POC discussion
Moderated by Kalmia
Notes by Stephanie

Questions we have for ourselves:
What has already been done with representation of People of Color in zine collections and doing outreach to POC and other communities? What are people doing?

How does this affect collection policies and development?

Call to zine librarians to have POC representation in collections? Is it because you don’t have relationships with POC in your town?

Jude is feeling like she wants to develop more relationships in the community. She has been looking at how her collection is cataloged and what’s in the collection. She has created a general POC tag to the collection and has added specific cultures as well.

Moving towards Anchor archive subject authority does use the same subjects that America uses to talk about culture, ethnicity, or race. They might have “ethnic cooking” but not a reference to a specific culture. What are the categories to use for this?

There was a question about whether or not librarything has been used to access POC collections, and we are not sure.

QZAP uses self-identified tags created by people of color to access the collection. They were fortunate to have queer people of color provide them with ideas on the type of metadata to use when searching the collection.

Jude does this when someone adds a collection to the zine, she will ask them where they zine should be cataloged.

When we get to creating a thesaurus or control words, QZAP can share ways that their collection is being used through self-identified tags and also doing research to find out what people want to be self identified with. Retroactively looking at tags. Institutions that have done work to get direct feedback from communities on what to self identify with need to share that with others, but we also need to keep being open to getting that information.

How do you develop relationships with POC and the zine collection? How do you be inclusive?

For example, the community college librarian could reach out to a cultural group and see if they want to create a zine about their collection.

Could be harder to reach out to groups as a public librarian, because you have to reach outside of your institution and there are endless possibilities of who to contact in the community.

The concept of how to act as an ally, can help inform how to do outreach in a way that is not weird or icky. Making contact and saying, “if this is something that feels interesting as a place to contribute experience or documentation of project and work. If so, let me know if I can support that in anyway.”

There is this weird power dynamic that can happen if you own a collection and are trying to get someone interested in the collection and to publish, and we need to be aware of that.

We need to be aware of our power and privilege so that it’s not exclusive or monolithic or exclusionary. We need to be aware of what we are doing in terms of collection, interpreting, and sharing. Let access flow without barriers. There is a need to constantly be aware of historically of how there are certain assumptions, privileges and powers that I have and that I need to be aware that this is always going to be a factor. Be aware to move past that and let other people express themselves. From the perspective of Queer zines, POC were creating zines from the beginning! Struggle against misperceptions that zines are just an extension of hipster white culture!

White person + person who gets to make decision about what gets to be included in the collection is a “Double Whammy” thing to be concerned about. I’m the person that says yes or no to what you do. Collection development policies related to being inclusive!

Talking about the collection development policy is a way to be transparent about the power dynamics involved in creating the collection.

One librarian had an issue where they didn’t have POC zines for latino zines project, and since their collection is based on donations, they don’t have buying power. There are issues with saying, “hey POC” donate zines to our collection.

Reader’s Advisory guide on topics could be helpful.

Here are resources that can help you when you realize the limitation of your own collection. Is there a possibility to create a guide on this?

Cross referencing to relieve the pressure? Do we need to develop a “zine creator” to help make that representation?

How do I not create a new segregation? Do I want to have all the black zines on the table that nobody looks at, as this happens at zine fests.

Integration is also a part of the problem. There is a need create visibility and transparency without segregating a group of writers. We don’t want to create an extra hurdle to get over, so use caution in creating a “sub” group.

Who is already making? And who should be making?

We do want to create makers of the collection sometimes…

With tagging of library collections, we can make POC zine findable in that way if they want that, but topic wise they are integrated.

Why don’t we have more people of color at this zine conference?
- Is this because of institutional issue and how the library professional is mostly white women?
- The conference reflects in some ways the diversity in library staff at our institutions.
- Being conscientious about it isn’t enough, but what is the next step?

The conversation then talked about how libraries in general are inclusive or not of POC. The more we can represent diverse experiences, the better we are.

Never stop thinking about these things. Explore the diversities of ourselves and how it connects to the world and libraries at large.

Making personal connections based on own experiences in relation to barriers that prevent people from accessing and exploring libraries. Find out what the “thing” is inside you that makes you different.

Qzap- Step one is listening and taking advice that is freely given to us. Acknowledge how you are wrong and what you are doing to change. Continue listening. Get better at asking. Be comfortable learning as you go. It’s a lifelong process.

Constantly need to make sure we are balancing things in terms of power and assumptions about privilege and constantly checking, listening, and learning.

I try not to let shades and colors neutralize my experience. White does not mean one experience. Black does not mean one experience. Where we shut down, is when we label to shade in deciding it’s a singular experience that you only know through communication and talking. “Anyway in” Do you have a family history that you want to share with others? What have you collected? Can you make a zine?

DIY – everyone has something that they can share. One student created a zine about DIY maintenance for your car. “college life” They were created by POC, but everyone can relate to the experience. It’s easier for me to approach it as “what can you contribute to DIY” as opposed to “Creating Diversity” in the collection.

“You are part of this diverse world”

“Find your own diversity” (or your relationship to diversity). Something can get off balance when we don’t understand our own diversity and our own struggles. “I need to keep thinking and sharing about my struggle.”

It helps to play “less of a role” and more of a person. Helps diminish the sense of “otherness”. “There might be words as a white person I can’t say, but I can connect to the culture in other ways”. “These are part of my own experiences in how I learned and how I am growing”

Perhaps we can have more discussions at future events about this! Not just this one. Or not even just one discussion at an event.