March 15, 2019

Hey friends! This week I got to talk about Hamlet with a bunch of students and I had so much fun. Remember having strong opinions Shakespeare plays in a classroom for the first time? I know, what memories! Here’s what I got for you this week:

  1. Shame: The Emotional Basis of Library Anxiety, College and Research Libraries. I came across this article while doing research for an upcoming blog post at ACRLog, and it’s fascinating! McAfee talks about how shame is an underlying emotion that feeds on itself and makes us more reluctant to ask for help or make healthy connections with other people. There’s also a few strategies for “neutralizing unacknowledged shame” in service interactions. She’s talking about this concept in the context of library service, but her advice extends to anyone in a helping or educational profession. McAfee explains that shame pops up in our vocabulary in “everyday occurrences,” disguised as other emotions like shyness, insecurity, and feeling stupid or intimidated. In fact, someone speaking to me with scorn about our website changes might be coming from a place of shame as “perceived rejection,” feeling like he’s been left behind. She says that shame scholars consider this blend of shame and anger to be one of the most destructive types of anger. Dang!
    Here’s a strategy that resonated with me. It’s called “attunement,” which is the effort of shaping your response to the other person’s perspective. If you sense someone is feeling ashamed about asking for help, saying something like “I know this is a stupid question…,” McAfee says that “One way to respond is to say, “You came to the right place and you are asking all the right questions.” If a student’s shame causes him to apologize for wasting a librarian’s time, as in, “I am so sorry to bother you…,” an attuned response might be, “I am so glad you came to me with your question, because helping library users like you is the best part of my day.” Instead of saying, “No you’re not stupid,” it’s better to just affirm that they’re on the right track. Still mulling over this article.
  2. The People Who Eat the Same Lunch Every Day, The Atlantic. This is not a surprising concept to me at all — people in my family definitely lean on a favorite or a reliable lunch for weeks or a season at a time. My brother ate a ham sandwich on wheat for lunch almost every day in high school. After graduation, I don’t think he’d reach for a ham sandwich again though. I think it absolutely “reduces cognitive overload” to know exactly what groceries you need in your pantry to make the exact and simple foods that keep you fueled through the day. Sometimes thinking about food is just the most exhausting thing, almost irritating. On those days I return to my lunch staple: apple/orange, yogurt, PB&J. God bless America.
  3. Dozens Indicted in Alleged Massive Case of Admissions Fraud, Inside Higher Ed. This story broke Tuesday night/Wednesday morning, and this Inside Higher Ed piece has a lot of the facts in a narrative format which is helpful. Quotes from the wiretapping are pretty damning, about getting your kid to be able to take the SAT over TWO DAYS (by registering your child as having learning disabilities they don’t have)…being added to a list of star athletes when the kid has never played the sport (photoshopping the kid’s head onto another athlete’s body!!)…It’s a mess. I think of my college entrance experience, I think of the high school seniors I know right now, working so hard and stressing about their performance…and the injustice of this has so many levels. I think it’s also getting people talking about inequality, advantages, and education in a way that is ultimately productive, I hope. Ahhh, I want to talk about it with literally everyone. It’s infuriating but in terms of pure juicy gossip, it’s as Roxane Gay said on Twitter, “sublime.” Here’s McMansion Hell’s take on photos from the celebrities’ houses. Delicious.
  4. There’s Something About Barbie, Glamour. I’m feeling vindicated that the most popular Barbie doll in 2016-2017 was the curvy one. This is a nice history of Barbie, upon her 60th anniversary. Barbies were never my favorite doll (American Girl 4ever) but as something you could dress, project your identity onto, and use as shovels in both sand and snow, I was into them. Also, miniature versions of things I se or use in real life will never cease to be delightful. Hence: Barbie accessories are my favorite part.
  5. Meet 5 of the Women Racing in This Year’s Iditarod, Vogue. So, so cool. If I was in middle school these women would be my heroes. They probably are, even now. “Mushing for me is relaxing. The air rushing by, the whooshing sound of the runners as they track through the snow, the gentle huff of the dogs breath as they trot silently down the trail—it allows life to slow down. My focus narrows down to what my dogs and I need for the next hour—or the next 36 hours, depending on the type of trip we’re running.” Every quote in here is amazing, and the images of the women beside one or two of their dogs is POWERFUL. “I don’t run dogs to finish. I run dogs for the joy of the moment, the peace of the trail.”

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