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Eric Lease Morgan: Boxplots, histograms, and scatter plots. Oh, my!

planet code4lib - Thu, 2015-06-04 20:12

I have started adding visualizations literally illustrating the characteristics of the various “catalogs” generated by the HathiTrust Workset Browser. These graphics (box plots, histograms, and scatter plots) make it easier to see what is in the catalog and the features of the items it contains.

For example, read the “about page” reporting on the complete works of Henry David Thoreau. For more detail, see the “home page” on GitHub.

DPLA: Hit the Trail: Camping in America

planet code4lib - Thu, 2015-06-04 18:27

For generations of Americans, a favorite kick-off to the summer season is taking to the trails on a camping trip. Whether it’s packing up the family RV, or kids kayaking at their favorite sleepaway camp, it’s a way Americans have enjoyed spending the summer for decades.

Many men and women’s first experiences with the great outdoors came in the form of Girl Scout and Boy Scout camping trips. Both groups emphasize getting young people acquainted with the great outdoors, with badges and milestones centered around environmental sustainability and interaction with nature. Moreover, for the generations of young Americans in troops across the country, scouting and camping went hand-in-hand.

For instance, as part of the Minnesota Digital Library, the Girl Scout Council of Minnesota and Wisconsin River Valleys collection has more than 100 images of troops in the 1920s-1950s. Among them are snapshots of young women camping and performing flag ceremonies (and, yes, preparing to sell cookies). Photos of young women cooking in front of campfires show the changes in uniform and dress from decade to decade. There are other interesting photos of Girl Scout activities outside the camp, too, like studying anatomy or diving into a pool as part of a 1920s lifeguarding class. You can also access documents, with troop charters, camp brochures, pageant programs, and a number of letters written by the organization’s founder, Juliette Gordon Low.

Another trove of resources for Girl Scout camping history (primarily from the 1920s-1940s) is from Mountain West Digital Library’s Arizona Cactus-Pine Council Historical Society. A highlight of this collection is an image of Arizona’s first Girl Scout Troop, established in 1918. There are more than 50 images of camp activities, like braiding leather belts, riding horses, and preparing camp skits (including a photo of the female camp director, a graduate of Stanford University, teaching the scouts how to skin a rattlesnake, circa 1930).

There’s a wealth of digitized camping content related to the Boy Scouts, too. From The Portal to Texas History and the Boy Scouts of America National Scouting Museum, the DPLA offers more than 900 issues of Scouting, a magazine written by the Boy Scouts organization, dating back to its founding in the early 1910s. A 1942 issue, for example, discusses camping in wartime at great length, noting that it is “rated by many as the best possible pre-military training for boys and young men.” With a declaration that “The war will not suspend our outdoor program. It must not,” leading the charge, other articles offered suggestions for new wartime camp training programs (among other efforts, like salvage campaigns and victory gardens).

“How to Make a Fire.”

“Boy Scouts Series.”

As part of The New York Public Library’s collection, available through the DPLA, there’s the “Boy Scout Series: 100 Designs.” This collection of British cigarette cards have illustrations and descriptions of 100 different fun scouting activities, badges, and skills. Want to know how to build a raft? Or construct a camping shelter? How about cutting “the Enemy’s Telegraph” in a scouting game? Look no further.

For images of young men putting some of these skills to use at camp, there’s the photo collection from the North Star Museum of Boy Scouting and Girl Scouting, via the Minnesota Digital Library. Beyond the wealth of images of scouts around the campfire, canoeing and learning to tie knots, a standout of this collection is this unique Boy Scout scrapbook, detailing years’ worth of troop activities.

If you aren’t a fan of tents or sleeping bags, though, you can still join in on the fun. There’s always the option to camp with an RV!

All featured images courtesy of The New York Public Library.

Hydra Project: Hydra Connect 2015 – 21-24 September, Minneapolis: Request for Program Suggestions :: Reminder!

planet code4lib - Thu, 2015-06-04 12:45

As you know detailed planning is now underway for an exciting program at Hydra Connect 2015 in Minneapolis this Fall. This post is a quick reminder for those of you who may still want to contribute program ideas; we especially welcome further ideas for items of particular interest to managers or to SysOps. Our thanks to the many people who have already contributed.

The program committee would love to hear from those of you who have suggestions for items that should be included. These might be workshops or demonstrations for the Monday, or they might be for 5, 10 or 20 minute presentations, discussion groups or another format you’d like to suggest during the conference proper. It may be that you will offer to facilitate or present the item yourself or it may be that you’d like the committee to commission the slot from someone else – you could maybe suggest a name. As in the past, we shall be attempting to serve the needs of attendees from a wide range of experience and background (potential adopters, new adopters, “old hands”; developers, managers, sysops etc) and, if it isn’t obvious, it may be helpful if you tell us who would be the target audience. Those of you going to Open Repositories 2015 might take the opportunity to talk to others about the possibility of joint workshops, presentations, etc.?

Please let us have your ideas, preferably before Monday 15th June, at or by adding them to the page at HC2015 suggestions for the program.

Advance warning that, as in past years, we shall ask all attendees who are working with Hydra to bring a poster for the popular “poster show and tell” session. This is a great opportunity to share with colleague Hydranauts what your institution is doing and to forge connections around the work. Details later…

FYI: we plan on opening booking in the next few days and we hope to see you in Minneapolis for what promises to be another great Hydra Connect meeting!


Peter Binkley, Matt Critchlow, Karen Estlund, Erin Fahy and Anna Headley (the Hydra Connect 2015 Program Committee)

Open Library Data Additions: Amazon Crawl: part ct

planet code4lib - Thu, 2015-06-04 01:43

Part ct of Amazon crawl..

This item belongs to: data/ol_data.

This item has files of the following types: Data, Data, Metadata, Text

Library Tech Talk (U of Michigan): Beyond Google Books: Getting Locally-Digitized Material into HathiTrust

planet code4lib - Thu, 2015-06-04 00:00

HathiTrust started out with only content digitized by Google, but a goal from early on was to support digitized book material from a variety of sources. One early effort provided a toolkit to partners for preparing content, but which turned out to require more technical effort than was reasonable. We rethought our approach and simplified the requirements for partners while maintaining the same high quality standards for HathiTrust.

DuraSpace News: SAFE Archiving Federation Private LOCKSS Network: International Preservation and Access Solution

planet code4lib - Thu, 2015-06-04 00:00

From Dries Moreels, Ghent University Library

Ghent, Belgium SAFE-PLN (SAFE Archiving Federation Private LOCKSS Network) partners are glad to announce their data archiving grid is open to international partners.

Using a data grid, the five institutions agree to archive each others’ open access collections across two continents, two timezones, four Languages and in seven copies to guarantee perpetual access to their scientific heritage.

John Miedema: Lila is parked. The next big thing begins in January 2016.

planet code4lib - Wed, 2015-06-03 20:55

A bike trip can be an opportunity for reflection, apparently. Lila is parked. The next big thing will debut in January 2016. In the meantime, any updates and hints from me can be found on Twitter.

LITA: Jobs in Information Technology: June 3, 2015

planet code4lib - Wed, 2015-06-03 20:44

New vacancy listings are posted weekly on Wednesday at approximately 12 noon Central Time. They appear under New This Week and under the appropriate regional listing. Postings remain on the LITA Job Site for a minimum of four weeks.

New This Week

Content Designer-Bibliographic, EBSCO Information Services, Ipswich, MA

Library Systems Engineer, Analog Devices Inc., Wilmington, MA

Digital Project Manager, Backstage Library Works, Bethlehem, PA

Dean of the Library, Information, and Technology Services, Wilson College, Chambersburg, PA

Digital Services Librarian, Marymount University, Arlington, VA

Visit the LITA Job Site for more available jobs and for information on submitting a job posting.

Nicole Engard: Bookmarks for June 3, 2015

planet code4lib - Wed, 2015-06-03 20:30

Today I found the following resources and bookmarked them on Delicious.

  • Libreboard LibreBoard is an open-source kanban board that let you organize things in cards, and cards in lists. You can use it alone, or with your team and family thanks to our real-time synchronisation feature. Libreboard is a land of liberty and you can implement all sort of workflows on it using tags, comments, member assignation, and many more.

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The post Bookmarks for June 3, 2015 appeared first on What I Learned Today....

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Tim Ribaric: Presentation Material for code4Lib North

planet code4lib - Wed, 2015-06-03 20:27


Here's a link to my slides I used for#c4ln2015

read more

Zotero: Zotero is hiring a new developer!

planet code4lib - Wed, 2015-06-03 18:53

The Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media is hiring a full-time developer to help extend Zotero. You will have the opportunity to shape an award-winning digital humanities project and build critical research infrastructure.

You will work primarily on Zotero’s website and web application functionality, working with both front- and back-end technologies, including emerging standards for rich client-side web applications. You’ll be maintaining existing systems and implementing new functionality, helping to shape the Zotero ecosystem going forward. In addition to working on website functionality, that might mean extending the API, optimizing the cloud infrastructure, or building back-end services to power new features. As part of a small team, you’ll have responsibility over core components of the project and the freedom to find creative solutions to challenging problems. Most importantly, you’ll participate in a vibrant global open-source community with amazing community developers and passionate users.

You will be working at the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media, a leading center for digital humanities recognized internationally for its innovative projects. More details about the position are available at

We look forward to hearing from you!

District Dispatch: Slam internet standards back door on NSA

planet code4lib - Wed, 2015-06-03 18:12

Photo by:

Last night, immediately post-passage of the landmark USA FREEDOM Act, we celebrated as urged here in the District Dispatch. We also wrote, “Tomorrow, the fight for further badly needed reforms will go on.” Well, it’s now “tomorrow” and there is indeed more work that Congress can and must do as this post goes to press to truly prevent the ongoing wholesale invasion of our privacy in the name of national security.

The House of Representatives is now considering a large bill (H.R. 2578) to fund a variety of agencies, including the National Institute of Standards and Technology. NIST, among many other things, develops technical standards for the internet and, you guessed it, for internet security – that means encryption. The NSA, of course, has for some time wanted NIST to incorporate “back doors” – in effect, deliberately designed secret security weaknesses – into its encryption standards for use across the web and the world to make it easier for the NSA to continue to collect our communications in unfathomable volume.

The NSA wants to do this notwithstanding that more than 150 leading cybersecurity and encryption experts just warned in a letter to the President that back doors are a horrible idea that will almost certainly lead to profoundly damaging security breaches at the hands of cyber-criminals and hostile foreign governments. “Secret” back door algorithms, it seems, have a way of not staying so secret.

Congressman Thomas Massie (R-KY4) will today offer an eight-line amendment to the appropriations bill before the House that will nail closed the back door that the NSA wants by forbidding NIST from using any of its appropriated funds to consult with the NSA or CIA about intentionally weakening NIST encryption protocols.

ALA calls on every Member of the House to support the important and, unfortunately, critically necessary Massie amendment to H.R. 2578.  

The post Slam internet standards back door on NSA appeared first on District Dispatch.

District Dispatch: Representatives from National Library of Uzbekistan Visit ALA Washington Office

planet code4lib - Wed, 2015-06-03 18:01

Representatives from the National Library of Uzbekistan with ALA staff

Today, the ALA Washington Office welcomed visitors from the National Library of Uzbekistan as part of the U.S. State Department’s International Visitor Leadership Program. This program supports international professional discourse and relationship-building by sponsoring short-term visits to the U.S. for foreign leaders.

Gulrukh Iskandarova, Asadjan Khodjaev, Evgeniya Pshenichnaya and Umida Teshabaeva discussed their efforts to provide standards and best practices to Uzbekistan’s approximately 13,000 libraries, and solicited our perspectives on a wide range of policy topics, including privacy, copyright, digital content and telecommunications. Additionally, they sought strategies for offering unified support to a national community of libraries, library professionals, and library patrons.

ALA Washington Office Executive Director Emily Sheketoff, Office for Information Technology Policy Director Alan Inouye and I represented ALA. Hosting visitors from abroad is a regular responsibility of the Office, and we’ve met with librarians from many other countries around the world, from Lebanon to Columbia.

The post Representatives from National Library of Uzbekistan Visit ALA Washington Office appeared first on District Dispatch.

District Dispatch: Pew Research Center to share new data on libraries as community hubs

planet code4lib - Wed, 2015-06-03 16:53

Photo by World Bank Photo Collection via Flickr

Over the last three years, the Pew Research Center has deftly documented how Americans perceive, use and aspire for U.S. public libraries. From e-book readership to library user typologies, to better understanding how Hispanics use public libraries, Pew researchers have added to our knowledge of our communities—users and non-users alike.

During the session “Pew Library Research Update Program” Senior Researcher John B. Horrigan will preview the newest Pew research at the American Library Association  (ALA) Annual Conference on Sunday, June 28, 2015, from 1:00–2:00 p.m. in Moscone Center room 121N. Based on a national telephone survey of adults, new data will explore people’s e-reading habits, and how libraries serve as community hubs for information exchange, economic opportunity, and cultivation of users’ digital skills. The presentation also will discuss how the public’s views on libraries can illuminate broader discussions on ‘digital readiness‘ (pdf) as the internet of things (IoT) emerges in society.

“From front-line services to national policy advocacy, Pew library research has improved our ability to plan for and communicate community needs and desires,” said Larra Clark, deputy director of the ALA Office for Information Technology Policy. “This new data could not com at a better time to inform library digital inclusion efforts, and John Horrigan’s deeply informed insights should not be missed.”

Prior to rejoining the Pew Research Center in 2015, Horrigan served as research director for the development of the National Broadband Plan at the Federal Communications Commission. He is a nationally recognized expert on research into barriers to home broadband adoption and use, expertise cultivated as a consultant and in his first stint at the Pew Research Center from 2000–2009.

View all ALA Washington Office conference sessions

The post Pew Research Center to share new data on libraries as community hubs appeared first on District Dispatch.

In the Library, With the Lead Pipe: Soliciting Performance, Hiding Bias: Whiteness and Librarianship

planet code4lib - Wed, 2015-06-03 13:00

Image by Flickr user tweng (CC BY-SA 2.0)

In Brief:

Despite the growing body of research on our professional demographics and multi-year diversity initiatives, librarianship in the United States remains overwhelmingly white. I suggest the interview process is a series of repetitive gestures designed to mimic and reinforce white middle class values, which ultimately influence the hiring decisions—and relative lack of diversity—of librarianship as a whole. I consider how the whiteness of librarianship may manifest long before the hiring process. By identifying and interrogating the body of white, middle class values inherent to both librarianship and professional job searching, I offer suggestions to encourage an authentically diverse pool of applicants.

Defining Whiteness

Whiteness is a shifting status bestowed by those in power, intertwined with class relationships and the production of structural inequalities. See the transformation of Italian, German, Irish, and Polish people from white ethnics to white over the 20th century in the United States. “The Italian comes in at the bottom, and in the generation that came over the sea he stays there. In the slums he is welcomed as a tenant who ‘makes less trouble’ than the contentious Irishman or the order-loving German.” (Riis, 1890)

For the sake of brevity, whiteness in this essay means: white, heterosexual, capitalist, and middle class. Whiteness is “ideology based on beliefs, values behaviors, habits and attitudes, which result in the unequal distribution of power and privilege.” ( Beliefs, values behaviors, habits, and attitudes become gestures, enactments, and unconsciously repetitive acts which reinforce hegemony.

Soliciting Performance, Hiding Bias

Librarianship is paralyzed by whiteness. This will continue unabated without interrogating structures that benefit white librarians, including the performative nature of recruitment and hiring. The interview and academic job talk conceal institutional bias under the guise of “organizational fit” or a candidate’s “acceptability”, while the act of recruiting presents an aspirational version of the library to candidates.

The standing-room-only presentation at Association of College & Research Libraries 2015 on the experience of academic librarians of color suggests librarianship is at least aware of its demographics. Some libraries are attempting to recruit broader pools of applicants, with a few offering ever-popular diversity residencies and fellowships. The fellowship model is mutually beneficial and offers chances to experiment with otherwise risky initiatives. However, fellowships mask precarity under the illusion of faculty status and support, when librarians accepting these positions may have neither (Salo, 2013).

While recruiting initiatives and fellowships are reasonable starting points, they become meaningless gestures for institutions which screen on performing whiteness. These actions are further undermined by framing diversity as a problem to be solved rather than engaging in reflective work to dismantle institutional bias. Framing diversity as the problem implicitly suggests a final outcome, locating responsibility and discomfort away from white librarians while marginalizing colleagues who do not perform whiteness to the satisfaction of gatekeepers.

Finally, when librarians who are not white and middle class arrive, they are alienated as “the diversity hire”, erasing their skills, talents, and expertise (Sendula, 2015). Librarians with visible minority status are assigned more work, as many marginalized librarians are appointed to diversity and hiring committees by default. This strands non-white and middle class librarians in a “murky place between gratitude and anger” (Bennett, 2015) as their visibility changes to suit the needs of the organization. That librarianship remains overwhelmingly white suggests marginalized librarians are seen when the institution finds it convenient, but rarely heard during critical stages of the hiring process.

The current librarian job market solicits performance and creates barriers to entry in three ways: cultural negotiation, conspicuous leisure, and access to wealth.

Image by Flickr user wolframburner (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Barriers to Entry


The whiteness of librarianship begins long before the job application process, as traditionally underrepresented students come to university systems with varying experiences in libraries. Conclusions on this subject vary: libraries can be a source of anxiety for marginalized students (Haras, Lopez & Ferry, 2008); the university library can feel overwhelming compared to underfunded or nonexistent K-12 libraries (Adkins and Hussey, 2006); or the library as a site of abundance and discovery. Nearly all scholarship on the subject agrees the library is a site where information seeking and cultural hegemony are negotiated (Long, 2011; Sadler and Bourg, 2015). For marginalized students, an academic library may be the largest they’ve ever encountered. “For students from a nondominant culture, knowing how to use library resources is not merely about finding information but also about navigating culture.” (Adkins and Hussey, 2006)

White Savior narratives are found throughout librarianship, where white librarians are framed as benevolent actors toward people of color, who “lack the agency necessary to enact positive changes in their own lives. The underlying assumption is that people of color, on their own, fail to enact resilience,resistance, and success…Any achievements in these areas seem to result from the initiatives of the white savior.” (Cammarota, 2011)

Rather than disarm the “structural, systemic, oppressive conditions disproportionately affecting the most economically disadvantaged people”(Groski, 2008) the middle class White Savior perpetuates myths about poverty. Marginalized patrons in libraries become the saved and lifted, without necessarily seeing themselves in the space of the library.

Students not reflected in the culture of the library are unlikely to see librarianship as a possibility (Williams and Van Arnhem, 2015). Marginalized students employed outside the university system face additional barriers as their work typically does not cultivate the development of a white collar professional identity. The hospitality industry, food service work, call centers, and other low income employment offers prescriptive identities, removing most agency from the employee. Marginalized students in graduate programs arrive after enduring lifetimes of institutionalized oppression surrounding their origins, with a painful awareness the they of “professional language” refers to themselves (Overall, 1995; Johnson Black, 1995; Bennett, 2014).

Moving from a prescriptive work environment to a professional one requires a certain amount of socialization into white culture. I don’t think of myself as an ex-hotel night clerk, but will always be a librarian even if my job title doesn’t reflect this. Librarianship is not simply what we do at work but a component of how we identify as people (Gonzalez-Smith, Swanson & Tanaka, 2014). This creates a dissonant sense of self and belonging in the profession, when our identity does not conform to professional expectations, “worldviews, or emotional orientations” (Costello, 2005).

Librarians themselves manufacture the culture of whiteness, with its ever-shifting criteria and continuous trading in surfaces (Ewen, 1988). Our policies embrace the fiction of neutrality, while our spaces, practices, and culture are not neutral entities (Sadler and Bourg, 2015). The idea of library-as-neutral is seductive because of its usefulness and minimal intellectual effort required from white librarians: neutrality is the safest position for libraries because it situates whiteness not only as default, but rewards and promotes white cultural values.

Whiteness-as-default allowed the conversation about 2015’s Banned Books Week poster to incorrectly assume no Muslim women were part of the image’s construction, effectively acknowledging librarianship’s tendency to reproduce inequalities and in many cases manufacture them in our systems and practices. From organizational structures and descriptions, to images and policy, librarians engage numerous fictions upholding cultural hegemony (Drabinski, 2013).

“Libraries and professional organizations have put together documents and policies on information ethics and intellectual freedom in an attempt to broaden the professional perspective. While these are important policies and procedures, they still reinforce cultural hegemony as they are primarily written in the language of those in power. For example, statements on professional ethics are put together by professional organizations, the overwhelming majority of whose members are white. Intellectual freedom is influenced by the discursive formations of those who write and enforce these policies. It is those in power who decide what level of intellectual freedom the library will support.” (Adkins and Hussey, 2006)

While librarians may fill social media with images of what librarians look like, our professional organizations and policy language articulate further what successful librarians look like: how they organize, what voices are heard, how they construct strategy, which crisis are acceptable to address and which should be suppressed under tone arguments or claims of unprofessional behavior.

The fiction of neutrality became apparent to me as a circulation desk clerk in a large public library system. Over winter break I visited an affluent suburb of Cleveland, Ohio where my partner’s family lives. We toured the public library and I was impressed with the college and career prep resources available. At my home branch I asked if I could make a similar display. I was told “Our kids aren’t really the college type,” and reluctantly allowed to maintain a small collection in the young adult section. This same system employed several librarians who insisted on business wear for work in a casual dress environment, explaining “Children in this neighborhood need a model for what a professional is, because they don’t have contact with any.” Many public library systems continue to address poverty from a deficit theory framework, ignoring the connection between treating poor people as inherently flawed and the profession’s inability to recruit marginalized workers.

A question posted to Librarian Wardrobe suggests one applicant’s struggle to be comfortable, yet professional during interviews. “I tend towards a ‘soft butch’ style and a very broke budget, but I have a major interview coming up. Any suggestions for an outfit that gets across my personal identity, my willingness to crawl around looking for a book, but also my professionalism?” This poster reveals their gender performance during an interview is necessary to maintain the comfort of others, not to present the ‘authentic self’ search committees claim to want. Their question, like so many others I found during my research, is about this maintenance.

  • How can I be butch, but not too butch?
  • Should I buy a plain band for my left hand if I am unmarried?
  • Should I dye my hair or have it relaxed?
  • How provocative is a suit that isn’t gray, black, or navy?
  • Where can I buy a button down shirt that will not gape at my chest?
  • Will not wearing makeup cost me a job?
  • If transcripts are required, how will I explain a differently gendered name?

Each question reflects problems about how to address the cultural expectations of whiteness in the context of othered bodies. Librarians who wear natural hair, whose shape/stature make it difficult to find professional dress, or librarians with disabilities have found their bodies as they exist to be deemed unprofessional. Rather than assign this failure to designers’ inability to account for variations in bodies, this is passed on to applicants. Few blame manufacturers for ill-fitting suits. We blame bodies for not conforming to them.

Such anxieties are pervasive, even when acknowledged. In 2014, I sat on a panel discussing gender, agency, and resistance where one presenter–a scholar from India–expressed concern in the context of her research how wearing a sari during her talk would mean risking objectification and dismissal in a room full of feminist folklorists. The academic job talk is similarly concerning, as the growing tendency to record and make available such talks transforms the interview process into a mediated performance. An intellectual understanding of bias isn’t enough, it must be interrogated to dismantle the mechanisms which produce bias.

Conspicuous Leisure and Wealth

In flooded job markets, barriers to entry can include requiring prior library service for any library job. While MLIS students benefit from on the job experience, such screening policies would exclude promising applicants unable to enroll in face-to-face programs: rural students, students with nonstandard work schedules, students with family obligations, students transitioning careers, and other MLIS-holders outside the fictions of “ideal worker” (Davies, 2014).

Hiring Librarians has documented responses from hiring managers claiming students in online programs cannot work in teams or learn effectively, when many students choose online programs for the exact opposite reasons. As with myths about poverty which overshadow the well-established resourcefulness of poor students, online MLIS students are dismissed as asocial and not “team players”. Bias against online MLIS students is especially harmful to rural and underfunded libraries, in light of the geography of MLIS-holders (Sin, 2011).

The reality of post-MLIS education includes thousands of webinars, MOOCs, chats, listservs, virtual meetings, systems work, and other collaborative technologies. Suggesting online programs lack rigor or cannot result in “real” learning is harmful, technophobic, and helps maintain the whiteness of academic libraries. This attitude favors applicants with the wealth and time to enroll in face to face programs, even though very little of their development as librarians occurs in lecture style, classroom settings. “Candidates must prove that they want it enough, prove that they are ‘the best’, where ‘the best’ sometimes just means the most willing and able to work for free” (Hudson, 2014).

Conspicuous leisure manifests in the time lost learning to perform whiteness and the wealth required to do so effectively. Unpack for a moment what the notion of being “put together” professionally involves: hairstyles, makeup, becoming comfortable in costuming which may or may not be designed for our bodies, voice coaching to eliminate accents and modify tone, time for exercise to appear “healthy”, orthopedics to address poor posture, orthodontics and teeth whitening, eye contacts if our lenses distort our appearance, concealing body modifications, and the countless ways marginalized librarians modify gesture, develop behavioral scripts, and otherwise conceal their authentic selves in the interest of survival.

Favoring applications with access to time and wealth is a larger manifestation of problems in hiring for libraries: we choose people like us because it is easy, rather than advocating for different views by picking “unfamiliar” candidates who might interrogate the processes. This manifests in micro (but no less harmful) aggressions if librarians who aren’t white and middle class manage to get hired and do not perform to “model minority” standards or otherwise refuse to sit quietly. “Our reviews are full of words like ‘shrill’, ‘abrasive’, ‘hard to work with’, ‘not a team player’, and ‘difficult’. We’re encouraged to be nicer and less intimidating and more helpful. Action items and measurable metrics are nowhere to be found.” (

For marginalized librarians, the successful performance of whiteness may include integrating aspects of the self which allow White Saviors to feel good: I am resilient; I overcome; I have transcended my station. Such gestures convey applicants understand the rules of whiteness and hidden curriculum of the academy. Strategically revealed narratives of working nonstandard hours, surviving “bad” neighborhoods, single parents, holding multiple jobs while attending school, and similar stories can become currency in white culture (Cecire, 2015).

White culture embraces stories of overcoming intense odds while learning to perform whiteness, in the same way it creates and consumes stories of poverty tourism and role play for self-promotion: food stamp challenges, homeless awareness “sleep outs”, and the ever-expanding White Savior industrial complex. Recently, these stories have migrated away from individual librarians to libraries as institutions: media coverage of uprisings in Ferguson, Baltimore, and others center the library as a character in resiliency narratives. While the institution benefits in the short term from increased attention and support, this reinforces an ongoing messaging problem: libraries are most visible in the context of state sponsored violence. Libraries cannot simply possess inherent value, they must be framed as populist defenders or as sanctuary. Above all else they must struggle.

By contrast, librarianship assumes access to wealth or tolerance for debt to afford tuition, professional membership, and service opportunities. If I activate my American Library Association membership for all divisions and sections applicable for my job, the annual fee would come to $223 USD. This does not include conference registration fees, travel costs, a safe place to rest, or food. Activity in local and regional groups varies in cost, depending on the organization’s philosophy.

Competitiveness in the current job market requires at minimum a well-placed practicum experience conducting librarian level work, but only students with access to money can afford to take an unpaid internship. Galleries, libraries, archives, and museums throughout the United States continue exploiting unpaid labor, insuring the pool of well-qualified academic librarians skews white and middle class.

In the application process, asking for salary history is careless and further privileges a particular kind of applicant. For marginalized hires, salary history is another instance in a lifetime of humiliating scrutiny and surveillance on behalf of the state: the Free Application For Student Aid (FAFSA), housing vouchers, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), charity organizations, free or reduced cost student lunches, and invasive discussions with intervention professionals. FAFSA and SNAP programs are specific to the United States, but surveillance apparatus can be found wherever the “dole” exists.

Librarianship as a profession suffers when practitioners conflate sacrifice with worth, as though receiving comparatively lower salaries were justified due to our status as workers with a “calling”. Marginalized librarians–especially women–are taught to avoid negotiation and highlighting their accomplishments, to say nothing of diminished opportunities to build a livable salary history. This is culturally reinforced, as women pay measurable social costs for promoting themselves (Bowles, 2007). Marginalized librarians find themselves trapped in a rigged process: provide salary history and be underpaid, demand more and be rejected, all with the knowledge that salary will provide access to professional development opportunities.

For marginalized librarians, functioning at work requires navigating white cultural norms, conforming to professional orientations potentially at odds with their identity, taking on the additional work of speaking for an entire group of people (Gonzalez-Smith, Swanson & Tanaka, 2014) and for women, engaging in emotional labor to “be nicer” rather than producing tangible results. Librarianship can claim to recruit a diverse workforce, but without interrogating whiteness, the only winning move for marginalized librarians is not to play. The responsibility of fostering an inclusive workforce must fall to white librarians in power.


Interrogating Whiteness

How can we interrogate the process? As I watch other marginalized librarians go through their job searches, a few ideas come to mind:

  • In the absence of paid internships, offer professional development: pay for a conference or workshop attendance fees. If this is not possible, integrate opportunities for networking and mimicking the gestures of professional socialization.
  • Offer hands-on, project driven assignments, and create opportunities to showcase critical thinking and data-driven decision making to interns. Weeding books for three weeks and journaling the experience in a blog is not a solid project, yet I’ve seen this offered as one a half dozen times. Practicum requirements in library and information science graduate programs are meant to be process assignments; a conversation about meaningful, engaging work is part of that process.
  • Offer flexible times for internships. Requiring specific availability is the prerogative of the library, but understand this limits the diversity of your applicant pool. Partial or fully virtual internships offer tremendous opportunities for the library to expand as a truly 24-hour entity.
  • Update boilerplate job descriptions to remove salary history requirements. Given the profession’s reliance on unpaid labor and part-time work, salary history does not reflect individual worth or ability.
  • Screen interview notes for biased language.
  • “Doesn’t seem professional” as criticism without articulating why is a problem.
  • When someone says “I just like them better,” find out why.
  • If search committees consistently defer to one member, find out why.
  • Decide what you are attempting to measure with interview questions. Open-ended questions have answers that feel correct–there’s nothing wrong with behavioral interviews but hiding bias in a “correct” answer or “gut feeling” is a problem.
  • Avoid using White Savior narratives when dealing with communities and patrons in poverty.
  • When seeking marginalized employees to serve on diversity, hiring, or outreach committees, consider if this is the only kind of service work they’re asked to do.  Consistently asking the same people to perform emotional labor causes burnout and suggests the organization is not listening to marginalized staff.
  • Remember diversity is not always visible, and people should not have to disclose their lived experience to be heard by the organization. Provide anonymous options for employee feedback.
  • Give people the power to do their jobs. Actionably curious librarians without basic agency required to explore reskilling and shifting responsibilities causes breathtaking harm to our profession. Research suggests a number of librarians are bypassing this conversation altogether to avoid paternal IT policy, hostile administration, and often both (Yelton, 2015). Librarians in environments with agency and trust consistently build wonderful things.


Librarianship in the United States lacks diversity because the existing workforce functions within oppressive structures, while the culture of whiteness in libraries maintains them. Recruiting and retaining a diverse workforce is the responsibility of all librarians, but this process will move faster with individual voices in power interrogating bias in their practices. While these suggestions are not exhaustive nor universal in their application, I hope they can function as starting points for difficult but necessary discussions.

Thanks to Cecily Walker, Jessica Olin, and Annie Pho for asking hard questions and wading through my rusty prose. Cecily in particular tolerated many stream-of-consciousness Twitter DMs. This essay would not exist without Stephanie Sendaula, Brit Bennett, and many other librarians and writers whose work shaped my thoughts. I am grateful for the library and information science job seekers who shared their anxieties, their victories, and infectious tenacity.

Works Cited

Bennett, Brit. (2014, December 17). I Don’t Know What To Do With Good White People. Jezebel. (Accessed 12/20/2014)

Bennett, Brit. [@britbennett]. (2015, April 3). As someone who has been in so many privileged spaces, I know that murky place between gratitude and anger all too well. [Tweet]. Retrieved from

Bowles, H. R., Babcock, L., & Lai, L. (May 01, 2007). Social incentives for gender differences in the propensity to initiate negotiations: Sometimes it does hurt to ask. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 103, 1, 84-103.

Cammarota, J. (January 01, 2011). Blindsided by the Avatar: White Saviors and Allies out of Hollywood and in Education. Review of Education, Pedagogy & Cultural Studies,33, 3, 242-259.

Cecire, Natalia. (2015, April 26) Resilience and Unbreakability. Works Cited (Accessed 04/27/2015)

Costello, C. Y. (2005). Professional identity crisis: Race, class, gender, and success at professional schools. Nashville, Tenn: Vanderbilt University Press.

Dews, C. L. B., & Law, C. L. (1995). This fine place so far from home: Voices of academics from the working class. Philadelphia: Temple University Press. See Carolyn Leste Law’s introduction and Laurel Johnson Black’s essay, “Stupid Rich Bastards”.

Drabinski, E. (April 01, 2013). Queering the Catalog: Queer Theory and the Politics of Correction. The Library Quarterly, 83, 2, 94-111.

Ewen, S. (1988). All consuming images: The politics of style in contemporary culture. New York: Basic Books.

Gonzalez-Smith, Swanson, & Tanaka (2014). Unpacking Identity: Racial, Ethnic, and Professional Identity and Academic Librarians of Color. In Pagowsky, N., & Rigby, M. E. (eds). The librarian stereotype: Deconstructing perceptions and presentations of information work. (149-173). Chicago, IL. Association of College & Research Libraries.

Haras, C., Lopez, E. M., & Ferry, K. (September 01, 2008). (Generation 1.5) Latino Students and the Library: A Case Study. The Journal of Academic Librarianship, 34, 5, 425-433.

Hudson, Cate. (November 18, 2014) We Hire The Best. Model View Culture, 18: Hiring. (Accessed 2/10/2015).

McMillan Cottom, Tresse. (2013, October 29) The Logic of Stupid Poor People. tressiemc (Accessed 03/25/2014)

Riis, J. A. (1890). How the other half lives: Studies among the tenements of New York. (Making of America.) New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons.

Sadler, B., Bourg, C. (2015). Feminism and the Future of Library Discovery. Code4Lib Journal, 28. (Accessed 4/15/2015)

Salo, D. (August 15, 2013). How to Scuttle a Scholarly-Communication Initiative. Journal of Librarianship and Scholarly Communication, 1, 4.)

Sendaula, Stephanie. [@sendulas]. (2015, March 26). LRT: Plus, it’s super awkward when colleagues and/or patrons ask if you’re the diversity hire. [Tweet]. Retrieved from

Sin, S. C. J. (January 01, 2011). Neighborhood disparities in access to information resources: Measuring and mapping U.S. public libraries’ funding and service landscapes. Library and Information Science Research, 33, 1, 41-53.

Williams III, J., Van Arnhem, J. (2015) But Then You Have to Make It Happen Code4Lib Journal, 28. (Accessed 4/15/2015)

Yelton, A. (April, 2015). Political and Social Dimensions of Library Code. (Chapter 5) (Report). Library Technology Reports, 51, 3.


Open Knowledge Foundation: Apply to attend OpenCon2015

planet code4lib - Wed, 2015-06-03 11:29

Applications to attend OpenCon 2015 are now open.

OpenCon 2015 is the student and early career academic professional conference on Open Access, Open Education, and Open Data and will be held on November 14-16, 2015 in Brussels, Belgium. It is organized by the Right to Research Coalition, SPARC (The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition), and an Organizing Committee of students and early career researchers from around the world.

Jonathan Gray from Open Knowledge is on the organising committee and we are very excited to be supporting this event! Open Knowledge’s mission is to open up all essential public interest information and see it used to create insight that drives change. Open Access, Open Access to Research data and Open Education are an important part of this mission.

Applications to attend OpenCon are open until June 22nd, but applicants are encouraged to apply early. OpenCon seeks to bring together the most capable, motivated students and early career academic professionals from around the world to advance Open Access, Open Education, and Open Data—regardless of their ability to cover travel costs. In 2014, more than 80% of attendees received support. Due to this, attendance at OpenCon is by application only.

Applicants can request a full or partial travel scholarship, which will be awarded to most of those accepted. OpenCon 2015 will convene students and early career academic professionals from around the world and serve as a powerful catalyst for projects led by the next generation to advance OpenCon’s three focus areas—Open Access, Open Education, and Open Research Data. Through a program of keynotes, panel discussions, workshops, and hackathons, participants will build skills in key areas—from raising institutional awareness to coordinating national-level campaigns effectively. Apply early at

Open Library Data Additions: Amazon Crawl: part bv

planet code4lib - Wed, 2015-06-03 11:00

Part bv of Amazon crawl..

This item belongs to: data/ol_data.

This item has files of the following types: Data, Data, Metadata, Text

DuraSpace News: REGISTER: From Theory to Action–A Pragmatic Approach to Digital Preservation Tools and Strategies

planet code4lib - Wed, 2015-06-03 00:00

On June 30 and July 1, the Digital POWRR team will be conducting two FREE, day-long workshop at Portland State University entitled From Theory to Action: A Pragmatic Approach to Digital Preservation Tools and Strategies. This full-day workshop is made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Celebrating 50 Years of Excellence.

pinboard: code4lib on Twitter: "Job: Space/Time Directory Engineer at New York Public Library"

planet code4lib - Tue, 2015-06-02 23:10
RT @jschneider: Kickass title: "Space/Time Directory Engineer" at @NYPL #code4lib #jobfairy

LibUX: Almost all LibGuides Use the Same Template

planet code4lib - Tue, 2015-06-02 22:52

Springshare is the gold-star standard of customer service in the library vendorspace. What’s more, LibGuides — their content management system — is increasingly designer- and developer-friendly. That’s pretty rare. With version 2.0, they rolled-out a new templating system, and since now that it’s been almost a year I started to wonder how folks were using it.

@schoeyfield these #'s aren't perfect but roughly 92% of guides are tabbed nav. W/ 47% of pgs in those guides set to 3 cols. (2 cols @ 37%)

— springshare (@springshare) May 29, 2015

LibGuides Templates in Use by Menu Type

Almost all LibGuides are using templates with tabs-across-the-top navigation.

LibGuides Column-based Pages by Column Count

Of the 92% of LibGuides that used tab navigation with columns, 47% of pages use a 3 column layout.

This post is part of a new data collection we hope you can use as a reference to make smart decisions. If you’re interested in more of the same, follow @libuxdata on Twitter, or continue the conversation on our Facebook group.

The post Almost all LibGuides Use the Same Template appeared first on LibUX.


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