All Moved In

I must say that moving back to WordPress from Jekyll was far easier than moving to Jekyll from WordPress. Because I made sure to structure URLs the same way on both platforms, all links should still work. If you happen across any hiccups, do let me know.

For Want of a Title

The WNBA’s Glory Johnson and Brittney Griner were arrested on charges of assault and disorderly conduct. Both Johnson and Griner have since been released. A few media outlets were quick to paint this as an intimate partner violence situation, which feels inexact for a number of reasons. First: BG and GloJo are physical equals. sure, BG is taller, but on the surface, it’s hard to imagine the unequal power relations that are a frequent indicator of spousal/partner abuse being at play in this relationship.

Second: there’s a spectre of “butch-as-aggressor” framing going on in the media. Many articles only mention BG in the headline, a construction that elides Johnson’s involvement. You see BG’s mugshot more than you see Glory Johnson’s. While it’s true that Griner has the higher profile, it seems to me that BG is being given the perpetrator edit.

Autostraddle is one of the few media outlets to refrain from using mugshots in their coverage, and as far as I know, they’re the only publication that included Johnson’s name in the headline. Their reporting has been fair and nuanced, which I’m ashamed to say, wasn’t something I expected to see on Autostraddle. Kaelyn, the author of the Autostraddle piece, sounded off in the comments about assumptions people were making about the nature of the Griner/Johnson relationship, and her comment showed the kind of sensitivity and thoughtfulness you wish all media would display1.

This is a difficult issue, and my status as the ultimate Griner stan may make you take this opinion with a grain of salt, which is only fitting, considering I wasn’t there when the incident happened. I had such high hopes for this couple, and I hope they’re able to get whatever help they need to make it through this situation.


Thanks to everyone who has signed up for The Librarian Cabal. I started the channel so library folk would have a safe, open place to talk about All Things Library without fear of recrimination. The Cabal has a Code of Conduct in place, and I hope everyone will honor the spirit and the letter of the CoC. It’ll probably be a little tough to enforce. I’m committed to try, because like Anil Dash said, “If your website’s full of assholes, it’s your fault.”

Additional thanks to everyone who shared or commented on my Bridging the Experience Gap article. I think some great things will come out of the conversations that sprang up, including a tweet chat, and possibly a mailing list (if I can find an alternative to Google groups, that is). I’m not sure how to move on as an interest group/sub-group of a national library association when many of the people who replied are outside of the United States, so if you have any ideas about how to make that work, I’m happy to listen.


I’m contemplating moving away from Jekyll and back to WordPress to power this site. Jekyll is powerful, and learning to work with it has increased my comfort and familiarity with Ruby programming. But to tell the truth, there are times that I really miss a web-based CMS, or one that comes equipped with a robust mobile app that supports blogging from anywhere. I’ve been slowly moving some posts over to a WordPress site I’ve kept around for just such an occasion, but I probably won’t flip the switch for a few weeks yet. I’d like the switch to be as seamless as possible, so I’m taking some time to reformat entries and ensure that URLs stay the same between the two platforms.


  1. It was also the first time I’d heard the term “common couple violence”, so additional kudos to AS for teaching me something new today. 

First Gen Professionals Survey

I’d like to find out how much interest there is in a network first generation library professionals, and to find out what shape it should take. If you have a few minutes, please consider taking the survey.

(A special hat-tip to Ellie Collier for putting the survey together.)

Bridging the Experience Gap

Update Let’s make the first generation library professionals group a reality. If you have five minutes, please take the survey.

Before you read any further, take five minutes to watch Ivy League Trailblazers at the New York Times. It’ll provide a bit of background for what I’ll be discussing in this post.

How do you learn to learn, to know what you don’t know? As a first generation college student, the first in my family to attend integrated schools, and the first in my family to earn a graduate degree, I’ve had experiences that my parents and many of my siblings couldn’t conceive of. Thanks to my background and lack of preparation, I’ve dealt with sometimes crippling amounts of self-doubt and shame in these environments, especially when faced with academic or professional challenges.

My parents weren’t professionals. They always worked, but if you had to call them anything, “working poor” would be the closest fit. The stress of raising nine children in reduced circumstances took its toll on my parents, so they weren’t always responsive when I had questions they couldn’t answer. To this day, I find it hard to approach superiors — or anyone, really — when I need help. They taught me so many other skills — resilience, resourcefulness, and optimism — so the lessons I learned from them will continue to be a great source of pride. It wasn’t until I started moving in more educated circles that I realized what I was missing.

"First Generation" by Chong Fah Cheong

When you don’t have a trusted peer network to depend on for advice, where do you turn? First generation ivy league students banded together to create a support network and conference that provides services, camaraderie, and strategies for successfully navigating the challenges that arise when you’re out of your element. I’m inspired by this sort of grass-roots problem solving, particularly when it is provided in a judgment-free environment where everyone is committed to helping you succeed.

I wonder whether a similar network might be needed for first-generation professionals or first-generation graduate students? As a mostly middle-class profession, librarianship fails to address the cultural expectations that go along with membership in this community, such as cultural literacy, notions of professionalism that are rooted in the dominant culture, or access to wealth.1 Maybe the conversation could start as a special interest group of a professional library association. Then, provided the interest still exists, the group could propose a conference panel to address these issues at the organizational and individual level.


The other day, a librarian I “internet know” asked why books that focused on teaching librarians to code or about marketing were needed when great books by marketers already exist. I wish I could understand the perspective that leads someone to ask a question like this, but my position on the margins makes that difficult.

Coding groups for librarians, or trans people, or black women and girls exist because affinity groups are a key component of success. Anything that validates the experience of marginalized people, that makes us feel not only welcome, but fundamental to a community’s success is a good thing. Diversifying our voices and practices are good things, are necessary things if we want to do more than present diversity as a problem to be solved.


  1. Such as access to education, the ability to take on and repay student loan debt, or the social currency that comes from being a member of the class that sets the standard. 

Scenes From A Bike Lane

I felt my lungs expanding, the tension leave my body. I’ve been away from my bike for much too long, and although last week’s aborted turn left me in poor spirits, today’s abundant sunshine and early-spring warmth lured me back to the saddle. The sun was both blinding and restorative, and I felt the sap begin to flow through my creaky joints. I pointed my bike north and east with no particular destination in mind, but was very happy to find myself headed toward one of my favourite watering holes. I didn’t dally; I stayed only long enough to enjoy one small beer and to make a sadly necessary phone call to my cellular provider.

West Hotel on the Carrall Street Bike Route

I pedaled south toward home along the Carrall street bike route, and stopped at the red light. A man sat just to the right of the lane in a camp chair, a large duffel bag at his feet, and a baseball cap perched insouciantly on his head. He called out: “Nice bike, mama!”, and since the compliment was about my bike and not about me, I thanked him. We talked about how lovely the day was, how it was great to see so many people out and about again after a long (yet unseasonably warm) winter, and how the little pleasures, like riding a gorgeous bike on a beautiful day, or finding a thoughtful spot where you could read a book meant so much, and were overlooked by so many. I asked him what he was reading; I’m a librarian whose interested in people, so I almost always ask. Sadly I can’t remember the title, Yakuza…something. About an Iranian in Japan.

He told me a little about the time he spent 7 weeks in Japan working as a bartender, hanging out with people who were strippers & iand gangsters from Japan’s criminal underworld. In the middle of telling this story, he paused, looked me in the eye and said “It’s nice to have a conversation. We’re bringing it back.”