[Libs-Or] Editorial Response to OLAQ 25(2)

Judy Anderson JuAnderson at cu-portland.edu
Wed Nov 13 10:47:00 PST 2019

I would like to thank editor, Elaine Hirsch, for including Heather McNeil’s piece in the OLA Quarterly.  It gives perception and positive suggestions for rectifying past wrongs and offers a different perspective.  It is a valuable piece in solving the balance needed to ensure we serve all of our clientele.  The recent historical attempts to begin rectifying the past show how awareness of an issue is needed to correct past mistakes and prevent future blunders on all sides. Silencing that voice only harms the dialog for finding solutions.

We information professionals consider helping our clients find varied opinions and viewpoints to assist their learning as a treasured responsibility. In our work, we have taken that duty very seriously.  When our public space policies are challenged because community members oppose the content that is being shared, we stand up for the right for all sides to be heard.  Why are we abandoning that principle within our own local organization?  Heather McNeil prefaced her well thought out article (Yes, but … One Librarian’s Thoughts about Doing It Right) with reservations about bringing up her areas of concern to her colleagues.  That should alarm each of us. Self-censorship is as deadly to freedom of speech as the external forces in censorship.  Had the piece been poorly written or grossly inflammatory, exclusion from the OLA Quarterly might have been appropriate. That was not the case

Heather’s work is a positive, well written piece designed to inform by chronicling some of the progress that has occurred to address diversity concerns and provide awareness for an issue of concern that impedes rectifying under representation in our collections.  She goes on to suggest positive ways to move the cause forward, i.e., she has examined the issue and taken the time to find some ways to recognize and encourage improvement, not just condemn and dwell on past behavior.  The reaction of some of our members to the work is a concrete illustration of the type of negativity briefly addressed in Heather’s article. A negativity that stands in the way of progress for all sides of the spectrum.

Organizations have the right to set editorial policy for their publications.  I hope the editors of OLA Quarterly will continue to provide varying opinions in their selection of articles for publication.  Encouraging a variety of viewpoints on topics illustrates to our readers that we practice our belief in non-censorship among our colleagues as well as championing that right for clients.  It shows that we are interested in making the future better through honest dialog and respectful consideration for the ideas and concerns of all of our members.

Judy Anderson

Past co-Chair of the OLA Intellectual Freedom Committee

From: Libs-Or <libs-or-bounces at listsmart.osl.state.or.us> on behalf of OLA President <olapresident at olaweb.org>
Sent: Monday, November 4, 2019 7:59 AM
To: libs-or <libs-or at listsmart.osl.state.or.us>
Subject: [Libs-Or] Editorial Response to OLAQ 25(2)

Dear OLA Colleagues,

I am writing in response to the conversation surrounding the Oregon Library Association Quarterly (OLAQ) Summer issue, 25(2).  I understand the concerns Max Macias, Meredith Farkas, and others have expressed about the final article in the issue, “Yes, but … One Librarian’s Thoughts About Doing It Right” and agree with the valid criticism that the OLAQ editorial standards need to be strengthened.

As the guest editor of this issue, I take responsibility for choosing the theme, reviewing proposals, selecting contributors, and reading the first draft of the authors' submissions before passing them on to the editorial team.  My goal is to provide a forum for a variety of voices on the topic of equity, diversity and inclusion in Oregon libraries, including library type, career experience, and geographic location within the state. I missed my responsibility to more critically reflect on the article by Heather McNeil and engage the author in an editorial conversation, particularly in relation to her commentary on Dr. Debbie Reese’s 2018 May Hill Arbuthnot Lecture, An Indigenous Critique of Whiteness in Children’s Literature.  I am sorry for the impact and distress it has caused.

I want to thank Meredith Farkas for her letter to the OLAQ editorial board, which has provided an opportunity for critical reflection which will strengthen the OLAQ, one of OLA’s most important venues for professional discourse.  Yes, the editorial team of the OLAQ needs to better develop the journal’s editorial standards and are already beginning to address them.

The conversations we are having surrounding equity, diversity, and inclusion are challenging and necessary. The Oregon Library Association has much to learn as an organization and understands open dialogue and constructive criticism help OLA grow as an association.  I look forward to our continuing dialogue on equity, diversity, and inclusion.


Elaine Hirsch

OLAQ 25(2) Guest Editor

OLA President, 2019-2020

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