LACUNY Institute 2018

Librarianship in Challenging Times:
Advocating for Intellectual Freedom, Democracy, and Equity.

May 11th, 2018
John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY
New York City, NY

Registration is CLOSED.


Conference Theme & Program

The LACUNY Institute is an annual, one-day conference open to LIS professionals, students, and the general public. It is organized by the Library Association of the City University of New York (LACUNY), and although geared to academic librarians, it strives to have broad relevance to the profession.

In a time of a polarized political climate, economic uncertainty, and social inequity, how can libraries actively support themselves and their communities? How can we advocate for ourselves and for communities we serve? What is our role in upholding democratic values of intellectual freedom, free speech, and free expression? How can we resist fascism, misinformation, and censorship? How can libraries foster inclusivity and empower the disenfranchised?


Breakfast & Registration
Room: Atrium
8:30 AM
Welcome & Introduction
Room: L.63
9:15 AM
Keynote Panel
Room: Atrium
9:30 AM
Coffee Break/Special Guest Speaker
Room: L.63
10:25 AM
Morning Sessions11:00 AM
Berlin's Two Concept of Liberty: The Library Context
Speakers: James Neal, Columbia University
Room: 1.73

Isaiah Berlin introduced in 1958 his "Two Concepts of Liberty", positive liberty or the freedom "to" and negative liberty or the freedom "from". What are the lessons for the library community as we confront a political, social and economic environment which is not always supportive of our core values? This presentation will summarize and highlight Berlin’s "Two Concepts of Liberty", relate his analysis to the current political context for libraries, and engage the attendees in a conversation on the question, Are Libraries Neutral?
Criticizing Unethical Vendor Practices: The Library's Role as Gatekeeper
Panelists: Sarah Lamdan, CUNY Law, Nora Almeida, City Tech, Megan Wacha, CUNY OLS, Polly Thistlethwaite, CUNY Graduate Center
Room: 1.75

Where can librarians criticize vendors for unethical corporate acts? When law librarians discussed vendor participation in ICE’s “extreme vetting” surveillance program, they were censored by their professional organization, raising questions about the contours and limitations of using professional library organizations to criticize vendors and discuss vendor ethics.
Refugee Libraries Project - Crowdsourced Information Support for Refugee Populations
Speaker: Christian Zabriskie, Urban Librarians Unite/Yonkers Public Library, Lauren Comito Urban Librarians Unite/Brooklyn Public Library
Room: 1.77

The Refugee Library Project is a crowdsourced information clearinghouse for resources for refugees, immigrants, and displaced persons. The work is done by a team of about 100 volunteers spread across the United States. Every single resource has been checked by three librarians for accuracy and relevancy. "This will be an active presentation about the resources available through including how best to use the site and optimize results. We will demonstrate the tags and search functionality as well as look at the accessibility and language plug ins. This will be talked about in the larger context of library services to refugees, immigrants, and displaced persons particularly new efforts by the American Library Association.
Room: Student Dining Hall
12:00 PM
Mid-Afternoon Sessions1:05 PM
One Cookie Won’t Ruin Your Diet: Understanding Misinformation with Reasoning
Speakers: Leanne Ellis & Michael Dodes, New York City Department of Education Library Services
Room: 1.73

People’s perceptions guide their understanding of the information they receive. The process, by which we come to consider information true, is our focus. We will examine how popular misinformation becomes acceptable by faulty reasoning and the implications for our students and ourselves.
Transformative Labor: Library Digitization and the Convenience Economy
Speaker: Allison Chomet, Pratt Institute School of Information
Room: 1.75

This presentation will speak to the invisible labor of library digitization. It will assess library scanning technologies and what we can know about scanning operations at Google Books, as well as much smaller institutions. It will then connect these un-democratic practices to technologies and labor within the convenience economy.
Poster Sessions
Room: Atrium
2:05 PM

Academic Library Response and Recovery Planning After Hurricane Maria
Gabriel Jiménez Barrón, University of Puerto Rico Library SystemThe University of Puerto Rico Library System faced many challenges after Hurricane Maria. The poster exposes the experiences learned from this event and the important role of the academic libraries on helping the students’ success on their unusual academic semester.

Documenting ICE: Archival Appraisal and ICE Detention Records
Mia Bruner, Pratt Institute

In 2017, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) approved Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE)’s request to destroy records of in-custody deaths, assaults, and misconduct in timelines that range from 3-20 years. This poster session will discuss the history of ICE’s recordkeeping practices and examine NARA’s justification for this appraisal.


Invading privacy or imitating Google? Surveying student opinions about libraries
Jenica Rogers, Lauren Jackson-Beck, Jessica Ramey, & Esta Tovstiadi, SUNY Potsdam

SUNY Potsdam Libraries are surveying our students to learn about their level of understanding and their acceptance of use of student data at their college library. This poster describes our survey questions, methodology and plans for data analysis and future directions.

Incarcerated Bodies, Incarcerated Minds: Censorship in Prison Libraries
Bart Everts, Rutgers University-Camden

Malcolm X and others have found prison libraries transformative institutions; free access to reading materials has served as a lifeline for countless prisoners, creating an outlet for the mind when the body is confined. However, in recent years, several prisons have banned materials ranging from Shakespeare's sonnets to Michelle Alexander's The New Jim Crow. This poster examines cases of censorship in American prisons.

Zines and Librarianship: Advocacy, Digital Privacy, and Intellectual Freedom
Katelyn Angell, LIU Brooklyn
Elvis Bakaitis, CUNY Graduate Center

Conference Description: Zines have always had a strong correlative relationship to the core library values of intellectual freedom, accessibility, and free speech. In the digital era, print zines continue to be a popular, expressive platform, a reaction against surveillance and data mining. Librarians are the best potential advocates for their radical potential.

Afternoon Sessions2:40 PM
Keeping the Equity, Inclusion and Diversity Conversations Going
Speakers: Mona Ramonetti and Victoria Pilato, Stony Brook University
Room: 1.73
Keeping the Equity, Inclusion and Diversity conversations going. In a response to a campus wide Equity, Inclusion & Diversity initiative, the Stony Brook University Libraries formed an Equity, Inclusion and Diversity committee. Its primary focus was to engage the campus community in matters relevant to the initiative. Through numerous collaborative and focused efforts, many successes were met.
Panel Presentation - Net Neutrality Denied and the Digital Divide
Panelists: Towanda Mathurin, Westchester Community College
Room: 1.75

Core democratic principles are adversaries on the information highway since the FCC overturned net neutrality rules. This discussion will examine the implications of this decision and the impact on the digital divide.

Librarian Outsider: Balancing the Needs of Ourselves and Our Students
Panelists: Vicki Gruzynski, Worcester State University, Carrie Salazar Middlesex Community College, Madelyn Washington Berklee College of Music, and Sofia Leung, MIT
Room: 1.77

The role that librarians play in student personal and academic development can be challenging, and librarians must strike a balance between protecting themselves and their marginalized or oppressed identities, helping students with these identities, and helping students who may have a longer path to self-actualization to tread.

Keynote Panel

April Hathcock

April Hathcock is the Scholarly Communications Librarian at NYU where she educates the campus community on issues of ownership, access, and rights in the research lifecycle. Before entering librarianship, she practiced intellectual property and antitrust law for a global private firm. Her research interests include diversity and inclusion in librarianship, cultural creation and exchange, and the ways in which social and legal infrastructures benefit the works of certain groups over others. She is a 2018 Library Journal Mover and Shaker and the author of the article “White Librarianship in Blackface: Diversity Initiatives in LIS” and the blog At the Intersection, which examines issues at the intersection of feminism, libraries, social justice, and the law.

Greg Cram

Greg Cram is the Associate Director of Copyright and Information Policy at The New York Public Library. Greg endeavors to make the Library’s collections broadly available to researchers and the public. He is responsible for developing and implementing policies and practices around the use of the Library’s collections, both online and in the Library’s physical spaces. Greg has helped steer projects through a maze of complex intellectual property issues, including the release of more than 230,000 high-resolution images of public domain collection items. Greg has represented the Library in advocating for better copyright policy and has testified before Congress and the United States Copyright Office. Before joining the Library in 2011, Greg served as the copyright clearance consultant to Leadership Team Development, a business support company that organizes thousands of meetings, seminars and conferences. He also worked as a licensing associate at Sanctuary Records, a large independent record label. He is a graduate of Boston University and The Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. He is a licensed attorney in New York and Massachusetts.

Emily Drabinski

Emily Drabinski is Coordinator of Library Instruction at Long Island University, Brooklyn. She sits on the editorial board of Radical Teacher, a journal of socialist, feminist, and anti-racist teaching practice, and serves as editor of Gender & Sexuality in Information Studies, a book series for Library Juice Press/Litwin Books. Drabinski was a 2014 Library Journal Mover & Shaker and currently serves as an American Library Association councilor-at-large.


THE LIBRARY ASSOCIATION OF THE CITY UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK LACUNY is organized exclusively for charitable, scientific, literary, and educational purposes, including without limitation, the encouragement of cooperation among the libraries of the City University of New York, the stimulation of professional growth of the librarians on their respective staffs, and the promotion of the professional interests of the members of the association.
Code of Conduct

LACUNY strives to support an open exchange of ideas within a respectful environment. We value your attendance at the LACUNY Institute and are dedicated to providing a positive event experience for all participants. We want the Institute to be welcoming and supportive for everyone.

Participation in discussions and activities should be respectful at all times. All are expected to exercise tolerance of the perspectives and opinions of all present and use discretion with photographs, recordings, and sharing.

We do not tolerate harassment in any form. If a participant engages in harassing behavior, LACUNY may take any action it deems appropriate, including warning the offender or expulsion from the event. Event organizers will assist participants in contacting building/venue security or local law enforcement, or otherwise assist those experiencing harassment to feel safe for the duration of the event. If you are being harassed, or have any other concerns, please contact a planning committee member immediately.

Planning Committee

Mark Aaron Polger, College of Staten Island, Institute Co-Chair

Junior Tidal, New York City College of Technology, Institute Co-Chair

Nora Almeida, New York City College of Technology

Linda Miles, Hostos Community College

Anne O’Reilly, LaGuardia Community College

Ryan Phillips, Baruch College

Meredith Powers, York College

Maureen Richards, John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Alexandra Rojas, LaGuardia Community College

Simone Yearwood, Queens College