UCBA Librarians Present at the Joint Conference of Librarians of Color

by Michelle McKinney and Kellie Tilton

UC Blue Ash librarians, Michelle McKinney and Kellie Tilton set off for Albuquerque, NM to attend and present at the Joint Conference of Librarians of Color (JCLC). As noted on the website, “JCLC brings together a diverse group of librarians, library staff, library supporters, and community participants to explore issues of diversity in libraries and how they affect the ethnic communities who use our services.” Presentations ranged from Bullet Journaling (led by Michelle and Kellie) to sessions related to traditional library services.

Bullet Journaling 101

We were pleasantly surprised by the interest in our Bullet Journaling 101 workshop! We had folks standing and sitting on the floor to learn about our style of bullet journaling. The petting zoo was a huge hit for those interested in learning more about the types of journals and supplies we use. Bullet Journaling is not the organizational method for everyone, but it was awesome to talk to librarians who have been bullet journaling for years and introduce the concept to those who have never heard of it!

Michelle’s Reflections

I was lucky enough to attend JCLC 2012 and knew I had to find a way to attend the 2018 conference. As a librarian of color, JCLC is a place where I connect with other librarians of color to talk about issues that are unique to us, including conversations around microagressions, safe spaces and serving people that look like us. I also had the opportunity to reconnect with library friends that I’ve made over the course of my career.

In addition to the Bullet Journaling workshop, I also participated in a three-person panel to discuss the different ways the Spectrum Advisory Committee (SAC), which I currently chair, builds community both in person and online. One example of the community building done by SAC is the Spectrum Social that I helped to organize for the conference.

Celebration of Culture – One of the things I love most about JCLC is the celebration of culture. During the Ethnic Caucus Reception, each affiliate group hosted cultural arts performances by local performers, the reception menu included ethnic cuisine and many people were decked out in ethnic garb.

Around Albuquerque – I was able to sneak in some time to enjoy the city. I took the tram to the top of the Sandia Mountain. I also visited the main branch of the Albuquerque Public Library and signed up for my own library card.

Kellie’s Reflections

When Michelle asked if I was interested in presenting our Bullet Journal 101 Workshop at JCLC, I was nervous because, as a white woman, I didn’t want to disrupt the community and space that JCLC provides for librarians of color. When we were accepted, I knew my role at the conference would be to listen and learn from the amazing librarians I would be with and take that information and apply it to make myself a better ally in my work and life. It was an opportunity to meet and learn from so many amazing people in my profession that are working to make libraries – the place and the profession – a more open and diverse space. Like Michelle, I was so happy – and a bit shocked, I must admit – to see the enthusiastic response to our workshop!

I was fortunate to attend numerous workshops, presentations and panels, including the opening general session which featured a keynote by Benjamin Alire Sáenz, who wrote one of my favorite books, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe.

Albuquerque – I love taking in history, cuisine and art of any new region I am visiting and New Mexico did not disappoint! The B&B I stayed in was a house connected to the Manhattan Project and I was a block away from Historic Route 66.  I also made sure to get as much green and red chile as possible – from tacos to my green chile turkey sausage biscuits and gravy! Downtown Albuquerque is covered in murals and the conference dates fell at the beginning of Mural Fest, so new murals were going up everywhere. It made for a lovely walk to and from the convention center every day!

Santa Fe – Santa Fe is about an hour northeast of Albuquerque and I didn’t think I’d get a chance to visit – but there’s a commuter rail between the two cities that allowed me to hop up there for an evening! (Also, the train is called the Rail Runner, named after the state bird, the road runner, and it was maybe the coolest looking train I’ve ever been on.) Santa Fe has a robust artistic community and a number of historic sites and I did my best to cram them all in, including the Santa Fe Plaza, Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi and a visit to Canyon Road – which houses art galleries ranging from contemporary Native American art to elaborate sculpture parks. I also tried blue corn pancakes, which I didn’t love, but was glad I gave them a try! I wrapped up the evening with an extremely short visit to Meow Wolf’s House of Eternal Return art installation. I didn’t solve the mystery – so don’t spoil it for me!