Mentorship – in any form – can be an effective way for LIS students of color to learn more about the field. We learn a lot outside the classroom through jobs, internships, and volunteer experiences, and mentorship is another aspect that can help increase a student’s knowledge. Yet besides learning about the academic hiring process, dealing with negative workplace environments, or where to find job postings, mentorship of LIS students of color by mentors of color can help us see ourselves in the field, learn how to navigate white spaces, and how to advocate for ourselves.
To my fellow LIS Black, Indigenous, and People of Color [Series]: Imposter Syndrome, Mental Health, and Surviving Another Day
Nearly everyone in grad school has dealt or is currently dealing with imposter syndrome. Those who claim to have never suffered from it are either lying or actually are the imposters. Alyssa wrote about imposter syndrome in September so, for this post, I’d like to focus on imposter syndrome as a person of color and especially for those of us who also have mental illnesses.
To my fellow LIS Black, Indigenous, and People of Color [Series]: ALA Ethnic Caucuses (and more) Part 2
In this second part, I cover the American Indian Library Association (AILA) and the Black Caucus of the American Library Association (BCALA). At the end I touch on some other non-ALA groups that might be of interest to readers.
Before even starting library school, students can join local and national associations, such as the American Library Association, often at a student rate. Within ALA are five ethnic caucuses: the American Indian Library Association (AILA), the Asian Pacific American Library Association (APALA), the Black Caucus of the American Library Association (BCALA), the Chinese American Library Association (CALA) and REFORMA—the National Association to Promote Library Services to Latinos and the Spanish-Speaking.
When I applied to library school, I knew I was taking a risk. I was finishing up my undergraduate degree in American Ethnic Studies (AES) and my classes were always filled with BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color). Sure, my English classes, my other major, were full of white people and I had grown up in a predominantly white suburb, but I felt lucky that I had so many positive experiences in AES. But looking around at my MLIS orientation I knew that this would be different. My program, and as an extension the field, looked nothing like me. How was I going to survive three years, especially as an online student?
You’ve applied, made it past the interview(s), and have accepted a new position! But soon you realize that the workplace isn’t what you were expecting – in fact, it’s quickly going downhill. It started with a few questionable comments from coworkers and has spiraled into microaggressions, lack of support, toxic relationships, and maybe even harassment. Drawn from my own experiences and talking with others in the field, this article will discuss strategies for surviving negative workplace environments. It will focus specifically on student internships and jobs but is also relevant to those in temp positions. See the first two articles of this series (applications and interviews) for more information.
You’ve done your research, written your cover letter, and have just been contacted for an interview! But the research and preparation doesn’t stop now. An interview will allow you to directly ask about workplace culture, staff, and other important aspects about a job that could make or break a decision. This article is part of a larger series about navigating workplace culture – how to learn about the culture of an organization, decide what’s best for you, and dealing with negative experiences once in a position.