Yesterday I went to a library conference at Senate House Library that changed my view on my job as a library assistant. The conference was about Radical Libraries and throughout the day I listened to various speakers talk about their approaches to the evolving landscape of Libraries. Each of the speakers delivered passionate presentations, the day was divided into four different panels. On the first panel Wendy Russell an archivist from the (BFI) British Film Institute spoke about her experience preserving an un-screened documentary Ken Loach created for channel four by the name of 'Questions of Leadership.' She spoke about the process which led up to the unofficial ban of screening. During the questions time the subject around how authentic the media and the news we receive are and the problems this raises for the future of history and information was discussed.
On the second panel Alycia Sellie from (CUNY) City University of New York spoke about the library and the issues of whiteness. She opened by speaking about James Baldwin and the recent protests within the black community and the Black Lives Matter movement. She addressed the fact the no information space is completely neutral and spoke about her experiences of diversifying her collection, whilst remaining aware of her own prejudices which may inform decisions.
The third panel concluded with Siobhan Britton who spoke her research around Zines and their presence in formal and informal collections. She begin with a brief history of Zines and the issues that was raised when they became a source within a library collection. This was most definitely one of my favorite presentations as I love reading Zines and Graphic novels. She spoke about the zine representing an alternative voice within a collection. Finally in the fourth panel Tamsin Bookey from Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archive spoke about making the audience who enter the archive reflect the wider community and the methods she adopting in doing so. The conference concluded with Kirsty Fife from the National Media Museum in Bradford and Hannah Louise Henthorn from the University of Dundee who spoke about their experiences training as librarians and Archivist and the restrictions they faced with limited funds. I rushed off to my evening library job with a spring in my step and a new appreciation for my jobs however armed with the reality that I may have reached the financial ceiling of this profession. :-(