I can come to your library, book club meeting, or conference to talk about how to help your readers find their next good read. Click here for more information including RA for All's EDI Statement.

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Reading Resolutions Part 2: Becky's 2020 Resolutions

Yesterday I began the process of posting my 2020 reading resolutions by first looking back and assessing how I did on my 2019 resolutions. You can read that post here.

Today, using what I learned by assessing how last year went, and knowing what things I have planned for the coming year, I present my 2020 Resolutions-- the ones I will hold myself to for assessment a year from now.

Again, please remember, I post these both so that I am forced to hold myself to them [or not as the case may be] but also because I am a big proponent of the "lead by example" leadership style. If I am advocating for you to make resolutions and then go back and assess how you did before making the next year's resolutions, I also have to do it myself.

However, that being said, my resolutions are very specific to me. I do not expect nor encourage you to take mine as your own. Please use the process as the example and then try to make some for yourself.

2020 Resolution: I will continue to beat the EDI drum and get even louder. In 2019 I embraced my place as a well respected but also very typical white, lady librarian and used that platform to call out where we have all dropped the ball when it comes to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in our work with readers. I created an new program and have been giving it everywhere. I have heard positive feedback from library workers both in the majority and the minority. I submitted it for conferences and in 2020 I will give a version of this program at multiple state-wide conferences and at ALA Annual. I use my place as a white lady to show both where I have failed and improved and offer advice on how we can all do better. I offer concrete examples and explain the problem in direct and clear English. I have moved beyond simply diversifying my reading and leading by example on this front. In 2019 I got confrontational and in 2020 I will only get louder. I did this all by working with my colleagues who are not white or binary and who have encouraged me to continue on my path. In 2020 not only will I continue to expand this established program, but I am also going to be extremely proactive about panels I appear on and create. At ALA I will be on 2 panels and in one there are 3 of us and I am the only white person, while on the other, there will be 4 and as of now, it looks like it will be no less than 50-50, but our first choice person for the 4th spot would make me the only white person. [Details soon]. I am also the organizer of Librarians' Day for the Horror Writers Association, and for this I am building panels currently. I will put my EDI values at the forefront and make sure that the day is at least 33% own voices and 50% women.

2020 Resolution: I will read more middle grade novels. Over the last couple of years I have noticed [and written about] how impressed I am with Middle Grade right now. I volunteer at the elementary school library 2x a month and help to catalog their titles. This library has an excellent and diverse collection which has exposed me to more authors and titles from this reading level. I am going to be more active about reading those books and not just reading about them. As I said in my review of the latest Jason Reynolds book, I think every adult should read that book, but also, more middle grade in general. Not only are the books excellent, this is what today's children are reading and it will shape them and our future. You want to understand the future, you want to fix the dumpster fire of a world we are living in? The best place to start is with the youth of today. I always try to have a resolution that revolves around reading in an area that I think needs more attention and that I am also less well versed in, so this fits the bill. I no longer have young children and I need to stay connected to this age group. This resolution will help me achieve that overall goal.

2020 Resolution: I will stop apologizing for being so horror focused. I have an afterward in this book [coming out Feb 2020- preorder it for your library now!] where I address this issue specifically. I am always worried about mixing my horror work on this, the general RA blog. I am constantly apologizing for having too much horror content here. I am as bad as the people I complain about for not respecting horror. Not only is horror more popular than it has been in a long time, but I will also be spending 2020 engaged in writing a new edition of my best selling, RA Guide to Horror. I have already begun writing and one of the first decisions I have made about this new edition is that it will truly be an update. I will not concern myself with history of the genre or titles that have come out before 2010. It will be all new. I will not apologize for not spending time talking about Stephen King, Peter Straub, and Anne Rice. You can read the previous two editions for the horror genre of the past. No more excuses or apologies, just up to date information. I am the library world's horror expert and I am going to be loud and proud about that. What I do is important, both my work in general RA advice AND in the horror work, but also, the general work is not more important than the horror. I need to stop elevating one over the other. [This resolution comes directly out of my work in assessing last year's resolutions.]

2020 Resolution: I will find more ways to carve out fun reading time but not limit myself to books alone, and find ways to "review" it. I have found that I can read more books for fun through audio both because I can "read" that way while doing other things, and because my work reading is all in print and the change of pace [listening] makes my fun reads more enjoyable. I have also started using Libby more. I used to rely on checking out audio CDs and loading them onto my computer in order to listen. While I am still doing that, I have also built up a large holds queue in Libby over the last few weeks. This has allowed me to place holds on titles I might have forgotten about or would not have time to read in print if I placed a hold on it in that format. [I saw this happen frequently last year; when I placed a title on hold in print, it often got returned unread, but in audio, I found time for it.] It has also allowed me to identify backlist titles to try since those are often the only ones available immediately in Libby. But I also have started listening to more long form, storytelling podcasts, more nonfiction than fiction, but still. I am especially enjoying consuming my nonfiction in this format. I have expanded the non work related podcasts I listen to and have even dropped some of my work related ones in order to have more time to listen to stories for fun. This has really made me happy and allowed me to embrace non horror stories and more narrative nonfiction, both areas where work gets in the way more often than not. But, I also should find a way to review some of this "reading" so that it is not lost as a suggestion tool. As I consume stories in different ways, I will try to capture the appeal and further exploration suggestions here on the blog, but how that will look, I am still pondering.

2020 Resolution: I will step up as I step down. Last year I stepped down from some rewarding committees. I said no to continuing on things I loved, but were taking time away from work I needed to do and from my personal life. I knew 2020 will be a busy year for me between writing a new book, adding more regular Library Journal columns to my work rotation, and getting my first kid off to college this coming Fall [almost 2,000 miles away]. I also said no to more in person presentations than I ever had before-- all on purpose and because of personal life reasons, but I still felt badly [even though I shouldn't]. But stepping down does not mean I won't also step up in other spheres. For example, while I stepped down from my leadership role with ARRT, I am still going to be an active member. I will make the effort to attend as many of the Book Club Study meetings as I can and I am working with ARRT to organize a standalone Horror Writers' Association Librarians' Day this May. And of course, I am writing a new book and at least 4 horror columns for Library Journal in 2020 [maybe 5]. But stepping up is also not only about doing more work, it is about working smarter. I am using this resolution to remind myself of that. I have already worked toward a new home office organizational structure because my increased work load was rendering my previous modes of keeping my work and home life separated both useless and chaos inducing. I will write about this in a future post as I see how some of my new ways of working more efficiently pan out. I do know that at the end of 2019, I was not in a good place from a burn out perspective. There were days I literally got nothing done because I was overwhelmed, and not by the work itself always, but more by how unorganized I felt. I am going to make sure I keep working hard, but with a nod to how I can work best to keep myself engaged, healthy, and happy.

These are my five official resolutions. This is my attempt to at least shape how my professional life will go, but as I discussed yesterday, you can never know where the year will take you.

Feel free to share your resolutions with me. You can contact me privately or share them in the comments. 

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