002: The French Dressmaker (1906)

Podcast | Archives | Women’s Studies | US in the 1900s | Immigrants in the US

In this episode we hear from twenty-five-year-old Amelia des Moulins, a French dressmaker and immigrant living in New York City. Amelia came to the U.S. in 1899. Amelia talks about life in Paris before coming to the U.S., the fashion industry in Paris and New York, and her hard work to be a success in a new country. Her story was collected as part of an anthology published in 1906, titled, The Life Stories of Undistinguished Americans. The anthology was edited by Hamilton Holt, editor and publisher of the liberal weekly The Independent and later president of Rollins College.

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Library Policies Created By Patron Bashing

Library Lost & Found

images-2Talking crap about patrons, as I’ve said before, might be the number one barrier to customer service in libraries. And when we talk about customer service we don’t just mean personal interactions at the public service desk – that’s the tip of the iceberg. We mean policies, procedures, services: from design to implementation. And sadly, a culture of patron negativity melts the iceberg (and prevents innovation).

Some examples (write yours in the comments):

Public service desks that look like military forts
I’m sure there’s some historical reason for gigantic public service desks – like we didn’t have computers back then or whatever – but c’mon. My library has an AV desk (“AV”, by the way, stands for “audiovisual”…that’s another discussion). Anyway, the AV desk is so large that helping a patron involves taking a short jog around the block. Showing the patron where a movie is – a hallmark of good customer service…

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Yes, Digital Literacy. But Which One?

Hapgood

One of the problems I’ve had for a while with traditional digital literacy programs is that they tend to see digital literacy as a separable skill from domain knowledge.

In the metaphor of most educators, there’s a set of digital or information literacy skills, which is sort of like the factory process. And there’s data, which is like raw material. You put the data through the critical literacy process and out comes useful information on the other side. You set up the infolit processes over a few days of instruction, and then you start running the raw material through the factory, for everything from newspaper articles on the deficit to studies on sickle cell anemia. Useful information, correctly weighted, comes out the other end. Hooray!

This traditional information/web literacy asks students to go to a random page and ask questions like “Who runs this page? What is their expertise? Do…

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Stand, Fight, Resist

 

December 16, 2016

 

The idea that libraries are neutral spaces has been well and disabused over the last few years. From the services we offer to the collections that we curate, the decisions that libraries and librarians make are political ones that reflect values. Sometimes those are the values of the organization, sometimes the values of the individuals, and sometimes they are the values of the communities that the library serves. Those values are illustrated by our technologies, our ontologies, and our descriptors. Those who attempt to hold that “neutrality” of information access is an ideal for which to strive have had a hard time holding to that stance as increasing numbers of librarians question and deconstruct our profession. I would like to suggest something even stronger…that even if it were possible for libraries to be neutral spaces, that to create such a space would be morally questionable, and potentially actively morally wrong.

I say this as someone who firmly believes in the maxim of combating bad speech with more speech. I am not here advocating controls or restrictions on speech. But it is not the responsibility of every library to collect and distribute literature of hate, or falsehoods, or lies. Some libraries do need to collect everything, the good and the bad, for archival and historical study purposes, but those libraries are fairly obviously identified in practice and the vast majority of libraries should and could take a stand with their actions, programs, policies, and collections to be on the side of justice and scientific fact.

Neutrality favors the powerful, and further marginalizes the marginalized. In the face of the current political climate, with the use of opinions as bludgeons and disinformation as the weapon of choice for manipulation and intellectual coercion, it is up to those who value fact and believe in the care of those in need to stand up and positively affirm that to do otherwise is evil.

I say this as someone who firmly believes in the maxim of combating bad speech with more speech. I am not here advocating controls or restrictions on speech. But it is not the responsibility of every library to collect and distribute literature of hate, or falsehoods, or lies. Some libraries do need to collect everything, the good and the bad, for archival and historical study purposes, but those libraries are fairly obviously identified in practice and the vast majority of libraries should and could take a stand with their actions, programs, policies, and collections to be on the side of justice and scientific fact.

Neutrality favors the powerful, and further marginalizes the marginalized. In the face of the current political climate, with the use of opinions as bludgeons and disinformation as the weapon of choice for manipulation and intellectual coercion, it is up to those who value fact and believe in the care of those in need to stand up and positively affirm that to do otherwise is evil. Read article

 

New McCarthyism starts against librarians in Trump’s America?

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Naomi Schaefer Riley

In Donald Trump’s America, you might have to wave good-bye to the Institute of Museum and Library Services, with budget given as an excuse—not the best of news for the rural people who voted for him.

But there is also another possible danger: McCarthy-style witch hunts against librarians, along with the questioning of the need for the current number of them.

Today a New York Post columnist named Naomi Schaefer Riley took potshots at librarians worried about about the Trump administration’s threat to such trifles as free expression and diversity. None other than an acquaintance of mine, Sarah “Librarian in Black” Houghton, was among those in the crosshairs.

In Why quiet-loving librarians can’t shut up about politics, Naomi Schaefer Riley wrote:

Read article: New McCarthyism starts against librarians in Trump’s America?

How would the Stoics cope today?

Ryan Holiday | Sunday 11 December 2016

The ancient philosophy of Stoicism offers many insights into coping with our troubling times

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Testing times: Richard Harris as Marcus Aurelius in Ridley Scott’s Gladiator (2000). Photograph: Alamy Stock Photo

Some of us are stressed. Others are overworked, struggling with the new responsibilities of parenthood, or moving from one flawed relationship to another. Whatever it is, whatever you are going through, there is wisdom from the Stoics that can help.

Followers of this ancient and inscrutable philosophy have found themselves at the centre of some of history’s most trying ordeals, from the French Revolution to the American Civil War to the prison camps of Vietnam. Bill Clinton reportedly reads Roman Emperor and stoic Marcus Aurelius’s Meditations once a year, and one can imagine him handing a copy to Hillary after her heart-wrenching loss in the US presidential election.

Stoicism is a school of philosophy which was founded in Athens in the early 3rd century and then progressed to Rome, where it became a pragmatic way of addressing life’s problems. The central message is, we don’t control what happens to us; we control how we respond. Read more…

Need A New Year’s Resolution? 10 Ideas For A Stronger Career In 2017

Caroline Ceniza-Levine | Dec 11, 2016

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Shutterstock

As we finish off one year and prepare to start the next, it’s a good time to think about how we want 2017 to be better, which for purposes of this column means a better career. Here are 10 ideas for new year’s resolutions to adopt for a stronger career in 2017:

1. I will stay in touch.

You can start the networking habit with a holiday mailing. You can continue by reaching out in the new year to ask about people’s holidays. You can make additional contacts throughout the year by dedicating your lunch hour to meeting up with people and getting out from behind your desk, or reconnecting with at least one person you don’t see day-to-day. Even if you only do this once per week, that’s 52 chances for staying in touch.

Read more…