Call for Proposals – 2014 WGSS Poster Session

The Women & Gender Studies Section will hold its 7th annual Research Poster Session during our General Membership Meeting at the ALA Annual Conference in Chicago on Saturday, June 28, 2014, from 4:30-5:30 p.m. The forum seeks to provide an opportunity to present newly completed research or work in progress. Both beginning and established researchers are welcome to apply. Participants may receive collaborative feedback and recommendations for future publishing and/or new initiatives.

The potential scope of the topics includes, but is not limited to, teaching methods, instruction, information technology, collection development, interdisciplinarity, and collaboration with academic faculty.
* For research ideas, see the newly updated Research Agenda for Women and Gender Studies Librarianship.
* This year the committee is especially interested in receiving submissions which highlight the ways in which librarians work with faculty and/or establish faculty partnerships. However, as stated above, submissions are NOT limited to this particular theme.

Applicants chosen to present their work at the poster session are expected to supply presentation materials, including poster boards. Tables for presentation materials will be provided.  Attendees at the forum will find an arena for discussion and networking with their colleagues interested in related issues and trends in the profession.

The committee will use a blind peer review process.

Selection criteria:

  1. Significance of the topic. Priority will be given to Women and Gender Studies Section members and/or women and gender studies topics
  2. Originality of the project



  • Proposals should include:
    1. Title of the proposal
    2. Proposal narrative (no more than 2 pages, double spaced)
    3. Name of applicant(s)
    4. Affiliation (s)
    5. Applicant Email address(es), Phone number(s)
    6. Are you a member of the Women & Gender Studies Section?
      * If you would like to become a member, go to:
  • Submission deadline: March 31, 2014  
  • Proposals should be emailed to: Beth Strickland, Chair, WGSS Research Committee (
  • The chair will notify the applicants by April 30, 2014

Micham wins 2014 ACRL WGSS Career Achievement Award

image of Laura Micham

Release reprinted from:

CHICAGO – Laura Micham, Merle Hoffmann director of the Sallie Bingham Center for Women’s History and Culture and curator of gender and sexuality history collections in the David M. Rubenstein Rare Books and Manuscripts Library at Duke University, has been selected as the 2014 winner of the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) Women and Gender Studies Section (WGSS) Career Achievement Award. The award honors significant long-standing contributions to women’s studies in the field of librarianship over the course of a career.

A plaque will be presented to Micham at 8:30 a.m. on June 30, 2014, at the WGSS program during the ALA Annual Conference in Las Vegas.

“The awards committee selected Laura Micham based on her significant leadership strengths and contributions to the world of archives as the Merle Hoffman Director of the Sallie Bingham Center for Women’s History and Culture at Duke University,” said award chair Jennifer Mayer, associate librarian at the University of Wyoming. “One colleague describes her vision and commitment as bringing the dreams of ‘a vibrant hub of feminist scholarship’ to its current reality. Another describes her ‘unparalleled intellectual grasp of the field of women and gender studies, her boundless energy for programming and her remarkable ability to work with all sectors of the university community.’”

“The committee looked at Micham’s tenure as director and the resulting successful archival programs, instructional offerings and collections in women and gender studies disciplines—all of exemplary quality—developed under her leadership. The committee was also impressed with her proactive work with students–how she makes collections come alive for students, and her passion to connect students with archival resources. During her directorship, the Sallie Bingham Center has grown both its collections and its national profile. Micham is described as an individual who fights hard and fairly—and successfully—for archives. Her work and partnerships with other Duke curators have led to the acquisitions of high profile collections including the Dorothy Allison papers, the Meredith Tax papers, the records of Ipas and many other significant collections.”

Micham received her MSLS with a concentration in Archives and Rare Books Administration from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

For more information regarding the ACRL WGSS Career Achievement Award, or a complete list of past recipients, please visit the awards section of the ACRL website.


The Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) is the higher education association for librarians. Representing more than 11,500 academic and research librarians and interested individuals, ACRL (a division of the American Library Association) is the only individual membership organization in North America that develops programs, products and services to help academic and research librarians learn, innovate and lead within the academic community. Founded in 1940, ACRL is committed to advancing learning and transforming scholarship. ACRL is on the Web at, Facebook at and Twitter at @ala_acrl.


For Immediate Release

Tues., 02/04/2014


Chase Ollis
Program Coordinator

#NotYourAsianSidekick: Asian American feminist online conversations

collage of various images and headshots of panelists for the #NotYourAsianSidekick panel

18MillionRising’s publicity image for the #NotYourAsianSidekick campaign.

Last Thursday, January 16, 2014, 18MillionRising (18MR) had its first public forum online for their  #NotYourAsianSidekick campaign through Google Hangouts. The topics: the #NotYourAsianSidekick trend on Twitter, which started in mid-December 2013, women of color and feminism, and using social media for activism and community organizing. The forum consisted of Asian American panelists, moderated by PaKou Her, campaign director for 18MR. Featured speakers were writer and activist Tanzila Ahmed, Soya Jung from ChangeLab, originator of the #NotYourAsianSidekick hashtag Suey Park, comedian and activist Kristina Wong, and Miriam Yeung from the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF).

Subtitled “The Past, Present, and Future of Asian American Grassroots,” the online public forum focused on necessary conversations we must have with each other, our friends, family, and colleagues. Topics such as race, gender equality, and political engagement may be difficult to talk about, but they must be discussed. The #NotYourAsianSidekick Twitter trend and the subsequent responses signal the need for such conversations.

The energy and interest generated through social media present many opportunities–to engage youth in political and civic matters, to educate and inspire others, to connect, to facilitate ideas and thoughts into meaningful action and change. The list goes on. A very descriptive summation of the discussion generated by the forum was provided by Tanzila “Taz” Ahmed: “Activism isn’t just about the dramatic shift. It’s about the 1-on-1 conversation.” Such gems were tweeted and retweeted by forum participants, reaching those who follow #NotYourAsianSidekick on Twitter and other social media outlets.

Two useful lists mentioned by participants of the forum:

A second online public forum for the #NotYourAsianSidekick campaign is in the works. It promises to be another stimulating discussion about grassroots activism, the intersections of race and gender, and social change.

Working It Out

book cover of Working It Out: 23 Women Writers, Artists, Scientists, and Scholars Talk About Their Lives and Work

Working It Out: 23 Women Writers, Artists, Scientists, and Scholars Talk About Their Lives and Work. Image from

Last week, I came across a really interesting book, Working It Out: 23 Women Writers, Artists, Scientists, and Scholars Talk About Their Lives and Work (edited by Sara Ruddick and Pamela Daniels). It was published in 1977, some 37 years ago. The edition that we have at George Mason University Libraries was a gift, and on the inside, someone had written “Dear Claudia, I loved this book and thought you would too. Happy 40th Birthday! Love, Carol.” These kinds of inscriptions in gift books always feel a little weird to me, like I’m intruding on something that’s too private, but in a way, it seems oddly fitting for this particular book.

Working It Out is a collection of 23 essays by women scientists, scholars, artists, and writers; most of whom were in their 40s at the time. Most of these essays are memoirs, discussing problems or issues that the authors had with their own career endeavors and “women’s work” in general. The personal nature of these essays is emphasized by the fact that each includes a photograph of its author, as well as their signature at the end. Many of the authors started their careers in the 1950s and 1960s and, in some ways, their experiences seem very foreign to me. For instance, Evelyn Fox Keller writes about her Harvard professors telling her that she couldn’t do theoretical physics because she was a woman (one of her professors even decided that she didn’t know how to dress properly and assigned one of his male students to show her how). In turn, Sara Ruddick and Marilyn Young both write about their respective experiences as “faculty wives” at Dartmouth College, which only admitted male students at the time. In reading their accounts, I’m heartened by how much has changed in the decades since.

At the same time, many of the issues that the writers discuss are still quite relevant. For instance, there is the problem of finishing one’s dissertation. Sara Ruddick describes feeling “paralyzed” and writes that she “was unable to read or talk about anything relating to my thesis, let alone to write about it” (Working, 129). Virginia Valian described a process that she developed to combat her own “work problem” – by breaking her dissertation down into short periods of timed work, she was able to get past her fears and anxieties long enough to finish it (I actually found out about Working It Out via a reference to Valian’s essay in a Chronicle of Higher Education piece (Joli Jensen’s “From Predator to Pet: Three Techniques for Taming Your Writing Project“)). There are still relatively few women in science (theoretical physics or otherwise), and balancing family, work responsibilities, and our own expectations continues to be a challenge for many women.

Perhaps one indication of the power of this book is that I found myself Googling many of the authors to see how they were currently doing. Many of them went on to do some really interesting things in their careers, including becoming bestselling fiction authors (Alice Walker), winning MacArthur Fellowships (Evelyn Fox Keller), and having scholarships named after them (Pamela Daniels). The book itself appears to have been well received — over 1,000 OCLC libraries have it in their collections and it was reviewed in several venues, including the New York Times, Ms. Magazine, Newsweek, and CHOICE.

I would recommend acquiring it if your library doesn’t already have it (and if it does, Working It Out is well worth a browse). Unfortunately, it is not available as an e-book, but is available used on Amazon and other used-book retailers.

Working It Out: 23 Women Writers, Artists, Scientists, and Scholars Talk About Their Lives and Work. Edited by Sara Ruddick and Pamela Daniels, with a forward by Adrienne Rich. New York: Pantheon Books, 1977. ISBN: 0394735579 (paperback; a hardback edition was also published).

Food for Thought: The Shriver Report

The new issue of The Shriver Report is available for view/download now,  A Woman’s Nation Pushes Back from the Brink, was developed in partnership with the Center for American Progress.  From the Report‘s site, “The report is a groundbreaking investigation into the millions of women who are doing it all and barely scraping by, struggling to provide and parent in a nation that hasn’t kept pace with the modern realities of their lives. It combines research, analysis and ideas from the nation’s top academic institutions and think tanks, essays by leading thinkers, stories of real women struggling with our modern economy, and a comprehensive poll.”  The newest report and more information on the study’s conducted by the Report are available here:

The full 400-page report, containing studies, surveys, essays and more is available right now for free for your Kindle (for a limited time).  You can also browse the report online.


WGSS Social at Midwinter

The WGSS Membership Committee is sponsoring a social at this year’s ALA Midwinter! This is a fun way to connect with section members outside the formal meeting spaces and conference calls of ALA.

Please join your fellow WGSSers for good conversation, food, and drink on Saturday, January 25. Here are the details:

Saturday, January 25
5:30 p.m. until ?
Moriarty’s Pub
1116 Walnut Street (about 4 blocks from the convention center)


We hope to see you there!

Feminist Highlights from 2013

My favorite news sources seem to abound with tidings of feminism’s resurgence in 2013. One of my favorite collages of feminist moments is courtesy of PolicyMic. Of course, as much as I enjoy images like these and reading about feminism in the mainstream media, I can’t help my skepticism. The appearance of the word “feminism” doesn’t necessarily mean that our culture is suddenly devoid of sexism and the other isms it often intersects with–racism and classism, to name a few.

So, what does this have to do with libraries? My university is now participating in a full-scale strategic planning process, and this has motivated me to think of ways to be more egalitarian in the library, to work alongside our student workers and support staff instead of  simply theorizing in my office. This is a little tricky, since I’m required to do a fair bit of theorizing for tenure purposes. How do we balance the scholarly aspects of our work with the work of running a library, of knowing our students and faculty and colleagues?

I’ve also been thinking a lot about professionalism and respect; our notions of these concepts are often incredibly biased by our perceptions of race, class, and gender, among other paradigms and lived experiences. I invite you to think about how feminism shapes our daily library work.

Happy New Year, and I hope we can carry on some of these conversations during Midwinter.

Lessons on Structural Racism Lead to Institutional Racism

Many of us have been following the story of Shannon Gibney, an English professor at Minneapolis Community and Technical College who was formally sanctioned by her employer after three white, male students in her class filed a racial harassment complaint against her–all for teaching them about structural racism. Rather than seeing their discomfort with the material as part of the educational experience, they complained that they weren’t receiving the education they were paying for.

Two NYC professors have put together an open letter  and ask that “fellow academics, feminists, social justice activists and anyone concerned about academic freedom, social justice and fairness in education add their signatures to this Open Letter to Minneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC).” Whether or not you sign the petition is your choice, but I encourage you to read more about the issue.

As feminists, it’s important to examine the intersections of racism and sexism in academic settings, including libraries. How do we serve students who don’t want to learn anything that will make them uncomfortable or that might change them? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

Save the Date for the WGSS Discussion at Midwinter

If you haven’t already seen it, the ALA Midwinter 2014 schedule is up. Mark your calendars for Sunday, January 26 at 10:30 a.m. in the Marriott (Franklin 09).  More information about the WGSS Discussion Group topic and the Social will follow, so stay tuned.

Instruction reading recommendation

Now that the semester is winding down (in varying degrees), it’s a great time to reflect a little bit on library instruction. I find that during the fall blitz, it’s difficult to find the time to come up with new ideas, let alone reflect on why things worked or didn’t work. Winter break, on the other hand, is a lot quieter, especially those days when we’re in the library without the students.

I suggest checking out Maria Accardi’s new book, Feminist Pedagogy for Library Instructionwhich I reviewed in the Fall WGSS Newsletter. I enjoyed this book because it was a pleasure to read, which is not always a remark I can make with respect to library literature. What’s more, it strikes a good balance between theory/methodology and practical tips. If you’ve read the book and incorporated it into your instruction, let us know in the comments below.