A Parler content filter, denying the keywords “climate change,” “Trump” and “election.”

Living in the Filter Bubble

We should consider whether tech companies are taking personalization too far, but we should also resist the urge to embrace that customization to an extent that might inhibit personal growth and evolving perspectives. And we need to continue to make sure the next generation understands the importance of looking at multiple perspectives, especially if it is going to be harder to do so organically as we absorb information.

Image by Vlad Vasnetsov from Pixabay

Educating Children in a Time of Masks

When it became clear that masks and online education would be a part of fall teaching this year, I know many of us in academia (and education more broadly) discussed potential challenges for accessibility when teaching with a mask. But as an academic librarian who is childless, I didn’t think about the broader potential impacts of mask wearing, or online learning, on children trying to learn early literacy skills.

A woman holds a finger over her lips in the signal for secrecy.

Libraries don’t hide controversial material, especially during a national movement

It’s frustrating to see a Library Trustee – presumably someone who loves libraries – making these statements because they seem so antithetical to what libraries do. It’s not entirely clear what he wants as a solution, but at the very least it seems like he’s asking the library to ignore current events and to hide collections on controversial subjects. I’m also saddened by the implication that by including something on the library website the library is “promoting” it. Librarians buy and check out materials every day we disagree with; that’s our job.

Social media apps on a smart phone

US Eyes TikTok Ban While Books are Pulled From Hong Kong Libraries

A ban seems a bit like using a meat cleaver where a scalpel might be more appropriate. I’m also troubled by the potential message a TikTok ban sends; we want to encourage China to be more protective of and open to free speech, especially in light of the troubling shift toward censorship in Hong Kong. Can we really do that if we are banning their apps? By banning their apps, are we taking steps in that same direction?

Children of Blood & Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Exploring Social Justice through Sci-Fi & Fantasy

I personally really enjoy (if “enjoy” can be considered the right word) the exploration of tough social justice issues through the lens of fantasy or science-fiction – often through the vehicle of anti-magic prejudice. I feel the fantasy context allows the reader to take a step back from the real world, while allowing the reader to think critically about equality and justice in a less personally challenging way.

Protesters in silhouette

When can the government prevent me from assembling, anyway?

Ultimately, while there may be arguments about the wisdom of these stay-at-home orders, and perhaps other constitutional arguments to be made, I don’t think the argument that they violate the right to assembly or the right to religion is particularly persuasive. Let’s cross our fingers that these social distancing measures work, and we can all go back to “normal” soon, making this debate a distant memory.

COVID 19: Health care crisis and mis-information

As librarians, we can help during this current outbreak by curating lists of reliable sources and, as much as possible, being available (in many cases remotely) to provide reference services and point our users to reliable sources. We can continue to do what we always do – serve as touchstones for patrons looking for reliable information in a time of stress. We can do our best to help them sort through the bad and misleading information and promote the more reliable information.

Lisa Hoover, Public Services Librarian at Clarkson University, and Michelle Young, Dean of Libraries at Clarkson University, at the NYS Capitol building on Legislative Advocacy Day. Photo by Ginger Tebo, School Library System Director at St. Lawrence-Lewis BOCES.

Advocating for our patrons

Overall, going to legislative advocacy day was a really positive experience. I think it is important for librarians to speak up about the importance of libraries and the needs of our patrons. Many of our patrons – especially in school libraries – can’t speak up for themselves about what they need. In today’s fiscal climate, I think we need to speak up to make sure we can continue to serve our patrons’ needs.