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Info Worker Post-Election Strategy Session
Friday, December 2nd, 7-8:30pm
Spanish translation by Kevin Scott at http://chronnerbrothers.com/
Interference Archive
 
Agenda:
 
1)Introductions (Name and Preferred Fender Pronoun) - success! (we have a packed room.) 
45-50 people in attendance
 
* It was thought useful to work out where people here work:
-what kind of orgs do folks work in? academic libraries, news organizations, museums, public libraries, special libraries, hospitals.
* In terms of jobs, most people identified as librarians or archivists
-what kind of work do we do? archivists, librarians, software engineers, administrators, events organizers, artists. 
    - Most people working in academic libraries, less so at public libraries & museums/arts organizations.
-how many of us are in a union? some, not many.
 
2)Assessing Impacts of a Trump Administration & Community Needs
-Donald Trump could turn out to go down in history as the greatest U.S. President ever.
-q: what do we mean by "communities?" workplace, families, neighborhood, city, universe. 
 - All are important to talk about.
 
who and what are we concerned about specifically? [What are you concerned about in  this moment/Who in our communities are the most vulnerable to marginalization or oppression under the new administration? What preliminary steps can we take to organize on their behalf?] 
 
-concerned about immigrants and our undocumented students, also trans-people and their complicated relationship to being documented/government documents
-concerned about folks reliant on obamacare, medicaid, VA healthcare. said by someone who works in biomedical research at a hospital. working on grant funded stuff related to under-resourced pops. worried about funding. Grants for health research for marginalized groups will be cut
-concerned about "Muslim" students and students perceived as "Muslim". esp. around surveillance. heightened scrutiny under next admin.
- Often institutions talk about being sanctuary spaces etc but don't do anything to enforce it  
-increased inaccessibility of our institutions. there's already so many barriers. queer history needs to be more accessible to students, wants them to be able to get into the archive to use it.
-how a lot of cultural heritage funding is contingent on govt grants. there's a threat to ppl in our profession, esp students coming out of grad school facing a diminished landscape of jobs etc. people are going to lose their jobs, scary for everyone across the board, incl library archives world. word of lay offs already coming to individs.
- People are already being threatened with losing their jobs due to funding cuts, NEH, NEA, etc
-misinformation on the web, web archiving, esp govt resources. algorithms as a menac.
- Archives can be used to counter-act 'post fact' claims, we can use social media more to put out relevant documents
- ref librarians are better than algorithms! can we do more outreach, reach out to people where they are, pointing out these are docs that we have, this is what they say, theyre based in hist narrative. FDR library has done good social media posts recently about immigration, Japanese internment etc. on social media. 
- Concern about misinformation on the internet, we should promote libraries as places to interrogate where we get our knowledge. Algorithms give you the information they think you want.
-concered about fellow staff members. said by someone who works at a Jewish org that staffs a lot of women and queer people, want patrons and staff to feel safe. 
-cut to data collection - in  canada under right wing admin the govt  stopped collecting stats that  info prof'ls need and that patrons need. how do you get ahead of that,  advocate before cuts are made?
-at same time in canada, deep cuts to national libraries, at the same time the canadian lib assn continued to support the admin which saw loss of support for that assn and now it doesn't exist. we can stop supporting existing assns and build the ones we want. 
- if our national institutions don't say the things we want we can withdraw our support and found the organizations we want.
- Is anyone in the room involved in ALA, SAA etc, and how have they found that?
 -  ALA posted a press release saying that they were willing to work with a  Trump administration, can see common ground, smooth transition of  power, business as usual, etc
        - They have since deleted this from the internet.
    - However, SAA was much more combative
-  Call to get more involved in local groups, i.e. Metropolian Round  Table, Archivists Round Table, seems more possible to affect change on  this level as opposed to a national level.
- Often in ALA/SAA only a few people are running for positions and not many people are voting, it wouldn't be hard to get elected if people were dedicated.
can someone link to the recent (retracted) ALA statement? :
 
-accountability campaigns
-holding the police accountable
 
What resources may do we + our constituencies have access to now that may become less accessible under  the new administration? Are there ways to stockpile or otherwise  preserve access to these resources?
-if we are part of a union, go and participate, we are about to become a "right to work" country. (means eg unions are opt-in not opt-out, you can be a free rider on a collectively bargained contract. it erodes labor unions' ability to get shit done.) get involved in unions, make connections. 
-esp so many of us have to take contract, term work so don't have access to a union. so how can those of us who aren't f/t employees connect with other folks in the field in a similar sitch. how do you org for your rights when you have to look for more work every 5 months. 
-get involved with local groups? SAA but also Archivists' Roundtable, METRO etc. [we could be a sig (METRO has a social justic SIG https://sites.google.com/a/metro.org/sjsig/)
-maybe we should form our own group separate from these orgs. how to stay in touch? create a listserv.
- A call to use art, murals, art-based programs, as part of neighborhood organizing.
    - This is relevant to Interference Archive
 
What can we do to continue to ensure the core value of privacy for our patrons and within our collections? How can we resist attempts to violate that privacy?
- deal with the question of collection of patron records. The NYPL just changed its patron retention policy in advance of the Trump admin: see https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/nov/30/library-user-data-government-surveillance-donald-trump
-privacy trainings in our institutions. signal app et. 
- need to check in on the vendors that control, are repositories of our user data - what are their policies?
- dangers involved in centralizing info. and dangers of shining a light on projects that are doing good work. 
-yes! riseup.org's warrant canary has recently expired. what does this mean? are individual email accounts be  in peril b/c riseup is more likely to pull the plug than hand over data  about its users. so talking about digital privacy, bpl has been doing  trainings about network infrastructure and tools for privacy, also  libraryfreedomproject has been innundated with requests post-election.  we all have dif roles vis a vis interfacing with public, but part of the  librarians’s skill set is to be a translator of technology.
- We don't necessarily have technological/programming skills but do have skills in conveying information, answering questions people might have about web security, we should bolster our skills here
- we have a  level of expertise and are well situation to answer questions and  initiate trainings - but lets not just wait for folks to come to us with qustions, lets go onto the front lines and give folks info about rights etc.
* Someone has been to many protests but no one is handing out information, leaflets, buttons about how to ensure web security, how to resist tear gas, everything in between. We could go to protests with posters with URL's or QR codes, as opposed to just talking within our library bubble.
- dangers involved in centralizing info. and dangers of shining a light on projects that are doing good work. 
 
-have there been talks to revitalize radical reference? a loose affiliation of folks who did street level info.rin the 2000s.  there's an exhibition in the other room at interference, including examples of flyers that do outreach re: rights and other info services. we could use their email list, its an informal umbrella, some of us here are on that list.  (http://radicalreference.info/ )
 
-HOW DO WE BUILD POWER? we need to build our capacity, so how do we build for what's coming? thinking about where we are, so that people don't burn out after a short time. 
* How do we activate where we work? Our respective positions?
- Archivists of color are concerned of future employment.
- It's likely that people of color will be discouraged from entering the field.
- How can we do good work when we are not in public facing institutions? i.e. private institutions, academic institutions.
- Open crticism of any/all world religions is encouraged.
 
-lets not forget that people have been doing this work for a longlong time, including many of the most targeted/affected communities.
* There are already groups organizing in which oppressed groups are taking leadership roles, how do we leverage our resources and positions to support these groups as opposed to trying to reinvent the wheel and/or taking over from people already organizing.
* Libraries can provide physical space to support organizing.
 
digital privacy:  crypto harlem + cypto party https://www.cryptoparty.in/nyc 
also its a landscape thats going o change significantly, a lot of currently existing privacy technology will be cracked dow upon by govt. 
- How do we protect patron infrmation stored in libraries?
    - Work with community mmbers to ensure digital privacy.
    - i.e. Signal, don't send tings you want to keep private over email.
 
but dont write your own guide to digital security. use existing resources. 
 
how can we gather guides to living in these kinds of times? Librarians can start to archive people's reactions to the elections etc, perhaps store outside the USA
 
in inwood: northern manhattan is not for sale. (https://www.facebook.com/NMN4S/  anti-rezoning anti-gentrification. attendee found out about them because they found flyers in a local branch of the NYPL, offered their services as an information professional, unsure of what form that will take - perhaps assisting with document and asset management.
 
unlocal. is doing lots of work to help undocumented folks. http://www.unlocal.org/main-page/
* Unlocal are doing a lot of good work and need support
    - They do active legal counseling, but use google forms to collect information - this is not secure  and is perhaps a place that information professionals could provide help. a lot of orgs dont have secure methods for gathering info.
* Info workers are good at connecting people with information, this is a skill set we can provide -  a liaison role for groups and resources
* A lot of people are connected to groups, might be worth going to groups and asking what help they might need?
 
activism is going to have to change a lot over the next few years. liasing is going to have to change partly because of increased security risks but other reasons too. 
 
we’re good at connecting people with information. but we also tend to be introverted. 
 
might we reach out to folks in groups and see how we could serve their campaigns. 
nodes. make a network.
 
* Whn peple come o librarie they are people ho are aad want toknow aout security/ant moe information. Gropsknowway need bu don't kno that information wokers can proid this , it might be bette for s o nopek o people coming to us b
  - roups don't knoat kills information workers have, fingood way t what you do/wht you cando toomething understandable to oganizing groups.
 
 librarians. doesn’t occur to all patrons to ask about privacy stuff, or govt info - how to communicate to patrons the wide range of stuff that librarians are for. folks who interact with patrons, can we mentor each other to develop good strategies for moving reference beyond the research paper?
 
 brand ourselves and our skill set better - people tend to think of us as "neutral" so dont think of us as folks they can turn to for info about resistance. how can we change this?
* People think of librarians as people who can just help with their children's homework, and are neutral/compliant. We need to re-brand librarians to make it clear we are not neutral.  
- Lot of talk about fake news, but no op-eds from librarians.
 
 re: fake news: author/fact checkers doing a program in the library about citizen fact checking. tie in there rebranding the library/librarian. CNN is fake news.
 
 or..what if your institution resists the idea of throwing the presumption/performance of neutrality overboard? how to make space with admin for these types of things. admin can be leery of getting too political. find your allies. and cultivate them. support  each other. 
 
 museums. as sanctuary. etc. there's a nice statement from a museum that someone in the room will forward. "This is a start that is more than just words but one of action — actions that invite our audiences to express themselves freely, actions that invite historic understanding, and actions that lead to building community.  There will be more actions. 
 
I am a firm believer that the Museum must participate in public life with respect and care for all voices.  I am a firm believer that we must actively participate in creating the society we hope to see for ourselves and future generations.  This will require our greatest creativity. We have an important role to play"
 
 - wondering about those of us who do instruction. acrl's benchmarks for info literacy and instruction. interrupt standards that aren't serving what we're up against now and in the future. 
 
 - think about young people who are going to grow up in this admin 
 
- Importance of visual forms, posters etc. Pops out more than large chunks of text.
- Student artists in a lot of academic institutions, etc.
 
 -use the materials in your collection. e.g. pre roe v wade newspaper articles. how to put that out? look at the twitter account called @every3minutes, each tweet is connected to an archival document. 
 
 -academic arts college putting together a mini-conference for students. coincide with a wikipedia editathon. 
 
* Within institutions it is useful to find your allies, cultivate relationships
 
* Have signed so many petitions, so much digital activism, but it doesn't build power
    - How do we build by power? How do we think strategically?
    - What power do we have as information professionals?
 
 what are our skills? thinking of it as 5 main prongs. archives and historical collections: 1)providing historical context and strategy. at new school: sociologists studying authoritarianism and student activistis - highlighting that. 2)documenting and sharing for accountability in the immidiate - protest documentation, protest monitoring. documentation of immigration raids so people who can set up in advance to monitor. 3)documenting and sharing for the future - Internet archive is backing up to canada, and collecting urls related to their collection. 4)info sharing in a way that has an immidate need re: rights - undocumented immigrants, know rights; digital privacy; trans folks; 5)info literacy more generally - public libraries have done great work on this, room for expansion. how to recognize fake news. also overwhelm of info coming in. tagging bookmarking making folders and google docs and can we connect with folks to talk about how do we find and store info for use. 
 
* Look a lot of talk about coping mechanisms tonight, not a lot of talk about resistance.
using signal, e.g. is almost a coping mechanism. not a resistance, power-building strategy. how to fight normalization, lanugage can shift over time to make things that were previously unacceptable acceptable.
- Capitulation to what we think/know will happen
- Things we have said here are valuable, but veer towards normalization
* Public libraries will lose funding, what can we do to resist that?
 
-friends who work in LGBT healthcare - have been getting strategic. plan for logistically - what is this admin going to do, has there been an organized response? 
 
 -LIS folks need to flip the script, self identify at rallies, set up booths, tell folks what kinds of resistance-oriented stuff. make buzzfeed listicles? outreach and promotion. that might help us retain jobs. demonstrate our value. 
                                       
* Documentation:
- NYCLU protest monitoring training
- Documentation of immigration raids
- Internet archive moved their back up to Canada
- Information literacy, i.e. how to recognize fake news, people are overwhelmed with information
 
* Info workers have been passive actors for a long time (i.e. people come to us), need to be more active, public facing, this what we do, you can come to us to find out more
 
* Does anyone have access to sticker makers? Can we make more stickers to put on the subway etc?
 
* One way of looking towards the future is to examine our systems, how long do we have to get information on what books people have taken out, what they have printed etc, this is proactive so that we can protect patron privacy, be in a good position if law enforcement etc come looking for this information.
-thinking about the future: look at our systems. record-keeping - dont keep patron records but how long should libs keep printing logs? etc. talk to IT. so that we are unable in the future to comply with surveillance requests. circulation data is not the only record we need to not keep. 
 
* Do we have any control over what information vendors keep over searches?
- We have to demand more of the vendors.
 
 -attended a meeting with BPL and correctional and prisoner services librarians - they do great work. NYPL did a similar event at Columbia. lets not forget prisoner justice in our conversations. this project is desperate for volunteers.
 
 - attorneys: new group called justice behind bars.  designed to offer info to prisoners esp civil rights violations. might want to work with librarians. 
 
-gathering and pooling wealth. Public librarians offer do the most serious public service work. can institutionally privileged settings pool resources to help folks get their lives back.
 
build spaces where we can meet, do trainings, etc. this is something interference archive is working on. 
 
 -There is a community resource fair this Saturday 7-9 FREE https://www.brooklynmuseum.org/calendar/event/community_resource_fair_fsat_december_2016
 
What are the possible risks that could be posed to the values we uphold as information professionals and as individuals? How can we continue to promote these values and face challenges to them?
 
3)Identifying Skills, Resources & Strategic Responses as Info Workers // Communities We Can Mobilize 
* There is a shitshow coming with Trump, but there are many things going on now (Standing Rock, police murders), call to work with other information professionals to establish a working group to support ongoing organizing/struggles on these issues. Strategically launching information/accountability campaigns.
* Rhizome's web recorder/reporter(?) just made a web archive of Periscope feeds, often used for organizing, documenting police brutality
    - Storage limits.
* Witness have been organizing around this "How to document hate"
 
witness has amazing resources - https://witness.org/filming-hate/
* BUT videos of murders have been shown not to bring police to accountability, we have to move our organizing beyond this.
    - We need to be more creative about how we act.
What kinds of information tools seem most needed in this moment? What skills and resources do we have to offer to the movement?
-police accountability using our info skills, don't limit ourselves the stuff that's been done, le
 
-partner with communities and groups, don't frame it as "how can we act on behalf of" but how can we work in solidarity with and as co-agitators. 
 
- recruitment and retention of archivists/librarians of color
- what does a sanctuary campus mean? how to do good work when you’re in a private library or institution? 
 
  • How can we utilize our network of public, private and university libraries and archives to support targeted communities? 
  • How can we utilize our role as LIS workers to participate in and transform the national dialogue around white supremacy? Around hate crimes? Around “post-truth” politics?
  • What communities can we mobilize to take action for social justice from our position as LIS workers?
  • How can NYC librarians support the social justice efforts of libraries in other states with less progressive environments?
 
4)Mapping Our Skills to Current Organizing
  • Brainstorm organizations and campaigns currently led-by and centering communities who will be impacted by a Trump administration
  • Brainstorm LIS initiatives for doing this work
  • Identify gaps in our brainstormed list(s) that will require further research or devil integration
  • Map identified campaigns and organizations to our LIS skills
 
-Socialist Alternative - receptive to new involvement https://www.socialistalternative.org/tag/new-york-city/
-
 
5)Wrap-Up and Next Steps
* We barely begun to discuss how to build power - the eternal conversation!
 
-facilitators have been taking notes on specific places and themes and work. -facilitators read out themes and invite us to connect with other interesteds:
 
    1)doing advocacy within our prof'l associations to make them fighting organizations. sophie: sophie.gliddenlyon@gmail.com
    2)radical reference. Stephen: stephenamaher@gmail.com
    3)labor and union organizing - including a broader understanding including all laborers even if not unionized. Jonny: jcope1@gmail.com
    4)information overload and thinking strategically about aggregating/organizing/curating info. Liza: liza.harrelledge@gmail.com   
    5) space issues and libraries as spaces/outreach: Molly: molly@cityreliquary.org
    related: ilana_price@fitnyc.edu can be contact for artist spaces, she's well connected. 
    6)patron info and vendors and data privacy - Bonnie: bonnie.gordon10@gmail.com
    7)working with incarcerated populations and info: Saebra: swaterst@pratt.edu
    8)security in general.
    9)writing support group - & getting pieces placed. and re-branding librarianship as being about resistance: Yasmin: yasmin6363@gmail.com
 
 
Assess enthusiasm for ongoing broad NYC-based LIS Worker Strategy Sessions (and/or a national call?) -do we want to continue to be a network, and/or connect to other groups nationally. 
  - Professional organizations probably not the best place to do this work, more autonomous ways might be better.
 
national call would be helpful for folks who do this work in smaller communities where there are fewer folks for them to connect with. Rachel: rachmattson@gmail.com
 
 
twitter chats
 
meetup.org
 
 
 
we decided that a good way to keep in touch would be to all join the NYC radical reference listserv. TO JOIN THE RAD REF EMAIL LIST email nyc@radicalreference.info 
 
 
lets meet again in January. but interference might not be available, if you have a space to offer, let it be known! Please email Maggie at maggieschreiner@gmail.com / @maggiesnare
 
6)Closing Check-In (Pending time / meeting attendance)
-success. people are happy to have come here tonight. 
 
these notes will be shared on the RadRef list and via social media - follow Rachel to get access to the notes on Twitter - Rachel's twitter handel: @captain_maybe