Hooray for ________! was born out of the disconnect between librarian core values and daily operating practice. We (Eli Guinnee and Margo Gustina) work in an overwhelmingly rural region of western New York state. Most of the public libraries in our region are led by people without formal library education, which we had thought was the basis of our lack of shared understanding of practice. We have since learned that our assumptions were wrong. Gaps between values and practice are in libraries of every size, among practitioners with widely varied educational backgrounds.
We build this series of workshops and resources to help our colleagues (and ourselves) to look carefully at the gaps and gray areas, and together uncover ways to develop cultures that are more closely aligned with our shared values of intellectual freedom, preservation, learning, and social justice.
So far, we’ve only developed two of these areas for workshop, but we’re always interested in spending time with new challenges.
Our actual work projects have been nearly all consuming since Eli became State Librarian of New Mexico in 2018. But we’re back in 2020 with a discussion of dissent. Margo has been reading organizational change, democracy, and political theory like a fiend ever since we both felt inspired by Conformity (2019) — a splendid small work by legal scholar Cass Sunstein.
Over the first half of 2020 we’ll be experimenting with how to still have a robust professional conversation with you all over a topic without having the capacity to use the conference platform. Every month some new content will publish on the Dissent page. If you want to chat about it, reach out to us on the contact page.
Interested in the other projects Margo is involved in? Visit http://margogustina.info. Eli, very rightly, has no time to have a website, so you’ll just need to visit the New Mexico State Library when you are so inclined.
After our energizing and illuminating Urban Librarians Unite conference, Dangerous Librarianship, Library Journal‘s Rebecca Miller mentioned us in her editorial “Fire in the Belly: Powering Advocacy with Passion“. We were particularly in love with this quote about Hooray for Social Justice!:
“Radical inclusivity,” they argued, demands a reset of our understanding of what is needed to support a democracy. It calls for services designed to foster a more equitable society, not just deliver equivalent services across the board. This struck me as inherently kind and mission aligned.
We reached out to Meredith Schwartz about taking all of our research and examples and turning them into an article. In June 2017 our article “Why Social Justice in the Library” was published.
Since, we’ve heard from colleagues throughout the east coast about the article being used in classrooms, bibliographies, and peer reading groups. We’re proud of the work, but it’s popularity might also be from the hunger for quality discussion on the topic. Discussion about how to do a better job, not whether or not it is our job.