IFRT Member Spotlight – Jung Soo Bae

Intellectual Freedom Round Table

Jung (Soo) Bae is a librarian at the National Gallery of Art in D.C. In her current role, she catalogs various library materials related to art and art history and works on some metadata projects. Before joining the National Gallery, she worked at Northern Virginia Community College, the University of Virginia, and Jefferson-Madison Regional Library, across a number of different specializations (access services, cataloging/metadata, digital libraries, technology, etc.). She received her master’s degree in Information from Florida State University in 2016. She is a member of ALA, the Art Libraries Society of North America Association, Linked Data for Libraries Working Group, and is also an ALA Spectrum Scholar from the 2015 cohort. Outside of librarianship, she enjoys reading, gardening, and traveling (especially for exploring various foods).

1. What made you want to be a part of the IFRT?

The reason I joined this group is to learn more about the principles and practices of intellectual freedom in the changing library environment. Libraries today are improving online access to library resources that were traditionally documented, along with the changes in technology and the digital environment. These movements improve equal access to information, allowing the library to play a role as a gateway to knowledge and ideas.

As a cataloging and metadata librarian, I am also interested in improving accessibility to library sources with innovative technologies. However, as I recently participated in a Linked Open Data project, which made the information of African-American artists accessible online, I realized that this is related to more complex issues such as copyright and privacy of living artists.

I was wondering how far to open the personal information of artists for authority control while protecting their privacy, and found that there was a lack of organized resources or guidelines related to these issues.

I would like to discuss and learn with the experts of this group and fellow librarians about how the concepts and principles of intellectual freedom should be applied and practiced in the online digital environment.

2. What is your favorite part about being involved in IFRT?

It would be to learn from a variety of opinions on common interests such as intellectual freedom.

Rather than looking for an absolute answer to a certain issue, it is good to have a better understanding of intellectual freedom while reviewing and listening to various materials and real experiences that are shared in the community. 

3. Have you joined any IFRT programs recently?  What was your favorite?

I recently participated in IFRT Reads: When Education Standards Stereotype, Marginalize, and Eliminate Indigenous Peoples. It was an opportunity to learn about the biased educational standards currently occurring in public and school libraries in the United States and how the intellectual freedom of students is being affected.

Although it started as a case study centered on South Carolina, it was learned from the discussion of several participants that this was not limited to one state or region.

It was good to think about whether there are similar problems in the libraries in the area where I work or live.

4. If you could meet your favorite banned book character, who would you meet and why?

The character I want to meet is Eleanor from Eleanor & Park. This novel is about how the love and friendship of the two main characters can help each other in a difficult situation where they do not adjust well at school or at home. Also, it makes you feel that the prerequisite for building a true relationship, whether friendship or love, starts with discovering your true self and loving yourself. 

At the end of the book, Park received a postcard back from Eleanor, containing ‘just three words’, and the author never reveals what those words are. I want to ask Eleanor what she wrote in her postcard. 

Composed by the Intellectual Freedom Round Table Publications and Communications Committee. Follow us on Twitter @IFRT_ALA.

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