I finished my Master of Information coursework today! This semester taught me a lot about audiovisual research data management, library logistics systems, narratology, and writing for long stretches without getting up from my desk. I didn’t get to write any more about Deep Space Nine, but I did begin a paper with a Seinfeld quote. In any case, if you’re looking for a special collections cataloguing librarian – extra points if I get to work with film and video – please get in touch!
This was my third year presenting at the TRY+ Conference, after presenting the (to be resurrected!) Toronto Film Map and my thoughts on using linked open data in map classification in 2015 and 2016, respectively. This year, Jane and I finally got to share our Little Free Libraries® research to our colleagues together, which was the only thing I was planning on participating in, but I’m thankful that UofT librarian Sara McDowell urged me to reconsider. I gave a short talk on one of two panels dedicated to library responses (page 115) to the Truth & Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action. Here, I suggest how map cataloguers can better acknowledge Indigenous lands in our collections – a crucial duty for those of us working in libraries dedicated to territory – without placing additional burdens on our Indigenous colleagues. (I was so surprised to meet another map cataloguer right before I presented it, which made it extra important!)
If you work in an academic library and are reading this, please check out co-panelist Jamie Lee Morin’s incredible writing and research guides for Indigenous students at Ryerson University. THIS is what universities need to do – hire brilliant young Indigenous minds and fund their work to develop resources like these and keep them around.
A bunch of big things happened last week:
- my first article was published
- I went on my first group ride ever with the Dark Horse Flyers
- I had my first driving lesson, and drove to work (!) during rush hour (!) on Dupont and Bloor (!)
- and our article was picked up by The Atlantic‘s CityLab!
- …and CBC Radio, UofT News, the Toronto Star, Metro, MetaFilter, the MEFI PODCAST, Treehugger, 680 News, Newstalk 1010, the ALA’s Office of Intellectual Freedom…and oh boy, academia doesn’t prepare you for So Your Research Went Viral. When the world dies down, I’ll write the blog post about exactly that.
My first peer-reviewed academic article is out, and it’s open-access for everyone to read!!!
In this article, we critique the phenomenon of Little Free Libraries® (LFL®), the non-profit organization dedicated to sharing books with one’s neighbours. Through our engagement with the discourses, narratives and geographies of the LFL® movement, we argue that the organization represents the corporatization of literary philanthropy, and is an active participant in the civic crowdfunding activities of the non-profit industrial complex. The visible positioning of these book exchanges, particularly on private property in gentrified urban landscapes, offers a materialization of these neoliberal politics at street level. Drawing primarily upon one of the author’s experiences as an LFL® steward, as well as critical discourse and GIS analysis, we offer constructive critiques of the organization and their mission, and suggest that the principles of community-led library practice can be more effectively employed to harness the enthusiasm of these self-described “literacy warriors.”
Quietly, incrementally, I’ve been sharing things I wrote over the last few years – the experimental outtakes of my first attempt at writing about landscape, an entirely serious paper on records management in sci-fi, the thesis I didn’t want to acknowledge for the better part of two years. I’m happy to be releasing things on my own terms. My first! peer-reviewed! article! is coming out soon in the (open access!) Journal of Radical Librarianship, co-authored with the hyperbrilliant Jane Schmidt, and I hope that every early-career librarian-archivist type has the opportunity to publish with such generous peers who are a little further down the path. We’re presenting it for a second time at the upcoming TRY+ conference, where I am also participating in a panel on the work that cataloguers and collections specialists can engage in to support the recommendations of the Truth & Reconciliation Commission. As a cartographic cataloguer who spent much of last week sorting through hundreds of maps representing mining potential on Treaty 3 and Treaty 9 lands, I try and think of all the ways in which I can acknowledge the histories and territories of Indigenous nations, which are generally unrepresented in many of the maps I work with, in my daily work at the library. At night, I wonder how new systems could be built to tell complex and overlapping stories of place.
In any case, I am now choosing to share my work, one piece at a time. Here is something else I wrote last semester, on consent and sharing one’s work with the archive. Continue Reading →