Thursday, June 25, 2015

Week 5 Journal - LIB 5060

It's the last journal!!!!! Last week of class, here we go.

Tonight, we have the final presentation for the class. I'm really excited to share what my group has come up with to benefit our selected library.

More than that, I'm excited to share the results of my retake of the quiz we took at the beginning of the summer session!

My new score: 50

You are a culture sensitive person, and people will recognize you as one.  If your score is above 50, however, you are probably sensitive and broad-minded in some areas only.  Actually it is easy to be culturally sensitive if one does not hold very firm beliefs about anything.  Look through the questions again and note where you picked up high rather than low scores.  Were these questions in which personal comfort was directly concerned, or in which convictions or very strong ideological beliefs were touched upon?

Now, before, my score was in the 60s. I've grown a lot over the course of this class, I think. I feel like the presentations have really opened up my mind to a lot. I don't know if my mind has been changed or anything like that, but I do know that I'm much more sure of what I believe, if that makes sense. I know that I'm still very anti-censorship, but I understand why some people think it's ok. I'm not ok with dating or marrying someone of a different race, but it makes some people happy, so good for them. I'm a religious person, but I get that some people are not, and that doesn't make them bad people. It's just made me more open minded, I think. I also believe that librarians have to be open minded because they are going to serve people from all sorts of cultural backgrounds, and it's unfair to not be as helpful just because you don't agree with someone's personal choices/history.

What a great thing to have realized! :)

As far as our group goes, I hate to grade each person in my group. I'm never a fan of doing this (who is?)

Audra was absolutely phenomenal. She took charge of the group and helped everyone stay on track and organized. She also worked really hard on putting all of our ideas into words on the papers and helped us stick to deadlines. I love working with her in class, because her paper writing is very similar to mine, so we usually do well together. Audra truly deserves an A in this class. She's a great person to work with.

Rebecca is just a great person. She kept things lighthearted and was definitely a great group member. She and Tiffiny made sure we had a great understanding of the Mooresville library, since they lived close to it, and she always did her part with the research of everything.

Tiffiny worked so hard on our BlendSpaces for the presentation. She is the technological one of the group. She would get the BlendSpace going, add pictures, and share it with all of us so that she could really contribute to the group. She isn't as much of a paper writer, so she was very excited to be able to contribute in this way (and I was happy that I had someone in my group who truly enjoyed creating presentations, because this is not my strong suit).

Rachel always did everything that was asked of her. She helped Tiffiny with the BlendSpace and did a great job during the presentations. She always knew exactly what she was supposed to present, and she did a great job of encouraging the rest of us while we presented.

My job was a combination of it all. I always helped and contributed with research by adding my thoughts and findings onto a Google Doc. Then, I would help edit down the papers into something smoother that we could turn in. I checked grammar and turned things into more academic writing (that's my specialty - editing!). During the presentations, I thought I did a decent job conveying information to the class.

Anyway, thank you so much for a great summer semester! I will see you in class tonight, Dr. B! Thanks for everything!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Week 4 Journal - LIB 5060

This week, we were supposed to go and check out everyone's space that was created for Part 3 of the Culture Project.

My group decided to create a very simple, streamlined space where everything was labeled in English and Spanish. We created posters/flyers in Spanish and English, labeled each section, and used selection criteria that allowed us to choose titles that would be appealing to Hispanic/Latino patrons, whether that meant the book/media was about current issues, written by a Hispanic author, etc.

One of the spaces that I really liked was the LGBTQ library space. I think this is a really hard group to serve, especially without getting any flack from outside community groups. I think a neat way to make sure you include books/resources for this group is to have them cross-referenced as LGBTQ but also as whatever else they are: adult fiction, young adult, and children's. That is exactly what this group did. I especially liked the videos section. I think videos are really helpful for this group, in particular.

I liked the space created for Seniors, but I still feel like it was a bit stereotypical of your traditional elderly person. It was very creative, with sections on travel, retirement flyers, grandchildren, etc. But what about those elderly patrons who don't care about any of that? What about elderly patrons who are still working, have no grandchildren, and are looking to the library for other resources? Shouldn't there be a fiction section that highlights literature about people their age? I know that, personally, I identify more with literature about people my there have to be seniors that feel the same way, right?

The homeless space was one of my favorites, if not my absolute favorite. I loved the wall with mirrors and the poetry hung on the wall. I liked that they included recreational reading as well as resources for the homeless AND books about homelessness. That was really awesome. Include a little bit of everything because these people are not just homeless; they're also real people. I loved the posters. It just made this feel like a really welcoming space. Bravo.

I wanted so much more from the teen space. I loved the idea of including books written by teens. I think that was really neat. I think a lot of research went into creating this space, but I was missing the technology that I think a library needs to include to really reach teenagers these days. E-books would be great to incorporate here. Something about Overdrive access? I don't know. I just felt like it was lacking.

As I see these other libraries, I'm thinking of what else I could've added in our library. I feel like everyone kind of went with just the stereotypes of what they thought each culture would like, and they didn't think of these people as more than their culture. I know the point of the project was to really think about how to serve the culture, but can't you get so caught up in their culture that you miss who they are as a person? It makes me think back to the personal cultural narrative. There were so many things that make me who I am. I don't think trying to serve one aspect of my culture would be beneficial for me. I don't know (just spitballing ideas).

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Week 3 Journal - LIB 5060

Another week of presentations are done!

This week, we had to present on the best practices for our culture in the library. My group presented based on research that we found that would make the Mooresville (or any) library better serve the Hispanic/Latino population. Overall, I think we could sum it up by saying we need to incorporate more bilingual signs, bilingual books, books that are written by Hispanic authors, and we need to reach out into the community to partner up with a liaison from their culture. Simply advocating for their culture will do wonders!

Next week, we have to design a space that shows how we would support our cultural group. I'm really excited to build out a library. I love projects like this. They let us get creative and design our own libraries the way that we would want them!

We also were supposed to read the article "The Culture of Comfort" by Annette de Faveri. This was quite eye opening, honestly. The whole article talked about how librarians themselves are a barrier in the library. And then, the last paragraph was just fantastic:

"We need to make ourselves and our institutions inclusive and accessible. We need to create policies, programs and services that are committed to equitable communities. To do this we must shed our culture of comfort. We need to emphasize ideas over tasks, and processes over solutions. We need to insist that experiences and effects are as significant a measure of our success as counting heads at a library program. Collectively we can debunk the myth that the current definition of the library and librarian is complete and needs only to be reproduced to be successful. This is not a "them or us," or an "old versus new" split in our profession. It is simply the recognition that if we are indeed society's most egalitarian institution we must become egalitarian." 

Yes. All of this. This is perfect. Not often do I read an article where I passionately agree with something that someone else has said. This article, though, summed up exactly how I feel about the library. I love the ideas of putting ideas above the tasks themselves. That librarians have the power to make the library truly equal for everyone. This was just perfect.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Week 2 Journal - LIB 5060

This week, in class, we had to present on the specific culture that we chose for our project. My group has chosen to focus on the library in Mooresville, NC. We are specifically focusing on the Hispanic/Latino population because they are greatly underserved in this area.

We've done some research and we found out that this group is 16% of the area's population, which correlates with the national population of Hispanics and Latinos. Even though they are a good chunk of the population, they are still not being served like they should. This is partially due to lack of awareness about how to actually serve their community and partially due to a lack of caring, I believe. I think libraries forget, sometimes, that their job is to serve the community - including minority cultures.

In class, after presentations, I realized that there are other populations out there that are being underserved. A group presented on the elderly and we had to immediately have a conversation about stereotyping. It's not something I think about in relation to the elderly, but after the conversation we had, it's absolutely true. We tend to just assume that the elderly population in an area are helpless. That they don't know how to use technology and they won't know how to do anything for themselves. This just isn't true. The elderly just aren't a population that I have ever really thought about in any other way. That's interesting though, because my dad is officially a Senior Citizen. He's one of the most technologically inclined people I know. That presentation really opened my eyes to a lot of stereotyping.

Another interesting presentation was the one on teenagers. Before this presentation, I wouldn't have considered teenagers to be an underserved population anywhere. Now, I could see how they would be underserved in any public library. They have one small section in my personal public library, and past that, they don't have anything. They need more access to technology. They just don't get what they need in the traditional public library setting.

I can't wait to keep going with these presentations and learn more about each population. This has already opened my eyes up so much, and it's just the first week!