Engaging, eye-opening, rejuvenating and amazing are what I experienced and witnessed over the course of the Joint Conference of Librarians of Color 2018. As many sessions there were was just as many side conversations in between breaks in sessions, after sessions, at breakfast- really at any time people were able to find time to talk, fellowship, commensurate, mentor, be mentored, or actively listen. Land Acknowledgments was made that included information about Indigenous People/First Nations lands that we were on.
This is the 3rd JCLC conference and my first time attending it. When I first heard about this conference, I knew that wherever I was that I was going to try my darndest to attend. I acknowledge the incredible amount of privilege that I have to attend JCLC. In my case to attend, I clearly outlined how my JCLC attendance aligned with my performance goals, bringing back information but how demonstrative it would be to support employees of color. As a Caribbean American, who is now living and working on the mainland it was vital to me to gather around library employees of color. Visibility matters. This was one of the few conferences that I truly felt at home and that I belonged. I wasn’t the only or one of few – I was one of many. I looked like everyone else. It was refreshing and much needed.
It was well structured. There was plenty of time to catch up with old networks and form new ones. The conversations that I had pre-during and post sessions are what is sustaining me even now. I was able to deepen prior connections, form new ones and had the chance to witness many others forming.
Below are some of the sessions that I attend along with a summary of what I have learned. If you haven’t done so, check out the schedule. Some handouts and presentations are available and also using the hashtag #JCLC2018 to find out people reflections and people who live-tweeted. There were too many things to do and not enough time. There were great posters too.
Developing an Inclusive Workplace for Librarians of Color Pre-conference session discussed many topics and talked about ways they either contributed to the state of the profession or recommendations/solutions regarding developing intentional (including impact) spaces where all (especially salient) identities are welcomed, included, and heard. One of the main goals was the creation of a manifesto that centers the needs of librarians of color on our campuses. Work-life balance for librarians of color looks different. Mentorship and sponsorship need to be embedded into the culture and structure of institutions.
- Whiteness in Librarianship
- Organization Development and Organizational Culture
- Administration and Leadership
- Recruitment, Hiring, and Onboarding
- Professional Development
- Work Environment
- Assessment of Organizational Climate
Our Librarianship/Archival Practice is Not for White People: Affirming Communities of Color in Our Work
- How do we affirm ourselves and our communities of color?
- How do you protect yourself and fellow POC, maintain safety/equilibrium when situated in predominantly white spaces?
- What is possible in our work by centering the voices and experiences of those often marginalized?
- How to protect that community from the people that supposed to be serving them?
“Recognizing that white supremacy operates even without white people in the room,” said one of the panelist. Acknowledging the structure, tradition, norms, ritual that reinforces or aids in policing of behaviors, actions, and thoughts. Using your passions to center communities of color. Knowing what battles you are willing to fighting because you can’t fight or win them all.
Cultural Humility for Library Workers
Sunny Kim and Nicky Andrews
Environmental Justice @ Your Library and in Your Community
I learned about tribal environmental justice that it is a collective responsibility. How the different treaties and acts lead to the state of environmental injustice that is happening today. The importance of increasing diversity and access to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
‘This is a Marathon, Not a Sprint’: Self-care and Women of Color in LIS
This session spoke to my soul on a deep level. Many of the themes touched on what I have and sometimes still wrestle with such imposter syndrome. “What does self-care look like?” was one of the questions asked. Some responses were along the lines of talking mental health days when necessary, eating regular meals and drinking water, exercise, work-life balance, reading materials that validate and challenging their experiences and more.
It was an amazing conference that provided library employees of the color the opportunity to fellowship together, share knowledge, heal, and rekindle their spirit and energy for the upcoming battles they would face back at their institutions. JCLC 2022 I here I come!