New Resistance Resources

lafe-epicIn lieu of resistance roundup blog post links (and because I get to use the phrase “in lieu of”), I made a few new pages on the blog. Find all kinds of resistance links under Resistance Resources (peruse the drop down menus for categories).

I just added a page on ways to Take Action  and also one on Libraries of the Resistance.

I’ll be adding more content on a regular basis. If you have links to add, use the contact form below.

W is for…Work

I was intending to write about how taking walks helps support my writing, but I covered that already in my post about the outdoors. Instead I’m writing about how work supports my writing.

Balancing work and writing has been a struggle after coming back from sabbatical. Starting in June 2013, I had 15 months away from my job (as an associate professor in the campus library), where I spent almost all of that time writing. I’ve been back to work at the library since this past September, and I’m just getting to the point now where I’m starting to feel comfortable heading into the office every day. (Just in time for summer vacation!) Such is the nature of sabbaticals.

Sabbatical was amazing. It was wonderful. I wish everyone could experience it. It helped me see how I’m not essential to the work of the library. The library can get along just fine without me.  I value my work as a librarian, helping students connect with and critically use information, but that work will continue with or without me. I am an important part of that work but again, I am not essential.

On sabbatical, I learned that writing is my career. It may never support me with a full time income, but it is my career, my passion, my vocation. While I think carefully about the ways in which I fulfill my commitments to my institution – I do not want to shortchange the library, the institution or my students – it is my day job.

Work supports my writing by giving me time. I have a flexible schedule, I have sabbaticals, I have a tremendous amount of autonomy. It may not be my ideal career, but for now it gives me the stability, especially through health insurance and income, that frees up time to write.

Diversify Your Shelves

Last week we saw the We Need Diverse Books campaign storm Twitter.  In case you missed it or are feeling nostalgic:

Saturday’s challenge was to buy diverse books (or check them out from your local library.)  Even though it was a lovely spring day, my wee ones wanted to go to the mall (because apparently I’m raising teenager girls).  We ended up at the train table in Barnes & Noble.  The wee ones played while I looked for diverse picture books.

Here’s what I found: it’s really hard to find diverse books.  I know, duh – that’s the point of the campaign.  I pride myself on my collection of kids books about and by African American authors and illustrators.  But I’ve found most of them through specific title searches.  (Whoa, some librarianese just surfaced there.)

I’ve found diverse books in the past usually because I’ve sought them out.  I’ve tracked down specific authors and/or illustrators from blogs, reading lists and recommendations from others.  It was much harder to find diverse books simply by skimming the bookstore shelves.

I pulled out book after book, looking for one that didn’t have a white kid (usually a boy) or an animal on the front.  That’s no knock on those books in general – there are some excellent children’s books featuring white boys or animals as main characters.  But there were so many books that could have told the same story with a child of color, or a differently abled child, or a child wearing a headscarf or a child with two mommies.

We need diverse books to tell our stories.  We need to question why white (male) is the automatic default.  We need books that don’t assume one way of being is standard and the rest are “different” or “exotic.”

So with time running out on the cooperation the wee ones were willing to expend at the train table, I made a final mad dash through the picture books and found two of them, which the wee ones love (especially the alien one).  I found both of them because they happened to be on display.

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Here’s a tip for bookstores and libraries – displays matter.  Covers matter.  We are in the business of connecting readers with books – and especially the books they may not even know they need.  Help a reader out, especially before time runs out at the train table.