All posts by violet

Hack Library School chat: LIS student and new library worker perspectives

black and white drawing of a cat and four kittens sitting in a circle
From Rhymes and jingles / by Mary Mapes Dodge (1882)

113th chat, Tuesday October 9 2018: Hack Library School chat: LIS student and new library worker perspectives
6 pm Pacific / 7 pm Mountain / 8 pm Central / 9 pm Eastern

moderated by @DatasBrain & @LibrarianLauraJ
Wakelet (compilation of tweets) by @violetbfox

in collaboration with Hack Library School

suggested resources:

discussion questions:

  • Q1. What should new or prospective students know about library school before they begin their programs? #critlib
  • Q2. What has been (or was) the most beneficial aspect of your library program? What aspect(s) of your library program experience could be improved? #critlib
  • Q3. How can library school students and new library workers work towards a more equitable and diverse librarianship? How are equity and diversity addressed (if at all) in your LIS courses? #critlib
  • Q4. Do you/did you have a mentor in library school? If so, what impact has it had on your school experience and/or your career? #critlib
  • Q5. What scares (scared) you the most about the job hunting process? If you’ve been through the job hunt and were successful, was there anything you feared that turned out not to be a big deal? #critlib

health literacy

black and white photo of two fluffy kittens sitting and looking at the camera
Mammals of other lands / Charles J. Cornish [and others] (1917)
112th chat, Tuesday September 4 2018: health literacy
6 pm Pacific / 7 pm Mountain / 8 pm Central / 9 pm Eastern

moderated by @akaur0
Wakelet (compilation of tweets) by @violetbfox

suggested resources:

discussion questions:

  • Q1. How would you define “health literacy”? How does promoting #healthliteracy fit into your library’s goals or into your own professional goals? #critlib
  • Q2. Health Literacy Month is in October, so Sept is a great time to ask if your library engages in #healthliteracy initiatives. If yes, what does your library do? If not, what would you like it to do? #critlib
  • Q3. Health literacy is important for the general public as well as for health science professionals. How can libraries encourage critical thinking & #healthliteracy skills in interactions between patients and healthcare providers? #medlibs #critlib
  • Q4. Where do you see an overlap between #healthliteracy and #critlib? #medlibs

organizational culture

black and white drawing of two cats sitting on a wooden chair
From St. Nicholas vol. 27 no. 10 / edited by Mary Mapes Dodge (1900)

111th chat, Tuesday August 21 2018: organizational culture
6 pm Pacific / 7 pm Mountain / 8 pm Central / 9 pm Eastern

moderated by @GingerReads
Wakelet (compilation of tweets) by @violetbfox

Note: Some of these questions may be difficult to answer candidly in a public forum like Twitter. Participants are encouraged to tweet anonymously if it seems prudent.

discussion questions:

  • Q1. What kind of organizational barriers are in place in libraries you’ve worked at? #critlib
  • Q2. How are difficult conversations or controversies handled at libraries you’ve worked at? #critlib
  • Q3. What are examples of effective workplace practices you’d like to see more in more libraries? #critlib
  • Q4. How do you build allies and networks within and outside of your organization to foster positive changes? #critlib
  • Q5. How do you encourage/develop/support leadership at every level/staff to lead from where they are? #critlib

responding to ALA

black and white photo of a black and white Angora cat sitting in a half-closed basket
From Biggle pet book : a collection of information for old and young whose natural instincts teach them to be kind to all living creatures / by Jacob Biggle (1900)

110th chat, Tuesday July 31: responding to ALA
6 pm Pacific / 7 pm Mountain / 8 pm Central / 9 pm Eastern

moderated by @schomj & @voxpopulare
Wakelet (compilation of tweets) by @violetbfox


On June 26, ALA Council voted to accept proposed revisions to the meeting room policy with little discussion. These revisions added language saying the “hate speech” and “hate groups” cannot be excluded if libraries provide meeting space for other religious, civic, or social groups. On July 8, Tyler Vachon discovered this addition and posted concerns about it on twitter. An outcry arose, and on July 9 the hashtag #NoHateALA was created to organize opposition. In response, James LaRue of OIF (ALA’s Office of Intellectual Freedom) posted an explanation and later, due to confusion about when this addition was made, added a timeline of events. After hearing continued member concerns, IFC (ALA’s Intellectual Freedom Committee) created a working group to begin drafting new revisions. Meanwhile, some Councilors began work to call for a vote to rescind the June 26 changes and revert to the 1991 language while IFC works on revisions. On July 20, the Executive Committee voted to authorize a vote to rescind the June 26 revision. ALA Council currently is debating this proposal, with a vote scheduled for August 9-16.

suggested resources:

discussion questions:

  • Q1. How would you define “hate group” or “hate speech”? What do you think of SPLC’s definition of hate groups?
  • Q2. How do you think libraries can protect themselves, their patrons, and their workers when dealing with hate groups?
  • Q3. What are your thoughts on ALA Council’s response to the controversy around this issue?
  • Q4. What do you think would make ALA a more inviting organization? What do you think would make the conferences more useful?

citation politics

black and white photo of an angora cat lying on a large wooden desk
From The Angora cat : how to breed, train and keep it / edited by Robert Kent James (1898)

109th chat, Tuesday July 10: citation politics
6 pm Pacific / 7 pm Mountain / 8 pm Central / 9 pm Eastern

moderated by @cslaughter & @alizaelk
Wakelet (compilation of tweets) by @violetbfox

suggested resources:

discussion questions:

  • Q1. How does citation work as a performative and reproductive technology of power? (i.e., how does it reproduce and embody existing power structures?)
  • Q2. How do our personal citational practices reproduce or upend existing exclusionary practices in teaching and research?
  • Q3. How can we address/redress the unequal politics of citation in our instructional work? (In research consultations? In institutional policy? In our own projects?)
  • Q4. What role can movements for open access play in redressing the unequal politics of citation? What are its strengths and limitations?
  • Q5. Can we/should we/do we challenge the use of citation counts as an academic performance metric? What does that look like? Are there existing alternatives?

additional resources:

reflective teaching practice

black and white photo of two Siamese cats, one looking directly at camera, one looking to the side
Mammals of other lands / Charles J. Cornish [and others] (1917)
108th chat, Monday June 18: reflective teaching practice
11 am Pacific / noon Mountain / 1 pm Central / 2 pm Eastern

moderated by @thebookinator@charbooth
Wakelet (compilation of tweets) by @violetbfox

suggested resources:

discussion questions:

  • Q1. What does it mean to have a reflective teaching practice? #critlib
  • Q2. Can critical pedagogy and reflective practice coexist? What does this look like? #critlib
  • Q3. Can we help promote critical reflectiveness in students through our own pedagogy/praxis? Is this important? #critlib
  • Q4. What have you done to be a critically reflective library professional? To help students critically reflect? #critlib
  • Q5. Do the phrases “Growth Mindset” and “Reflective Practice” go together?  Why/Why not? #critlib
  • Q6. On page 19 of their book Reflective Teaching, Effective Learning Char writes, “To exercise reflective practice, you have to maintain the desire to learn more about yourself as an educator and the intent to commit to iterative improvement.”  What does this statement mean to you? #critlib

public libraries and #critlib redux

drawing of a pale cat with its paw in a jar labeled jam
From Mee-a-ow!, or, Good advice to cats and kittens / by R.M. Ballantyne (1874)

107th chat, Tuesday June 5 2018: public libraries and #critlib redux
6 pm Pacific / 7 pm Mountain / 8 pm Central / 9 pm Eastern

moderated by @abigailleigh & @izag
Wakelet (compilation of tweets) by @violetbfox

discussion questions:

  • Q1. Public librarians engage in critical librarianship all the time, even if it’s not called #critlib. What does that look like in the public library? Where does it happen (in person and online)?
  • Q2. What topics of critical librarianship are public librarians discussing? #critlib
  • Q3. How can other (public, academic, school) librarians encourage public librarians/library staff to participate in the #critlib conversation? What might be some barriers for participation?
  • Q4. How can #critlib become a more all encompassing LIS conversation to include all types of librarianship (academic, law, school, public, etc)?

engagement / outreach / advocacy

black and white drawing of two kittens in a wicker basket
From St. Nicholas vol. 18 no. 5 / edited by Mary Mapes Dodge (1891)

106th chat, Monday May 21 2018: engagement / outreach / advocacy: critical community building
11 am Pacific / noon Mountain / 1 pm Central / 2 pm Eastern

moderated by @haylmail @bannedlibrarian @kellymce
Wakelet (compilation of tweets) by @violetbfox

suggested resources:

discussion questions:

  • Q1. What constitutes outreach? Engagement? Advocacy? How do they relate to one another?
  • Q2. What sort of critical engagement/outreach/advocacy projects have you either been involved in or have caught your interest lately?
  • Q3. How do you determine what outreach/engagement/advocacy needs doing in your community?
  • Q4. What impact do your social identities have on your work in outreach/engagement?
  • Q5. Who do you collaborate with in your communities? What’s next for you?

student wellness

drawing of a long haired white cat sitting on a surface
From The homœopathic veterinary doctor / by George H. Hammerton (1890)

105th chat, Tuesday May 8 2018: student wellness
6 pm Pacific / 7 pm Mountain / 8 pm Central / 9 pm Eastern

moderated by @midnorthwest @beastlibrarian @hailthefargoats
Wakelet (compilation of tweets) by @violetbfox

Students are under enormous pressure to perform well in college. In addition, systemic injustice is playing out on college campuses through income inequality, racism, sexism, xenophobia, and other –isms that directly and indirectly impact students. Given that libraries are not neutral, what obligation does the library have to address the secondary symptoms of trauma and injustice—anxiety, depression, stress, and feeling overwhelmed or hopeless? This #critlib chat will focus on student wellness in the academic library.

For this conversation, we are adapting the World Health Organization’s definition of health to define student wellness. Student wellness is defined as both freedom from physical, mental, and emotional malaise, and the capacity to take appropriate measures to address the challenges of being a student in this current sociocultural, economic and political moment.

Suggested readings

Discussion questions

  • Q1. What do you consider to be the primary student wellness need for students on your campus?
  • Q2. What populations are often overlooked in conversations about student wellness?
  • Q3. What is something you find frustrating about how student wellness is discussed (or not discussed) on your campus or at your library?
  • Q4. Should librarians be trained to support student wellness? Alternatively, should libraries make student wellness a priority?
  • Q5. What do you do (or plan to do) to support student wellness on your campus?