I highly recommend reading the full article, “Vocational Awe and Librarianship: The Lies We Tell Ourselves” from 2018. And then reading a recent iteration about the election by Anne Helen Peterson. Lisa Nowlain is a former youth librarian and currently works as a community college librarian in the California foothills. Please excuse her drawings and handwriting this month, everything is on fire.
Author: Lisa Nowlain
Should children’s librarians care about defunding the police?
I believe the answer is yes. We teach kids to be kind, to not use violence, and model creativity for the kids in our libraries. And then we call the police on other patrons – even though policing has been shown to be ineffective and violent for solving root issues in our communities. Seems hypocritical to me. Plus, if we really believe in the transformative power of librarianship, maybe we should be demanding some of that budget. There are many dreams and solutions out there. Check out Mariame Kabe‘s work, or Movement for Black Lives, or MPD150, or Critical Resistance. I’m not sure what that looks like yet, and am looking to learn more. What resources do you have? Lisa Nowlain is currently a community college librarian in the California foothills. In the past, she was a youth librarian in Nevada City, CA; Darien, CT; and in the Bay Area.
What is the point of books?
I am a White woman, a book lover, and a librarian. I believe in the power of books. I started a book/discussion group for local White moms in response to the public and brutal killings of Black people across the nation. During past protests and responses to police killings, I have made booklists for children and parents at my library. This article, by Tre Johnson, has me reflecting on that impulse and what it achieves. Titled “When black people are in pain, white people just join book clubs,” it discusses how White people look for performative responses to the death of Black people, such as book clubs. Of course I believe books are vitally important. I wouldn’t do this work if I didn’t. However, if we’re looking at reading alone as a solution to injustice, we’re not going to get anywhere. If libraries assert, as they have for so long,…
Information literacy for parents in comics
Since switching over to working as an academic librarian at a community college, there’s a lot of focus on information literacy. It got me thinking, as a parent who has struggled to navigate parenting information, about ways that we can make that accessible to parents. For instance, while I was a children’s librarian, I felt it was important to address the vaccine issue by hosting a panel of health experts and discussing it with parents from an information/health literacy perspective. I made these two comics that cover some basic information literacy concepts. Hopefully, they are useful to your patrons, especially as people are navigating COVID-19 information. To read Michael Caufield’s ebook, click here. Lisa Nowlain is an artist and librarian. After working as a youth librarian at Darien Library and Nevada County Community Library, she now works at Sierra College as part-time faculty in the library.
It’s a hard Mock life!
It’s almost time for awards season! Did you run a mock election? If so, it’s time to post your results. Head over to the Mock Elections page. Lisa Nowlain is an artist and librarian in Nevada City, CA.
*see this post **see this example or this example to get the brain juice going You can contact me through my website, http://lisanowlain.com/. Lisa Nowlain is currently about to start at a community college library, but has worked as a Youth Librarian in Nevada County (CA), Darien Library, and in Oakland. See her artwork at lisanowlain.com
Goodbye, youth librarianship!
My last day here at Nevada County is Friday. I couldn’t get them to give me a part-time position (even temporarily), and the inflexibility has been really tough on me as a new parent- and there was some other issues with a promotion I was supposed to get. Either way, my partner works full-time and we can afford to work a little less, so I’m looking for another job. Because I live in a rural county, I’m assuming that I don’t have other options for youth librarianship. I’ve been thinking a lot about the validation I’m getting for this decision, all of which is coming from a place of patrons supporting me, but I think speaks to a cultural issue we have in the US around women at work. In a position so dominated by people who identify as women, I think there is value in us thinking about what…
As a new parent and a children’s librarian, I’m often wondering what are some ways we can support vulnerable families (and people). It feels like cognitive dissonance to read the news and then be in my happy Children’s Room, or home with my baby (obviously, I know this is important, too). Lisa Nowlain is a librarian in rural California.