Event Title

The Ambivalence of Librarianship, the Pipeline, and Pathways for BIPOC

Event Type

Round Table Discussion

Start Date

23-7-2021 2:15 PM

End Date

23-7-2021 3:00 PM

Description

"For BIPOC, the library pipeline evokes strong ambivalence. It provides a fixed entry into the professional world, but the long term prospects are neither clear nor without consequence. For many, there is the expectation that regardless of personal choice, they will enter leadership roles. The nuance of these spaces is undeniable, especially if one considers the fact that hiring BIPOC into academic librarianship is often predicated on these “separate” programs. Without question, these pipelines provide fiduciary and career support for those who work within them, but the tradeoffs have not always been beneficial either in a cultural or holistic manner. Simply getting rid of the pipeline without a structural alternative is not the answer, but neither is the action of doing nothing and maintaining these inequitable working conditions silently. We refer to April Hathcock’s blog post, ""Librarianship As A Plantation"" as a framework for examining these initiatives.

New librarians are often forced to engage in pipeline initiatives, like diversity residencies, through an unchallenged paucity narrative. Indeed, many residencies have long been documented to have exploitative features. And yet, the alternative to not engaging in these initiatives is often to struggle to get a foot in the door. The highest levels of diversity are often found in libraries' non-librarian ranks, but there is an implacable barrier between non-librarians and librarians that is often only breached through engaging in these initiatives. Lack of success in this process is generally recognized as the resident’s or the BIPOC worker’s inability to handle the pressure, and not an issue with the pipeline itself. Is the cost worth the investment? Is there more harm than value derived from these programs? What could the structural alternatives be, or are they even possible? This roundtable will invite attendees to cast a critical eye on the nuance within pipeline initiatives."

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Jul 23rd, 2:15 PM Jul 23rd, 3:00 PM

The Ambivalence of Librarianship, the Pipeline, and Pathways for BIPOC

"For BIPOC, the library pipeline evokes strong ambivalence. It provides a fixed entry into the professional world, but the long term prospects are neither clear nor without consequence. For many, there is the expectation that regardless of personal choice, they will enter leadership roles. The nuance of these spaces is undeniable, especially if one considers the fact that hiring BIPOC into academic librarianship is often predicated on these “separate” programs. Without question, these pipelines provide fiduciary and career support for those who work within them, but the tradeoffs have not always been beneficial either in a cultural or holistic manner. Simply getting rid of the pipeline without a structural alternative is not the answer, but neither is the action of doing nothing and maintaining these inequitable working conditions silently. We refer to April Hathcock’s blog post, ""Librarianship As A Plantation"" as a framework for examining these initiatives.

New librarians are often forced to engage in pipeline initiatives, like diversity residencies, through an unchallenged paucity narrative. Indeed, many residencies have long been documented to have exploitative features. And yet, the alternative to not engaging in these initiatives is often to struggle to get a foot in the door. The highest levels of diversity are often found in libraries' non-librarian ranks, but there is an implacable barrier between non-librarians and librarians that is often only breached through engaging in these initiatives. Lack of success in this process is generally recognized as the resident’s or the BIPOC worker’s inability to handle the pressure, and not an issue with the pipeline itself. Is the cost worth the investment? Is there more harm than value derived from these programs? What could the structural alternatives be, or are they even possible? This roundtable will invite attendees to cast a critical eye on the nuance within pipeline initiatives."