Monday, March 13, 2006

Reply to a Question: Use of Library Workers

I've received a question about my use of the phrase, "library workers" on my Website. I mention that I will stand with ALA members to support equitable salaries and benefits for library workers. Here's a slightly edited (a few typos corrected; a few words added) version my reply.

Thanks for checking in.
I use the phrase, library workers, for several reasons.
One is that I am the only international member of Te Ropu Whakahau, Maori in Libraries and Information Management. Te Ropu Whakahau uses the phrase, library workers, to refer to library personnel since many people of color are often in library support positions.

A second reason is that I work with many tribal communities. My students and I run a national reading club for Native children at 24 sites, including 24 schools and 2 tribal community/public libraries. Many of the excellent staff at these sites have various job titles.

Third, ALA is starting to heighten its recognition of the roles of librarians and others who are involved in the library workforce. Last summer ALA hosted its first cocnference within a conference for library support staff. These workers are often left out of our professional activities.

So, I used the phrase, library workers, to be more inclusive. I certainly consider myself a librarian. I'm in the midst of my twentieth year as a educator of librarians; half of my students end up working in public libraries, the other half end up working in academic libraries.

My students and I have learned a great deal through this campaign process. I know that these experiences have helpd inform me and will impact my teaching in the future--in positive ways. One of the leasons we've learned is that people do react strongly to what the candidates say. Just encourage your colleague--and others---to follow their hearts and minds and vote, and continue to be involved in ALA. We need everyone to share their passion and contribute.