Week 10 discussion: what we learned in NYC

What I learned:

Y’all are great! I was reminded of when I decided to make libraries a career. Most spend more time with their coworkers than their families. I remember thinking about librarians I knew, “these people could me my work family.” Our time in New York only reinforced this feeling.

As far as the curriculum, I got a lot from Mallory’s workshop. It’s always a struggle to keep people engaged when presenting technical stuff. Now I have a few more tools to make my workshops more interactive, thoughtful, and (hopefully) more rewarding.

I learned I shouldn’t say “We’re on the dark net!” unless we on an onion site not just using Tor Browser.

Troubleshooting Tor Browser with @sjbrown echoed my experiences installing and launching Tor Browser on most user/desktop oriented GNU/Linux distros. It’s kind of wonky. It does not “just work” the way other apps in distos’ repositories do.

I learned you can visit onion sites in a regular browser if you are routing your traffic through Orbot. I tried and it works.


Yes, totally! I feel really energized by meeting everyone and hearing about the rad work we are all doing.

Mallory’s workshop was really powerful for me – I was explaining it to a computer science professor friend, and we were marveling over how rare it is for tech training to be rooted in anti-oppression and justice work. What a gift!

Digging into both Tor and Tails reminded me that despite my own insecurities, I have totally learned technical stuff in this course, which suggests I am going to be more capable that way than I originally expected. Lol about the dark net, Bryan, but seriously, this was the first time I really understood the dark web and how onion relays work. Probably that was partly because of Alison’s excellent slides and explanations, but also probably just the finally-sinking-in of having been told this stuff multiple times over the past few years. The test will be if I can successfully teach it myself. Mini-zine on Tor coming soon!

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Yes, it was great connecting with everyone! I also learned much from Mallory’s presentation. Her talk helped alleviate the fears I have around dealing with conflict. Mallory gave clear examples and language to use for responding to conflict – I’ll definitely use those and feel more confident about presenting.

I’ve been sharing the Tor and Tails information that I learned with my colleagues, particularly more information about the dark web. I initially was met with resistance about the dark web when I brought it up in a staff meeting and wasn’t sure how to meet that resistance at the time, but now feel better equipped. What @alison said about this resistance being the same resistance that people initially had to the internet helped put it into perspective.

I’m going to get a little sentimental here (and as a self-described human robot, this is not a thing I do often) : I have been to some conferences, been parts of groups of other librarians, etc. and I have NEVER walked into a room and had the “these are MY PEOPLE” feeling that I think a lot of people get at things like that. It’s never bothered me either. But y’all, y’all are my people! I learned SO MUCH in NYC and I’m implementing a lot of it in ways I never thought I would just in my personal and professional life, but I think my biggest takeaway/favorite thing was coming away with contacts and relationships with y’all. I’m going to just echo Brian and say that this program has reiterated for me why I got into the field and why I think our work is important.


folks this thread makes me so happy!!!

To echo everyone in the thread so far, you are all awesome. I feel super fortunate to be part of this group.

Things that stuck out to me:

  • “Know more, do differently” in Mallory’s workshop - I love how this values peoples’ judgement and experience. I find this valuable for myself and as a way to communicate these concepts to others.
  • Building workshops around action, not just “everything is awful”. It’s easy for me to feel overwhelmed/overly negative about this stuff, so this is a great reminder that the whole point is action. Describing the problems only gets you so far.
  • Congruence between form and content, or as Mallory described it, building workshops in ways that model/incorporate specific values and ways of being. (I think a lot about form and content and like when they compliment each other.)
  • The phrases “should is a fire that burns out” and “the devil doesn’t need an advocate”.
  • I really appreciated how this workshop blended theory and practice. Super helpful.
  • The phrase “in this space, ‘x’ means…” so that you don’t end up arguing about terminology and getting derailed.
  • Getting administration on your side by appealing to strategic plans/mission statements. This seems obvious when I type it out but was not to me before, I think partly because issues of privacy and surveillance just seem obvious. I know this is a blind spot for me, and the political maneuvering that’s sometimes helpful doesn’t come naturally.
  • Stephanie’s exercise where we had to practice talking to the press - I felt terrible at it but (partly because of that) really appreciated it.
  • Everything about the post-it activity was great. The reframes are so helpful. I know I have some nihilistic/selfish coworkers and friends so am just waiting until the next opportunity…
  • I didn’t know much about and had never used Tor so appreciated everything about that part! And many thanks again to @librarianbryan for all the help getting Tails to work!

This got kind of long but could be longer. It was just a great weekend, thanks to you all!


Hi all! I learned so much from NYC weekend, I’m still looking over my notes about every other day and marinating! I wanted to report out on two conversations I’ve had with colleagues, now that I have a new “work” home.

I just had my first full-time week at my new community college. My first conversation: I met with the faculty chair and shared that I am a part of this cohort, and that a goal of my time in it is to figure out how I can work some of what I’m learning into a training for faculty or students. (Faculty librarians at my college work 30 hours a week, plus up to ten hours a week doing other professional librarian things, and I was explaining why I was going to be doing this instead of something else). I asked if we do workshops for students (we do, but they’re geared toward the research projects in their classes. We have done our own on topics of our choosing, but attendance is low). He suggested I work on a proposal for a FLEX day, which is a professional development day for staff and faculty at the college. There is one opportunity next month (a day the whole college closes for this kind of thing) and another on the day before the spring semester begins. I am working on a proposal for a workshop in January. Now to decide - what would be most interesting to faculty & staff in a 90-minute workshop? These are usually geared toward things that could help in the classroom, and I’m trying to figure out what would help faculty connect this to improving their time with students.

Second conversation: While I was working on the Reference Desk on the 1st night of school, a flash drive fell out of my bag. I was staffing the desk with two other librarians I had just met, and thenumber of questions from students was dwindling. I said “I wonder what this is?” since the drive isn’t my usual pink (yes, my flash drives are pink), and the other two librarians mused it might be from another student. I started to hook it in to see if I could get it back to a student and realized it was the Tails drive from our NYC weekend :slight_smile: I used that moment to ask the two of them if they had ever heard of Tails. They had not and we spent the next few minutes talking about it and how it could be used. They both seemed interested, so I might work up a little document to share at our next faculty meeting (end of September) so more of them can be aware it exists. I still don’t have an employee computer (gah!) so I haven’t tested using Tails on our school’s system, but hoping to do that soon.


Maybe you could do a brief survey of a sample of faculty/staff? Like 5-10 people, and ask them 3-5 questions to figure out what might be most useful? You could ask them about privacy concerns that have come up in the classroom or in their work. Could even be an LFI assignment if you want.

MhmmMmmMmmmM! Also LFI homework: make some faculty buddies.

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