Working Towards More Ethical Behavior

Many of our libraries have diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives. I counted five sessions at the 2018 OLA Annual Conference that were related to the DEI work Oregon libraries are doing. We are at different places in our learning and growth around DEI. Wherever you are at in your DEI learning, I hope you will watch this video and think critically about the main points no matter how uncomfortable it may feel.

TEDTalk

How to let go of being a “good” person—and become a better Person
Dolly Chugh at TED@BCG
October 2018

Here are a few things from the video I want to remember:

  • “Bounded rationality is the Nobel Prize-winning idea that the human mind has limited storage resources, limited processing power, and as a result, it relies on shortcuts to do a lot of its work.”
  • “At any given moment, 11 million pieces of information are coming into your mind. And only 40 of them are being processed consciously.”
  • When we make mistakes that threaten our attachment to being a good person, like mistakes that hurt other people or promote injustice despite our intentions, we explain them away rather than learning from them.
  • These types of mistakes make us fight for our good person identity. Whereas other types of mistakes, like in accounting or parenting, make us seek out help from others, training, and books and articles so we can learn from our mistakes and improve.
  • Most of the time no one calls us out on these kinds of mistakes. Most of the time no one challenges our good person identity. This means we don’t think much about the ethical implications of those mistakes and we spiral towards less and less ethical behavior.
  • When someone notices us make these kinds of mistakes and points it out or asks us about it, it feels like they are challenging our good person identity. In these cases we have to think about the implications of our mistake and we begin to spiral towards more and more ethical behavior.
  • “We have this definition of good person that’s either-or. Either you are a good person or you’re not. Either you have integrity or you don’t. Either you are a racist or a sexist or a homophobe or you’re not. And in this either-or definition, there’s no room to grow.”

Here are a few of the questions I am thinking about:

  • How can I practice finding my mistakes when people don’t call me out on them?
  • How am I going to work through the instinct to fight for my good person identity so my response doesn’t end there… so I can identify my mistake and start the work to learn from it?
  • How am I going to invite colleagues to call me out? If you notice a DEI mistake in this blog, please provide constructive feedback. We are at different places in our DEI learning and growth, and you may be ahead of me. If so, share some of your resources please!
  • How am I going to deal with the discomfort and embarrassment the next time someone calls out my mistakes so I can learn and improve?
  • What am I going to do next time I notice a colleague make a DEI mistake? If I address it, can I help them work through the instinct to fight for their good person identity and deal with the discomfort and embarrassment to foster learning instead of defensiveness?
  • Circling back to a previous post about being good enough, how do we library professionals support each other in being good-ish and good enough? How do we help each other through our mistakes, acknowledging that they have “real costs to real people,” in a way that fosters growth and improvement without feeding into the perfectionist tendencies many of us have? If we wait to implement DEI initiatives until we think we have the perfect plan, we will never do it and we’ve already waited too long to address institutional and historic racism in public libraries.

OYAN Review: Jason Reynolds Talks Like an Author

This post is an article from the Spring 2018 issue of the OYAN Review and has been edited slightly for publication on the blog. It was written by Kristy Kemper Hodge at the Corvallis-Benton County Public Library.

It was Saturday night of the OASL Fall Conference, and Jason Reynolds towered on stage. He regaled us with the story of how he went from an obstinate non-reader to the author powerhouse he is today. The story begins with a much younger Jason, who grew up in a neighborhood that was dangerous and full of perils like gangs, shootings, drugs, and death. Where young men walked on one side of the law or the other, dealing and gang-banging or keeping their heads down, going to school, and staying out of trouble. Jason was able to keep out of trouble, and focus on school, but he was no reader. Why read? Why bother when there were no books about people like him? Who looked like him, talked like him, walked like him, lived like him? Or about people like his friends, family, and the people in his neighborhood? What could books possibly offer?

Then came Queen Latifah. Continue reading

Slides for OLA 2018 Sessions Now Available

Whether or not you were able to join us in Eugene for OLA, you can now view the slides for most presentations on Northwest Central. Of particular interest to OYAN members:

Mark your calendars: the 2019 OLA-WLA Conference will be held at the Hilton Vancouver in Vancouver, WA from April 17-20, 2019!

Diverse Voices in Teen Reads: A Book List

This booklist [pdf] comes from the Corvallis-Benton County Public Library and features books for teens that represent a diversity of lived experiences.

J NON-FICTION

Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice by Phillip Hoose
An in-depth account of Claudette Colvin, an important yet largely unknown civil rights figure.

Dreaming in Indian: Contemporary Native American Voices
An anthology of art and writings from some of the most groundbreaking Native artists working in North America today.

The Port Chicago 50 by Steve Sheinkin
An account of the 1944 civil rights protest by hundreds of African-American Navy servicemen who refused to work in unsafe conditions.

Rhythm Ride: A Road Trip Through the Motown Sound by Andrea Davis Pinkney
A narrative history of the Motown music label.

Continue reading

Combatting Hate via Your Library

The logo of YALSA, the Young Adult Library Services AssociationYALSA has resources to help you support teens, especially those who may be feeling the brunt of current events. YALSA also has resources to help you promote empathy and understanding among teens. Check out these wiki pages:

Don’t forget that anyone can add content to these pages, so if you know of a good resource, please add it!