Jasmine Clark is a Resident Librarian at Temple University doing rotations in digital scholarship, library administration, digital library initiatives, and is leading a project to recreate the Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection into a virtual reality learning module.
Her library work experience has provided experience in a variety of functional areas and departments, including metadata, archives, digital scholarship, and communications and development. She is interested in the ways information organizations can integrate inclusive practices into their services and management practices.
My time at DLF was a wonderful time to meet people who were involved in a broad array of projects. I enjoyed the sessions I attended and was really glad to see so many discussions around ethical labor practices. The first I’ll discuss is the Contingent Laborers Discussion Coffee Break where I learned about the upcoming National Forum on Labor Practices for Grant-Funded Digital Positions. In order to examine the unstable nature of the grant funded positions that underlie many GLAM  positions, two forums will be held in 2019 that:
will bring together representatives and stakeholders from the three primary groups involved—workers, funders, and management (to include administrators). In our meetings, we intend to develop a more systematic understanding of the labor conditions created by grants and collaboratively develop benchmarks and recommendations toward the development and evaluation of proposed positions which funders and institutions may adopt.
As someone who is interested in ethical management and hiring practices, it is wonderful to see this conversation happening. I have been employed in a grant-funded position that was done very well, even resulting in a permanent position later down the line, but that still had its drawbacks. Temporary work in small, poorly funded institutions always comes with additional challenges around requests for unpaid labor in areas outside of the position description and poor integration into staff (limiting the amount of peer support available).
Another valuable point that came up in the session entitled Building Community and Solidarity: Disrupting Exploitative Labor Practices in Libraries and Archives was the practice of hiring for temporary positions that were needed on a permanent basis. Add the challenges of being part of an underrepresented group to the challenges of being unable to organize or look for stable peer support and this creates a very exploitable state. We Here, which I was introduced to by a fellow librarian of color previous to this session, was created to offer a space for peer support to information workers of color. Groups like this, and research done by groups like the Working Group on Labor in Digital Libraries, Archives, and Museums, are essential for the greater collective action necessary to pursue ethical, equitable employment practices.
Groups like this, and research done by groups like the Working Group on Labor in Digital Libraries, Archives, and Museums, are essential for the greater collective action necessary to pursue ethical, equitable employment practices.
If you are interested in contributing to the National Forum on Labor Practices for Grant-Funded Digital Positions, there is an online self-nomination form that will remain open until November 30th. We Here maintains a list of grants and fellowships, as well as conferences, that may be of interest to LIS workers of color. Their social media information is available at the bottom of their web page.
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.