Sessions 2021

Keynote – Cambiando balas por libros

Gustavo Gutiérrez & Zeidy Riveros Velasco

*Talk given in Spanish with live interpretation into English.

La charla cuenta la experiencia de la iniciativa Biblioghetto que lleva cerca de 15 años haciendo promoción de lectura en entornos urbanos no convencionales, como las calles, los parques, los expendios de drogas y los barrios con mayor índice de violencia en la ciudad de Cali, la más violenta de Colombia. Hemos desarrollado cerca de 900 talleres de lectura y escritura y articulado cerca de 100 proyectos de prevención de la violencia a través de la lectura y la escritura con nuestra biblioteca popular e itinerante.

Fumbling Toward Radical Information Liberation with Prison Library Support Network

Emma Karin Eriksson, Mia Bruner, Mary Mann

The Prison Library Support Network (PLSN) is an information-based collective founded in 2016 to support incarcerated people by organizing networks for sharing resources and building community around prison abolition in libraries, archives, and other knowledge-based institutions. Since our inception, we’ve developed a series of projects in partnership with NYC-area library correctional services, including book drives, reference letter answering, and, most recently, a fundraiser in support of the Queens, Brooklyn, and New York Public Libraries’ correctional services divisions, whose work was impacted by Covid-19.

The Prison Library Support Network (PLSN) is an information-based collective founded in 2016 to support incarcerated people by organizing networks for sharing resources and building community around prison abolition in libraries, archives, and other knowledge-based institutions.

Our goal for this presentation is to offer our work as one model for organizing sustainable, volunteer-powered information networks and services, and to encourage reflection on what our roles as information workers look like in the struggle for collective liberation.

Fumbling Toward Radical Information Liberation PPT

Reparations Librarianship

Kai Forsley, MLIS

This talk will present a new idea for librarianship. The talk will explain how public libraries, specifically, can be allies in the African American quest for reparations from the United States government. There are many reparations task forces being convened across the country, and this talk will focus on how we can use library intelligence to partner with other city agencies to monetarily address a perpetual injustice.

It melds genealogy, information science, and information taxonomy in a succinct way to offer ideas that include processes and procedures for libraries becoming outposts for reparations’ certification.

Though an untapped idea, it is one that if carried to fruition, will definitely “liberate” many aspects of American life. At best, it can work to help African Americans prepare for monetary reparations by tracing their lineage; at better, there will be a long-standing new type of librarianship that will allow African Americans to actually gain monetary compensation for enslaved ancestors.

Virtual Celebrations for Chicago’s Southside Teens

Jose Luis Benavides & Natalie Bromann

“Since the Covid-19 pandemic shut down public meeting rooms like YOUmedia teen learning spaces, librarians and staff at Back of the Yards Branch of the Chicago Public Library have reimagined how to engage their local teenagers by sharing resources and creating cross-institutional collaborate to better serve their local community.

Connecting urban teens, high schools, and arts organizations across the city of Chicago, Jose Luis Benavides (Teen Associate, YOUmedia) and Natalie Bromann (Librarian I, YOUmedia) will compare best practices, successes and challenges in creating long-lasting neighborhood partnerships while expanding outreach efforts within urban environments.

Turning the pandemic frown upside down, this conversation explores innovative ways moving to the virtual can forge extensive, youth-focused engagements, and how we can all create exciting virtual programming to celebrate teen ingenuity and interests. By listening to teenagers. how may we better serving Black and Latinx communities in the Southside of Chicago and across the city.”

More than a Coat: Running the Operation Warm Coat Drive as a Site of Joy

Cornelia Beckett

For three years running, the Operation Warm program has brought brand new coats and books to children in Baltimore City, using the Enoch Pratt Free Library as a distribution point. The program has grown to include interactive arts programming, fresh produce giveaways, crafts from local organizations and more. Join the program’s coordinator Cornelia Beckett for a talk about how libraries can incorporate joy and creativity as we meet the community’s material and informational needs.

A Celebration of Community: LA County’s Cultural Resource Centers

Katrina Lacerna, Kascia Samel, Daniel Hernandez, Rose Mitchell

LA County Library is one of the largest library systems in the country, with 86 branches spanning over 3,000 square miles and within that vast system, there live four gems. LA County Library is home to four Cultural Resource Centers educating, archiving, and serving communities of color. Daniel Hernandez, Chicano Resource Center Librarian, Kascia Samel, American Indian Resource Center Librarian, Katrina Lacerna, Asian Pacific Resource Center Librarian, and Rose Mitchell, Black Resource Center Librarian, from LA County Library will share stories of joy from customers and the critical role that the Resource Centers play in our system at large, but also for the specific communities that they serve during times of both civil unrest and in times of community celebration of history, the present, and the future. In this talk, you will learn about the programs, services, and resources that the LA County Library Resource Centers have to offer and you will leave feeling inspired and empowered to continue similar work in your library.

Librarians with Spines: LIS Publishing for BIPOC and other Oppressed Groups

Autumn Anglin She/Her/Hers, Yago Cura He/Him/His

A panel discussion of how to create an alternative narrative books, media and a movement with little to no resources. Topics include: How to Lead from Anywhere, You can do it too, Why publish alternative narratives? What does it take to be an antiracist librarian who works to showcase marginalized voices?

Care on Purpose: learning from emergence and stewardship

Margo Gustina, Nasha Taylor

As librarian and scholar Nicole Cooke put it, change needs to occur on the micro (small), macro (big), and mezzo (intersection) levels in order to be transformational. In Care on Purpose we’ll employ the lessons of Trauma Stewardship (Laura van Dernoot Lipsky) and Emergent Strategy (adrienne marie brown) to librarianship: how we establish boundaries of and for self-care which allow us to interact with one another, ourselves, and our work with fewer layers of toxic armor; how we establish protocols of care through policy and structure of service and use the power we have to organize for expansion of these policies beyond the library; and how to mitigate our inner-cop so we can employ compassionate rigor (Cindy Weisner) to our accountability processes in our institutions and with each other.

How Comics Create More Open-Minded Communities

Maia Kobabe, Brenna Thummler, Rodney Barnes, E. Stanley Norwood, “Stan Stanley”, Amanda Meadows, and Joel Gill

From bridging gaps in reading-levels to inspiring the busy individual to pick up a book again, comics invite readers to step inside a new world, tackling difficult topics with grace and empathy. The combination of images and words make graphic novels feel more accessible, even when covering weighty subjects, and allow readers to process at their own pace. By visually seeing oneself in a particular situation, readers not only learn more about the topic, but gain more empathy, and learn to recognize visual cues in those around them who may be struggling to talk about their feelings and experiences.

Keeping the Joy in Storytime: Dismantling Racism in Storytime Songs

Amber Moller, Annie Lin, Meghan Klaus, Juana Flores

Our talk, “Racism in Children’s Storytime Songs” aims to spark a discussion about the songs that are often used in storytimes. Many of these songs’ original lyrics are racist— they use derogatory terms and often make light of other’s suffering. Although the lyrics have changed over the years and no longer contain hateful terminology, the history is still lurking in the background.

We view music in storytime as a celebration of joy, unity and community, and seek to create a more equitable storytime space by replacing songs with a harmful tradition with ones that our whole communities can participate in joyfully. We want to share how we have approached this difficult topic in our own storytime practices, with colleagues in our respective branches and systems, and how we feel that librarians anywhere can make small changes even if we are not musicians or music historians.

Keeping the Joy in Storytime PPT
Keeping the Joy in Storytime Resource List

The Joy of Making Mini-Comics

Dawn Wing

Collaborating with campus partners at a diverse, urban university setting during the pandemic, I have had opportunities to facilitate virtual mini-comics workshops that encourage local public school (elementary to high school) groups and college students to engage with their own creative expression through play and visual storytelling. I would like to share my approach and tips for implementing such hands-on virtual sessions through Zoom, especially if other library workers are interested in creating/adapting similar creative workshops in their own communities as well. I would also discuss how I briefly integrate information about comics in libraries, my own passion for comics as a librarian, reader and creator – and then show how anyone can make their own using minimal supplies. No previous experience required! In this presentation, I can also model the same brief mini-comic/zine demonstration I have done in my previous workshops, and participants are welcome to follow along.

Joy of Making Mini Comics PPT
How to fold an Accordion Booklet
How to Fold a 6 Page Booklet

TRANSforming Libraries

Ellen C MacInnis, Jill Rothstein

TRANSform is an initiative originally facilitated by an NYPL Innovation Project grant in 2018. Its primary goal has been to raise staff competencies to better serve transgender and gender nonconforming (TGNC) patrons. Our first resources for both staff and patrons launched during June 2019 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising. This included an NYC-related community resource guide; a TGNC programmer’s handbook along with templates for ready-to-go programs; staff training; TGNC author visits; and an ever-expanding list of TGNC topics and authors within the NYPL collection. With the 2020 pandemic keeping library staff fully or partially at home, TRANSform dedicated more time to updating resources (this time for the 51st anniversary of Stonewall) and expanding our staff support through more trainings and TGNC-themed readers advisory presentations. As we look ahead to 2021, we are growing our community of TGNC staff and allies and working to preserve our collection materials masterlist in a more readily-accessible format.

This initiative has also given us a focus over the last several months as public librarianship as we know it has been turned on its head. Our sense of community and purpose has helped turn a challenging year into one with its own share of successes and joys. We’d like to share our story with ULU and suggest ways of duplicating what we’ve accomplished in other NYC libraries.

Celebrating us: BIPOC Spaces of Joy

Twanna Hodge, Jamia Williams, Emily Dowie, Nicollette Davis (she/her), Richard E. Ashby, Jr.

Unlike other organizations that may be aimed at diverse services for patrons, these groups are specifically aimed towards library workers of color and that in itself gives us a feeling of liberation and joy!

These like-minded organizations from across the country differ greatly, but have the same focus on highlighting and supporting library workers of color.

The panel will consist of representatives from the following groups:

-The Coalition for Library Workers of Color is a group dedicated to inclusivity by providing a space for Library workers of all colors, their allies, and members of fellow marginalized groups, that recently grew out of a local library system and is now officially state-wide (under the New York Library Association).

-The Joint Council of Librarians of Color (JCLC, Inc.) is a nonprofit organization that advocates for and addresses the common needs of the American Library Association ethnic affiliates (the American Indian Library Association (AILA), the Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA), the Black Caucus of the American Library Association (BCALA), the Chinese American Librarians Association (CALA), and REFORMA: The National Association to Promote Library & Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish-speaking) .

-The LibVoices podcast is a platform that showcases information professionals of color. Listeners hear the fullness of their careers including successes, challenges, and achievements.

-We Here™️ seeks to provide a safe and supportive community for Black and Indigenous folks, and People of Color (BIPOC) in library and information science (LIS) professions and educational programs, and to recognize, discuss, and intervene in systemic social issues that have plagued these professions both currently and historically.

Join us to learn how these organizations got their start, how to join them, and how to create your own local group! No one should feel like the outsider at work.

Celebrating Us: BIPOC Spaces of Joy PPT
Celebrating Us: BIPOC Spaces of Joy Urban Librarians Conference Resource Handout
Celebrating Us: ULU Handout

Ready, Willing, & Disabled Librarians: What 2020 Taught Us About Reasonable Accommodations

Kayla Martin-Gant

Millions of people in the United States are affected by chronic conditions, and many of them get little to no accommodations from their workplace to ensure mutual success. 2020 was a rough, intense year for us all, and it also brought to light many of those issues that disabled communities have been pointing out for years. Disclosing and requesting accommodations for disabilities can feel extremely difficult if not impossible, and many library workers face subtle (and not-so-subtle) penalties for doing so. The restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic showed us, though, that many of these accommodations are completely feasible–and in some cases, new avenues for reaching patrons were prioritized in a way never seen before.

In this session, we’ll examine the prevalence of chronic physical and mental health conditions in the United States and in librarianship, the trouble with resilience culture, and where to go from here.

Creating Joy Through Conversation and Learning: Virtual ESOL Conversation Groups

Jo-Ann Wong

Prior to COVID-19, the Hunters Point branch at Queens Public Library hosted an in-person ESOL Conversation Group. However, the pandemic required us to readjust and restructure the program for a virtual setting. Our first virtual session for our ESOL Conversation Group was held in May 2020, and has been held on a weekly basis since then [only skipping holiday weekends]. These sessions have provided a virtual space for English language learners to practice speaking English, but also a place to socially connect with others in the community during these difficult times. For many of our participants who are isolated or are experiencing extreme hardship due to the pandemic, these sessions also function as outlets for them to emotionally connect, discuss their feelings, and engage with others in a positive manner. In addition, as we meet on a weekly basis, our sessions are also a place where our participants can discuss current news and share helpful resources. One of the benefits of our virtual space is that this program series reaches a far wider demographic than when we were in-person, with participants coming from all over the city, and sometimes even internationally. Starting with only one staff member and one volunteer hosting this series, we have since grown to include 4 staff members and 3 volunteers to help continue to grow this program series and make it sustainable for the long-term. As such, this talk will cover the differences and similarities between virtual and in-person ESOL conversation groups, how to start and run a virtual ESOL conversation group, how to conduct virtual outreach, and how to make this type of virtual programming sustainable for the long-term. As our staff and volunteers are crucial to making this program series a success, we will also discuss how to get other staff and volunteers interested and involved in helping to run this type of program series. In addition, we’ll cover how to utilize technology to our advantage, during a ESOL Conversation Group session.

Creating Joy Through Conversation and Learning PPT

Comics and the Urban Super Hero Narrative

Amy Chu, Darryl McDaniels, Sheena C. Howard, Larry Hama

Darryl McDaniels (Run DMC and creator of DMC Comics), Amy Chu (Marvel/DC writer Wonder Woman, Deadpool, Red Sonja) and other writers and artists of color will talk about the importance of creating inclusive comics and graphic novels for diverse communities and for all ages, and how they can transform and empower our understanding of the world around us.