Still blogging infrequently and mostly absent from social media, but this is a huge piece of work. I hope to write up some reflections on what I learned through this process before too long.

Dear Colleagues-

Today, we are excited to announce that the Project READY (Reimagining Equity and Access for Diverse Youth) online racial equity curriculum is live and accessible at ready.web.unc.edu. Learn more at Booth 2650 at ALA Annual in Washington, DC.

A historic milestone was quietly reached in the American public school system during the 2014-2015 school year: for the first time in history,youth of color made up the majority of students attending U.S. public schools. Creating inclusive and equitable school and public library programs for Black youth, Indigenous youth, and Youth of Color (BIYOC) requires knowledge about topics such as race and racism, implicit bias and microaggressions, cultural competence and culturally sustaining pedagogy, and equity and social justice. Research shows, however, that few library and information science (LIS) master’s programs include these topics in their curriculum.A recent survey focused specifically on early career youth services librarians found that only 26.8% of respondents said that social justice was included in a substantive way in their master’s curriculum; 37.2% said that cultural competency was substantively included, and 41.8% said that equity and inclusion was substantively included. Related to these findings, a majority (54.08%) of respondents said that their master’s programs did not prepare them well for working with youth of color and other marginalized youth.

In 2016, The School of Information and Library Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the School of Library and Information Sciences at North Carolina Central University, and the Wake County (NC) Public School System (WCPSS) were awarded a three-year Continuing Education Project grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to develop Project READY to address this existing gap in professional development opportunities for youth services library staff.  The curriculum aims to:

  • introduce youth services library staff to research in areas such as race and racism, critical theory, and culturally responsive or sustaining pedagogy.
  • establish a shared understanding of foundational concepts and issues related to race, racism, and racial equity.
  • encourage self-reflection related to race and racial identity for both BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) and white library staff in public and school libraries.
  • amplify the work of practitioners and scholars who are providing inclusive and culturally responsive services for youth of color and Indigenous youth.
  • provide concrete strategies for creating and/or improving library programs and services for Black youth, Indigenous youth, and children and teens of color.

The curriculum consists of 27 modules, designed to be worked through by individuals or small groups. Modules are organized into three sequential sections. The first section (Foundations) focuses on basic concepts and issues that are fundamental to understanding race and racism and their impact on library services. The second section (Transforming Practice) explores how these foundational concepts relate to and can be applied in library environments. Finally, the third section (Continuing the Journey) explores how library professionals can sustain racial equity work and grow personally and professionally in this area after completing the curriculum.

The curriculum represents the work of 40 researchers, practitioners, administrators, and policymakers, and youth from a variety of racial and cultural backgrounds. It is grounded in the work of scholars of color and Indigenous scholars who have thought and written about issues related to institutional and individual racism, equity, inclusion, and social justice.

We hope this curriculum will benefit and inform the work of the many organizations and individuals that are working to improve the quality of life and educational opportunities for BIYOC.

We will be promoting the curriculum on the exhibit hall at ALA’s annual conference in Washington, DC – Booth 2650. We invite you to stop by and preview Project READY!

Sincerely,

Sandra Hughes-Hassell, PhD
Professor
She/Her/Hers

Casey H. Rawson, PhD
Teaching Assistant Professor
She/Her/Hers

Kimberly Hirsh, MAT, MSLS
PhD Student
She/Her/Hers

I’m still on hiatus from social media activity and comments on my blog posts are still closing after only 1 day. But there are some things that I want to capture in this space immediately, rather than waiting until I “come back,” and there are some things that I think could benefit other people by being public, so I’m going ahead and posting. This is one of those things.

I went to the doctor yesterday. I needed refills on my prescriptions. And I’d also noticed recently that a number of chronic illness symptoms had crept up on me slowly over the past… year and a half? Six months, at least. So I went in expecting to discuss those symptoms with her.

When she asked how I was, I gave her the list of symptoms:

  • Puffy face
  • Missing outer third of eyebrow
  • Low body temperature
  • Intense fatigue (can’t put away laundry or cook)
  • Brain fog (Only about 2 good hours a day)
  • Joint and muscle pain
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Coarse hair
  • Hair loss
  • Carpal tunnel
  • Worsening vision
  • Headaches
  • Dry skin
  • Brittle nails
  • Acne
  • Hirsutism
  • Tinnitus
  • Insomnia
  • Dizziness
  • Frequent urination
  • Excessive thirst
  • Sore throat
  • Waking with a racing heart

I said, “These symptoms are consistent with when my thyroid hormones have been off in the past.”

“Your thyroid numbers are good,” she told me. I looked at them. She was right. They weren’t just normal; they were in what I know to be the optimal range for me. They were excellent.

I’d noticed that a lot of these symptoms were also consistent with diabetes. “Your blood sugar is at the high end of normal, but it’s lower than it was six months ago. It’s moving in the right direction.” So I’m still prediabetic. But not yet diabetic.

This is where most doctors would tell me I was fine, or I need to eat more protein, or it’s because I’m the mom of a young kid.

“But you’re having these symptoms, so you’re not okay,” she said. I love my doctor. “Have you noticed any pattern?”

I told her no. They have snuck up on me, sort of one at a time over months and months, and so I haven’t been tracking them.

“Well, they could be a food sensitivity. Or another autoimmune disease.” There’s a high level of comorbidity with autoimmune diseases, such that having one makes you a lot more likely to later acquire another. “But I don’t even know what to test without more information. So come back in two to four weeks with some data and we’ll decide what to test.”

I really wanted to be able to just increase the dose of one of my current medications to fix this, but apparently, that’s not an option. Straightforward dietary changes that have helped in the past, like cutting out gluten and corn, which I’d been doing for the past two months, didn’t seem to be helping. So here we are. I’m spending the next month collecting data on everything I can think of, looking for relationships. I’m tracking which symptoms I have on what days, what I eat, how I sleep, and anything else that comes to mind; the app I’m using, Flaredown, lets you add tags freely so I can track things like travel and even whether my kid naps.

Esmé Weijun Wang, who writes a blog for ambitious people dealing with limitations, writes:

My work, although it may not look like work to most, is to take care of myself. I must care for my health with as much attention as I once paid to the documents I was hired to edit, or to the long hours spent at the office on Saturdays. Aggressive pursuit of one’s ambition is a skillset that, I hope, has not left me. In the meantime, I am aggressively pursuing a dream of recovery.

Similarly, I’m going to collect data on my own health with the attention I would use to collect data for a study, to analyze my own journal with the same tools I would use to conduct content analysis.

I don’t have a pat conclusion to this. I’m disappointed it’s not a straightforward fix. I’m optimistic that we’ll be able to work something out to help me. I’m relieved that I don’t need to make any drastic changes to my diet before I’m done traveling at the end of the month.

And I’m tired. I’m very tired.

I thought to myself yesterday, “I can’t believe that I’ve got another fifty or sixty years in this meat cage, dealing with these flare ups.” But I do. I will. And I’ll get through it, with the support of my family and friends and science.

❤️️❤️️❤️️❤️️

Replied to Chris Aldrich by Chris AldrichChris Aldrich (BoffoSocko)

It’s threads/comments like these that make me think that using Micropub clients like Quill that allow quick and easy posting on one’s own website are so powerful.

Austin Kleon talks about daily blogging as being related to the ideas of stock and flow, and I think that really gets at what you’re talking about here. I love thinking about it this way, the way little ideas become big ones and how much easier it is to iterate, flesh out, and track our own thinking when everything is in one place.

A little over a year ago, I told a friend:

Started blogging in my bullet journal, realized this is just journaling…

And that’s where I’ll be blogging for the next little bit.

As mentioned in my earlier post, I’m going on hiatus for a bit. I’m anticipating returning in July, but it might be sooner, might be later. Comments are off on all posts more than 1 day old; webmentions will be received but probably not displayed.

See you later!

I’m taking a digital hiatus of sorts starting Friday, 5/10/2019. I haven’t decided how locked down kimberlyhirsh.com will be. At the very least, comments will be turned off for all pages and posts. It’s possible I’ll design a landing page about my hiatus and then set all other pages and posts to private. It’s also possible I’ll put the whole thing behind password protection.

Anyway, if you need to reach me, you probably already know how, but if not, let’s get that set up in the next couple days.

A quick note about my own writing and the way I’m working these days. I plan to do a more extensive post on this soon.

Way back in 2001 or 2002, I interviewed Joss Whedon. The questions were submitted to me by Bronzers. My lovely Bronzer friend andyourlittledogtoo asked, “How long did it take to go from the conception of ‘Restless‘ until the finished product? And can you explain your writing process?” “Restless” is the finale of the fourth season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and it’s one of my favorite episodes. You can read more about it just about anywhere on the internet, and you should… But ANYWAY, Joss’s answer has stuck with me for 17, 18 years now:

My writing process is about two things: Structure and emotion. I’m incredibly strict about working out a tight structure, every piece fitting, so there are not too many surprises in a first draft. But it all stems from emotion. What emotion are we in love with here? What do we need to feel? What do they (the characters) need to feel (a dif ques). We build from that. with RESTLESS, i had to throw structure out the window. It was a poem. Though I knew what it meant and what the dramatic flow was, I literally just had to sit there (or lie there – I got my appendix out during that script) and wait for the next thing. It was very liberating for me. When i was BEGGED for an oultline for act 4, i made one — and then ccouldn’t write a word, because it was wrong. Had to wait for the flow.

I think a lot of people write first and structure second. I don’t know how common this is in academic writing. I’ve always been a structure-first kind of gal, though that structure can take various forms. I used to be all-in on outlines, but my professor Barbara Wildemuth really hit mind-maps hard, and now I tend to bounce between synthetic notes, mind-maps, outlines, and memos. And the point when I transition from one to the other, and when I know I’m ready to begin drafting, has everything to do with structure.

Until I know the structure of a piece, I just write in little chunks. As I write, I re-arrange. I toy with new structures. Color-coding with pens is involved. I want to document this piece of my process better in the future, so as I begin my next lit review chapter, I’ll try to.

It feels good to remember that one of the writers who has influenced me the most works mostly from structure first. (How much of “Restless” was induced by the painkillers Joss was on for his appendectomy recovery? We may never know.) It feels good to know that there are as many ways of writing as there are writers.

Bookmarked Witching Hour Baby – Gear for Goth Parents and Kids (Witching Hour Baby)

A boutique featuring affordable clothing and gear for parents and their kids with a spooky edge. Includes plus size goth clothing, baby clothing, and unique items.

Current wishlist: everything at this shop, which bills itself as “Goth Mom Central,” but most especially the Strange and Unusual hat, which I desperately want to obtain before I go wander in hot hot hot ATL & DC in June. [Image: woman wearing a black wide-brimmed straw hat with the words STRANGE & UNUSUAL embroidered on it in white text, all caps.]

The elements of connected learning (interests, relationships, opportunities, sponsorship of youth interests, shared practices, shared purpose, connections across settings, and a focus on equity) illuminate the ways in which connected learning already happens in libraries and the ways in which libraries need to change to expand their support of connected learning.

Libraries have traditionally supported personalized, self-directed, learner-centered, and interest-driven learning (Braun, Hartman, Hughes-Hassell, & Kumasi, 2014; Hoffman, Subramaniam, Kawas, Scaff, & Davis, 2016; Ito & Martin, Fall 2013). They also have facilitated relationships, sanctioning “intergenerational contact centered on youth interest discovery” (Braun et al., 2014, p. 9) and serving as “inclusive spaces that bring many different groups together” (Hoffman et al., 2016, p. 11). As libraries have transitioned from spaces that serve as warehouses for physical resources to spaces where teens can “build skills, develop understanding, create and share, and overcome adversity” (Braun et al., 2014, p. 4) through the proliferation of learning labs and makerspaces, they have embraced shared practices, especially production-centered practices for knowledge creation and sharing. Their position as a third space – neither school/work nor home – allows libraries to facilitate connections across settings, bridging activities from different spheres of learning (Ito & Martin, Fall 2013).

Libraries traditionally have had and continue to maintain “strong ties to non-dominant communities and families” (Braun et al., 2014, p. 9). Because members of nondominant populations perceive libraries “as lifelines to learning, technology, and information… libraries are well-positioned to not only connect formal and informal learning but also to do this for the populations that are most marginalized in terms of traditional academic programs and indicators” (Ito & Martin, Fall 2013, p. 30). These relationships with nondominant communities support libraries working toward the connected learning agenda of expanding access to connected learning experiences to people who may not have them without community and institutional support.

While libraries already support connected learning in many ways, they may need to undergo further shifts to expand their support for connected learning. Library staff must consider not only the physical and digital resources that support interest-driven learning, but also human resources (Braun et al., 2014), building relationships “among learners, between learners and experts or mentors, and between learners and people outside the learning context” (Hoffman et al., 2016, p. 17). In order to help learners to connect their interests and relationships with academic, career, and civic opportunities, library workers must reconsider their roles, learning to consider themselves sponsors and mentors rather than experts or authority figures (Braun et al., 2014; Hoffman et al., 2016, p. 17). Library policies for use of technology and space may need to change to enable learners to engage in shared practices, socializing, collaborating, and publishing their work online (Ito & Martin, Fall 2013). Libraries may also need to change how they evaluate the impact of their services and programs; traditional measures of impact, especially quantitative measures of participation, may not be sufficient to capture the impact of connected learning (Hoffman et al., 2016). Measures of connected learning need to capture the way learners move with their learning across settings; setting specific desired outcomes can facilitate capturing evidence of and communicating the impact of a program.

This shift to full support of connected learning “demands new competencies from youth-serving librarians that graduate programs in library and information science do not always provide, and may require a shift in thinking for some librarians and outside partners” (Hoffman et al., 2016, p. 19). Hoffman and colleagues identify the following “four categories of interrelated knowledge and skill sets… that librarians must have to promote connected learning among youth”:

…they must be ready and willing to transition from expert to facilitator…
…[they] need to apply interdisciplinary approaches to establish equal partnership and learning opportunities that facilitate discovery and use of digital media…
…they should be able to develop dynamic partnerships and collaborations that reach beyond the library into their communities…
…they should be able to evaluate connected learning programs and utilize the evaluation results to strengthen learning in libraries… (Hoffman et al., 2016, p. 19)

The need for training to build these competencies can be met by in-house professional development, programs provided by professional organizations, open online learning resources, and formal educational experiences. The ConnectedLib toolkit (“ConnectedLib,” n.d.) is one example of an open online learning resource directed at meeting this need, while the University of Maryland’s Youth Experience Graduate Certificate program (“YX @ UMD – Youth Experience Post-Masters Certificate Program at Maryland’s iSchool,” n.d.) is an example of a formal educational experience designed to build these competencies.

References

Braun, L. W., Hartman, M. L., Hughes-Hassell, S., & Kumasi, K. (2014). The future of library services for and with teens: A call to action. Chicago: Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA). Retrieved from www.ala.org/yaforum/sites/ala.org.yaforum/files/content/YALSA_nationalforum_Final_web_0.pdf
ConnectedLib. (n.d.). Retrieved April 24, 2019, from connectedlib.github.io/
Hoffman, K. M., Subramaniam, M., Kawas, S., Scaff, L., & Davis, K. (2016). Connected libraries: Surveying the current landscape and charting a path to the future. College Park, MD; Seattle, WA: The ConnectedLib Project. Retrieved from connectedlib.test.ischool.uw.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/ConnectedLibraries-SurveyingtheCurrentLandscape-and-ChartingthePathtotheFuture.pdf
Ito, M., & Martin, C. (Fall 2013). Connected Learning and the Future of Libraries. Young Adult Library Services, 12(1), 29–32.
YX @ UMD – Youth Experience Post-Masters Certificate Program at Maryland’s iSchool. (n.d.). Retrieved April 24, 2019, from yx.umd.edu/