food for thought: flyover country edition

For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been reading my way through journalist Sara Kendzior’s collection of essays The View from Flyover Country (2015). It’s a hard, but essential read, for those of us trying to make our way within and through the reality of the twenty-first century economy.

I find the #talkpay hashtag on Twitter fascinating and informative. 34/F. White. Cis. Bi. Boston. Reference librarian. MA/MLS w/$70k student debt. $49k.

Yet “the taboo is so entrenched that some people falsely believe that it is illegal to disclose your salary to co-workers. It is not.”

The problem isn’t just that men explain technology to me.”

David Brooks is not asking the most important moral questions about poverty today.

Considering the pros of disclosing your disability during the job application and interview process.

Is compulsory education oversold? Education researcher Peter Gray believes so.

Are college-educated youth today being denied the full benefits of faculty mentoring? Doubtful.

In more personal/administrative updates, as summer approaches and I gear up to work on some initiatives under the umbrella of my role as New England Archivists’ inclusion and diversity coordinator — principally development of a code of conduct and a contingent employment study — I will be probably be cycling down the Amiable Archivists’ Salon as an active blog. As I have mentioned previously, I’m trying to be more mindful of what professional projects I take on in addition to my formal workplace responsibilities and as much as possible limiting myself to what I can complete during regular work hours. That inevitably means winnowing down my self-assigned side projects.

These questions of labor, professionalism, structural inequality, social justice in the archives, and related issues continue to be passions of mine. I hope you will all continue to participate in these conversations online and in person, with me and elsewhere.

This links list will continue with occasional posts through June, at which point I will be idling the blog and Google Group (though not shutting it down completely just yet).

food for thought: post-marathon edition

It was a long weekend here in Massachusetts, in observance of Patriots’ Day, and secondarily the 119th Boston Marathon. The marathon felt weird this year, falling as it did between the two halves of the trial of Dzhokar Tsarnaev for the 2013 bombing of the marathon finish line. My wife and I were in Allston the week of the bombings and lived through the eerie lockdown that led up to the arrest of Mr. Tsarnaev. Like 58% of our fellow Bostonians, we oppose the death penalty (in this, and all other, cases). Killing is not the way to demonstrate that killing is wrong.

A few links from this week on the Internet…

Writing about others’ trauma can cause secondary trauma.

Consider fighting inequality by talking openly about how much you make.

Adults on welfare are overwhelmingly people who work.

“In spite of the pride many libraries take in their neutrality, libraries have never been neutral repositories of knowledge.”

How do you feel about where your 2014 tax dollars went?

Perhaps  Internet help us achieve some modicum of work-life balance.

… and on that note, I’m going to be testing out my own work-life balance over the next two months by not doing work-related things after 5pm or on weekends, as much as possible. This may, or may not, cause the “food for thought” round-up to be a less than weekly affair.

At the end of June, I’ll be reassessing the whole balance situation and deciding where to go from here.

food for thought: sticky keyboard edition

This weekend, while I was working on a review of Galileo’s Middle Finger for The Daily Dose (going up next Monday), one of our cats – Geraldine – jumped up on the kitchen table and knocked my milk stout over with her tail. Beer all over the keyboard! Luckily, my computer still works. It’s just the left-hand SHIFT and CTRL keys that seem to be a little reluctant to perform. Last night, while I was trying to beta a piece of writing for my wife the CTRL key kept trying to make me cut and paste things superfluously. Such is life with cats and computers.

The gender wage gap for women of color.

Salon member P.G. forwarded me this piece from The Guardian on the cruelty of believing life is fair.

This past week Boston was talking about economic inequality in college.

25% of adjunct faculty are on some form of government assistance. (Don’t read the comments)

Policing the consumer choices of people on government assistance is incredibly petty – yet widely accepted.

Are workplace wellness programs useful … or not so much?

The American Library Association’s GLBT Roundtable has posted a new nonbinary bibliography.

What do we mean when we say a queer character (or actual co-human) “just happens to be gay!”?

Are you an author of color? Your work is more likely to be banned or challenged.

ICYMI in earlier incarnations, Tressie McMillan Cottom’s “Who Do You Think You Are?”: When Marginality Meets Academic Microcelebrity is now available at ADA: A Journal of Gender, New Media, and Technology.

Working on feminist-related research and writing? May 1st is the deadline to sign up for the 2015 Feminist Scholars Digital Workshop, “an online, asynchronous, interdisciplinary, participant-driven workshop for individuals working on feminist-oriented research projects.”

What have you been reading this past week?

food for thought: it might be spring edition

Sleet is in the forecast here in Boston, but the tulips are breaking ground and this Saturday is our community garden orientation … so spring must be here! How do the rhythms of your library change as we move from winter into summer? Here at the MHS, we’re seeing a slow-down of academically-affiliated researchers as the final weeks of the semester pull people back to their campuses. In May and June, they will return at a trickle and gradually turn to a flood as summer research fellows and other travelers make their way through our doors. We are also gearing up to launch our electronic patron registration and request processing system, AEON, which goes live on May 21st. It’s been several years in development and we’re excited to finally be going live!

This week in the world of labor and libraries …

The first CFP for the Journal of Critical Library and Information Studies is out! Does it have your name on it?

What are the economic barriers to seeking mental health care? It’s not just affordable providers!

“There is, if you can believe it, a hierarchy of humanities Schadenfreude.”

Is there the little-studied sub genre: a hierarchy of historians?

“Haha, that guy thought you were the receptionist!” Did he? My, what a hilarious turn of events.

Elizabeth Warren (MA-D) has added student loan debt to the financial issues she’s rabble-rousing about.

She’s also making social security cool.

The bottom-up power of labor organizing.

There’s been a lot of comment around the Columbia School of Journalism’s audit of the Rolling Stone campus rape story. I particularly appreciated Elizabeth Stoker Bruenig’s analysis.

Fair Use Week apparently happened back in February. Know your creative rights & responsibilities!

What have you been reading and learning from this past week?

food for thought: not a prank edition

I’m pulling this list together on March 31, so you’re fool-proofed against, well, April Fool’s Day shenanigans (although not protected from my use of the word “shenanigans” which I try to circulate as liberally as possible). Instead, now that I’m back from my head cold, conferencing, and family-vacationing, here are the stories that have crossed my feeds in the past three weeks.

Last week, it was announced that the #teamharpy lawsuit has been settled out of court.

John Jackson documented a week in his life as an academic librarian.

A thoughtful reflection on the downside of call-out culture.

Is the best response to online bullying rigorous moderation and more online speech?

In early March, ProPublica and National Public Radio did a powerful series of reports on the gutting of workers’ compensation nationwide.

The impact of Boston’s winter on our most vulnerable workers made Al Jazeera America.

Invisible disabilities in the workplace (and in life).

Are high-powered female leaders in the business world putting feminist gains for the 99% at risk?

Race absolutely still matters when it comes to education leading to employment.

Check out the storify of Tweets about “The Politics of Inclusion: Equity and Inequity (and Intersectionality) in Digital Spaces” hosted by Temple University.

Is academic credit for an internship better or worse than strictly volunteer opportunities?

The people who put food on our table are being denied the social security payments they earned.

Thanks for nothin’ 21st century?

If the 21st century’s New Gilded Age has been so harsh for the majority, why has there been so little labor activism?

I ain’t dead yet! (see you in april)

A couple of you have (bless you) emailed to make sure I’m doing okay. I am! A couple of weeks ago I got socked with the nasty spring cold that’s been going around, which triggered a couple of migraines / bad sinus headaches, and for about ten days I didn’t have energy for much more than getting to work and home again (on days when I went to work). I’m feeling better now, but had the New England Archivists’ spring meeting this past weekend and now my parents are here so … long story short I am unexpectedly taking a three-week hiatus from the “food for thought” posts and emails. I’ll be back in the game next Wednesday (yes really, even though it will be April 1st!).

In the meantime, if you’re interested in archival backchannel chatter, check out the #maracnea15 hashtag on Twitter for conference discussion!

food for thought: cranberry seltzer gin edition

I’m putting this week’s links list together at my kitchen table while the cats chase one another in and out of the kitchen window onto the back porch: it’s above zero and therefore balmy enough to let the cats stretch their legs! I’m solo parenting tonight as the wife is staying late at work to do a presentation, and dinner consists of chickpea-squash curry stew, sauteed asparagus, and cranberry-pomegranate seltzer with the last shot of household gin. While listening to my sixth lecture on copyright via the Berkman Center’s CopyrightX series. I’m taking their (free!) class on global copyright law this spring and learning a lot!

This week’s links…

Microaggressions in Librarianship | Call for Microaggressions Post-Its! (For Zine-Making)

LIS Microaggressions is soliciting Post-it submissions to be collected and included in our first ever LIS Microaggressions zine, which will be distributed at the upcoming ARLIS, ACRL, and REFORMA conferences this month. This zine will also be available for download on our site!

(Um, WordPress doesn’t recognize the word “microagressions” in their dictionary. Problem!)

ALAnews | LLAMA Webinar Explores Implications of Microaggressions

Microaggressions are subtle, denigrating messages delivered to members of marginalized groups, and they can negatively affect an organization’s culture. Experiences of microaggressions can lead library staff to feel increasingly dissatisfied with their jobs, which may result in their physical or psychological departures from their organizations.   The Library Leadership and Management Association (LLAMA) and the ALA Office for Diversity will present “Racial and LGBT Microaggressions: An Introduction for Library Leaders,” on Mar. 18, at 1:30 – 3:00 PM (Central time). 

Brigid Schulte @ The Washington Post | Women Need Time Off From Work the Most Often But Get It the Least

You can draw that conclusion, at least, from a new report by the Families and Work Institute and the Society for Human Resource Management that found great disparities in the type of workers who receive paid time off — either vacation time or sick days or more general paid leave. Nearly all-full time workers do. But less than a third of part-time workers do.

And there’s the rub. Women are far more likely than men to work part-time. And the overwhelming reason is that they either choose to, or have no choice. Women, after all, are still doing about twice the housework and child care as their male partners.

Brenda Iasavoli @ NPR | A Glut of PhDs Means Long Odds Of Getting Jobs

Colleges and universities control both the supply of college teachers and the demand for them. In many fields, from the humanities to the sciences, universities are accepting far more Ph.D. students than there are tenure-track openings. The universities get cheap labor in the form of graduate teaching and research assistants.

The research equivalent of adjuncts are the postdocs, who work in labs. The growing numbers of Ph.D.s end up fighting for a dwindling number of permanent jobs.

Peter Elbow | Grading Student Writing: Making it Simpler, Fairer, Clearer (PDF)

Some people complain that minimal grading takes away motivation, but when students struggle for excellence only for the sake of a grade, what we see is not motivation but the atrophy of motivation: the gradual decline of the ability to work or think or wonder under one’s own steam. Minimal grading on low stakes assignments, however, is a way to help students gradually develop a bit of intrinsic motivation—develop a bit of their own curiosity and standards. They get a time out from their habitual and understandable preoccupation with “What is the teacher looking for?” They get a chance to ask themselves, “What am I looking for? What do I think? What are my standards?” Of course, students nurtured in a grading economy often need some extrinsic motivation to get them working. But that’s exactly what minimal grading provides. It makes them do the writing and engage the material, but it gives them a lot of choice about how. Thus they get small protected spaces for gradually developing small bits of intrinsic motivation. And of course, they still have some high stakes assignments that we grade in a high stakes way—assignments where we provide most of the motivation.

I found this PDF linked in the comment thread of this thoughtful post:

Jesse Stommel | Dear Chronicle: While I Will No Longer Write for Vitae

This series is not effective satire, not a useful kind of venting. This series plays to the insecurities of its audience in a way that feels opportunistic. Academic job seekers are concerned about their current and future livelihood. They are oppressed by a system that calls 75% of its labor-force “unnecessary,” “contingent,” “adjunct.” The “Dear Student” series turns that oppression, and the most snickering part of it, upon students.

And for those of you in the Boston metropolitan area, a lecture series you may be interested in…

Boston has long played a significant role in the history of the Americas. Often ignored in the telling of that story has been the experiences of Black Women living in our city.

Please join us, every Tuesday this March, as we celebrate Women’s History Month by hosting a series of talks aimed at illuminating some of the fascinating histories of women of African descent here in Boston!

Each week’s discussion will cover one century of social, cultural, and political history; focusing on Black Women’s audacious vitality from the Early Colonial Period through the Present and highlighting how our struggles made this city and our success transformed the nation.

All are welcome- so tell your friends- and we look forward to seeing you there!!

Week 1: March 3rd- The 1600s: A period of introduction
Week 2: March 10th – 1700s: A period of consolidation
Week 3: March 17th – 1800s: A period of rebellion
Week 4: March 24th – 1900s: A period of revolution
Week 5: March 31st– The Present

Sponsored by: The History Collective, Black Lives Matter Boston, and Safe Hub Collective.

Hosted by: Fields Corner Business Lab | 1452 Dorchester Ave, 4th Floor, Boston, Massachusetts 02122


What have you been reading this week? Share via email, comment, or Twitter!