August:

  • Stephanie McMillan, The Beginning of the American Fall
  • Gustavo Duarte, Monsters! and Other Stories
  • Miguel Ruiz, Jr., The Mastery of Self
  • Carol Peachee, The Birth of Bourbon
  • Suzanne Corbie, Tarot Workshop: an Introductory Guide to Tarot (audiobook).
  • Gabriel García Márquez, Yo No Vengo a Decir un Discurso
  • Sean Michael Wilson, Cold Mountain: The Legend of Han Shan and Shih Te.
  • Bill Maher, New Rules (audiobook edition)*

September:

  • Winifred Gallagher, How the Post Office Created America.
  • Stacey DeMarco, The Halloween Oracle (deck and book kit). 
  • Emelyn Rude, Tastes Like Chicken
  • Denys Leary, Why We Suck (audiobook edition)*

October: 

  • G.B. Trudeau, Yuge! 30 Years of Doonesbury on  Trump
  • Editors of Rock Point, Cats in Sweaters.  
  • Tomas Prower, La Santa Muerte
  • Amanda Conner and  Jimmy Palmiotti, Harley Quinn, Volume 5: The Joker's Last Laugh.
  • Carole Cable, Cable on Academe.*


November:

  • Alex Mar, Witches of America
  • Joseph D. Pistone, The Way of the Wiseguy
  • Sam Maggs, Wonder Women
  • Mira Grant, Rolling in the Deep.
  • Stan Sakai, Usagi Yojimbo, Volume 30: Thieves and Spies
  • M.R. James, et.al., Ghost Stories of an Antiquary, Volume 1
  • Paul Dixon, Contraband Cocktails


December:

  • Barbara Moore and Aly Fell (illustrator), The Steampunk Tarot (deck and book kit).

Here are the numbers:


For 2016, I read a total of 92 books, including 4 re-reads.

Number of books read in 2015: 123, including 2 re-reads (the 2015 list).
Number of books read in 2014: 152, including 2 re-reads (the 2014 list).
Number of books read in 2013: 173, including 2 re-reads (the 2013 list).
Number of books read in 2012: 117, with 6 re-reads (the 2012 list).
Number of books read in 2011: 119, with 3 re-reads (the 2011 list). 
Number of books read in 2010:  119, with 6 rereads (the 2010 list).
Number of books read in 2009: 98, with 5 rereads. I believe this is the first time I started to actively track rereads. (the 2009 list).
Number of books read in 2008: 111 (the 2008 list).
Number of books read in 2007: 85 (the 2007 list).
Number of books read in 2006: 106 (the 2006 list).
Number of books read in 2005: 73
Commentary, other numbers, and additional thoughts:

  • I knew even without doing the final tally that I read fewer books this year. As I mention, the latter part of the year was just rough overall. On the positive, I do feel that I got to read some really good books this year, and I will do a post later highlighting the best books I read in 2016. 
  • The re-reads I did for one of my reading challenges. You can view my Reading Challenges for 2016 page to see how things turned out. In a nutshell, I completed 10 out 12 reading challenges I set out to do. As of this post, I am in the process of selecting what reading challenges I will attempt in 2017. Given how bad the latter part of 2016 was and  that I am not expecting 2017 to be any better in a lot of ways, I am probably going to keep the goals on the low side to be safe. 
  • Best month: March with 16 books. 
  • Worst month: December with 1 book. 
  • 61 books in print. The majority of what I read is in print, which reflects my preference to read in print.
  • 25 e-books. Majority of these I read via NetGalley. One of them came from my local public library's Overdrive offerings.
  • 6 audiobooks. These I  read mainly for the Audiobooks Reading Challenge I did last year. Not sure if I will repeat this challenge given the quality and selection of audiobooks in my local public library leaves a lot to be desired. They are good in other areas, but the audiobook collection has been neglected, and it shows in old out of date titles with minimal appeal. 
  • 6 fiction books read. Most of these were for the Horror Reading Challenge I did. This was a challenge I enjoyed, and I may repeat it again this year. I did rediscover that I do like the horror genre. Graphic novels and manga are not included in this number regardless of them being fiction or not.
  • 46 nonfiction titles. Again, this shows that I prefer to read nonfiction. This number does not include graphic novels and manga, though I did read some of those that could be classified as nonfiction such as graphic biographies. Tarot books are included in the category of nonfiction for me. 
  • 46 graphic novels. These could be fiction or nonfiction. I did not read any mangas this year, though I have bought a few new series. Maybe I can get to some of them in 2017. 
  • I read 53 books from my local public library, which at this time is the Berea branch of the Madison County (KY) Public Library. Most of my popular type reading comes from the public library for me. 
  • I read 2 books from my library, Hutchins Library, Berea College. 
  • No interlibrary loans (ILL) this year. It was not for lack of things I would have wanted to do ILL for, but more that I was busy enough with what I had to read already. 
  • I read 13 books that I own. 
  • Other numbers I find of interest: 
    • Erotica and/or sex writing: 3
    • LIS: 0. I had a few in my office I had checked out, but I did not get around to them. To be honest, I did not feel much of a loss. These days I am very selective about any LIS books I may pick up for reading. I still do read articles and keep up with what is left of the librarian blogosphere, so I feel at peace in this regard. We will see if I pick up anything in LIS in 2017. 
    • Tarot and/or oracle cards and/or divination: 9. As I mentioned, I began to study Tarot (and oracle cards to a lesser extent) seriously in 2016. As a result, I have been reading in this topic. When I get a deck that comes with a substantial companion book, I read the book, and I review both the book and the deck. In addition, I will be reviewing any individual decks I get to use and any standalone Tarot books. One of the best ones I read this year on this was Jessa Crispin's The Creative Tarot (link to my review). In addition, I was able to add these books to the tally of the Self-Help Junkie Reading Challenge I did in 2016. 
    • Pagan/Other beliefs/inspirational: 4. In this category I put stuff that deals with spirituality broadly. Though Tarot and paganism do not have to go together, they often do, so naturally as I read about Tarot I got curious about some pagan traditions. So among other things I read a book on witchcraft and witches in  the United States and another on La Santa Muerte. I also read some other inspirational books including a couple of graphic novels featuring Jesus in a coffee shop. I often label myself as a heathen, but it  does not mean I am a pagan per se, well, at least as far as I know. In this regard, I am more of a curious explorer, but I am finding a bit of a soft spot for some pagan paths. We'll see what kind of books on this I pick up in 2017. As a final comment, a couple of the books in this category also qualified for the Self-Help Junkie challenge.
    • Books I was offered for review (not from NetGalley or Edelweiss): 2. This has slowed down a bit for me. In part, this was due to the lousy year, which affected my reading mood, which meant there were books I did not get to in the most timely fashion. I have a few more left, and I hope to get to them in 2017.
    • Books in Spanish: 2. I was happy to see that this year I managed to read something, anything, in Spanish. For me, reading in Spanish keeps my in touch with my heritage.

Looking ahead, as of this post, I am currently reading the following:

  • Mark Kurlansky, Paper: Paging Through History.
  • P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast, Marked (House of Night, Book One).
  • C.S. Goto, Blood Ravens: the Dawn of War Omnibus (Warhammer 40,000).
Also, for 2017, I have already read two books, which I will be reviewing on the blog soon:

  • Becky Diamond, The Thousand Dollar Dinner
  • Inazo Nitobe, et.al., Bushido: The Soul of the Samurai (graphic novel adaptation).

Finally, here are some other folks who looked at their year's end reading:


Thank you for reading and stopping by. I hope you come back and check out my list of best books read in 2016, which I hope to publish soon.

Happy reading in 2017.