Monday, August 15, 2016

Find your inner activist #WLIC2016

The next talk I'll blog at the IFLA World Library and Information Congress in Columbus, USA is from Maura Marx (US IMLS) (shown in my photo) talked about increasing focus on equality issues and more library activism. She thought it was important to "claim our activism", to counter the dull stereotype, and raise awareness of how librarians are actually engaged nowadays. Marx took the IFLA trend items and focused on a few of them, stressing more activist aspects.
Looking at trend one ("New Technologies will both expand and limit who has access to information") she identified the problems about access to e-books (causing inequality). As a response she talked about the open e-book app; adults receive codes for the children they work with, and the code unlocks a library of e-books to children. There was no identiable personal information and there are accessibility features. However she noted that at the moment the books were not very multicultural: this was an equity issue that needed to be addressed.
Marx emphasised that this was building on library principles: she felt it was important to build library technology based in these principles (e.g. protecting identity, having accessibility). This meant getting involved in developing platforms, and this in turn involved library activism. This linked to IFLA Trend 3 ("boundaries of privacy and data will be redefined").
Another inititaive, connecting to IFLA Trend 4 ("Hyper-connected societies will listen to and empower new voices and groups"), funded by IMLS is Mukurtu, an open access platform that enabled indigenous communities to keep their cultural heritage safe and managed. It allows access, whilst honouring cultural protocols of who should be allowed to see particular images or works.
This led to a discussion about diversity, and the need to have a more diverse profession. That could also lead to more diverse collections and services. Marx then turned to another interpretation of contenet diversity, to talk about collection and management of digital material, such as social media. She mentioned the Documenting the Now project, Art+Feminism and also the archive A people's archive of police violence in Cleveland.
Marx finished by urging us to "find our inner activist", so libarians can be a greater social force than ever before.

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