Sunday, August 8, 2010

A non-library issue - Marriage Rights for All

I responded to a Facebook comment that disturbed me. Yes, this is typically a library blog. Seeing as how I've now been out of libraries a year, I say it's time to blog about whatever I want. :)

A family member posted a comment to her status regarding a Fundamentalist Mormon reality television show and somehow same sex marriage came up. The angst seemed to stem from the word marriage for same sex couples. I responded with questions:

How does calling same sex marriage a marriage something that is wrong?
How is marriage only limited to a man & a woman? How does 2 men or 2 women who want to have their commitment recognized by the state threaten or effect your ma...rriage?
No other heterosexual couples' marriage diminishes the meaning & value of yours to your husband.
Why is it that heterosexual couples can marry & divorce faster than you can say "Britney Spears" and not two other people who have been together for 20 years already?
I have a lot more questions on this subject because it boggles my mind that 2 people who love each other cannot get married. Marriage rights for all is something I care about significantly. I hope I can learn more about what your thoughts are on this rather divisive issue...and I am grateful you have such a wonderful husband/father of your children/partner/lover/and all the rest of what Ben means to you.
Please think about a couple that has that same love for each other...but they just happen to be gay.
How is celebrating love so wrong? 

-end quote-

This was my response to her comment. When one states that it is merely their opinion and does not back it up with why, I provide more information in the hopes of education, thereby squashing fear. It is only through communication and education that this society can flourish and grow.

My response:

I understand not wanting to get into a long debate. Regardless, I would like to address your points and ask more questions. Indeed, the way we think is quite different from each other. Nevertheless, I love you and respect our differences. I value your opinion and I believe that it is through discussion that we can grow and learn as individuals.

Firstly - what would my opinion on the Arizona law SB 1070 matter? It is a completely different issue. This is a discussion about why people/fellow citizens of this country should not be discriminated against and be allowed to marry. Note - to tie it back into the Fundamentalist Mormons - I point to Warren Jeffs, taking *children* and forcing them to marry adults.
We're talking about consenting adults that love each other and want to marry. - How would you feel if your marriage was put to a vote or suddenly nullified because other people just didn't agree that using the word marriage was wrong in the case of you and Ben?
- What are your thoughts on interracial marriage? - It was not too long ago that blacks and whites were not allowed to marry.

Why does the word 'marriage' upset you? It is the legal union of a couple as spouses.  The basic elements of a marriage are: (1) the parties' legal ability to marry each other, (2) mutual consent of the parties, and (3) a marriage contract as required by law.
- taken from:
The rest is something that is tied to a rather unfortunate lack of separation of church and state.

What does salt and pepper have to do with it as well? Let's see if we can call salt (same sex marriage) pepper by the above legal definitions.
1 - Right now, it's legal in Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Washington, D.C., and - well...California, again.
(Bringing it back to the Mormons - Millions was raised and spent by out-of-state Mormons who wanted to interfere in the private married lives of Californians. I know that I don't make campaign contributions to representatives from other states because, it doesn't affect me. Why would anyone worry about what other people in another state are doing with regards to marriage??)

States which recognize same-sex marriage but do not grant same-sex marriage licenses: New York, Rhode Island, and Maryland.

- So that ticks off #1 - in the places where it is legal, it's a marriage!

2 - Consent. These people want to get married and create a binding and legal contract to celebrate their commitment and love for one another. This fulfills #2 above.

3 - Obtaining a marriage license involves the consent question above and in some states a test for STDs. The signing of the license is the marriage contract. Everything else in between is up to the couple. But boy howdy, does it make it easier to obtain the over 1,000 benefits that come with marriage.

Here are a few of the 1,138 benefits the United States government provides to legally married couples:
      Access to Military Stores
      Assumption of Spouse’s Pension
      Bereavement Leave
      Insurance Breaks
      Medical Decisions on Behalf of Partner
      Sick Leave to Care for Partner
      Social Security Survivor Benefits
      Sick Leave to Care for Partner
      Tax Breaks
      Veteran’s Discounts
      Visitation of Partner in Hospital or Prison

Here are a few of the state level benefits within the United States:
      Assumption of Spouse’s Pension
      Automatic Inheritance
      Child Custody
      Crime Victim’s Recovery Benefits
      Divorce Protections
      Domestic Violence Protection
      Exemption from Property Tax on Partner’s Death
      Insurance Breaks
      Joint Adoption and Foster Care
      Joint Parenting (Insurance Coverage, School Records)
      Medical Decisions on Behalf of Partner
      Certain Property Rights
      Sick Leave to Care for Partner
      Visitation of Partner in Hospital or Prison
The full list of benefits is here:

I am bisexual. Here's the latest definition from the American Psychological Association: “Bisexual persons can experience sexual, emotional and affectional attraction to both their own sex and the opposite sex." I can and have loved both men and women - not necessarily at the same time! It means that while I'm not required to love the same gender or even the opposite gender - I do. I was born this way.
It does not mean I should have to jump through hoops and legal battles if I am fortunate to find love and want to marry a woman. Heterosexual couples do not have to do this.

Much like freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose...marriage is an opportunity to tell the world that this person, my love is who I want to spend the rest of my life with. What is wrong about love?

I hope you are having a good summer as well and I hope that I've shared some information that may help you to understand why this issue matters to me.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

ALA Election Time! (VOTE NOW!!)

As an ALA member, I am grateful for those on ALA staff that work for me. That sounds pretty egotistical of me to say but they're also working for you too. Mary Ghikas, John Chrastka, Jenifer Grady, Jenny Levine, Lois Ann Gregory Wood...the list goes on and on.

Mary Ghikas has been emailing the ALA Council email list daily with information regarding the election which is currently underway! (VOTE NOW!!)

"As of 3/30/2010, 3:04pm:
Of 55,325 eligible -- 5,167 have voted (9.34%)
This compares to 3/30/2009:
Of 56,067 eligible -- 6,286 had voted (11.21%)

On April 5, we (ALA) will begin sending email reminders to eligible voters who have not yet voted.  Polls close on April 23."

Let's get out the vote!! (VOTE NOW!!)

Here are my endorsements for ALA election.

ALA President: Molly Raphael
I had the opportunity to meet both candidates at ALA Midwinter and most recently at the Public Library Association Conference this past week. (More blog entries to come re: my PLA experience.)
My first encounter with Molly was when she spoke at the NMRT All Committee Meeting at ALA Midwinter. Both candidates had the opportunity to stump for herself to those that attended our Candidates Forum at this meeting. One of the things that struck me was Ms. Raphael's experience with pioneering library services to at-risk and underserved populations in the District of Columbia. Upon further reflection into both candidates' experience, I am casting my vote for Molly Raphael.
Intellectual freedom is an issue that strikes at the heart of our profession. Ms. Raphael's experience in this realm in addition to ALA BARC (Budget Analysis and Review Committee) and her commitment to strong relationships between school libraries and other outreach programs really sealed my vote.
I have a tremendous amount of respect for both of the candidates. Campaigning for office at the national level can be very difficult for even the stalwart of candidates. I am always impressed with the candidates the ALA Nominating Committee have chosen. Sara Kelly Johns would definitely bring an experienced voice to the plight of school libraries across the country, most recently in Los Angeles, California. The issue affects not only school libraries but public libraries as well. Public libraries are faced with rising use but dwindling budgets. Public libraries will be stepping further into the role of replacement school librarian as well.  I wish both candidates the best of luck and most importantly: VOTE NOW!!!

Do you want to change the face of ALA Council? Shakeup the lineup and add players into the mix that typically may not have a shot? Let's do this! (VOTE NOW!!)
Have you ever read the candidate bios? There are quite a few remarkable leaders in our profession that are on the ballot for ALA Councilor at Large. 
  1. Matthew Ciszek - I value his willingness to meet the challenges of a profession that has radically changed over the past 15 years. I have had the opportunity to meet with Matthew and feel he would bring a significant spark to ALA Council.
  2. Kelly Czarnecki - I was impressed by her work with developing technology literacy for incarcerated teens. Outreach to the youth, especially in the area of technology literacy is key to the advancement and progress of our communities!
  3. Loida A. Garcia-Febo - Loida's concerns encompass things that I am extremely passionate about: Intellectual freedom and international librarianship within a diverse/global landscape. I am duly impressed by Ms. Garcia-Febo's active commitment to the American Library Association in her various roles.
  4. Larry Grieco - Another concern within the library profession that I think about is library services to rural communities. Larry will come to ALA Council with over five years of experience with rural/small libraries. 
  5. Julius Jefferson - I am a "fanatic for fairness"as well. His recent presentation in 2008, entitled: "An Endangered Species: The Black Male Librarian," addressed the concerns of a dwindling diversity within our profession. We need more voices such as Mr. Jefferson.
  6. Xudong Jin - Mr. Jin's work on projects such as the IMLS funded project entitled: Think Globally, Act Globally along with his work serving as President of the Chinese American Librarians Association should definitely considered as you place your vote.
  7. Melissa Johnston - Often there are not too many candidates from the school library media specialist arena. Ms. Johnston's varied experience ranges from national programming events such as School Library Media Month to regional and state level leadership opportunities.
  8. Mike Marlin - As more and more ability and access issues arise within the field of librarianship, I value Mike's role in addressing the concerns of library services to people with disabilities, especially serving our internal customers (our esteemed staff).
  9. Jessica Moyer - I had the pleasure of working with Jessica on a co-sponsored program between RUSA RSS Marketing Reference Services to Users entitled "Marketing to Generation X" for ALA Annual 2007.  She is an intensely bright person that I feel has a lot to offer our profession not only through her publications and research but her passion for embracing shifts within libraries.
  10. Cecilia Poon - Did you know that Cecilia established the APALA’s Mentoring Program with Sherise Kimura? Did you know that mentoring minority librarians is an issue that is near and dear to her? Two reasons why I'm voting for Cecilia Poon for ALA Councilor at Large.
  11. Michael Porter - Many people know Michael through his work with David Lee King on addressing the concerns of an ever-changing landscape and evolving services of libraries. C'mon, let's vote for someone who can and will shake things up significantly on ALA Council!! VOTE NOW!!
  12. Jacquie Samples - Two key points stuck out for me on Ms. Samples' biographical information: Her work with the American Indian Library Association and Association for Library 
    Collections & Technical Services. It also really rocked my socks that she mentions evolving and "leveraging ALA’s computing power in this digital age."
  13. Kevin Scanlon - Youth recruitment efforts to promote librarianship! Addressing transparency concerns within the American Library Association and ALA Council! Youth access to materials & services! Kevin's experience with YALSA also sold me on a vote.
  14. Sarah Smith - I had the pleasure of meeting her at the Federal Libraries Workshop. Sarah served as one of the organizers for this all-day pre-conference at this most recent ALA Midwinter in Boston. Sarah is serving as the president of her library school student organization at Simmons. I was especially taken by her passion to become more involved in the American Library Association.
  15. James Teliha - I had the opportunity to talk with him at ALA Midwinter and I was taken by his enthusiasm to serve as an ALA Councilor at Large. His experience within the realm of Intellectual Freedom and his statement of Professional Concerns won my vote.
Casting an "Emerging Leaders" slate would also shake things up as well. - VOTE NOW!!
- Great job to NMRT Councilor Jenny Emanuel for creating a list of Emerging Leaders running for ALA office. So many awesome people on that slate too! Just remember to vote!!! - 

People that have experience on Council that I respect and think deserve your vote:
  1. Doug Archer - Intellectual Freedom Fighter!
  2. Gladys Smiley Bell - Ms. Bell has over ten years of experience on ALA Council working on issues such as ethnic librarianship.
  3. Roberto C. Delgadillo -- Has significant experience with the Ethnic and Multicultural Information Exchange Round Table and REFORMA. In addition, a background in public and academic libraries. The balanced outlook that Mr. Delgadillo has on generational shifts in libraries is something that I value as a fellow Councilor.
  4. Karen Downing - Karen has past experience on ALA Council and has been off for a while. During this time, she completed a PhD that investigated: "The Relationship Between Social Identity and Role Performance Among Academic Librarians." Additionally, her activities surrounding minority recruitment and the Spectrum Scholarship program swung me. 
  5. Bernard Margolis - His cunning use of Sturgis Parliamentary Procedure leaves me smiling along with his wealth of experience as a gadfly and respected member of our profession. It is so unfortunate that he is going through a major health battle at the moment.
  6. Melora Norman - Melora has been a strong supporter of issues such as electronic participation. I have appreciated her well-thought out contributions to various debates of the day.
  7. Cristina Ramirez - I have had the pleasure of serving on Council with Ms. Ramirez. Like myself, she is a newish librarian. I have admired her outreach efforts within ALA and would like to see her shine a little more on Council.
  8. Elizabeth Ridler - While I often find myself on the opposite end of the voting spectrum with her, I respect the balance that her outspoken opinion provides. Some of the issues she consistently rises in discussion relate to concerns regarding library services to people with disabilities.
  9. Susan Roman - She has over 30 years in our profession but has only been on Council since 2007.
  10. Bill Turner - Current chair of the Resolutions Committee. Extremely approachable and willing to assist those that want to propose resolutions - especially MEMBER RESOLUTIONS (Yes, VOTE NOW but also learn more on how YOU can write resolutions to present at an ALA Membership Meeting. Action/Participation + You = OMG Engaged Membership!!!) The ALA Governance page should have more information for you but it currently has a number of dead links. - Will report that ASAP. Still, email Bill or any member of ALA Council regarding Action Items YOU would like to bring forth to the membership. Anytime. We're here to serve YOU!

I realize that I did not list many of my esteemed colleagues that have a wealth of years of experience on Council. I respect their years of service and I truly desire to have an overall balanced Council. The unfortunate predicament we are facing within our profession is finding that balance between experience and giving other ALA members a chance to shine. It is my hope that my experienced picks do not offend and provide a balance to the "shake-up" list I provided above. 
For more information on the ALA Election, check out the ALA Election info page!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Stop the bickering in ALA!

I want to start posting more. I started multiple posts about getting laid off and my ongoing job search, but I kept feeling embarrassed to be writing about being unemployed, even while knowing that I have nothing to be ashamed of. It's just really weird to be unemployed.

I just made a comment on John Berry's article on anonymity and free expression. In an attempt to write more or at the very least publish what I write, I'm pasting the comment here.
One of my major gripes within our profession are the self-created and self-imposed great divides. The techies and the non-techies, the old and sometimes seemingly entrenched and the young and sometimes impatient, social activists of ALA and those that think ALA should not take stands on things that they consider to be non-library issues, intellectual freedom champions and those that put their entire lives available for public consumption in addition to individuals that appear to be uneasy with the notion of anonymity.
By no means do I wish to present these issues as dichotomous and/or simplistic. I just find the gall of the various camps and their staunch vehemence that there
I sometimes wonder if we have far too much in-fighting to continue as a profession.
We need to not be so put off by those that do not see take an interest in b/vlogs, RFID technology, webinars and the like.
We need to be open to the suggestions of all while being willing to listen to the counterarguments without prejudice.
We need to stop thinking that our way is the best/right way.
We need to be willing to try something for a while, just to see if it works. If it does not,
We need to be working together as a profession as opposed to tearing down each other.
Work together to build our own automation systems, share advocacy tools, create searchable databases that rival corporate products in breadth and reliability,

I agree that Annoyed Librarian's blog entries should be anonymous. While I am not comparing Annoyed Librarian to Voltaire in style, I appreciate that both have written to critique
I, too, am not a fan of "obsessively self-revelatory librarians" and for better or for worse, I see that as the primarily accepted lifestyle within this profession at the moment.

I by no means think that I have all of the answers. I want to see libraries flourish and thrive for years to come. It has been devastating to see so many colleagues laid off and to read of numerous library closings. Perhaps I'm a bit shell shocked and skeptical of a continued prosperity and relevance of libraries. I honestly think that the bickering, passive aggressiveness, snark, stonewalling and overall conceited notion that is pervasive in this profession is what may be ultimately holding us back.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Ohio Public Library Fund Cuts

Copying and pasting email message from Doug Evans, Ohio Library Council Executive Director:

The Ohio General Assembly's conference committee on the 2010-2011 state budget today accepted a proposal to cut Ohio's Public Library Fund (PLF) $84.3 million over the next two years. The cut is substantially less than the approximate $227.3 million cut proposed by Gov. Ted Strickland on June 19 but will still have a significant impact on the services provided by Ohio's public libraries.

Ohio's public libraries have the citizens of Ohio to thank for exerting extraordinary influence on their elected representatives in the Ohio General Assembly to minimize the cuts to library funding. We believe the overwhelming groundswell of public support convinced the legislature to reject the Governor's massive cuts, and attempt to preserve library funding as much as possible during this challenging financial situation.

The budget cuts, combined with the precipitous drop in the PLF in the first six months of this year as a result of declining state tax revenues, will result in library funding dropping as much as 25-30% in 2009 as compared to calendar year 2008. The decreased funding comes at a time when Ohio's public libraries are experiencing an unprecedented increase in the demand for services.

In July 2009, public libraries received 22% less funding than they received in July 2008. It is expected that based just on the formula, public libraries will likely receive close to 20% less money in 2009 than they did in 2008. Although Ohio's economy is faltering along with that of rest of the country, public libraries believed that they could withstand those reductions through layoffs, reduced material purchases, and reduction in operating hours. An additional cut of 11% will be difficult to manage by some libraries.

This is a budget with which no one can be happy, but the OLC appreciates the Ohio General Assembly's effort to restore $143 million to the Public Library Fund. This bill means that Ohio's public libraries will not face cuts that could have amounted to 50% of previous funding. However, depending upon the accuracy of the projections made by the Ohio Department of Taxation, libraries could still be looking at cuts that could be as much as 30%.

Still not pleased about VLT/slots bits though. As Pat Wagner of Pattern Research was saying to me, "You'd get better odds from a guy running numbers than state gambling." Also, it's not providing jobs that have transferable skills/career advancement. It's just really sad for Ohio that it has come to this.

Rushing hither and yon to more ALA Annual stuff.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Save Ohio Libraries!!!

At a news conference on Friday, June 19, the Governor proposed a cut to state funding for public libraries of $227.3 million in fiscal years 2010 and 2011 as part of his plan to fill the $3.2 billion gap in the budget that must be balanced by the Ohio General Assembly's Conference Committee by June 30. This will mean a more than 50% cut in funding for many of Ohio's public libraries. Libraries could close or face significant reductions in operations as a result of the Governor's proposal. This cut is in addition to the 20% reduction in funding that libraries are already facing, because their funding comes from 2.22% of the state’s declining General Revenue Fund.

With some 70% of the state's 251 public libraries relying solely on state funding to fund their operations, the reduction in funding will mean that many will close branches or drastically reduce hours and services. The Governor's proposed funding cuts come at a time when Ohio's public libraries are experiencing unprecedented increases in demands for services. In every community throughout the state, Ohioans are turning to their public library for free high speed Internet access and help with employment searches, children and teens are beginning summer reading programs, and people of all ages are turning to the library as a lifeline during these difficult economic times. Ohio's public libraries offer CRITICAL services to those looking for jobs and operating small businesses. Public libraries are an integral part of education, which Governor Strickland says is critical to the state's economic recovery. But it is unlikely that many of Ohio's public library systems, especially those without local levies, can remain open with these proposed cuts.

About 30% of Ohio's public libraries have local property tax levies that supplement the state's funding. However, with the Governor's proposed drastic cuts in the state funding for libraries, even those libraries will face decisions regarding substantial reductions in hours of operation, materials, and staffing. Heights Libraries would lose more than $1.2 million per year in state revenue. The library board would decide, with input from the public, what reductions in services and hours would be made.

Let your state legislators and the governor know what your library means to you!
Call or click here to directly e-mail those listed below:
Congresswoman Barbara Boyd

Representative Vernon Sykes, Chairman of the House
Finance Committee

Representative Armond Budish, Speaker of the House

Governor Ted Strickland

Senator Shirley Smith – District 21

Senator Nina Turner – District 25

Additional information from Library Journal:


Friday, May 8, 2009

SLA Shrinks Dues for Lower-Income Members

I just saw this in the February issue of Computers in Libraries. (Heights Library has a subscription and the Febrary issue just got to me.) I find it very intriguing. I would *love* to see this happen for the American Library Association.

"The Special Libraries Association (SLA) added a new dues tier for members with incomes lof less than $18,000 per year. Designed to assist members in the global economic crisis, the new tier requires those with lower incomes to pay only $35 annually for a full membership, as opposed to the $160 fee for those making $35,000 or more and $99 for those making less than $35,000 and more than or equal to $18,000. Those who fall into the sub-$18,000 category will still have access to all of the SLA's members-only services, including professional development, the SLA Career Center, and networking opportunities. According to the organization, the new tier makes SLA membership affordable for those working in any economy as well as students, unemployed and part-time workers, and those who are retired."
-Computers in Libraries, News Desk, Bill Greenwood, Feb. 2009, p. 30

This issue has been brought before Council often and it has been referred to other committees multiple times. It is unclear if/when this issue will ever be revisited by Council and/or the ALA Executive Board. During these trying times, I would like to ALA try to reach out to its members. Those that are unable to pay are disenfranchised by a system that is inflexible and rigid. If ALA were to move to a tiered model, we would have these members in our ranks, enabling them to take advantage of the services ALA membership provides. How can we reach out to these members and keep them in the fold?

I'll investigate creating a resolution to bring before Council at Annual. Maybe even nudge Keith Michael Fiels, Executive Director. We need to do whatever we can to help our members stay, not letting them fall away.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Last Day to Vote in ALA election!!!

I wanted to re-iterate my call to vote. Voting has decreased significantly. I'm not terribly sure why. If people complain about our leaders in ALA, why don't they vote? Do they not think it'll make a difference? The motto that I try to live by when discussing politics or activism is: Change from within. You can gripe all you want...only if you're trying to do something to change things.
I know it's always a possibility that at some point, I too may throw my hands in the air and leave but for now, to quote Margaret Cho, "I've chosen to stay and fight."

For Council:

* Aaron Dobbs - He is passionate about our profession and has served well for this past year.
* Heidi Dolamore - She is a dynamo! I admire her constant vigilance of representing under-represented groups such as library school students.
* Reese Evenson - An Emerging Leader that noticed that I was on Council and asked, "How do you get involved in that?" She is young, vivacious and enthusiastic about getting more involved in ALA.

For ALA President:

* Roberta Stevens - Having served with her on Council, I see her as a leader that seeks to hear numerous sides to an issue and is driven to serve as a voice for younger librarians. I will freely admit that I did not appreciate Kenton Oliver's remarks regarding electronic participation. I felt that he neglected to visualize the possibilities and I feel that Roberta Stevens at least is willing to embrace them. He stated that our conferences are a cash cow. But, with all due respect, I feel that the ALA Executive Board reveres them as sacred cows, not to be tampered with. Roberta Stevens is open to change and I respect that as a candidate for ALA president. Please consider voting for her.

For AASL President

* Terri Kirk - If there is one person I admire in ALA, it is Terri Kirk. Her steadfast service to ALA and school libraries is nonpariel. She too has served on ALA Executive Board and her wealth of knowledge makes her the most prepared and qualified candidate! If you are a member of AASL (That's the American Association of School Librarians), please vote for Terri Kirk as your new president!

But most importantly: VOTE!!!!

The polls close at 11:59 P.M. CDT on Friday, April 24. THAT'S TONIGHT!!

If you haven't received your e-mail ballot by March 20, please call ALA Membership and Customer Service at (800) 545-2433 (press 5) or send an e-mail to They can then send you a Web ballot.