Yes, but … One Librarian’s Thoughts About Doing It Right

  • Heather McNeil Deschutes Public Library
Keywords: Oregon, Oregon libraries, academic library, libraries, librarians, northwest, information science, information literacy, social media, writing, library trends, books, donors, library funding, Oregon library association, quarterly, Oregon library association quarterly, American library association, ala, ola, reading, library success, success, evolving roles, OSU, Oregon state, University, web services, public, new discipline, changes in libraries, career, careers, library careers, library career, professional journal, scholarly, academic, circulation, Portland, Multnomah County Library, innovative, inventive, solution, oregon librarians, librarian, political, politics, political action, association, civics, civic education, inspiring, engagement, role, participation, skills, create, creating, resources, develop, source, evaluate, evaluation, evaluating, University of Oregon, UO, learn, learned, watzek, lewis & clark college, access, barriers, membership, story, inmates, storytime, record, equity, diversity, inclusion, african, american, conference, fellow, dei, edi, project lit, sewing, somali, immigrants, refugees, micro, action, elaine hirsch, intersection, age, body type, disabilities, disability, race, skin, color, physical, mental, religious, geography, ethnicity, sexual orientation, sex, gender, olaq, heather mcneil, storyteller, collection development, racism, sexism, history, dr. seuss, debbie reese, homophobic, change, choices, cultural awareness, anti-semetic, cat in the hat, caldecott, newberry, experience, wisdom, bend, deschutes, retire

Abstract

Here’s the thing. All the conference programs, blogs, and conversations about diversity and inclusion have given me increased awareness and caused me to pause and reflect and question. I’ve cringed at practices of mine in the past, and delighted in the increasing abundance of beautiful books that feature people of color. I’ve learned a lot and have had more than one tough conversation with staff.

Yes, but … I’ve also seen and heard opinions in the library world that potentially create more barriers. I’ve perceived attitudes that seem to shut down dialogue with, “I’m right, you’re wrong. I understand, but you just don’t get it.”

This was not an easy article to write. I have struggled, rewritten, asked others to review, and rewritten again. But, as I prepare to retire after 40 years in the library profession, and after seeing many trends and issues ebb and flow, I offer my personal thoughts on diversity in the literary world that I, and perhaps others as well, have struggled with as a library professional.

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Author Biography

Heather McNeil, Deschutes Public Library

Heather McNeil retired in September after 40 years of librarianship in Colorado and Oregon. She is now consulting and training on early literacy and storytime skills, as well as enjoying more opportunities to perform as a professional storyteller. She has also been contracted to write a book on social emotional learning at storytime. Heather lives in the forest outside of Bend. She reads three books at a time (one at the dining table, one in the bedroom, and one on audio), and enjoys writing teen historical fantasy, none of which have been published. Yet.

Published
2019-10-28
How to Cite
McNeil, H. (2019). Yes, but … One Librarian’s Thoughts About Doing It Right. OLA Quarterly, 25(2), 48-52. https://doi.org/10.7710/1093-7374.1992