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.