HLS Weekly Roundup

Editor’s Note: Each week, we reflect on the top articles, blog posts, tweets, news, thoughts, and other tidbits we’ve found interesting or useful . Enjoy!


Over at Magpie Librarian this week, Ingrid ran a thoughtful interview with Scott Bonner, librarian at Ferguson Municipal Public Library. There was also some great reflection and hot educational-theory takes on what it means to be a librarian, beyond the banalities of “finding stuff for people” and Dewey Decimal jokes, in Kevin Michael Klipfel’s post Librarianship: A Philosophical Investigation at Ethos Review. If you need some motivation to start the semester right, I suggest you start there.

Amanda Goodman has started a really important new site, pragmatically titled Library & Information Science Syllabi, to act as a repository for, well, syllabi from library and information science courses. I think this is the start of an excellent and much-needed tool for transparency that can help prospective students evaluate programs, offer data for crucial research on LIS education, and start to hold LIS programs accountable for providing quality courses.

It can be really difficult to stay on top of recreational reading while in grad school, but as Casey talked about with news and socializing, it’s crucial to help you stay balanced and happy. Fortunately, Electric Literature is at your service with 17 Brilliant Short Novels You Can Read In a Sitting. I also recently finished, and can highly recommend, Teju Cole’s Every Day is For the Thief, which packs quite the punch in under 200 pages.

Although I sometimes feel like the attention given to superficial elements of the librarian “type” can veer toward the navel-gazing, I really love encountering awesome and fascinating people in the wild who also turn out to be librarians. So I enjoyed this interview with extra-cool librarian/photographer Berta Pfirsich from one of my favorite retailers, Need Supply Co.

And finally, if you’re feeling uninspired by your fall class lineup, read Mallory Ortberg’s Rupert Giles, MLS, and weep.


This week a lot of important (but heavy) stuff has been coming across my feed re: free speech, as well as safety on campus (and elsewhere) for women and people of color. It’s especially timely since I’m heading up to New York on Wednesday to do my dissertation research on the history of the Harlem Library, where some of the same issues (and plenty of others) are going to be showing up.

Some of you may have heard of the controversy surrounding the University of Illinois’ change of heart in hiring Steven Salaita. Like everything else, this is a complex issue, and my goal in bringing it up isn’t to start a heated debate about who’s right or to try to oversimplify it. However, it is something a lot of folks in libraryland have been sharing and discussing as a violation of free speech. There are a ton of articles from various perspectives out there, but two information sources that have been recommended to me include the Support Salaita Facebook page, where many of these articles are posted as they come out (although I haven’t dug into it enough to see if they post from all viewpoints). This article is another that has been passed around as a good brief overview.

I spent a lot of time with this article on women of color and the academy yesterday, after it was shared by a friend. It’s a very tough read, but I very highly recommend it–at least for me, the way the author discusses her experiences resonated with me and gave me the opportunity to think deeply about these issues and how my work and interactions relate to them.

On a lighter note, I read this interesting piece on social media yesterday as well. It’s a nice counterpoint to the “use all the platforms” mentality, and the take-away that you should have a strategy and use a tool to help you achieve it (rather than starting an account and then trying to figure out what to do), is an important one (and something I stress in my social media classes).


Following up on Julia’s serious links, yesterday there was a firestorm over a research project about “Black Twitter.” The Black woman who is the principal researcher on the project–who was left out of the online description of the project (seriously? Who DOES that?)–wrote a reply. There’s good foundation for conversations about race and scholarship here.

Signal-boosting a tweet of mine from the other day. I have a research project I’m working on that would benefit from some help from all of you. I want to review syllabi and assignments from other programs’ core/required courses. So…

Lots of conference submission deadlines coming up! Have something to say? Here are some places you could say it: 1. the Catholic University of America annual symposium; 2. Computers in Libraries; 3. In the Library with the Lead Pipe’s “Locating the Library within Institutional Oppression” project (for lack of a better word–even if you don’t want to write this paper, you should check out what they’re doing); 4. the Coalition for Networked Information; and 5. and of course, there’s always writing here at HLS.

And on a totally different note, one of my transpo-geek twitter friends wrote this post, which caught my attention by its headline, “Access versus ownership.” He was writing about car-sharing (taxi competitors Uber and Lyft) but I think there’s something here about books and libraries and maybe ebook lending. I don’t know; I’m just starting to think about it.

Categories: Weekly Round-Up

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