Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Slightly Subversive Social Justice Librarian

“When we identify where our privilege intersects with somebody else’s oppression, we’ll find our opportunities to make real change.” ― Ijeoma Oluo, So You Want to Talk About Race


I look up from the circulation desk when
the girls walk in wearing leggings, glittery t-shirts, and brightly colored hijab. We
make eye contact and I smile. Then they identify
we shelve the thick fantasy books by their favorite author, and our
brief moment of connection ends. The privilege
of my position as librarian intersects
with their positions as readers, but I can see with
a glance around the room that more than one somebody
believes that this space is not theirs. This kind of look or covert stare “elses”
the girls and establishes mainstream oppression
even in this openly accepting public space. When asked for my recommendations, we’ll
head into the stacks and just by chance, find
ourselves near the two fantasy readers asking them for their suggestions. Our
shared love of books provides all of these readers with opportunities
not only to meet each other between the pages, but to
human-to-human connections, which result in genuine change.

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2019

1 comment:

  1. Nice -- I love that the poem is subversive in form, too.