LIS Mental Health Week Twitter Chat – Monday 18 January

Just a quick note to let you know that the Twitter chat for LIS Mental Health Week has been scheduled. We’ll gather on Monday, 18 January, 2016 at 4:00pm PST. You can participate or follow the chat by using the #LISMentalHealth hashtag.

I know disclosure around mental health issues can be tricky, but because I want as many people to participate as possible, I’ve created a form that accepts anonymous questions. If there’s a question you’d like Kelly or I to ask during the chat on your behalf, use the form below.

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I hope to see you on the 18th.

Announcing LIS Mental Health Week 2016

In October, 2014 I wrote about the possibility of starting a Library and Information Studies (LIS) Mental Help Week. You can find out more by reading my original post, or by reading about Geek Mental Help Week (2014), the source of the original idea.

Almost immediately after writing that post, Kelly McElroy reached out and asked me if I wanted help organizing events around the week. Like so many other people who live with mental health challenges, I was so overwhelmed with managing my own depression and anxiety that I couldn’t get it together to organize anything, even with Kelly’s help. It’s been a long time coming, but I’m pleased to announce that we’re ready to kick things off.

LIS Mental Health Week, starting January 18, 2016

LIS Mental Health Week will be a week-long series of posts, Twitter chats, podcasts, and resource sharing about mental health issues for people who suffer and for their loved ones.

Plans For The Week

So far our plans include building a shared list of resources and moderating a Twitter chat with the hashtag #LISMentalHealth. Because this is such an important issue, we’d like to broaden the scope and level of involvement. You can get involved by:

  • Writing an article for an online LIS journal or magazine
  • Publishing an article or blog post about mental health issues
  • Adding to our resource list
  • Talking about mental health issues on your podcast
  • Organizing a local event at your library or with your professional organization
  • Promote LIS Mental Health Week across your social networks

Getting Involved

If you’d like to help with planning the week’s events, contact me (@skeskali) or Kelly (@kellymce) via Twitter. If you want to publish a blog post or dedicate a podcast to the issue, thank you, and go right ahead! Just let us know where we can find your post/podcast so we can promote it.

Fighting Oppression with Pigeons

As I move up the professional ladder I seek out examples of defiance to soothe that rabble-rousing impulse I have to keep in check. Today’s moment of “F@#% You” came from the pigeons on the ledge above the library’s entrance. Building Services installed pigeon spikes to keep pigeons (and other birds) from settling on window ledges and turning them into pigeon pooping stations. As I write this — and pity it’s too dark to get a good photo — two rather plump and content pigeons have figured out there’s enough space on the other side of the spikes, closest to the window, to take shelter from the weather.

Fight the power.

When Grawlix Won’t Do: A Life Update

Education and trivia make me happy. There are few things I enjoy more than learning something new and recalling a worthless piece of information at some perfect future moment.

This week I learned the word Grawlix, which are those series of typographical symbols that stand in for profanity.


According to a 2013 Slate article, cartoonist Mort Walker coined the term grawlix in an article he wrote for the National Cartoonist Society. The act of using typographical symbols to represent swear words dates even earlier than that when it was first spotted in a 1902 Katzenjammer Kids comic strip.

If you, like me, are blessed with an extensive swearing vocabulary, Grawlix can be your friends. After all, swearing in polite company is frowned upon: I wouldn’t do it in correspondence to Queen Elizabeth II or Michelle Obama, but I’d totally let ‘er rip in a ribald birthday card to Justin Trudeau. Sometimes, however, only a good old fashioned cuss word will do. After the health news I received this week, I think this is one such time.

First, a little story: I had a total knee replacement back in early September. I suffer from severe osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, and the surgery on my right knee corrected my posture and gait and gave me relief from years of pain. I was just learning to walk normally again when I noticed late last week that my left ankle was quite swollen. There was even some bruising. After walking around on it for nearly a week, I finally went to the doctor and — SURPRISE — was diagnosed with a fractured ankle. A medial malleolus fracture along the talus dome, to be exact.

Say it with me, friends:

graphic has the word fuck in orange block text on a white background.

What does this mean for me? While this fracture is sometimes treated non-surgically, it’s unlikely that I’m a good candidate for this kind of treatment. I meet with an orthopaedic surgeon next week to talk about next steps. Until then, I’ll be bargaining with whatever higher power is listening1 and making graphics and sketch notes of swear words when nothing else makes sense.

  1. Including my cat.