It's the day before the Youth Media Awards where the 2021 Newbery winners are announced. My experience serving on the 2020 Newbery Committee was a special one. It marked the second time I had served on a national awards committee. I had previously served on the Street Literature Book Awards Committee and enjoyed the experience.
The 2020 Newbery Award Selection Committee
The year also marked boxes and boxes of books arriving at my home for review. Let me tell you, it was a lot of reading and note taking. There were so many books that were excellent reads and it was difficult to eliminate these titles down to the final five that were represented on the final list. It could only be accomplished through the work of a dedicated committee.
The 2020 Newbery Committee was comprised of librarians from various backgrounds and work experiences from across the country. They brought a rich perspective to the discussions and though our life experiences were different, we found common ground in our love of books. Fueled by coffee, regional snacks and humor, we met in a hot hotel conference room and voted for the 99th Newbery Award Books. I greatly respect all of the committee members and cherish that our relationships continues to this day. Serving on this historic award committee is an event in my life that I will never forget.
As I count down the hours until the winners are announced, I think about this year's committee. They had to read books for consideration during the COVID-19 pandemic. I can only image the stress they have faced during the past year. This year's committee has my utmost respect because I understand that this was challenging. Despite this, I know they will feel the same way I did last year when the awards are announced, proud that they contributed to making history. These books that are selected every year by this esteemed committee are historic and will be loved by children for years to come.
There's a feature on Facebook that I really enjoy looking viewing: On This Day - Memories. These posts remind me of my activies on that day, my mindset and what I was wearing. Sometimes I cringe at the posts because of my fashion choices or worst typos describing what I was doing at the time. Most times, I just beam with pride (I know it sounds corny) because I reflect back on projects and activities I successfully completed. Here's a post from January 17th I would like to share with all of you. It's just for fun and reflection. #KC_SaidIt
When I was a Lead Librarian for the East St. Louis School District in East St. Louis, IL, I was charged with overhauling the district's library programming. This included improving the physical spaces of ten libraries which had been neglected for some years. Overall, the libraries in the district were, 'diamonds in the rough,' The libraries were beautiful but needed refinement and removal of years of debris that had unfortunately accumulated in them. Above are pictures from Lincoln Middle School.
Pictures from my 2020 Future of Education Technology Conference in Miami, Florida. I represented the first school librarian track for this conference by giving four presentations.
I’m so proud of this project! The District of Columbia Public Schools Library Department Librarians who serve on the Library Corps Leadership Advisory Team have produced a recommended list of book/content resources in recognition of the #MLKDay2021Holiday.
We're just 1 month away from our next national #NewsLitCamp — Jan. 26 in partnership with @CNN - Educators: secure your spot now! Learn how to bring news literacy to your classroom & hear from journalists about today's most pressing issues. SIGN UP —> http://bit.ly/newslitcampCNN
When I tell you my students and I battled with the Canva and Clever app on Monday....we battled! I'm still troubleshooting why half the class can access the apps and the other cannot. I just have to remember the golden rule: Excercise extreme patience when working with multiple digital apps. Sometimes they have minor disagreements with each other!
Despite this, here's a brief preview of an Infographic the students are working on together. Gearing up for the MLK Holiday and future digital projects. #KC_SaidIt
I’ve been blogging since 2009 and have learned so much managing two blogs. It has been a rewarding experience to share my thoughts, passions and love of books/technology. It has also helped articulate some of the inner rage I’ve felt over the last couple of years around education, the rights of black and brown children and school libraries/librarians. Over the years, the response to my blogs has been quite interesting. Sometimes my blogs were celebrated for touching on topics that were innovative or considered controversial. There were also times that my blog was ignored or dismissed by my colleagues in library information science or educators. Regardless of the response, this medium has and always has been mine and my sounding board to share some of my inner thoughts and feelings.
Over the last couple of years, I’ve noticed my projects or written work has appeared on various social media platforms. It’s flattering that one would think so highly of what I have written to repost or comment about it. It’s disrespectful to remix my words and work hours spent working on projects, and use the material as original content on another person’s platform. Plainly stated, I’m tired of it; my words, work and ideas are mine alone and should not be used without permission. I cannot tell you the number of times I’ve seen my work or attended a conference and saw my work on the conference hall projection screen and was not cited as the original source for the work. The main culprit of these such actions are librarians, and they of all people should know better and do better; sometimes that’s not the case. For my true White allies, (you know who you are) the following is not directed at you.
The Social Effects of COVID-19 Let’s shift for a moment….The COVID-19 pandemic forced all of us, in particular White America to stop and really analyze how African-Americans are and have historically been treated in this country. The deaths of brother Ahmaud and George and sister Breyonna forced us to look at our television sets and read news feeds, we couldn’t look away. We were and still in quarantine and their tragic deaths gave birth to something this country has not seen in its history, a laser focus on ‘Black Voice.’ For many White Americans, (including some of my dear friends) the police brutality and racial injustice that led to spirited protests over the summer was eye opening and shocking. This ‘awakening’ as I’m going to call it, now resulted in the development of ‘White allies,’ those who sincerely wanted to do the work to learn, understand and be respectful in working for change. I’m appreciative of these actions only if they are honest, sincere and work for good.
What bothers me are those, especially in the field of library information science and education who are still disrespectful and try to capitalize on ‘Black Voice.’ Using myself as an example, here’s some of the top 7 events that actually happened to me since March of 2020:
New followers on my social media accounts that try to learn more about the ‘Black Experience,’ by viewing snippets from posts and now consider themselves automatic allies or experts on ‘Black Voice.’ Excuse me, you haven’t read not one book, attended a conference/talk or applied what you have learned to support black and brown communities. Please stop!
Receiving an email from a fellow librarian, not asking but demanding a ‘Black booklist,’ for their library program so they could order books and check off, ‘diversity collection - done.’ Last time I checked, didn’t all of us take multicultural literature when we were working on our MLIS degrees? Take out the time and read the books!
Being asked to contribute to a chapter in a book where I would discuss my perspective of issues around ‘Black Voice.’ No compensation from the author - but the negative attitude of, ‘You should be happy that you were asked to be involved in my project,’ is overt. My response is... the nerve! Keep in mind, I know of others who have contributed to writing projects and were compensated through the author’s contract, why am I any different? That librarian refuses to share the wealth.
Hunted down by organizers of panel discussions that need one black speaker to appear on the panel so they can say it was diverse. Honestly, I reject these requests quickly because I know from experience, few questions will be directed at me or I will not be given the opportunity to talk about my skillset of technology, curriculum and program administration as a school librarian. I will be asked questions around social justice issues and effectively dealing with student behavior or I’m overlooked completely by the organizers and attendees: I’m just ornamental. This is where the rolling of my eyes or my ‘side-eye’ really comes out to play.
Approached on Facebook and Twitter for a quote for a book project that hasn’t even been approved. Another, holding me to a quote that as you said in messenger, “You cannot use this quote anywhere else until the project is fully funded.’ You can’t provide me with the professional courtesy of an emailed request? I’m supposed to stop my train from running so that your train will run on the express rail? Miss me with that disrespectful behavior.
Many of my White colleagues have the connections to get their book published by small and major publishing houses. Historically, Black authors have had extreme difficulty getting these publishing contracts because some in the publishing field still to this day hold on to belief that ‘Black people do not read.’ Now that ‘Black Voice’ is so popular and such a hot button topic, many of these ‘trolls’ surf around various Facebook groups, hang on librarian hashtags and friend you online to grab snippets or get ideas from your posts. Many of these ‘trolls’ I had to deny access to my social media accounts because I’ve seen my material on their pages/writings etc. again, without my consent.
Sneaky behavior of some of my White and Black colleagues is the one that bothers me the most. Back door shade, hidden agendas and manipulations irritate me. I am fully aware of what they are doing, but I don’t acknowledge the behavior verbally. I’m very observant and strategic in disconnecting from these types of personalities. It’s led me to take on the mantra, “I am not for everyone as everyone is not for me.”
Believe me, there’s so many more stories that I could share that would make your eyebrows stand up. I’ve made the professional and conscious choice to be observant, rise above it and respond to inquiries with a firm ‘No.’ When working with others, honesty and integrity is what I seek out when engaged in a project. If it’s not present, I just can’t work with those individuals.
Boss_Librarian Blog Let’s shift back, why January 4, 2021? This is a significant date on two levels, one it’s my late father’s 81 birthday and I often get a little emotional on this day because he has missed so much other the last 21 years of the successes of his children and births of grandchildren. My late father, a career educator, was also the person who convinced me to leave corporate America and work as a school librarian. I wish he could see in the physical sense the work I’ve done over the last 23 years. I wish I could hear the pride in his voice. What I can do now is uphold what he has taught me not just in education, but in life. I learned that you must continue to do better and always strive for excellence.
So today, is my relaunch of my new blog, “Boss_Librarian” through my website, KCBOYD.COM. I own this, I don’t answer to anyone and I control it. Through the Boss_Librarian blog, I will be able to do some really interesting projects that will include television production, advocacy, commentary, digital media and much more. Most importantly because #KC_SaidIt, I’m protecting my words, ideas and projects more closely, so word to the wise: Remixing or deliberate reproduction of my work without express written consent will result in legal action moving forward. This blog will also be different from my two previous ones because subjects I didn’t discuss previously on my blogs will be discussed here. My written work will probably cause some to unfriend me or stop reading my blog all together and I’m fine with that. I’m speaking truth to my rich-lived experience and if you can’t handle it, kcboyd.com or the Boss_Librarian social media platforms will not be a good fit for you. I refuse to conform to anyone or organization, I must operate as I only know how, by what is important to me and my interests.
Looking forward to engaging with you during the upcoming year.
Made in #Chicago - WashingtonDC transplant. #GoodTrouble #tlchat #workWOKE#KC_SaidIt - 2020 Newbery Selection Committee - District of Columbia Library Association Distinguished Service Award Recipient - 2015 Library Journal Mover & Shaker