Fellow Reflection: Elizabeth Jean Brumfield

 

This post was written by Elizabeth Jean Brumfield, who received a DLF HBCU Fellowship to attend the 2018 Forum.

Elizabeth Jean Brumfield is the distance services librarian and doctoral candidate in the College of Education at Prairie View A&M University. Her research interest focus on the intersection of emerging technologies and information seeking behavior.

Brumfield is published in several peer  reviewed journals, including: Journal of Library and Information Service for Distance Learning; Journal of Library Administration and Management; Journal of Librarianship and Information Science.

Brumfield is also an accomplished seamstress and designer and combines her talent with library programming during Women’s History month when students gather to make  20 minute pencil skirts.  The interaction with the students encourages them to think of libraries as more than places to find books.

When thinking about my experience at the Digital Library Federation Forum, I remember the final steps taken getting into the shuttle bus to go back to the airport heading home.  I thought, what a great conference. Everything was so well thought out and planned with intricate details in mind. From the shuttle to the basket collecting the hygiene products to give to the homeless, there was thoughtful consideration put into the planning of the conference.

I am a person that likes to get everything I can out of every moment.  If there is something new to learn I will explore it, if there are networking opportunities I will seek out people, if it is different food I will try it.   The conference did not disappoint in those areas. The presentations varied from being educational, instructional and even inspirational. Because the word limit is restricted, I won’t go into detail about all the sessions. However, I would like to let the presenters know I truly appreciate their sharing information about their projects and educating us on various software applications, cybersecurity, preservation techniques, etc.

Anasuya Sengupta as the Opening Plenary and Keynote speaker took command of the audience in a calm and unassuming factual presentation that was inspiriting while also convicting and condemning.  Her message inspired us to take collective actions to try to decolonize the internet by encouraging us to write and share our histories. She condemned the injustice of us not knowing each other as we should.  The injustice of not knowing others reflects in what we believe and how we make sense of the world. It is unjust to question or ignore the experiences of the marginalized, exploited and ignored. She challenged the lack of inclusion and representation found in Wikipedia and encouraged us to improve it.  Anasuya Sengupta encouraged librarians to lead the charge of a radical promise of freedom for all, where everyone’s story is shared, and access is provided freely. She stated that diversity, equity, and inclusion are mere words if they are not accompanied by action and an understanding of their impact. Coming from a university that was created in the 1800’s to educate freed slaves I understand that the work of writing, preserving and sharing everyone’s history and story is complicated.  The power systems that created division and unequaled distribution of resources may exist long after current generations are gone. However, we are encouraged to do our part as librarians and be allies for each other.

Coming from a university that was created in the 1800’s to educate freed slaves I understand that the work of writing, preserving and sharing everyone’s history and story is complicated.  The power systems that created division and unequaled distribution of resources may exist long after current generations are gone. However, we are encouraged to do our part as librarians and be allies for each other.

The instructional presentations I attended were informative.  I may not be able to use currently because the software or equipment needed my university doesn’t have, but it was good to see what other libraries are doing.  I was glad that the conference included funders and financial resource representatives to assist many of us with limited funds.

As a HBCU Library Alliance/ Digital Library Federation Fellow I was given the opportunity to participate in the mentor/mentee program.  I was teamed with a wonderful librarian from Mississippi and we found that the match was perfect. We hope to work together on projects, and I plan to visit her library, and she will visit mine.  Thank you all for a great conference.

Want to know more about the DLF Forum Fellowship Program? Check out last year’s call for applications.

If you’d like to get involved with the scholarship committee for the 2019 Forum (October 13-16, 2019 in Tampa, FL), look for the Planning Committee sign-up form later this year. More information about 2019 fellowships will be posted in late spring.