Being a librarian is all about adapting to change and this conference of black librarians has provided no exception
Our third presenter was an unforeseen no-show.
My expectations were to deliver and then attend key presentations with then leave to re-explore my former hometown. The conference simply provided too many connections for me to explore as much as I would have liked.
Barbara and I delivered a well-received presentation on the reading habits of young black male readers. It was informative to hear Barbara discuss her observations of young black males in various venues as she researched her books and her resulting wisdom to not write about males in their homes. In realizing the different ways young males interact, she knew that they would also interact differently at home. Since she hadn’t observed these interactions, she avoided writing about them.
Audience questions led us to discuss cover issues, the need for more black male authors, what males do read and why we should let them choose what that want to read so that they will read. Good librarians quickly realize that most people aren’t reading because they haven’t found what they like. I provided a 6 page list of books for boys ages 9-18 based upon the list on Greg Neri’s blog and Barbara provide free, signed copies of her book! It confounds me that so many people claim they cannot find these resources!
I was disappointed that vendors such as EBSCO who typically have huge exhibits at conferences sent only one person with a notebook.
My literary find was Hole in the Head by Wilbert Smith Ph.D.. This book is about Dr. Smith uncovering the story of a dozen Blacks (eleven men and one female) in Lyles Station, Indiana (a historic all black settlement) who were experimented on as young children when radiation was first being harnessed for medical use. As a result of experimentation, these individuals lived their entire lives with holes in their skulls. Using hats and wigs, most found ways to cover this infliction that they developed for the sake of science. Despite the damage and dishonor done, this is a story of overcoming obstacles and achieving greatness.
I’m looking forward to reading this book and being prepared to further my discussion with Dr. Smith when he visits ISU this fall.
I connected with college friends, some whom I hadn’t seen in over 30 years! Met the audacious Karen Lemmons with whom I’ve communicated online for years and we have made plans! Quilt plans!!!!! I spent time on the campus where I earned my undergrad degree and was overwhelmed by the transformation of the campus of the University of Cincinnati. Yes, change was certainly the theme of this visit.
I went to lunch with my conference badge still on and locals asked what conference I was attending. Of course they expressed pleasant surprise when I told them black librarians and they wanted to know more. I didn’t quite tell them as much as I’ve written here!
Thursday evening I visited the National Underground Freedom museum and was surprised to find that one of the performers in the quartet was the niece of my college roommate!