I spent the day in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania with the library workers of the Associated Colleges of Western Pennsylvania at their spring workshop. I gave a talk about queer theory and cataloging and classification, something that I’ve written about and always love talking about. You can see my slides here, and the text of my talk here. I am grateful to Lindsay Sakmann from Albright College and Ben Hoover from Bucknell, home of the mighty fighting bison, for the invitation, management of logistics, and many LOLs over dinner and throughout the day.
I was lucky to share the bill with April Hathcock and Derrick Jefferson. April started the morning with a discussion of whiteness and implicit bias. She walked the room through a series of scenarios of microaggressions in the library and helped us talk openly and frankly about the stereotypes that simmer just beneath small, daily, racist behavior. April also challenged us to develop potential responses to these kinds of scenarios. It’s great to always be building our antiracist toolboxes. Now I want April to come to my library and give this talk to all of us. It was terrifically generous and helpful.
Derrick closed the day with his talk, “(Re)defining Diversity.” Derrick is a fantastic storyteller, and the way he used personal narrative to talk about intersecting forms of oppression was powerful. He’s developing an autoethnography for an upcoming book collection, and I can’t wait to see what comes out of that. As he was closing, Derrick said, “Perhaps by sharing a little bit of myself, you’ve seen a little more of yourself.” I had all the heart-eyes-emojis for his appeal to empathy as a critical first step in often-fraught encounters with difference.
I also ran a few miles behind the hotel and around the furniture store next door, swam in the hotel pool, sat outside in the hot tub for twenty minutes and managed to get a sunburn, ate several treats out of the hotel vending machine, drank a beer at the hotel bar, and got a souvenir magnet at the train station convenience store. Thanks to ACLCP for a great 36 hours!