In this episode, we have the absolute honor of speaking with Jamia Williams (Consumer Health Program Specialist with the Network of the National Library of Medicine(NNLM) Training Office) and Jamillah Gabriel (Critical Pedagogy Research Librarian in the Graduate School of Education at Harvard University and a PhD student in the School of Information Sciences at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign).
Before Overdue: Weeding out Oppression in Libraries started, Jamia and Jamillah started LibVoices, a podcast with the mission to "Hear from librarians of color speak to the fullness of their careers including successes, challenges, and achievements." Listen as we learn about their experiences' with the podcast, as they share what their favorite guest(s) and poignant moments are, and experience how they stay passionate about libraries. This episode is an inspiration and is full of laughter!
Listen to LibVoices
The Diversity Fellows Blog
Call Number: Curated Black Lit Book Box
Hosts: Brittany Young & Ericka Brunson-Rochette
Date of Interview: October 12, 2023
Hello and welcome to Overdue, Weeding Out Oppression in Libraries. My name is Brittany Young, pronouns she/her/hers, and I am the Lane County Law Librarian in Eugene, Oregon.
Ericka Brunson-Rochette: I'm Ericka Brunson-Rochette, pronouns she/her/hers, and I am a community librarian serving youth and families in Central Oregon. Today, we are so excited to be joined by Jamia Williams and Jamillah Gabriel, librarian Extraordinaires’ and the creators of the dynamic and inspirational LibVoices Podcast. The mission of LibVoices, as stated by the creators, is to hear from librarians of color speak to the fullness of their careers, including successes, challenges, and achievements.
Brittany Young: To give a little background on these amazing creators, Jamia Williams, pronouns she/her/hers, is the Consumer Health Program Specialist with the network of the National Library of Medicine Training Office. She earned her Bachelor of Science and History from the State University of New York at Brockport and earned her master of Library Science from North Carolina Central University. Williams is the co-creator and co-host of the podcast LiBVoices, which amplifies the voices of Black, Indigenous and people of color who work in archives and libraries. Jamia founded the Diversity Fellows blog, a platform to document her journey as a Black librarian. Her research interests are diversity, inclusion, equity, social justice, and health equity in and outside of librarianship.
Ericka Brunson ...: And Jamillah Gabriel, pronouns she/her/hers, is the Critical Pedagogy Research Librarian in the Graduate School of Education at Harvard University and a PhD student in the School of Information Sciences at the University of Illinois Urbana Champagne. Her research focuses on issues at the nexus of information and race via a critical theorist lens and interrogates how hegemonic information systems and cultural heritage institutions impact Black people in communities. She is passionate about criticality in libraries and library schools, resulting in the creation of professional development course, Critical Concepts and LIS, which is facilitated via Library Juice Academy and We Here. Additionally, Jamillah is the founder of Call Number, a book subscription box specializing in Black literature and authors and co-host of LibVoices, a podcast that interviews BIPOC librarians and information professionals about their experiences in LIS. Learn more about her work at jamillahgabriel.com. So Jamia and Jamillah, we are so excited to have you on the podcast today.
Jamillah Gabriel: We are excited as well. Thank you so much for having us.
Jamia Williams: We're here.
Ericka Brunson ...: So we're going to start and it's going to take a lead from your podcast descriptions with a getting to know you question. So we'd like you to tell us about your pets and hobbies. Maybe we'll start with Jamia for this one.
Jamia Williams: Okay, so I have a dog. I do not fit the stereotype of librarian and liking cats. Fortunately, cats aren't my thing, but dogs are. So we finally got a dog two years ago. I wanted one sooner, but they're like babies and I have little ones, so adding more to my plate wasn't the move. But as we were home two years ago, we decided to get a dog. So we have a dog. Jaxson is his name, J-A-X-S-O-N. And my hobbies are food. I love food. I'm a foodie, or I'm just greedy, I don't know.
Ericka Brunson ...: I think I heard you say you would take payment for food.
Jamia Williams: I would take payment. I will take payment for food.
Ericka Brunson ...: Take payment.
Jamia Williams: Yes. Chocolate chip cookies, anything you can give me. So I love food. I love nerd stuff, so I love reading nonfiction things, going to museums. And I love travel and I love to laugh, so I love going to comedy shows, musicals. I love musicals. So fun stuff, fun, nerdy, wonderful things.
Ericka Brunson ...: Nice. Thank you for sharing.
Jamia Williams: You're welcome.
Ericka Brunson ...: So you would take food as payment, is what I meant to say.
Jamia Williams: Yes, I would take food as payment.
Ericka Brunson ...: Just to clarify.
Jamia Williams: I would take payment too.
Ericka Brunson ...: You'll take the food. You're not going to pay somebody for it, but if it's really good food, maybe, right?
Jamia Williams: Yes, if it's good food.
Ericka Brunson ...: So Jamillah, what about you?
Jamillah Gabrie...: Well, I have no pets, which is fine with me, and I have a lot going on and I like to travel also, and so having pets doesn't really fit well into that for me, I feel like. So that's a no. But in terms of hobbies, I think some of the things that Jamia talked about already, I share in that in terms of going to museums. And I've always been an avid reader, surprise, surprise, as a librarian, but I actually don't have as much time to read as I would like. Between reading for research and reading for my business, it's kind of like, "Okay, that's it. That's all I have the capacity for at this point." But on a good day or a good weekend when I'm not doing other things, then reading is something I still like to do whenever I can find the time.
And I also have just been in this kind of hunt for an actual hobby to have, and I feel like I need that to kind of balance a lot of the work that I do. And I think I'm still looking for that. I at one point started to try to take up script, like hand lettering and doing script. I didn't get very far with that and so maybe one of these days I'll come back and try it again.
Ericka Brunson ...: So like calligraphy?
Jamillah Gabrie...: Yeah, calligraphy. Calligraphy is one of the styles, but hand lettering is more of what you see on a lot of graphics and things like that. It looks like handwriting, but it's called hand lettering. Whereas calligraphy has this more structured kind of way of writing in an old world kind of way of writing. But they all fall within the same kind of category basically. So I know a lot about it. I just have not mastered it.
Ericka Brunson ...: With all that free time you have, right?
Jamillah Gabrie...: Right. Right. But really I would say a lot of my free time is traveling whenever I can.
Ericka Brunson ...: Wonderful. Thank you for sharing. If you're looking for any hobby ideas, I am an avid puzzler. I love puzzles. They help calm me and relax me because I have so much on my plate all the time that to intentionally take a moment to focus on one thing I have found to be really helpful.
Jamillah Gabrie...: Okay, thank you for that.
Ericka Brunson ...: Just throwing it out there. Thank you both for sharing.
Brittany Young: I have the same issue with not having time to read, so I know Ericka does this, which I have to share a fact about Ericka in a second when I say this. I do audiobooks. This woman reads-
Jamia Williams: I was just going to say that.
Brittany Young: Right?
Ericka Brunson ...: Audiobooks.
Brittany Young: But she listens at two times the speed. What?
Ericka Brunson ...: I'm at 2.6. That's how I've gotten through all of your podcast episodes in a couple of months. So if you want to know how.
Brittany Young: That's chipmunk speed.
Ericka Brunson ...: It's how fast my brain works.
Jamia Williams: Wow, that's fascinating.
Ericka Brunson ...: I understand everything. If I don't understand, I will go back and I will slow it down.
Brittany Young: It's impressive. I have a turtle brain then if it's a regular speech. That's all I can do.
Jamia Williams: Wow.
Ericka Brunson ...: You just build up gradually.
Jamillah Gabrie...: It's a skill.
Brittany Young: It truly is. It should be in your resume. All right, back to the two of you. Tell us about yourselves and what inspired you to become librarians?
Jamillah Gabrie...: Well, about me, I actually am not sure what to share when you say, "Tell us yourself."
Brittany Young: We've told you everything about-
Ericka Brunson ...: What else do you need from us? What else?
Jamillah Gabrie...: I always struggle with this question, actually. I don't know why, but-
Brittany Young: That's fair.
Jamillah Gabrie...: Let's see.
Brittany Young: It was kind of cruel for us to ask, I guess, because I was-
Jamillah Gabrie...: It's a question.
Brittany Young: It's like an interview. So tell me about yourself.
Jamillah Gabrie...: I don't know. I don't know anything about myself.
Ericka Brunson ...: Listen to books at two speed.
Brittany Young: And me, I'm like, "I like sloths a lot."
Jamia Williams: I like sloths too.
Brittany Young: Yes.
Jamia Williams: We're kindred spirits.
Jamillah Gabrie...: Okay. If we're talking about favorite animals, then mine is the koala.
Ericka Brunson ...: I love koalas.
Jamillah Gabrie...: They're so cute. The baby Panda.
Brittany Young: Oh my gosh.
Ericka Brunson ...: So random side question. Does anybody remember the show [inaudible 00:08:59]? It was a cartoon. A little girl would rub noses with a koala and the koala would come alive.
Brittany Young: What? No, I never-
Ericka Brunson ...: I ask this maybe once every five to 10 years. I never get any bites.
Brittany Young: I've never heard of it.
Ericka Brunson ...: 1984 I think is when it launched.
Jamillah Gabrie...: Oh, I was born that year. Well, I was a kid. I would've been in the right age for that, but I don't remember.
Jamia Williams: That's why I'm like, "Rainbow Bright? No, no."
Brittany Young: Now I'm Googling and I came up with some weird things.
Ericka Brunson ...: We can talk about it more later. [inaudible 00:09:38]. I do love Rainbow Bright.
Brittany Young: I guess technically we could just focus on the part about what inspired you to become librarians.
Jamillah Gabrie...: I'm sorry.
Jamia Williams: Oh, my bad.
Brittany Young: I loved this side segue, this pit stop we made on our journey. Okay.
Jamillah Gabrie...: All right, I'll jump ahead to the second part. So I think this one actually is not straightforward for me either because I did not go into librarianship thinking, "Oh, I always wanted to be a librarian." That wasn't the case for me. I just kind of happened across this field as a career and it just started because I always gravitated towards books. So I used to work in bookstores and of course as a kid, we'd go to libraries all the time. But as a college student, I was working at Borders Bookstore, the now Defunct Borders, which was my favorite and later Barnes and Noble. And while I was working at Barnes and Noble, I just kind of got tired of retail. I was like, "I don't want to work in retail anymore, but I still want to work with books. What can I do?" And so somehow it occurred to me that maybe I should look into working at a library while I'm going to school.
And I found a position at a local public library as a library aide, but my career goals were to become a journalist and I was thinking at some point I would probably do grad school for mass communication, that kind of thing. But once I started working at the library, and again, I was an aide, but I was at a small public library where you did everything. There was probably five people working in that library in all. And so as an aide, I got to do a lot of things. I was like a page and a clerk, kind of a mix of those things. And the library assistant there was my direct supervisor and she really nurtured my interests and allowed me to develop some of the collections there in Black studies and that was my major and encouraged me to apply for a different job that came up later, a different city library that was a library clerk and was even better than what I had in that particular position.
And basically just that experience of working in that first job is what made me realize that librarianship was where I wanted to be. And so that changed the trajectory of the rest of my education and what I had planned to do for grad school and all of that kind of thing. And I just kind of felt like this was my place. And I can't really say that it was a particular thing that was the inspiration, but I think just overall, just feeling like this was work that I enjoyed and I wanted to learn all of the things. And I was fortunate to have this early position and the one that had been shared with me, the second position I had where people really were interested in allowing me to learn more outside of the capacity of the job that I was hired for and just kind of filled skills and that kind of thing early on.
So I definitely appreciate those early experiences in the public library and they were instrumental in my growth and kind of also seeing myself as a librarian. But I will also say that I think the reason why it happened so late is the fact that there were no Black librarians or Black library workers in my experience when I was coming up. And so that never was a thought for me and never was a consideration to become a librarian because of that lack of diversity that we are still battling obviously today. And so part of my inspiration also is to be that example for someone else to have that because I didn't.
Brittany Young: Thank you. The first part, so many of us, that's our story is we just fell into it. And the second part is just that's so powerful that knowing that you didn't see yourself in librarianship because there was nobody else that looked like you. And then to want to be that for somebody else. Jamia, you get to follow that epic beautiful and fire there. So let's see what you can do.
Jamia Williams: I'm about to drop the mic. That's what I'm about to do.
Brittany Young: Inspire us.
Jamia Williams: Yes. Coming to the floor. See, I'm an '80s baby, so I grew up in the wonderful time of hip hop. So about myself. I am from upstate New York and I'm a proud Black cis woman that loves everything about my culture and about who we are as a people. And so that's what I like to say about myself. So what inspired me to become a librarian? Well, as Jamillah stated, my path was not straight as well. And what honestly inspired me, was my children. And what support I got was from my husband to go back to school to get to credentials, needed to become a librarian. So when I was an undergrad my senior year at undergrad, I knew I needed a job right after getting my degree. And so while I was pondering on what could I do, what can I do?
And librarian came to my head. Even though like Jamillah, I never saw a Black librarian. I never had that experience to see myself in this profession, but that idea came to me. I'm like, "I'm always at the library. I love finding resources and I would love to help other people find resources that would help whatever need they have to find the information that they need." So when I started looking into librarianship, I saw that you needed that masters and I said, "Oh, I need a job. Now, right after school." I knew I needed to get a job and then a year or two later go to grad school. I knew I needed to get a graduate degree to pursue whatever profession I wanted to get into, but right after school I needed to have a career. And I thought that I could just get that with having that undergrad degree and major in history.
But that was not the case. We needed that credential. So I was like, "Okay, well I guess librarianship is not for me because I need a masters to become this thing." So I decided to go with option B, which was social work. So when I got out of undergrad, I started working at a group home. And so I knew that I could work my way up to being social work adjacent, which is a case manager and supporting individuals. And so that's what I did for almost eight years. And then this nagging sense of being a librarian kept coming at me. And so when I started having children, because I was underpaid in that profession, I always had to have at least two jobs to pay my bills. And once I started having children, I knew I couldn't work 2, 3, 4 jobs. At one point I needed one job.
So I was like, "Okay, what about this librarian thing?" And taking the GRE was one of the barriers for me because I do terrible on standardized testing. And then also the fee associated with taking this test, which almost was close to $200 at the time, and that was a couple of bills for me. So I'm like, "Okay, if I got to take the standardized test that I know I'm not the best at doing and this fee." So what I did was contact our library consortium in our area to do a shadow experience. So I was able to do two shadow experiences with the archivist at the University of Rochester and a school librarian. And after both of those experiences, I left like, "Yes, this is what I want to do" because I knew I had to be real strategic because I had children and I could not waste any more life minutes trying to figure it out.
So long story short, I did all that, took the GRE. I did better than I thought because I prepared myself to take the test and not what was on the test. And I understood now that's how these standardized tests work. It's not about what you know, it's how you take the test. So anyway, so long story short, so that's why I became a librarian. I needed one job that paid decent. It doesn't pay the best, but I needed one job to pay decent to pay my bills so my children would see me and not working 50 million jobs in the human services profession. So that is my long story of how I became a librarian.
Brittany Young: I feel like there it is. Jamia went challenge, accepted. Mic drop.
Jamia Williams: I told you I was going to drop the mic.
Brittany Young: Truth bombs. I'm kidding. No, I'm kidding. Kidding.
Jamia Williams: No, for real. I'm not kidding. But yeah, that's my thoughts.
Ericka Brunson ...: Thank you for sharing that too. It's funny, I don't feel like when it comes to libraries that you've probably moved too far away from social work. We all know that to be true working in this profession. So I'm just going to hop right into our next question. So sharing knowledge that challenges the dominant paradigm can be risky, particular for BIPOC and other marginalized library workers. Do you have any advice to share in so far as navigating these stressful situations are concerned or any tips that have worked for you? And we'll start with Jamia on this one.
Jamia Williams: Ooh, this is a tough question. So I would say, okay, I'm going to give three tips. First, find your people. Right? I'm grateful that I've been able to find true community within this profession, which I know can be hard for a lot of people. A lot of people unfortunately struggle with people stabbing them in the back or thought they had their best interests, but they really didn't. They were really there to sabotage them. So if you can, find a person or two people, people that really will encourage you, motivate you, inspire you, and you do the same for them. So finding community is one of the ways that it's helped me. When I was working in toxic work environments or low morale, having low morale experiences or just dealing with straight out racism, having that sounding board, having that space to vent and to just let it all out and to know that I'm not losing it or that something is wrong with me, but it's the people that I was working with that they had the issue, that they need to work out some stuff and really seek help.
The second thing I would say is take time off. Use that vacation. Take care of yourself. As Tracy McMillan Cottom will tell you, "The institution will not love you. These institutions are not meant for us." So take the time off, use your vacation. Use sick time if you need to take care of yourself because what they're going to do is take care of their bottom line, which is that money because we do live in a capitalist society, so take care of yourself. Third thing I will say is don't allow our profession to be your all in all. It is great to love what we do, it's great to do the best that we do and put our best foot forward and work in excellence, but don't let this profession be your end all, be all. Have things outside of your job. Like we were talking about hobbies earlier, to do the icebreaker. It's great to just do you, whatever that is, whatever brings you joy, make sure you make time for that. And that's all I got.
Ericka Brunson ...: Thank you for sharing those tips. I think those are all things that I can say for me, they're easy for me to say, but to do is a different story, but really just being mindful about how I'm approaching my work and really what I'm doing to take care of myself to do the best work that I can. So I appreciate that. What about you, Jamillah?
Jamillah Gabrie...: I would agree with everything that Jamia has said and kind of reiterate the importance of community and finding your people who you can go to. It can be people that are in your workplace, which I know is harder to find because of the fact that we live in our work. I say live, but it really is living sometimes as much time we spend in our jobs, in our workplaces, but we're often in isolated workspaces where we're the only person of color. So it can be difficult of course to find the community in that place, physically in the place. And so if you don't have that, definitely reach out to people through organizations and whatnot that you can connect with via Zoom or whatever. So the community can be as expansive as you want it to be, but definitely find the people that you can talk to.
And then obviously they don't all have to work in libraries either, right? Because BIPOC are going through some of the same issues in other professions as well. And so that you can find like-minded people to talk to about things that aren't necessarily in the library or information profession. Also, I think self-care is a major thing. So Jamia talks about using your vacation and sick time and all that, and I feel that that also is part of what self-care is and taking care of yourself and taking that time away because work is not everything and you don't want it to be become that. It's one part of who you are and it doesn't necessarily have to be the main part either, for that matter. So you really do need to make sure that you're taking care of yourself and however that manifests, whatever that is for you, what works best for you.
There's so many things out there that people are advocating for and using in order to do self-care, but the main thing is to make sure that you are supporting yourself and finding the support you need in order to be whatever that is. Because we're dealing with so many things and not just on the job. So you leave your job and you still have to deal with people in the world outside of jobs. And just navigating all of these things when you leave the workplaces is another obstacle sometimes. So that care is something that we have to really put time and effort into regularly so that we don't flip out on people or lose it, or there's so many outcomes when you're not caring for yourself. So I can't stress that enough, but those would be the things that I would highlight.
Ericka Brunson ...: Absolutely. Thank you for sharing that and highlighting those things and also bringing it back to the community that you surround yourself with too. Something that you both mentioned was finding your people. I've worked in libraries for 22 years and it would not be nearly this long if I didn't have my people, the people I can call if I need to just scream or vent, people to help me work things out. Because sometimes it's so obvious to me, that I try to think that surely people aren't really expressing these microaggressions in this way, or surely this isn't what it so plainly is. And to have people be like, "Sis, come on." I need that wake up call sometimes. And it's just really the place I can go to really be myself and know I'm not alone. So thanks for bringing that up as well.
Brittany Young: Right. So it's been my experience that library workers like to talk shop both on and off the clock, but starting a podcast is next level commitment to the profession, truly. What was the impetus for starting the LibVoices podcast? And Jamillah this time we'll hear from you first.
Jamillah Gabrie...: Oh, I'm first. Okay. The pressure. This is our origin story basically. So Amanda left, which was one of the other people who started the podcast, the three of us together, and she is the person who connected myself and Jamia together. She wanted to do this podcast, and I think Jamia had been also thinking about... And I'm sorry if I'm taking part of what you're going to say, but you can elaborate. But Jamia was also thinking about a podcast independently from Amanda, and I guess they kind of commiserated on that. But also Amanda had asked me if I was interested in doing a podcast. And it's not something I had been thinking about, but after she suggested it, I was like, "Oh, that would be kind of cool to be part of."
And so that was kind of how it all started with us coming together and deciding to do this podcast and wanting, obviously, as our description already kind of tells you, but wanting to amplify voices of color and hearing the stories from what we know from our own experience, but also from people we know who are experiencing a lot of things in our profession, in our institutions, and wanting to share those and hear those experiences, good and bad, whatever that is. Because as we know, we don't hear these things enough from people of color. We're honestly dealing with being silenced and ignored in a lot of different ways. And so this was kind of our intervention in wanting to uncover some of those things and bring those to the forefront.
Brittany Young: Thank you. Now Jamia, it's your turn to expand on that, only put your part into the origin story.
Jamia Williams: Oh yeah. Well, Jamillah did a great job. Yes. So I was thinking about doing a podcast independently from Amanda and Jamillah because I wanted to fill a void that I thought was there because when I was looking to become a librarian, I truly wanted to see how it was for Black people in our profession, and I wasn't finding what I needed. So I felt like a podcast would inform those who are curious about our profession. Also, I wanted to center Black, Indigenous and people of color who work in the library and archives and then hopefully inspire, encourage, and inform people within our profession about the folks that we admire. Like how do they write a book, for instance, or how did they become a faculty member or whatever their stories were? And like Jamillah said, not just all the good stuff, but some of the challenges too. And we have that in our tagline, successes and challenges, because it's not all rainbows and sunshine, even though I would love that.
Ericka Brunson ...: Yeah, don't we know it? Well, I actually think that is a perfect segue into our next question. So talking about the good and the not so good, those struggles, those challenges, your podcast aims to focus on some of those good things and amplifying the voices of people who've achieved success and incited positive change. How do you balance that approach with the daily struggle of working within a profession that is systematically designed to ensure BIPOC fail? That's a big question.
Jamia Williams: So honestly, that is a tough balance. The question in first, this profession wasn't set up for Black folks in this country to be in it. I feel like with any profession there's a nuance. So this is the same. I wish that I knew what I know now about our profession because I would've prepared myself. I was really naive because I didn't have the opportunity to work in libraries before becoming a librarian. I tried hard to. I tried to become a page, I tried to become a library assistant, but in my area, they weren't letting me in. I don't know, maybe who I am had a part to play with, I don't know, but I couldn't get in the door. But I do love what I do, and for the most part, it pays my bills. I think people have to do what's best for them. Even though we talk about BIPOC in our profession, their successes, they do share the realities, like I said earlier, and it's not always good.
So I appreciate that our podcast is a dose of positivity with the real. It's not just toxic positivity where everything is great and we don't talk about some of the challenges that people do face. So I appreciate that. And in one of our episodes in season one, Katrina Davis Kendrick even gets real and honest about if this doesn't bring you joy or not even joy, but if this is causing you harm in any way, if flipping burgers brings you joy, she said that, then do what you need to do. And that's what I keep it in the back of my mind. I have to do what I need to do to make sure that I'm good because I have my family too depending on me, and I can't be worn out because of just being a librarian, for just being a librarian. Come on, y'all, what are we doing?
But again, as I mentioned earlier, some people I feel in our profession haven't worked out their stuff. They really truly need to work on themselves, work out some things to be better. And if you are privileged enough not to be better, to do better, then you will just continue down the path of harmful behavior. And that's just how unfortunately our society oftentimes is set up. So that's all I'm going to say so I won't go down the rabbit hole. So Jamillah.
Jamillah Gabrie...: Yeah, I think our podcast focuses on some good things, but again, like Jamia said, we want people to just to talk about what's really happening. And so yes, we want them to share their positive experiences on the job, but we also want them to be real about those negative experiences as well. And the balance can be tricky, for sure. And I know sometimes we end those podcasts and I'm just like, "Ooh, we need some positive to say at the end of this" because it just can be so heavy at times and we don't want people to necessarily be discouraged from the profession, but we want people to know what is happening and what they're getting into.
If you're a person of color thinking about librarianship or if you're already in it and you're like, "Should I stay?" or whatever the case may be. But also we need people who are not people of color to hear about what's happening in the spaces that they're also in and are probably oblivious to because some changes need to be made. And if they don't know what's going on, then nothing will definitely change. So it's really I think a labor of love for us in order to really illuminate for people what the situation is for a BIPOC working in these institutions and in these spaces and wanting to make sure we talk about all of it and not just what sounds good, but also we are not trying to just dwell on what's bad either. We just want to be real and truthful about what it is.
Ericka Brunson ...: For sure. I like covering that full spectrum. It's really important too, because if we do just focus on all that good and we say, "We need to get out there and recruit new professionals of color, we need to bring them in," but we don't have the systems in place to support them and we don't have what we need to retain those people, we're setting them up for failure and we're setting ourselves up for failure. So like you said, even non-BIPOC folks that might be oblivious to what's going on need to hear where they're going wrong if they plan to retain diversity in their workspaces. Thank you for sharing that.
Brittany Young: Yeah, thank you for helping not just perpetuating that vocational awe and then that would just continue to perpetuate the issues that are causing the need to amplify the voices that are real. All right. Of the many illustrious guests you've interviewed on the podcast, who stands out as your most memorable on a personal level? Is there an interviewee that inspired an aha moment for you two? And Jamia, you are number one on the spot this time.
Jamia Williams: All right. So this was a hard question as well. These are hard questions for me. Okay, so sorry for all other guests that we had. I had to pick one episode per this question.
Ericka Brunson ...: That was the assignment.
Brittany Young: Right? This is kind of mean because we know exactly how hard this is too. It's like asking for your favorite book. So we're sorry. We asked the hard questions.
Jamia Williams: You did. Okay. So on a personal level, I think the Annie Foe and Rose Chose interview hit me on a personal level because they were colleagues that became friends, and their story inspired me to open up to become friends with people that I consider colleagues because I'm like an Eminem. I have a hard shell, but mushy on the inside. And I'm guarded for a lot of good reasons. So I was like, "Oh, you can become friends with people that you are in this profession with." So I'm like, "Let me be a little bit more open." And I'm glad I did because I've had great friendships with people in this profession that I hope will be a lifetime, sometimes a season, sometimes a lifetime. So we'll see. So my aha moment was when Dr. Raymond Pun talked about information privilege, which led me on a journey of how we can combat this.
Also, I introduced the phrase into my library instruction sessions when I talk to students about them having access to the information while they are attached to this university and letting them know and be aware that once they leave, they won't have access to this information for the most part, and to take advantage of it because you're paying for it, number one. Number two, you have this way to inform yourself that it would be nice for everyone to be able to inform themselves, but that's just how it is behind this paywall. And to also bring awareness to open access resources and those articles that anyone can access, no matter if they're attached to an institution or not. So that was one of my aha moments.
Brittany Young: I love this aha moment and now I'm going to be talking about information privilege too, in part, just to get people into the law library because a lot of people don't know they have access to that. All right, Jamillah, what about you?
Jamillah Gabrie...: Well, it is hard to pick a guest because we've had so many great people. So I'm going to kind of go with one that I think might be expected from me. So I don't know. I'm trying to think how's the easy way to get out of this? I don't know, but I would say from season one, actually I think this is our second interview, which was with Dr. Nicole Cook, who at the time was just leaving University of Illinois and she also was my advisor for the first two years of my doctoral program. And so being able to interview her was I think something that I was really glad that she had the time to spend with us to talk about different issues.
And she really shared with us some of the experiences that she had just had working in academia and also talking about what drove her to leave and move to a different university. And just, I think for me that was on a personal level just because also being in academia, being trained by her and also trying to be prepared for what's to come when I get into that particular position as well. And knowing that those difficulties and those trials are there and how I can navigate them, like how can I learn from her experiences and prepare myself so that when the shit hits the fan, which it likely will at some point or another, whether you're a professor-
Jamia Williams: Can we cuss on this podcast?
Jamillah Gabrie...: Oh.
Ericka Brunson ...: I mean we can now.
Jamia Williams: Oh, okay. Oh shoot, we got to tag it explicit. Who hit the fan?
Ericka Brunson ...: There you go.
Jamillah Gabrie...: How will I be able to navigate that? And so yeah, that's probably who I would select. But honestly, everybody has been great and all of our guests, whether they're well-known or more obscure, everyone has something to offer. And we've enjoyed each and every one of those guests. I don't really have an aha moment, honestly. I know I've had some, but I can't really pull anything out at the moment. But I know that I've had many. So I will say that. Many moments of just working or talking to guests and the things that they shared with us. And that's also something I think that Jamia and I will be working on actually in the future, is mining those gems and pulling those out not only for us retrospectively, but also for others to learn from all of the interviews and the interviewees and what they've shared.
Ericka Brunson ...: Something that I really enjoy about the dynamic you have on your podcast is when you do hear those aha moments, you call them out in real time. You talk about it and you say, "Oh, that sparked something in me, or that reminded me of something from your own stories." So I know that you have those aha moments because even hearing you share them, they spark aha moments for me too, and I'm sure they do for a lot of other listeners out there. Okay, well this is kind of in the same vein, and I feel like both of you have done a really good job sharing things that you have heard from people you've interviewed, but when synthesizing the treasure trove of answers shared by those that you've interviewed, what advice do you have for BIPOC library workers and those that are new to the profession or anything to add that maybe you haven't mentioned already? And for this one, how about we start with Jamillah?
Jamillah Gabrie...: Yeah, I do think some of what we've spoken about definitely speaks to this question, but just thinking through this, adding some more things to that. I think one, especially when we're talking about people new to the profession, but really this is for everyone, I think that one of the things that was important to me was taking advantage of any professional development that I could get my hands on or get paid for by the job, and really pushing for those kinds of opportunities to really be able to develop more skills for the position. And also just in the future of building myself as a professional, whatever those skills were that I was interested in, I would seek those out and try to seek out opportunities from my employers in terms of the professional development. So whatever that is for you as a library worker, whether you're new or not, really, I would say take advantage of those opportunities.
And a lot of times they're few and far between. They are not always fruitful in terms of the employer paying for those things and whatnot. And sometimes it means applying for grants or scholarships from outside your profession or from outside of your employer. But I would definitely encourage people to look for whatever those opportunities are. And then also another thing I would say is because of the fact that we're BIPOC, we often get roped into DEI initiatives at work. And I would say it's okay to lean into some of that because the work, if it's done well, done right, and I will reiterate that part.
Jamia Williams: Say it again for the people in that back.
Jamillah Gabrie...: Work is done well, right?
Jamia Williams: Mm-hmm.
Jamillah Gabrie...: It benefits us all, right? But be sure to protect yourself in that work because you don't want to be the person who has to lead all of this stuff unless that's something you want to do. But if it's not, don't let people rope you into doing this and putting it all on your plate. And you want others to play a role in that. And so you have to make sure you protect yourself in that kind of work. And so this is something that we all probably have to deal with at some point or another because of our race. And that's really what it comes down to. And sometimes people have the tendency to think that this belongs to us, that this work belongs to us to do, and it's not actually.
Jamia Williams: It's not. It's a we thing.
Jamillah Gabrie...: No.
Jamia Williams: We need to dismantle. Okay.
Jamillah Gabrie...: So take part as much as you want. And if you don't, that's fine too. But just be prepared for that and think about what that means for you because those things will come at you whether you want them to or not. And you need to know how you want to navigate around all of the diversity, equity, inclusive stuff because there's a lot of it. And I think if you are working in a place where they seem to be getting it right, then jump in there if you can, if you want to. But again, don't feel like you-
Ericka Brunson ...: And let me know the name of that place too.
Jamillah Gabrie...: Right?
Jamia Williams: Well, I know some names.
Ericka Brunson ...: I'll take any names.
Jamia Williams: I heard some good places that are doing the work right. I shared that with some people at lunch last week actually. So there's a couple of them out there. Not a lot.
Ericka Brunson ...: We know who to come to now.
Jamia Williams: Mm-hmm.
Ericka Brunson ...: Did you have anything else you wanted to add to that Jamia?
Jamia Williams: Oh, yes, sorry, Jamillah, I was joining in like it was Sunday service, I guess. Yeah, so I would say definitely to piggyback off of professional development is to get involved with the National Associations of Librarians of Color, which are called NALCOs now. So that's American Indian Library Association, Asian Pacific American Librarians Association, the Black Caucus of the American Library Association, Chinese American Library Association, Reforma, the National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish speaking and the Joint Council of Librarians of Color. And I'll also plug in We Here. We Here is definitely there to support BIPOC folks within our profession and they are doing great work. And as noted earlier, Jamillah has taught with them. And also our first person that we interviewed, Jenny Ferretti, was a founder of We Here, was on our first season, first episode. And so getting plugged into one of those associations or We Here is definitely helpful because again, like Jamillah stated earlier, sometimes we are the only, and it can get lonely at times, and you need other people to say, "You got this.
You are that person despite what they're saying or doing to you," and get that encouragement. So that will be my advice. And also shameless plug, listen to our podcast and glean what you can from those stories. And some people even said, "If you need me, reach out to me." So take them up on that. I am not shy to cold email people, slide into people's DMs. People have done that with me and I have helped a lot of people in silence and I appreciate that, and people have helped me as well. So take advantage of people that are willing to support you in this profession, and that really want to see you shine and truly believe in lifting as they climb as well. So that's my advice to people.
Ericka Brunson ...: And thank you for being one of those people who is willing to support.
Jamia Williams: Of course, I'm all for it. I love it.
Brittany Young: I'm already right now, Ericka, our action items for the end because-
Ericka Brunson ...: Our call to action?
Brittany Young: Yeah, our call to action that we do at the end, because I feel like it should be obvious that people should obviously listen to y'all's podcast.
Ericka Brunson ...: That's a call to action for every podcast now and-
Brittany Young: Yeah. So thanks for making our job easy at the end. Okay. Based on your experience and research, what systemic challenges do Black library workers face within the profession, and how are we failing to serve Black library patrons? That's also a hard hitting question too.
Ericka Brunson ...: Also, how much time do you have?
Brittany Young: We're going to stop and do this as a whole other podcast, just this topic.
Jamia Williams: Yeah, this could literally be a whole entire podcast right here, this question. So what systemic challenges do Black library workers face within the profession? So a couple of years ago, one of the things I faced that I knew about it, but I didn't know that it would hit me in the way that it hit me, which is publishing and dealing with what comes with that. Oftentimes when we are asked to write about systemic racism or any kind of oppression, people want us to voice our opinions or use our research to amplify what is the data that shows how people are being harmed, but oftentimes we have to dial it down or we're asked to edit it in a way that's more palatable. And so that's an issue that I will say is a systemic challenge, is people having to pull their research because they have to deal with conflicts with editors, trying to force them to say things that just take away what they're trying to get to in regards to their scholarship.
So that's one thing I would say. I would say also I'm seeing a retention challenge and it's because of systemic issues within, because I come from the academic health sciences space of things, so I can't speak to public librarianship or school librarianship, and even they're dealing with their own stuff just from hearing their stories. But I'll say anecdotally, in regards to academic librarianship, people are leaving and aren't staying because people say they want change, but when it's time to do the work, they are oftentimes faced with and dealt with pushback, and it wears on people. And so people are leaving, whether they're leaving that institution or they're leaving professionals together. And that's been sad to see, but I understand it because like I stated earlier, it's not worth it, especially when it starts impacting your health and things like that.
How we are failing to serve Black library patrons, as we know, we've been dealing with book bands for decades and lately those have ticked up, especially scholarship books around Black people, LGBTQIA plus people and people that are marginalized. So trying to go to a library that you can find materials that books covers that look like you or stories that speak to you can be a challenge to some patrons, depending on where they live and where they are. And then also one thing that I know that in academic libraries, public libraries, the over surveillance and the policing of Black people is an issue as well, especially people that don't look like... Well, let's just be real.
Sometimes we don't look like we belong, period, no matter how we look, because you're in an academic library, you can't be a student here, or you're coming to a public library, "Hmm, are they supposed to be here?" So Black people dealing with over surveillance and policing is, I feel like an issue. I've seen it firsthand and we have read stories about people in dealing with that nonsense. So I feel that's how we're failing, sometimes we are failing Black people that come into the library space by doing the most for no reason for them just existing. So that's all I got for now.
Brittany Young: We were talking about having those communities of support just to confirm, "This is what's happening, right? I'm not imagining that this is happening?" So as much as I hate to hear these stories, it does help of like, okay, because what you're talking about, we experienced the same thing in law libraries and public libraries, we're hearing that and seeing that too. So thank you for sharing that and letting our listeners know that, "Hey, what you're seeing and what you're feeling, it's really happening. It's real." Jamillah now it's your turn to answer the hard hitting question.
Jamillah Gabrie...: Yeah, I don't know if I can do any better than Jamia. I think that I would co-sign everything that she has already said in answering the question, but I also probably would add that there's I think an underlying thing that answers both parts of this question, and that is a lack of sense of belonging. And so I think in terms of being a Black library worker, that that's missing from the profession. And it's part of the reason why we can't retain Black library workers or BIPOC workers in general, because there is no sense of belonging. And while we have these DEI initiatives that's trying to bring people in, we can't keep them because the environment itself is not changed and is not inviting, it is not conducive for different people, marginalized people. So that's missing from the profession as a worker, but it's also missing from the institution in which people from the community are coming into.
And so if there's no sense of belonging in the library for a patron to feel comfortable and wanting to frequent that institution, then they're not going to come. And that is the case. I think that a hostile environment, whether it's a work environment or environment for a patron to come into where they should feel like they are welcome and that's not happening. And it's not to say that across the board, no library has this, but just that there are too many of these libraries that do not create this for anyone that's not White or male or straight. There's just all of these things that are considered normal. And if you fall outside of that, then this isn't a place for you. And that's what we're trying to combat. And whether you are visiting as a patron or you're trying to work in this place, that we all belong there, no matter what anyone tries to tell you or make you feel.
Brittany Young: Thank you for that. That I feel like goes back to and echoes what Ericka said about sometimes it's the thing that's right in front of our face that we don't see.
Ericka Brunson ...: So speaking of those cultural norms, those cis straight White male, we know that American libraries were explicitly designed to be anti-Black spaces, and traditionally anti women's spaces. And in the wake of desegregation continue to embody systemic racism, constantly reminding BIPOC of the ways in which we are not welcome. How do you intentionally take up space as Black librarians? And we can start with Jamillah, if you are willing.
Jamillah Gabrie...: Well, I think just being in the space is already radical, actually. And just breathing existing, showing up, showing my face is being intentional, honestly, like walking around the space in the library or the institution, like "I'm here." And that's the main way I feel in which I take up space, where I literally take up space because I want to make sure that people know I'm present and that I'm there, that I am a librarian here. And it's hard actually because I always get people who come in like, "I didn't know you were here. I've never seen a Black librarian here before." This happens to this day. And so this is something that is necessary for us as BIPOC, as Black librarians, is to take up space, and I mean literally take up space because of the fact that we have been rendered invisible in so many ways and so often and for so long, that we have to show our presence.
And that comes through, of course, even not just physically, but in the work that I do, because everything that I'm doing is meant to amplify these kinds of issues and these perspectives coming from us. And also wanting to support, whether it's Black faculty or Black students or other Black staff, and frankly people of color in general. Because even though I definitely am connecting with other Black people in these spaces, because of the fact that I'm there, sometimes I'm sought out by them, but also from other people of color who are looking for someone who understands these experiences of being marginalized and being a person of color. But marginalization in general is not always about race, obviously. And being able to connect with people outside of what we know the norm supposedly is, and wanting to support people in being able to show who they are and be who they are in these White spaces. So that is really where I'm coming from in terms of being intentional and wanting to support other people in this journey that we are all in together, unfortunately.
Ericka Brunson ...: Well, fortunately and unfortunately, because fortunately, you are taking up the space that you rightfully deserve to take up, but unfortunately, we have to fight to continue to take up any space at all. But thank you for sharing that. Jamia, do you have anything to add? This is our last real deep question, hopefully. We have one more after this and it could get deep, but-
Jamia Williams: Oh, okay. Well, yes. I second everything Jamillah said. I was pointing at her like, "Yes, yes." Like my mentor tells me all the time, "Jamia, you just showing up is radical enough some days. The space wasn't meant for you, it wasn't meant for you to be there and you just showing up is enough." And sometimes that's enough for me. Some days that's it, that's all I got. Because Jamillah stated earlier, sometimes, oftentimes, we're dealing with not just only the racism in our workspaces, but outside the walls, just everyday life, whether that's us experiencing it, people that we love experiencing it, and all the things that comes with our other intersecting identities of marginalization. We are caring and being a lot. So I'm here is good enough, and if you don't see me, that's on you. That's your loss that you don't see me.
And one thing I'll say is I know I cannot truly be my full authentic self at work. That's too much for people to bear. It's too much for them. But what I do show up as, in my natural hair, I'm very intentional with making sure that I wear my natural hair. I am not going to not do that. I do make sure that I will continue to wear lovely, big, beautiful earrings. Okay? I will continue to wear clothes that taps into my africanness. Yes, I will continue to wear clothes that has cute little patterns and situations. It's not going to be what you might deem professional, but it's something that I like to wear and looks cute on me.
So that is how I take up space, is giving you a little bit of the essence of Jamia, because I know I can't truly fully be all of Jamia at work, but a little bit is enough for you to be like, "Okay, all right, I see you or I don't see you," either way, I'm fine because I see me and other people see me. Like Jamillah say, they will reach out by seeing my name. They know like, "Uh, oh, hold on, you at the library, Jamia?" Okay, so reach out, do what you do because you know that it's my name and that's how I take up space intentionally. And that's that.
Jamillah Gabrie...: And that's that, period.
Jamia Williams: Mic drop, period.
Ericka Brunson ...: Pick it up just to drop it again.
Jamillah Gabrie...: I wanted to kind of add on to what Jamia was saying about being able to, or not being able to show up as your full self. And it's just not always safe for us to do so. And that's just what it is, I think. And again, that's an unfortunate thing that we're not always able to be our full selves. And then also, you might not want to be your full self, and that's okay. [inaudible 01:00:10].
Jamia Williams: I don't want to be all of it. [inaudible 01:00:19].
Jamillah Gabrie...: Not all of it has to be on display at work. Everybody don't have to know every bit about who you are. They don't. Give what you want to give and keep the rest for yourself and for people that matter, whatever. So I think that's also something we want to make sure we keep in mind also, that we don't need to give everything to the workplace. They can get some of this and that's it.
Ericka Brunson ...: Some of it's that code switching and some they just don't deserve.
Jamia Williams: Or as Davis Kendrick coined, deauthentication. We have to deauthenticate, and that's fine. It's great because you don't have to get into the, as my grandma would say, the rigamarole of dealing with people.
Jamillah Gabrie...: I was waiting for that one.
Jamia Williams: The rigmarole of dealing with people with their nonsense and their judgment. So it's just like, "You get a little bit, that's fine. We good." Yeah, I'm good with that.
Brittany Young: Here's me taking notes on deauthentication. I'm on a rabbit hole with that later tonight.
Jamia Williams: Rabbit hole.
Brittany Young: Now here's the last question that Ericka said could be deep, but it doesn't have to be either. What is your why, what fuels your passion in this profession and keeps you moving forward? And Jamillah, you're on the spot first.
Jamillah Gabrie...: Well, like Jamia has said many times, this is a hard question. I feel like it is not so easy, but I feel that my answers with the other questions kind of relays the why, and that is, I'm trying to think of how to explain it, but I think just really wanting to be someone who helps others in this profession. I think that's really at the heart of it. I want to help myself too. How do I work in this and be okay, and also how do I help others be okay as well? And also being okay doesn't necessarily mean staying in the profession. It can mean leaving, whatever that looks like for someone. But what does it mean to come out of it intact or to be in it and stay intact? How do we do that? And how do we help the people who are coming into those spaces, not just necessarily workers, but those people we are trying to help? Because we don't want them to experience what we ourselves as workers are experiencing.
How can we improve and change these institutions that we're part of and in some ways implicit in because we are employed by these people and these institutions? And so we are part of it in ways that we don't want to be part of, things that we don't want to play a part in. And so we have to figure out how to make those changes, how to fight against those things, how to make sure that people are having good experiences in these places, both ourselves and the people are coming in.
I think that's really where my why is, and it probably would be my why no matter what the profession is. That's what I would be thinking about and wanting to do, whether it was libraries or something else. And so that does fuel me and keep me moving forward. I know it can be exhausting and some people just don't want to deal with that. And that's just what it is. And there's no judgment as far as I'm concerned when it comes to that either because of what we have to deal with on a day-to-day basis. And this is just where I choose to put my efforts into. And hopefully, I hope that what I'm doing has a positive impact on someone, on something. And that's what motivates me.
Brittany Young: That was beautiful. And as simple as it might seem to say wanting to be someone who helps others, I feel like that's why so many of us become librarians. And that's at that core. And then the other part is the part that you said earlier about wanting to feel like we belong. And some of us have found that. You both talked about going to the library when you were younger. I feel like one, a lot of us felt that. And then two, I also feel like authors always bring that up when they come and talk to us at events. So there's something to be said about that with libraries and librarians being attracted to the profession because of that. Jamia, what have you got for us?
Jamia Williams: Yeah. So I feel like what I have to say builds upon Jamillah, her why and my why. Like she said, no matter what profession it is I am in my professional life, in my personal life, am a champion of people. So whatever way I can make sure that you are shining, that you're winning, that's what I do. And that's what I love to do. I love to make sure that people are their full selves in any way that they can be. That is how I like to support them, help them, or just sit back and let them shine. And that's what fuels my passion in this profession, is to make sure that people have what they need and that they can help them make a decision. Whether that's them trying to find how did Miles Morales from Spider-Man come to be? Okay. That's one of my favorite reference questions of all times. Or how can I make this health decision in an informed way? Or how can I advocate for myself to switch doctors because I don't feel like they're listening to me?
"Okay, let's find out how you can do that and let me help you support that decision for you." And that's what keeps me moving forward. And also just my immediate family, knowing that I have their love and support to have been able to switch professions and to come on this side of things, is what keeps me moving forward because I sacrificed a lot to get that credential to become a librarian. And that's why I was so proud to just tell the world. I try to get rid of myself of vocational awe and when it comes to this profession, because I was proud. "Listen, I did this thing with two kids under two, a 10-year-old, being someone's guardian and being a sister and a friend and all that stuff, all to get this masters. I'm proud. Okay? If y'all not, I am because that was something that, it was late nights, early mornings."
So I remember that. I remember the lack of sleep because I was a parent, the lack of sleep because I was trying to get this degree, is what keeps me going. It is like no matter what I encounter or combat, as we say in New York, you're not going to send me, you're not going to win. And if I have to pivot to another career, so be it. But the through line, my why is always I want to champion people and make sure we all get what we need. And equity is the motivator. So that's all I got.
Brittany Young: Y'all going to make me cry and get emotional, and I don't think it's-
Jamia Williams: Awe, don't cry. Don't cry.
Brittany Young: It's good tears use because I relate so much and I love that you both have been so real and I thank you for one, bringing that realness and then also just being inspirational because it is such a strong reminder of why I came into this profession, as hard as it is to do this work. And I've seen that and I'm White.
Jamia Williams: And that's what I say. I'm like, if it's hard on White people, it's for us. If White people is getting bullied and pushed out the library space, what'd you think what's happening with us? Hello? Hello?
Brittany Young: Exactly. Exactly.
Jamia Williams: You can't even be kind to people that look like you. Come on.
Brittany Young: I know we're all laughing, but that is a sad truth. It's true. It's the truth.
Jamia Williams: We have a problem. We really have a problem. People need to be kind and need to get it together.
Brittany Young: There's four of us and we know that there's more people that we know that we've interviewed on our podcast, that you all have interviewed on your podcast that are doing this hard work of trying to make these places better.
Jamia Williams: Yes, yes, yeah.
Brittany Young: And thank you.
Jamia Williams: People don't like it, but we got to keep it going.
Brittany Young: Yes.
Jamillah Gabrie...: Right. If you're able and willing, please do. And if it's not for you because it's too much, I understand that too.
Jamia Williams: I don't judge you.
Brittany Young: Yep. And self-care.
Jamia Williams: Yeah, seriously.
Ericka Brunson ...: Self-care.
Jamia Williams: And as my grandma say, nobody say, you got to be best friends, but you can act right.
Ericka Brunson ...: You're just so full of that life advice.
Jamia Williams: Hey, my grandparents helped raise me, so I have a lot of North Carolina wisdom coming out.
Ericka Brunson ...: They did a good job.
Jamia Williams: Thank you. Thank you, grandparents.
Ericka Brunson ...: We want to thank you both. I know that we've kept you longer than we planned to, but this conversation was just so rich and there's so much more to talk about and places to go from here. Thank you for laying that foundation. Thank you for helping amplify the voices of other people who are laying that foundation in doing that work. And I know that we've talked about how there is just a wealth of information and knowledge that the two of you hold, even outside of just this podcast that we really focused on. So we're hopeful that we could bring each of you back to talk more about those specific things that are lighting your fire, that you're doing research around, that you're inciting change around, and even get more of Jamia and Jamillah.
Brittany Young: Well, thank you. Yes.
Ericka Brunson ...: Come back.
Jamia Williams: Yes. Thank you so much. I appreciate it. This is great. Hopefully I didn't embarrass my people like that.
Ericka Brunson ...: Thank you,
Brittany Young: They shouldn't been embarrassed. They should be proud.
Jamia Williams: Oh my gosh. I hope so.
Ericka Brunson ...: That was an incredible episode. I just loved talking with Jamia and Jamillah, and I feel like we could have done that all night, except for that would be real rude.
Brittany Young: That would've been really rude, and you all might not want to have listened to the three-hour goodbye, but we would've enjoyed it nonetheless.
Ericka Brunson ...: Yes. Yes. I feel like there were just so many takeaways that if we were to focus on them, we might be here for the three hours, but what really stood out to me and really resonated with me and something that I know I'm consciously already trying to practice is that being really intentional with my time and where I put my energy, and to remember to use my vacation time, use my sick time. Mental health care is something that is also something you can use your sick time for. It is still self-care. So taking time to really make sure I'm recharging, I'm resetting, and giving myself that grace and that space to come back fresh and ready to go. What about you, Brittany?
Brittany Young: Yes, and I feel like that was particularly poignant right now for me because I don't know about the rest of you, but I wasn't raised that it was okay to take mental health days. And it's just super important. I feel a little called out like when you see one of those memes and you're like, "Oh, wow, that's me. Yeah,."
Ericka Brunson ...: Yeah. Did I give you permission to post me on the internet?
Brittany Young: Where'd you get that picture of me?
Ericka Brunson ...: Yeah.
Brittany Young: So I appreciated that, and it also reminded me of one of my favorite books, Rest is Resistance, because we forget that a lot.
Ericka Brunson ...: Trisha Hersey?
Brittany Young: Yes. Yes.
Ericka Brunson ...: Is it Hersey? Hersey?
Brittany Young: I think it's Hersey. It also could be Hersey. Now. I'm not sure. Words are hard.
Ericka Brunson ...: We'll make sure that we put it in our description today so that's a resource that folks can look at too.
Brittany Young: Yes. And speaking of actions, we have a call to action that's pretty simple and it's listen to LibVoices, the podcast.
Ericka Brunson ...: Listen, listen. Yeah. I hear those amazing voices of Jamia, Jamillah, all of the folks that they bring on and amplify their stories, their voices, the challenges. We talk a lot about wanting to focus on the good and the things that keep us going, but we really do need to make time to realize that it's not always sunshine and rainbows, and those challenges do exist, and specifically they exist for our colleagues of color, and we can't learn to do better until we start really looking inside of ourselves and seeing how all of those things can come together to make work environments different for different people. So please listen to LibVoices. They have episodes that are coming out, I think basically regularly every month. And yeah, there's so much knowledge and so much experience there to be shared.
Brittany Young: Let's make our libraries and our communities and the whole world better together.
Ericka Brunson ...: Yes. Thank you so much for joining me in this, Brittany, and I look forward to our next one.
Brittany Young: Thank you, Ericka.
Speaker 6: This project was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services through the Library Services and Technology Act administered by the State Library of Oregon. [Spanish 01:14:28].
Ericka Brunson ...: We would like to take time to acknowledge historical injustices. We recognize Oregon was established as a White sanctuary state with the intent to exclude African-American and Black people on ancestral lands stolen from dispossessed Indigenous peoples. We recognize and honor the members of federally recognized tribes and unrecognized tribes of Oregon. We honor Native American ancestors, past, present, and future whose land we still occupy. This acknowledgement aims to deconstruct false histories, correct the historical record and disrupt genocidal practices by refocusing attention to the original people of the land we inhabit, the slave trade enforced labor that built this country and to the oppressive social systems interwoven into the fabric of our national and regional heritage. We ask that you take a moment to acknowledge and reflect as well.