SAA 2019: Librarians Develop Tragedy Response Resources

This August, I’m attending the Society of American Archivists gathering to contribute to the Tragedy Response Initiative Task Force that is creating and or compiling material for ready accessibility by archivists who are facing a sudden tragedy.

I wrote about the lack of such materials in an essay earlier this year for Collaborative Librarianship, so I’m excited to contribute this hard and important work to make those resources available.

Tidying Up, Dolly Parton Telethons, & Doing Better as Librarians: My New Essay in Collaborative Librarianship

The Journal of Collaborative Librarianship has just released a special issue on disaster response in Libraries. I was asked to contribute an article to close the issue and I chose to write an autoethnographic essay about how my opinions and perspective on archiving the aftermath have been both reinforced and profoundly changed by subsequent tragedies and their influence on our culture and our archival practice.

In this essay titled Libraries & Librarians in the Aftermath: Our Stories & Ourselves, I wax-poetic about the beauty and sadness of grief archives, call out issues of privilege and bias in media coverage and archival/memorial practice, challenge libraries and memory institutions to do better with inspiring examples, appeal to citizens to respond to tragedy and shootings with political engagement and action rather than stuff, and I speak to the joy to be found in forgetting rather than remembering.

I also somehow manage to tie in the work of two women I admire, Dolly Parton and Marie Kondo (inventor of the KonMari method, author of The Life-Changing Joy of Tidying Up) into an article that’s otherwise about mass shootings and libraries. I consider this feat a big win for badass scholarship and relevant librarianship and I hope you will, too.

Take a read and see what you think.

"After the Shots" - Mass Gun Violence Hackathon @NCPH Gathering on March 27

Joanna Federico (Kentucky Historical Society and Kentucky Oral History Commission) Lara Kelland (University of Louisville), Sharon Leon (Michigan State University) and I are hosting a day of hacking on March 27 during the National Council on Public History’s annual conference to bring the existing digital public projects on mass shootings into conversation, and to create a central place for new work.

A full description is below. Our work will be added and updated to the website for those who wish to follow along!

Columbine. Sandy Hook. Mother Emanuel. Pulse Nightclub. The history of the past two decades is littered with the names of the sites of tragedy—sites and communities torn apart by mass gun violence. Though these incidents continue to multiply, with their graphic media coverage and expansive digital footprint, public historians are just beginning to come together to assemble resources to document and preserve the complicated histories of these events.

Join us for an active day of hacking to bring the existing digital public projects on mass shootings into conversation, and to create a central place for new work. We encourage participants with all ranges of digital skill levels — expert researchers, coders, designers, and public historians working with communities touched by this type of violence. Participants with their own projects or those wishing to contribute to others are welcome. Together we will build a digital commons that provides access to as much known public history work, memorial sites, and open public data about mass shootings and their aftermath. Then, through the remainder of the conference, we will engage with a number of linked session related to mass shootings and gun violence to form a lasting virtual community around this work.