resources discovered @ nwsa

Following up on my last post about the National Women’s Studies Association conference, here’s a list of resources (new and new to me) that I learned about during my three days.


Bodies Without Borders by Erynn Masi de Casanova & Afshan Jafar (to be published in December 2013)

Entering the Picture: Judy Chicago, the Fresno Feminist Art Program, and the Collective Visions of Women A Artists by Jill Fields

Global Beauty, Local Bodies by Erynn Masi de Casanova & Afshan Jafar

Make Your Own History: Documenting Feminist & Queer Activism in the 21st Century by Lyz Bly & Kelly Wooten

Queens of Academe by Karen Tice

Queens of Academe: Beauty Pageantry, Student Bodies, and College Life by Karen Tice

The Once and Future Goddess by Elinor W Gadon

Unspeakable Violence: Remapping US & Mexican National Imaginaries by Nicole Marie Guidotti-Hernández

When Abortion was a Crime by Leslie J Reagan


Magazines & Journals

Bitch Magazine is starting Bitch on Campus. Aimed at academic audiences, students can now engage with Bitch Magazine through digital readers (Bitch articles & study questions targeted toward a theme) and speaking engagements.

Visual Culture & Gender journal – I knew about this, but I got to meet editor Karen Keifer-Boyd at her panel session on the Judy Chicago Art Education Collection.



Alexis Pauline Gumbs – just…all of her!

4,000 Years for Choice is artist Heather Ault‘s poster series that is “re-visioning the historical and cultural

notecard from 4,000 Years for Choice
notecard from 4,000 Years for Choice

narrative of abortion and contraception.”

Judy Chicago Art Education Collection, “one of the most important private collections of archival materials on feminist art education, is now open to the public at Penn State University Libraries.”

Center for Story-based Strategy “is a national movement-building organization dedicated to harnessing the power of narrative for social change.”

Plants for Patients “strives to begin breaking down the social stigmas perpetrated against women who undergo abortion care by leveraging the kindness of strangers to create a community of support.”



bodies of subversion

Screen Shot 2013-09-05 at 10.52.54 AMBodies of Subversion: A Secret History of Women and Tattoo by Margot Mifflin (New York: Powerhouse Books)

Having read the 1997 print, I want you to know that this 2013 third edition is much, much better. There is more material in the historical chapters and a whole new section on contemporary tattoo artists. The printing is better too; this edition is printed on stock photo paper. This means the historical black-and-white images have more variation and detail. Full color images are used when available.

If you haven’t read the earlier editions of Mifflin’s text, it’s worth taking the time. It’s an easy read that introduces the best women tattoo artists and collectors, from the beautiful Maud Stevens Wagner to the infamous Kat Von D (whether you like her not, she is the most famous tattoo artist of all time). Mifflin doesn’t shy away from discussing the discrimination many women encountered as they tried to learn the trade. In the more contemporary chapters, she highlights the sexuality associated with women tattoo collectors.

Many women have faced discrimination or sexual aggression because of their tattoos. For those women, this books will act as a quiet welcome into the subculture while giving a feminist history of the art. It’s a must read for any woman with a tattoo.


the prom book

Metz, Lauren. The Prom Book. San Francisco: Zest Books, 2013.

After only looking at the cover, I understood this book was a marketing ploy to get cheap bucks coming into the publisher. It offers nothing of substance and even less than that if you are anything but an upper-middle class white girl from the suburbs.

Maybe that’s harsh but I was hoping for something different in 2013. The book is like a special issue of Seventeen that I would have read in the 90s. The budget breakdown includes spray tan and waxing. Makeup tips and last minute toning workouts (these don’t work, girls) lead into hosting pre- and post prom parties. The content is skim and what gives the book actual volume are the pages for Notes, Appointments, Photos, and Favorite Memories.

If you have a prom girl in your life, get her subscription to Seventeen. The pages here are just as glossy and the tips just as shallow.

Please note I received a free advanced reading copy of this book through LibraryThing in exchange for a review.

the good lord bird by james mcbride

McBride, James. The Good Lord Bird. New York: Riverhead Books, 2013.

When abolitionist John Brown passes through the Kansas Territory in 1856, he leaves with Henry Shackleford. Henry’s master is killed by Brown, leaving the young boy no choice to but travel with Brown and his band of Free Staters. At first glance, Old Man Brown assumes Henry is a girl and Henry, eager to stay alive, quietly announces himself as Henrietta; Brown nicknames her Onion.

Onion recounts for the reader her years living with Old Man Brown and the battles he and his men fought, ending with Harper’s Ferry. Part history, part fiction, The Good Lord Bird sheds new light on the years leading up to the Civil War. Good intentions are examined against reality in Onion’s innocent, but ever-watching eyes.

I was eager to read The Good Lord Bird because I enjoyed McBride’s The Color of Water (1995) and Miracle at St. Anna (2002). However, this novel didn’t meet my expectations. McBride is probably the best writer to tell this story, but it was exhausting and often felt repetitive. Part of this is because of my own limited interest in Civil War history. However, there was little character development of either Old Man Brown or Onion throughout the 400+ pages. The narrative progressed but the people didn’t.

A true American history buff, through, will find this a captivating read.

Please note I received a free advanced reading copy of this book through LibraryThing in exchange for a review.

among the bloodpeople

Glave, Thomas. (2013). Among the bloodpeople: Politics and flesh. New York: Akashic Books.

This is my first introduction to Glave, a gay Jamaican who fully embodies his country and sexuality. This collection of essays follows years of  public praises for his writing and a handful of awards from the biggest and the best (O. Henry award). In his introduction, Yusef Komunyakaa states that, like Glave’s earlier books, “these essays pulsate with the same charged lyrical, moral authority. No one easily wriggles off the hook.” I assumed he meant Glave’s adversaries; turns out he means the readers of Bloodpeople.

Glave mostly writes about homosexuality and Jamaica. I didn’t know how hated homosexuals are in Jamaica. I didn’t know they were disemboweled with machetes. And I didn’t consider one could be poetic about fear and anger and isolation. But the touchingly phrased sentences don’t soften the impact of reading about murder and political corruption. Instead, it eats at you because it makes you attentive to every word, feel the pauses as Glaves takes a breath and speaks with the pulse of his heartbeat. It takes a few moments to find Glave’s rhythm and read with it, pulling the poetry from the prose. If you do, however, you’ll be forever changed.

That might be a bit dramatic for a poet’s anthology of non-fiction essays, but to date I haven’t finished Bloodpeople. I’ve found I need some time between readings. Glave’s doesn’t shout but whispers in your ear and sometimes you can know too many secrets.

Please note I received a free advanced reading copy of this book through LibraryThing in exchange for a review.

library 2020

This afternoon I sat in on Joseph JanesThe Library in 2020: Visions of the Future of Libraries. Though it was essentially a book promo (Library 2020 due out in July), a lot of interesting points were raised by the book’s chapter authors.

What will endure? What makes up “library” regardless of time or place? Janes considers stuff, place, people, community, and leadership & vision.

Stuff is the access question. Formats are constantly shifting and digitization is yet another priority. What stays, goes? Why? Most importantly, as ‘access to stuff’ will not be a “winning strategy” in the future, where is our service component to these new technologies and online heritage collections?

‘Library’ is becoming a concept more than a place. We need to start thinking “more about what it does than what it has” (connection to stuff).

Sarah Houghton says that libraries of the future “will be ruled by geeks” and that the skills that make people good techies make good leaders. She’s proof of this!

James Rosenzweig has a chapter that makes a nice analogy to the library as an “information base camp” where libraries are “serving as a temporary home to people journeying out into the information environment.”

In order to maintain our relevance to our community, Janes and his co-authors say we need to focus on “boutique, tailored services”  that are not offered elsewhere.”

The conversation continues online with the Twitter hashtag #mylibraryin2020

the future of libraries

The other day I sat in on the webinar The Future of Libraries hosted by the Metropolitan New York Library Council. It was a talk by Eli Neiburger, Associate Director for IT and Production for the Ann Arbor District Library system. You might be familiar with his 2010 Libraries Are Screwed with a focus on ebooks.

This talk also had a “Libraries Are Screwed” sentiment but with some valuable ideas for transformation. A few things Eli said:

We have all of our marketing value in one format.We are still library as place and that place as a repository for books. Even as we offer other services, our look and brand echoes the book. Eli also mentioned what we like to forget – that reading is not a pastime for the majority.

Librarians have positioned themselves in a service role but we are now in a situation of self-service. Instead of panicking that we must provide access service and reference service, what about becoming content producers? This is the “valued added” element that can sustain libraries. He made the analogy of librarians becoming the next journalists. I understand that point, but also wonder what that might mean. We don’t have journalists anymore because of citizen journalism. We want our users to be content creators. How then do we define our value?

A librarian’s role is knowing what content is valuable. The addresses the wave in library school of turning information professionals into coders. Eli says we don’t need to be IT specialists or web designers. Let the experts do that. What librarians can do is tell IT and web designers what content is good and where to find that content.

Librarians should be super users. Just because our speciality isn’t in coding or design doesn’t mean we shouldn’t know what’s out there and what technologies are coming up next.



Today Denison University Library participated in the Books2Eat. Books2Eat is formally called the International Edible Books Festival with over 20 countries participating in a day of literally eating your words. According to the official website, the festival takes place every year to honor the birthday of French foodie Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin (there’s a mouthful) and take advantage of April Foolery.

Here are a few of my favorites from today.

Going Bananas for Dr. Suess - yes, Suess. Hey, it was made by students at Granville Middle School and won Most Creative (no one took off points for spelling).
Going Bananas for Dr. Suess – yes, Suess. Hey, it was made by students at Granville Middle School and won Most Creative (no one took off points for spelling).
How to Win Friends and Influence People by our own Sheryl Pustay. When judging was over, this was the first edible book to get devoured.
How to Win Friends and Influence People by our own Sheryl Pustay. When judging was over, this was the first edible book to get devoured.
Monster Book of Monsters by Beth Walter based on Hagrid's Cure for Magical Animals (Harry Potter).
Monster Book of Monsters by Beth Walter based on Hagrid’s Cure for Magical Animals (Harry Potter).
Hearing Loss by our own Pam Magelaner. Great after-Easter humor. She also made Elvis Peeps.
Hearing Loss by our own Pam Magelaner. Great after-Easter humor. She also made Elvis Peeps.