Resilience, Grit, and Other Lies: Academic Libraries and the Myth of Resiliency
ACRL 2017, Baltimore | March 23, 2017 | #ResistingResilience | Slides: tinyurl.com/ACRLresilience
Angela Galvan, firstname.lastname@example.org, @dropvase
Jacob Berg, email@example.com, @jacobsberg
Eamon Tewell, firstname.lastname@example.org, @eamontewell
What is Resilience?
- Commonly conceived of metaphorically, as “bouncing back” from a catastrophic event.
- Found widespread adoption in psychological and ecological disciplines and professions.
- Later applied to engineering, emergency preparedness, and security after 9/11.
- Now present in financial industry to urban planning; self-help to libraries.
Resiliency and Libraries
- Consider the library’s narrative agency in campaigns and marketing.
- “Save Libraries” or “Libraries Save”
- Ask what forces and actors are shaping the library’s story.
- Avoiding White Savior imagery and repackaging trauma for admins.
- Bohland, J., Davoudi, S., Knox, P. and Lawrence, J. (Forthcoming, 2017). The Resilience Machine. More information at: www.urbanresilienceresearch.net/2017/02/09/the-resilience-machine
- Evans, B., & Reid, J. (2014). Resilient Life: The Art of Living Dangerously. Polity Press.
- James, R. (2015). Resilience & Melancholy: Pop Music, Feminism, Neoliberalism. John Hunt Publishing.
- Tough, P. (2012). How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character. Mariner Publishing.
Counter-narratives: Resilience is designed to turn your labor into capital.
- Focus on the structure, not your agency.
- Take back the buzzwords!
- Performing resilience may strengthen what you could and should be trying to resist.
Create structures and channels that allow staff to succeed.
- Give library staff space to fail.
- Encourage risk-taking.
- Don’t ask staff to perform.