Sunday, January 29, 2006

Desmond Tutu: healing through acknowledging our pasts

This afternoon, NPR aired a portion of a talk Archbishop Desmond Tutu gave at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore. He spoke about the reconciliation process in his home country of South Africa and observed that oppression in this country will continue to return and haunt us until we deal with our historic past, including the treatment of indigenous peoples. He countered the call to "let bygones be bygones" by observing that few people are hungry for revenge but most people would like an acknowledgement of past mistreatments. This acknowledgement is a step in the healing process and will help us understand that our lives are complementary and interdependent. What better place than a library to host these discussions, provide access to resources, and serve as laboratories for creating new futures building on the past?

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Faculty Status: Celebrating Tenure and Achievement

Each year the College of Natural Sciences at UT-Austin hosts a dinner to recognize faculty who have achieved promotion. My partner chaired the promotion/tenure committee for the college this year and so we attended this event this evening. Sixteen faculty members were honored along with four faculty in non-tenured positions who were promoted to Senior Lecturer. We were especially pleased to celebrate the achievements of two friends: Dr. Ed Marcotte and Dr. Inderjit Dhillon. Ed is now a full Professor at UT-Austin and will continue and expand his work in bioinformatics. His work has been featured as the cover article in "Nature" and you can find out more through his Open Pronomics Database. Inderjit is investigating how to organize large sets of data such as those related to human genome projects. Other faculty were recognized for their work in astronomy (work on dark energy), chemistry & biochemistry (work on solid/liquid interfaces), human echology (work on dietary fats), biological sciences ('farming insects,' and global warming), mathematics (DNA appplications and geometry), physics (plasma physics, neutrinos, inflation, laser-plasma interactions), and molecular cell and developmental biology (eye development, genomes, DNA repair). It is exciting to hear how young scholars are devoting their careers to furthering developments that will potentially improve humanity.

Wellness Circle

One of my ALA presidential platform issues is workplace wellness. Dr. Joanne Marshall, past President of the Medical Library Association, is helping me realize how this platform issue can benefit ALA members. I will start to introduce some issues that might relate to everyday health concerns of library workers. Of course, each reader should review such topics with his or her health care providers. While I worked as a medical radiologic technologist (X-ray tech), I know that any communication I provide is not prescribed medical care.

Do you ever experience foot pain or fatigue?
About nine-months ago my orthopedic specialist, Dr. Barbara Bergin, advised me to switch from wearing tennis shoes to wearing shoes with hard soles. She pointed to the pair Dansko shoes that she wears everyday and told me that she wears red patent leather Danskos when she is operating. While I was reluctant to leave my days of wearing tennis shoes behind, I am now an avid champion of hard-soled shoes. I broke a toe some twenty years ago and was starting to feel the effect. Now, I wear a hard soled shoe daily and very rarely feel joint pain in that toe. Talk it over with your physician. I opted for the Dansko shoes and am now a Dansko advocate and have 7 pairs of the enclosed clog style with colors ranging from basic black to silver, green, and lilac. My campaign manager, Beth Hallmark, calls these 'chef shoes.' Take care of your feet, library workers!

Friday, January 27, 2006

Let's hear it for TexShare!

Today I attended my second meeting of the TexShare Advisory Board. Doug Ferrier (Southmost College) did an admirable job of chairing the meeting and moving us through the agenda. TexShare is moving quickly in providing access to the databases to K-12 school libraries. After the meeting I stopped by the Library Science Collection. How wonderful to find new LIS reference books and the latest issues of journals/publications all in one location.

iSchool students are working out the last details related to their spring 2006 Capstone projects. This semester I'm serving as faculty supervisor for students working on the student liaison program for, developing a training manual for volunteers at the music library of a student-run radio program, creating a wiki, and providing training on TexShare databases at rural public libraries and HBCU in Texas.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

ALA/MW in San Antonio, "Brokeback Mountain," and more ...

This year's ALA's Midwinter meeting was held 80 miles south of us here in Austin. Thanks, iSchool students and friends for your support during the week. I attended 50 events, including many short visits to ALA units, including Divisions and Round Tables, and service on Council. Each ALA meeting or conference is remembered for its issues of concern (e.g., USA Patriot Act reauthorization, 65 percent solution, academic bill of righs) as well as revision of ALA policies (e.g., representation of Round Tables on Council and Divisions on BARC). Among my most memorable experiences was meeting Bill Crowe. I'm grateful for his generosity and kindness as we serve together as ALA Presidential candidates.

Viewing Circle

I drove straight from San Antonio to a movie theater in Austin to finally see "Brokeback Mountain" and immerse myself in the scenery of the western past. What are the strongest human emotions? Like many others involved in oral history, I'm interested in the field of regret psychology. Researchers have found that wistful regret increases over time as we play over "what might have been."

Saturday, January 14, 2006

El Corazon de Tejas: A Chapter of REFORMA with Heart

REFORMA, one of the five ethnic library associations is affiliated with ALA, has had the foresight to foster the establishment of regional chapters. Here, in the Heart of Texas, we're fortunate to have a strong, devoted group of library workers "committed to improving library and information services to Central Texas' Spanish-speaking and Latino community." Today members held their monthly meeting at the Windsor Park Branch of the Austin Public Library. Among the chapters many activities include an annual Dia de Los Ninos/Dia de los Libros events, various fundraisers, and involvement in local Deiz y seiz de Septiembre events. Corazon does much to support LIS students. This spring Corazon de Tejas has established a new conference award to support an iSchool student's attendance at the 2006 Texas Library Association annual conference this April in Houston. The iSchool will honor Latino alums by hosting a one day gathering on campus focusing on recruitment and retention of Latino students. More about that later!

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Education for Native children: Let's talk about Tribal Schools

Amy Price, my TA and GRA for "If I Can Read, I Can Do Anything," and I are scheduled to lead a discussion related to literacy in Indian communities on Sunday, 22 January, at ALA/Midwinter. Our talk is sponsored by a discussion group of the Literacy Committee. In preparing our bibliography, I reviewed a number of the sources I have on boardng schools. This week, as 50,000 students return to UT-Austin, I'm absorbed again with contemplating what life is like for young people leaving home to seek their education. Many people are not aware of the history of Indian boarding schools, education for children modeled along military lines and designed to speed up the process of assimilation. Early schools aimed to remove Native culture from the lives of Indian children, banning cultural expressions including language. Even fewer people know that boarding schools (not the elite private boarding schools covered in Porter Sargent!) for Indian children still exist. For information about Native education, see the Bureau of Indian Affairs' Office of Indian Education Programs (OIEP). I'll introduce some of these schools in future columns, schools that are now developing innovative curriculum models and providing opportunities for Native children to express and explore their cultures while preparing for lives both on and off Indian lands.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Y'all Are Invited to LRoy's ALA Presidential Candidate Reception

ALA Presidential candidates have the option of having space to organize an event related to their campaign. My reception will take place on Saturday, 21 January, 8-10 p.m. in the Marriott RiverCenter, Conference Room 7. See the linked Evite for more information. Special guests include members of the Student Circle, some of whom will be exhibiting examples of our collaborative work. Members of Bella Corda, a classical guitar ensemble from central Texas, will perform.

We welcome your presence!

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

New student orientation: welcome to the world of LIS education!

Today our School of Information held spring orientation for new students. Classes start again next Tuesday, 17 January. The orientation room was packed, many attended the post-orientation reception, and then students met individually with their faculty advisors. I welcomed three new advisees. We first met as a group, talking about the unique characteristics of graduate education, about Austin, and about the procedure we will follow during their time here. Then, each student met with me during an advising session. Advising is a process of mutual responsibility: I ask students to review their career goals, their interests, their aptitudes. We discussed the core classes, considered electives, and projected as far as we could into their program of studies. Yes, we discussed involvement in ALA and our state ALA chapter, TLA. They were eager and interested, more mature and stronger academically than I was entering my LIS program at the U of Arizona. We stopped by our IT Lab so they could secure their iSchool accounts. I turned in their advising slips and they were off. The next time I see them I will recognize the features of student stress--but beneath their weak smiles and harried schedules, I know that I will see their strengths shine through. The new academic semester is about to begin and I have much to do.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Happy Anniversary, Dia de Los Ninos/Dia de Los Libros

In November 2005, the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) recently passed a resolution stating their support of Dia and their aim to collaborate with ALA in the advancement of both multicultural family literacy and multilingual programming.
30 April 2006 will be the 10th anniversary of Dia, a national celebration of children and books. ALSC is now sponsoring Dia, continuing founder Pat Mora's efforts to spread 'book joy.' Watch for more news and participate in Dia!

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Introducing the Library Leadership Network

"Helping Libraries Succeed in the 21st Century"

I often hear that LIS programs fail to adequately prepare LIS professionals for positions in administration. Truth be told, I think it's pretty darn difficult to help students acquire the skills and philosophical grounding that will enable them in take entry level jobs. The best we can do is provide them with approaches to sustain them for several years; we bank on the fact that their attributes and acquired information gathering skills will give them the flexibility to continue to learn.

Now, there's a new resource for librarians in leadership positions. In June 2005, Frank Hermes launched the LLN, a new electronic resource with services including writings and discussion (The LLN Commons) and Consulting Services. While some content is available only to subscribers, there's free content as well, including articles on organization development, customer service, disaster planning, and more. I've recently joined the LLN Peer Panel and will be submitting answers to monthly questions.
This month's questions focus on Google.

Find out more at

Friday, January 06, 2006

Let's Hear it for: Tribal College Libraries

You might not be aware of tribal colleges--institutions of higher education in the US, Canada, and Aotearoa-New Zealand. I've visited a few, including the
the Wananga o Raukawa in Otaki, Aotearoa-New Zealand; Leech Lake Tribal College (Minnesota); Haskell Indian Nations University (Kansas); Institute of American Indian Arts (New Mexico); Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe Community College (Wisconsin); Northwest Indian College (Washington); and Tohono O'odham Community College (Arizona). Tribal college librarians in the US and Canada gather annually at the Tribal College Librarians Professional Development Institute, an event founded by retired librarian Kathy Kaya over ten years ago and continued by her colleague, Mary Ann Hanson, at Montana State University in Bozeman. Tribal librarians provide standard and unique services; many tribal libraries serve also as archives, museums, or public libraries. Some are staffed by tribal community members, members of other tribal communities, or by librarians of various backgrounds who share a desire to develop and expand much needed services. Most are faced with budget or other challenges. All try to infuse their work environments and leadership skills with a respect for the communities they serve.

For more information about tribal colleges see the AIHEC Website at

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

1st the Cotton Bowl, then the Rose Bowl. Next: ALA!

"What starts here changes the world."

The Tower's orange this evening.
Congratulations, University of Texas Longhorns on your Rose Bowl win!

In a world of unfair circumstances and oppression, of unfortunate accidents and the vulnerability of humankind in the face of the elements and physical fraility, there is still time to celebrate. Indigenous people have long known this as we incorporate our own style of humor while acknowledging our histories of challenge.

So, let us celebrate our achievements, whether they be a winning football game, a new reader's achievement, or the reemergence of a beloved city from a deluge.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Let's Hear it for the Sequoyah Research Center!

I've been privileged to serve on the Advisory Board of the Sequoyah Research Center since 2001. This is a wonderful opportunity to help plan the future of the American Native Press Archives, including the envisioning a separate archives facility on the campus of the University of Arkansas-Little Rock. The Advisory Board meets annually in conjunction with the Sequoyah Research Center Symposium, a gathering of Native educators, writers, researchers, and community program developers. Members of the Board include strong, Ojibwe women (Dr. Selene Phillips, Dr. Kimberly Blaeser, and Dr. Patty Loew) and other articulate Native leaders: Dr. John Sanchez, Paul DeMain, Mary Young, and Dr. Cristina Azocar. Find out more about the Archives and its services at

Reading Circle:

I finished James George's 2003 novel, "Hummingbird," by Huia Publishers of Aotearoa-New Zealand. Shortlisted for the 2005 Tasmania Pacific Fiction Prize, "Hummingbird" was a 2004 Finalist for the Montana New Zealand Book Awards. This is a story of the convergence of strangers who meet on Ninety Mile Beach. Moku-wearing (traditional tattoo) Jordan lives alone until Katarina, who has left a life of prostitution, and Kingi, a WW II veteran, enter his life.
"Sometimes we get a second chance."

My favorite 15-year-old reader received 10 books over the holidays, including the tenth title in the manga series, "Bleach," along with the first six titles in another manga series, "Lone Wolf and Cub." I read an anthology of the first 25 years of the Canadian comic strip, "For Better or For Worse." Author/illustrator Lynn Johnston was a scheduled speaker at the ALA/CLA conference in Toronto in 2003. This is the only daily comic that I read. One of the characters is a young woman who teaches First Nations (Anishinabe) children in a rural school. Some of the panels introduce Ojibwe language phrases and cultural expressions.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Reading Circle

Did you make any New Year's Resolutions? I vow to spend more time reading.

I recently read a review of Nicole Helget's memoir, "The Summer of Ordinary Ways," reminding me of how much I enjoy reading this genre. My favorite book is Laurie Lee's "The Edge of Day" ("Cider with Rosie"), a title that I've read most springs since I was 13 or 14 years old.

Today I read Velma Wallis' "Raising Ourselves: A Gwitchin'in Coming of Age Story from the Yukon River." I have Wallis' two previous titles--"Two Old Women" and "Bird Girl & The Man Who Followed the Sun." "Two Old Women" received numerous awards, including the Western States Book Award and the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Award. I recommend these titles for middle school readers, on up, interested in learning more about Native cultures.

In "Raising Ourselves" (Epicenter Press, 2002), Wallis recounts her life growing up in Fort Yukon, Alaska.
"A few things hold us back. One is the idea ... that it is not good to be who we are: Gwich'ins, Tlingets, Haida, Eyak, Aleut, Eskimos, or whatever other tribe we are. The second thing that holds us back from being healed and being healthy is our reluctance to move into the future with a healthy balance of the old while we live with the new." Wallis, "Raising Ourselves," p. 211.

Let us great the 2006 with a healthy remembrance of who we are, as people, as library workers, and with a healthy view of what the future holds.