Intricately Connected

Quietly coming into the Lewes Historical Society’s main room where author James Kirchick was just starting to answer questions on his book, Secret City, The History of GAY Washington, the conversation and information that was bouncing around the room was amazing. Let’s consider the fact that when you are perusing the 2022 Lewes History Book Festival billing and you see this book, you might be offended, turned off, or instantly think “That’s not for me…”. This happens so often with so many instances (some to be shared today) that I do not think many people realize the fences they are building around themselves that are shutting off opportunities for learning.

Example, the details that were offered up by James Kirchick through is book as AMAZINGLY fascinating, and the vocabulary he researches and presents is beyond what any textbook could provide in history, BEYOND the subject of being Gay. Concepts such as The Lavender Scare … (seriously, have you ever heard of this? I NEVER EVER have heard of this and this is a moment in history that is – HISTORY- my thought on any topic is – whether you agree or disagree with any concept, you as an American an living in a democratic world, should exercise the right to be AWARE of any and all education and concept, because in some countries that right is not even on the table – having the RIGHT to know about a topic is not the same as having to agree about a topic).

…the rivalry between the CIA and FBI, the idea of how many moral panics have existed in history such as the Lavender Scare (Salem Witch Trials, Japanese Internment, McCarthyism, fake news vs what is real) and the actual lives ruined in greater number from some unsuspecting scares than others, and more delving into the governmental aspects of a citizen’s view, and blending the two. It was fabulous, unexpected, and engaging to the point of not being able to hear enough. A huge takeaway point is transferable across many ideas – despite the county you live in, in Delaware, despite preconceptions you might have of a word, location, town, the only way you learn and begin to drop the tendency to avoid all of those based on the preconceptions, is to dive in and then amazingly, unexpected treasures begin to appear, Such was the case with catching the pieces of James Kirchick’s book presentation, a gift not expected. But why was I coming to this reading area in the first place?

Thomas Elton Brown, Ph.D’s book, Where Menhaden Was King, seemed intriguing to me, Every year at the Lewes History Book Festival (the ONLY Festival in Delaware, and most states, devoted to History) brings an onslaught of topics that would intrigue lovers of information since 2015. Every year I choose one session without a doubt that I can add to my All Delaware section of my high school library. This one seemed to be the ticket, Where Menhaden Was King. Hailing from a position at the Archives, and accompanied and introduced by Trina Brown-Hicks, I was not disappointed.

One thing I have discovered from the authors willing to attend and present at the Lewes History Book Festival is the opportunity to have a perspective change, to the information that you are allowing as an individual to come before you. In talking with my cousin the other day, we were discussing the difference between adding more water to an existing fish aquarium, versus a direct water change and how minerals being added and added over time can change the density of the water and the quality of the water, and from the outset, many people would not see the difference. I saw the exact same thing happening in my observations of what happens at the Lewes History Festival. One can simply add and add information, but it is not the same as unpacking what you have gathered and added versus unloading some of that information and replenishing with new information, sounds the same, but it is not. You can walk away with a new way of looking at the areas you may have taken for granted or had preconceptions about since a young age. I would love to see individuals that have never attended the Lewes History Book Festival and see what they can add to the conversations as well- and if you allow it, geographic areas, populations of people, preconceptions about political, social, environmental topics can bring people together rather than pull people apart, despite agreeing or disagreeing. That is is beauty of the ideal of democracy (more on that later).

From inside the factory, to boats, to the impact of the Menhaden on the Lewes we know today, to equal rights, to the unknown stories that should be told about Lewes’ Otis Smith , I felt this was an exciting acquisition and addition to the History Book Festival. It was exciting to see the discussion, and seeing people attending that worked in fisheries from all locations and that have founds themselves here in Delaware. We are richer for the diversity that comes to Delaware and the knowledge we have through the fishing, water industries, and rediscovering beginnings of the first state. In essence, being a new board member of the Delaware Humanities allows me to see events, social interactions, and experiences in a different light as well, and allowing myself to consider the impacts of events and experiences on learning more and more. Having the profession of librarian allows me to organize how these experience are able to impact communities, as well as individuals and be able to be used to increasingly bring people together that previously have not been.

Back to that word Democracy as well, I have learned over the years the meaning many people attach to a word is not exactly the one single meaning of a word. Let’s look at what we have talked about so far – consider these words – Gay, Democracy, Librarian, Lewes, Kent County, Sussex County, New Castle County, chicken industry, Delaware, rural v urban, white collar, blue collar – just a few. ANY of those words I have heard 100 conversations about them, and heard so many different stances on those words, it is worth THAT being a book. And yet, some of the preconceptions tied to those words are often not middle of the word, but convincing to a person until – something strong enough comes along to allow a space for reconsidering how you see that word.

I would love to think, (as I currently do think, lol) the Lewes History Book Festival allows the space for people to see that words as exampled above, carry MANY different avenues of exploration and knowledge, and do not stand necessarily for a single path of thought according to one person. As a Delaware Humanities Board Member, as a Delaware Association for School Librarians member, as a Cross Country Coach, as a Certified English Educator and Librarian, as a citizen of the United States, I am grateful for being able to live in a Democratic country that allows me to discover events in history that individuals that have differing beliefs and lifestyles, that do live in differing counties, that DO different occupations, that DO believe in coming together to strengthen the state we live in. To me, that is Democracy if I was to take and isolate one of the many terms above, and there is still room to learn about Socialism, Communism, 100 different other -isms, but the bottom line is being a Delawarean, a true Delawarean, and even larger, a Democratic individual in the United States, is to be open to new experiences and have the ability to add more “water to the tank.” (non partisan please!)

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Passing

Allowing yourself time to let thoughts, experiences, frustrations, and more simply rise to the top of your mind, but actually having someone to share those frustrations with on a deeper level – there are no words.

Today was our first cross country invitational – at Killen’s Pond for 2022. I was excited because with the idea of cross country, few people can get past what is most important and life valuable with this sport – it is not the competition of your time and everyone else’s time, it is not the chance to be a star and let everyone know and believe it or not, it is not going from meet to meet competing with yourself for that holier than thou time (although that IS addicting) that make cross country more spiritual than any sport I know.

I have been lucky enough to have conversations with one of the best cross country athletes in the high school realm currently, and have been able to do this for the past three years. This individual has the school, has the times, has the proof of their devotion to being one of the best to touch any cross country field, and I have been lucky enough to have conversations in snippets when we come together as teams – and we do so secretly, without advertising this happening, to process what we experience – and I am that much luckier to be able to hear and compare from this individual as an athlete and runner, and this individual gets to hear the coaches’ perspective, and it has been, pretty darn awesome. Some amazing takeaways we have hashed out over several years-

Regrets are amazing. Between the reasons people miss meets and miss opportunities that allow them to gel with others at every chance before leaving the high school sport of XC, we marvel at this. We agreed on a phrase, your team is where you are more than not. Meaning, this individual comes from a VERY VERY competitive and LARGE XC school that churns out runners like a factory – and XC is almost a religion. Obviously, this feeling of why you run XC seems to come from being the best than most on the XC course. We agreed and laughed at what REALLY makes a XC team is the people that come out like a ritual and know others will do better by something that can contribute to the runners on their team. The devotion to others, we marveled, more than self, pays back to your own success more than anyone, or groups, that come from more than generous talented teams, and what is important is who is there for you more often that not, we laughed at what the definition of team really is when you look around and see who around you, who is cheering you on, and who is there for you on show days AND off days.

This individual comes again, from a large, talented, competitive school and hearing how they envied when we, who often have 5-6 reliables at every single meet for the season, and less during the whims of what sometimes is considered “extra” early or later in the season, we agreed, XC is XC, half time is half time, being there all the time and being there when the winds allow it sends a feeling of worth, or uselessness and frustration through others on a team. This athlete felt bad about what seemed talking bad about the team they were on that usually pushes past almost many other teams and yet, they felt what they were missing was what happens when you have chances to really connect and take in what makes XC probably the best sport ever-

Commercial break – what makes it the best sport ever? The mix of being able to take in amazing scenery and views, being able to trade pain for momentary lapses of time that make you laugh, sometimes cry, but being able to embrace what is outdoors and make it a part of your own experience, and letting those that miss it go for their high targeted goals (this athlete kept mentioning that term, LOVED IT) – while putting time in with individuals that really “get” the value of making something personal from XC and not making it a stepping stone. How many times do students, athletes, and more let the amazing experiences of a sport slip by for the sake of the glorious record, competitive edge that is contagious around others, and for the second of adding a line on a resume? Few and those few are the unhappiest- ironic, isn’t it?

Back to this amazing realization too – I vented a frustration alot last year and moreso this year of how much work some sports do and how little others do. Works in the context of outside of working on your self, how many teams, athletes, sports work on the relationships, the physical terrain that defines their sport, the physical aspects of where they train every day. Odd, this person REGRETTED not doing more outside of training, training, training in their sport and nothing else related to their sport. I laughed SO SO loud, and said LET ME TELL YOU….We have had to solicit help from past parents, individuals in other school districts, (And in weird places in our own too!) , coaches and parents of athletes in DIFFERENT SPORTS!, just to try and put together let’s say, new features to our course, to the experiences we have that stand out in the form of banquets, finding money for those things on shoe shoe string budgets (forget the shoe strings just shoes!) – that was a great joke this athlete made, 1 for them! – and yet, doing the countless sweat, labor, and hustles we do, we walked away appreciating the small numbers, the successful events we do constantly, the sport takes on totally new meaning. TOTALLY new meaning.

Anyone that knows me knows I HATE asking for help from ANYONE, it KILLS ME. Yet, this athlete confidante told me from a student perspective, being asked to do something instead of always having everything handed to them – made all the difference in the world in their experience running Cross Country. That made me look at my won frustrations and appreciations for people that have put in their own time, weekends, holidays, hard work and sweat, for such a small team every year that often, gets left off the radar in alot of things. Yet we both argued together, is getting recognized for what you DID or DO better than the feeling you have inside of knowing the harder work you might be putting in, more than someone else, in ways other than training? The latter is more attractive you just do not realize it until much, much later.

You take ALL the above and apply this to real situations, it all applies. EVERY SINGLE TIME, I am on Atlanta Road, someone stays on my bumper where I cannot see their bumper, until they fly past me at 90 miles and hours, and ironically, we always end up behind or car behind car with each other at the next intersection – my comparison was hurry hurry hurry or fame fame fame get that amazing be better than anyone else and then – poof! – what next? is that worth dying because you had to be going 10 miles faster than me on a back road, comparatively, was it worth missing the beauty of the whole sport of XC to be so focused on beating someone else all the time, was it worth it to make sure your time is one of the largest in the states to make the most noise, get the most awards, and walk away with being legend more season than others- we both agreed- there are so many EXCELLENT XC runners that will never, and do not get, the TRUE essence of what XC is based on what happens behind the scenes, when people are not looking when numbers are taken out of the whole experience (odd thing to say) and then taking all this and applying this to real life- alot applies in all directions.

For the past three years these are some of the good, brief, and detailed reflections we have had about views from a coach and an athletes, and they are some of the best moments I have felt and reflected on when it comes to XC. It came to a head today with some of the topics we discussed today, and reminded me of some amazing things that occurred today on our team:

Ryan hunkered down to one of the hardest spots on today’s course and offered TWICE to place himself in places where he had to walk to push on, and cheer on one of our other runners who was running an official 5k for the FIRST TIME. It made a HUGE difference, a HUGE different in the other runner’s time, it was a HUGE glory moment for XC in my book.

Funny thing is , Matthew has no idea how much of a leader/captain, etc. he is and he is SO much so this. He just does not realize it so many times, and it is so interesting to see from afar, how much he still has to work on, and yet, how much strength he has he is unaware of.

Having the laughter and optimistic views that Irene, Matthew, and Brent brought to the course today was one of the most memorable first meets I have had in years, weird, but absolutely true, it was just – perfect. They did nothing special, but the struggles they have had over the weeks in training, and then seeing things just happen on their behalf today – it just was awesome. Many times Brent simply said, or thought, not possible and boy, he made what he thought impossible, possible today. That speaks volumes without saying a word.

Being able to have a super cool support factor in our corner from an exchange student from Germany, it also just made the whole day more pleasant than normal. She is such a cool addition to WHS, and her easy going, agreeable and interesting take on things around her just seemed to really bring out what I have always liked about XC. Lea made it an even better day for everyone just be her very nature.

Being able to lay out frustrations, anxieties, and just wishes and recommendations I wish some athletes would just “get” is a difficult task sometimes when you have a coaching staff that is just somehow off kilter. I am lucky that Coach Syerra soaks alot of that in and is able to provide a back and forth where we can later laugh at some of the craziest, most frustrating aspects of XC and yet lay them down and find ways to move past them. That is a huge key. And the unseen HOURS of labor and work that Coach Syerra and Coach Gary and his wife have put in, to just have HILLS

and trails and trees disappear or appear, forms and guidelines restructured, the countless hours neighbors, workouts changed, adapted, squeezing the harsh realities of life given to everyone on a daily basis amid all these goals, former parents of past XC runners, friends of our coaches, and more have put in SILENTLY, without a large proportion of the public knowing – it would flabbergast you as it it flabbergasts me every single day.

All of this touches the iceberg about how much recognition and support the sport of XC does get in shadows of others and yet, there is a drive in XC members that you will never find in any others. Aside from the many frustrations and roadblocks we come across on many a path – there are these shortcuts that our maintenance, administration, and community in the public do come to our aide with that show repeatedly, being first, being the fastest, being better than everyone else is a short burning match to the flame of recognizing your sport has the ability to build an internal feeling of growth and appreciation.

I am privileged to have these outstanding reflections from a school experience of one person to the opposite of everything our school is in numbers of athletes available for XC, contrasting money given to every sport, for facilities, the internal drive for running in general and so much more, and it has brought some amazing laughs and realizations together, and it KILLS me to not say thanks to a specific name, but, there are things more important than the name, record, and resume recognition as we keep coming back to, and it makes it even more rewarding to know we come from different spectrums and have these realizations.

So when you think no one truly realizes what you are thinking, experiencing, feeling, and trying to get across to others over an extended period of time, think again. Life is more about who shows up to your side, when they show up to your side, why they show up to your side, and how they make a difference.

I am lucky enough to have found all of these, the frustrating and the inspiring in key individuals in this sport. And a glorious day as well in today made it a perfect backdrop for all the above. 🙂 This teaches me daily to reshape what it means to be a coach, what it means to be a colleague, what it means to be a person who looks out for other people and set aside my frustrations.

Passing, passing, passing, it is so important to consider who and why you are passing, and what you are passing that defines each of us, on and off the course!

P.S. Dane whispered to me that today might have been the best day he ever had remember. That says alot too 🙂

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On the Move in Connected Areas

With the past blog post highlighting how the World On the Move exhibit would have an amazing home here in Delaware, at the ALA Conference there were attendees who shared their similar events of displays that reached out and connected individuals to very important social issues worth being aware of.

Letters to Sala was an important topic that has had many exhibits created and recreated to inform here in the United States. Below are some of the exhibits that have sprung up as a result of the Holocaust, the issue of war brides, and recollecting and reorganizing history:

New York

California

Scranton, New York

New Jersey

Tennessee


Additionally, the exhibit of one educator’s high school tied elements of an Unessay contest featured in Cleveland, Ohio, led to a spectacular Superman exhibit:

Ties to Cleveland Ohio and the Superman Comic

What many might not be aware of is that the Library of Congress has one of the LARGEST collections in the world of graphic novels/cartoons/ comics in the world– definitely worth checking out:

Exhibition and LOC

World of Comics

Largest Collection in the World of Comics

Stay tuned for another look at a resource-packed workshop from the American Library Association Conference 2022, coming your way!

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What keeps you up at night.

Okay so I know. It is 12:58 and your’re going to say it. I never sleep. Hear me out.

I do, sometimes. But as of late, it is important, despite the layer upon layer of backlogged posts, topics to talk about, and more that keep piling up, amid the heavy heavy loads that pile up around us and sometimes the tasks and chores we take on, some we do not – but there is always some beams of light that we HAVE to stop and take notice to realize there are some magical things happening every minute, and if we do not stop ourselves to take them in, we will miss so much due to the work we have created for ourselves, and for the work we have allowed to take up so much of our lives. It is also important to let you see inside some of the moments that you might not know exist.

Many of you know, or might know, I am passionate about librarians and libraries, but the moments I have witnessed in those very places that have launched some of the most amazing young people to places they never knew they could go- those places are worth fighting for and the people to make them possible. Here are two examples worth telling, this is what keeps me up at night 🙂

First, over the course of six weeks, as you know, I am involved in a program called Upward Bound – and I have to share a secret with you. when you say you are going to go on several trips, let alone a three night trip over the summer, with teenagers, during summer break, the usual eye rolls, sighs, and “God Bless You!” are emitted, and I have to be 100% truthful, I was not sure I really made the right decision over the summer.

I DID. It is easy to look at this whole scenario of working and spending time with those younger than I as a service to them, as a job, as a duty, as an obligation. Yet, the summer was not any of those in the least. Each one of the Upward Bound students, there is no differentiation between programs when they are together, and they are a force to be reckoned with. What many fail to realize, is they gave up their summer, and also the very very hard work they put in to climb to heights that many take for granted every day, outside of summer and during the regular year. Every day. Every week. Every weekend. Every summer. The moments we spent at colleges, in classes, in labs, on site at work study locations, and seeing the refreshing moments they deserved at Hershey Park and meals in a restaurant, and being able to see them TOGETHER, there was no better moment I thought or didn’t think I would experience.

It is always amazing to be around young people, but seeing students willing to take criticism, willing to give criticism, willing to open their vulnerabilities and fears to be exposed and take risks, and to take those elements and turn them into victories and steps of success, and finally enjoy their lives at the sake of compromising, learning, and again exposing their weaknesses to make way for strengths – they are superwomen and men, not teenagers when they emerge from the accomplishments you will see the next few posts. I will be delving into the works they created over the next few posts/weeks, and see how they expressed their experiences, strengths, and beliefs through mediums like Youth Voices and the creation of Zines, just to name a few ways. You are going to love it as I loved every moments I was with them. This keeps coming back and keeping me up at night in the best possible way.

A second glimpse of true magic sometimes comes in the quietest forms. I have to tell you about this one young lady that changes things without saying a word. We have a young lady named Irene on our Cross Country team that just gives you a feeling of hope, faith, and optimism from her truly pure heart. I say this because of her gentle nature of running on the trail, her pure approach to all things living, her unrelenting, unforgiving of her self at times, and when you are around such a magical moment, and a person who brings such pureness to a sport, you never forget, ever. Irene brings this raw pureness and faith to a sport that often gets overlooked, often is underestimated of what goes in to the sport – and in such a decisive time in our communities and lives, this sounds corny, but this is so true – Irene, when you watch her run, you sense a calm, reassuring moment no matter the odds. Irene, without raising a voice, moves ahead on others running, not just in her time, but in her confidence, faith, and demeanor. You feel this as well when her family is present and supports the same sentiments, and all this without a word dropped ever. When you have someone this special, this powerful in just her presence, you know nothing else matters, numbers that outnumber you mean nothing when you have someone such as the strength that Irene brings to any team, sport, or group you are lucky enough to be in with her around. Complaints pale when you have someone that is willing to push through difficult times and never blink, but just push forward. Irene pushes us all forward, and to be in the presence of such an incredible person, how luck are we to be as coaches, teachers, and witnesses to such powerful moments?

Ironically, isn’t it wonderful how from different parts of experiences and lives students from this amazing strong Upward Bound summer and someone as quiet, yet powerful as Irene have so much alike? Instead of a summer consumed, I was lucky enough to have a summer and continuing Fall replenished – and there are more stories of these on a small but mighty XC, powerful, yet inspirational Upward Bound team, and I hope you are as excited as I am to hear stories not yet told.

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Something More to Carry…

While some of the WHS XC (Cross Country) students were helping with a construction project yesterday – the conversation among students and coaches was how students wished they would receive more deep dives into the curriculum. We asked about their experiences as students from all schools attended to date. Some stated they heard about the signing of the constitution 100 times, yet have not heard very often about the details that surrounded events in the revolution, during the revolution, or individuals they never knew in the revolution, they are interested in the weird, out of the books, hard to find details on curriculum details, the things they will carry with themselves outside of school.

School Librarians present in all schools can present this, and I feel the Upward Bound Program this summer also provided the time to to do this – this is an amazing program for giving the students steps, so they realized they can achieve, succeed, and thrive more than they ever expected- they become new individuals when giving fresh perspectives.

Lots to discuss on the above topics, so stay tuned, but here is a sneak preview into some of the aspects that came out of the Upward Bound Program this summer, at Georgetown Del Tech (Art, Science, Math, Workstudy, Foreign Languages (German), college visits) and more. A HUGE asset to students and the state of Delaware for enhancing the information that students WANT to discover from what can be sometimes a cookie cutter curriculum. We are better than that, students and parents want better than that, school librarians are only one of 100 ways to start on that path, and communication among school librarians, administrators, teachers, public libraries, paraprofessionals, parents, The Delaware Education Association, the Delaware Department of Education, local agencies for Librarianship, need to occur more on a higher level.

Bringing the details alive is an art of education, not a unnecessary aspect and asking why your school does not have a school librarian, to connect what occurs in school to community leaders, events, businesses, and more, to enhance their education is a start. Write to your DASL (Delaware Association for School Libraries) leadership team to find out how as simple as sending an email, can start this process!

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Escaping from Normality


Kudos are in order. As Classic Upward Bound headed out in the wee hours of the morning for Lancaster, Pennsylvania on college tours to Franklin and Marshall, to Lebanon Valley College, and ultimately to Hershey Park’s escape room, one single event defined everyone as a group.
No, it was not the question asked of tour guides at the colleges, no, it was not the discovering what everyone’s “feel” was for the campus they were experiencing – it was their ingenuity and generosity when put under pressure, and in an escape room situation.


The seniors at times, knowing the answer to riddles, puzzles, and ciphering cryptic message, stood aside to let others give everyone their opinion, ideas, suggestions. Freshmen who came into the escape room and who felt no one wanted to listen to them or that they themselves might not have anything to contribute, found places where every single member contributed to getting out of that escape room – be it using a laser and strategically targeting onto a mirror, that revealed a message across the room, helped shift letters representing other letters to reveal YET another message, using magnets to guide a key from between walls sight unseen, to countless other on the cuff moments, the seniors, juniors, sophomores, and freshmen team in my escape room team were simply AMAZING.


If you thought the above sentence was quite along sentence and knocking your breath out, you know now how it felt to see everyone work together to use talents they did not exist to work together – pretty darn great. It was awesome to see them all come together and see HOW they did is, the style they did so, and seeing each one of them step up to the plate.


Escaping from being considered average is sometimes difficult for the average high school student to see in themselves, being anything other than average is not usually a recognized trait they see in themselves. It does wonders to point out the intelligence, guts to put one self out even if an idea might not be right, let alone just be willing to be themselves and let them know they are GREAT as what they do. I feel they do not hear enough how wonderful they are in aspects they never even realize about themselves. The hardest part is paying attention sometimes when so much is happening to recognize the great moments they do succeed, and often in things that many might consider insignificant – but are really not.


All these realizations from a very talented group of individuals that I feel, underestimate their abilities to change much around them. I saw it happening simply from one very intense, long, challenging, voyage from one state to another. But the exchanges they became involved in made a story of how much they were and are capable of in a variety of situations. Sounds cliche, but the many way Upward Bound students show they are Upward Bound was proven today – looking forward to Hershey Park tomorrow with a very talented group of students!

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On the Move.,.

From ALA Conference, Friday June 24, 2022

I know the last time I recorded the ALA 2022 Conference I had not yet dived into the first day of the conference, attending Library of Congress sessions before the Conference – Thursday June 23rd –

https://harrybrake.com/2022/06/26/checking-into-ala-2022-post-pandemic/

https://harrybrake.com/2022/06/27/folk-life-collections-breathing-air-into-primary-documentation/

https://harrybrake.com/2022/07/06/not-on-federal-records/

and I suggest to ANYONE that has not been to the actual Library of Congress, PLEASE visit. I made a point to see some amazing exhibits within, you can take a peek here:

Visiting the Library of Congress before ALA 2002 Conference

So, the first day of the Conference, Friday June 24th at 8:00 AM I needed to check out the World on the Move exhibit and see if this coming to Delaware might be a possibility. Here are the notes from that conference workshop:

Investigating information surrounding The World on the Move exhibit that was currently on display a few blocks away at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial library (note, have to not forget the booked tour of that public library later tomorrow!), I was intrigued.

Cosponsored by the American Anthropological Association and the Smithsonian Folklore Division, many aspects of this exhibit, explored aspects of a former exhibit, exploring race. This interactive, virtual experience on race is a powerful tool to question and discuss race and everyday situation that w we all find ourselves in, yet some individuals experience so differently and many take those differences for granted. This Exploring Race site is pretty amazing.

I was saddened to know this World on the Move exhibit was open to display for only public library and not school libraries, but I settled in to see if I could configure a Delaware stop.

It was stressed that everyone has a migration story in their family, somewhere. “Crossroads” is a concurrent them that was emphasized in this exhibit. This exhibit inhabits 1000 square feet and addresses these four questions:

  1. Where do we come from?
  2. Why do we move?
  3. How does migration change us?
  4. Where are we going?

The aspect that drew me in was there were interactive elements to this exhibit. There is a portion that encourages individuals to share their journey and drop tokens in the correct tube that best describes their journey story.

Next, A magnetic board mimics a suitcase and asks individuals what they would bring and allows visitors to place magnetic items in the suitcase pictured of what, indeed, they would bring with them. Thirdly, There is an opportunity to share their story at the exhibit. Finally, there are flipbooks as part of this display that each tell a story related to migration in some format.

Looking back on that mention of crossroads as a theme, the idea of sharing the views of displacement, and sharing stories of nation building begins to be revealed. I I recalled Tabitha Lord’s mention of worlds building in her science fiction and my mind flashed back to that idea!)

Another focus of the exhibit was focused on the Mediterranean Basin Beringia – as this is one of the largest migration areas in the world ( I would have NEVER realized this!). Salvatore Martello, mayor of Lampedusa, questions how many groups should be welcomed, even despite the fact the numbers have caused Lampedusa to literally collapse? His question raises the question of accepting migrants without restrictions and the implications of these actions. A second note was made about how close Alaska and Russia are and were from the Beringia bridge and how we are seeing such climatic change, shared closely when you look at the Beringia/Alaska/Russia geographic area and seeing the shared climate change that is occurring.

A second geographic focus of the exhibit is Central Africa in the areas of Chad, the Congo, Nigeria, and Angola areas to name a few. The controversial eras of the Dutch colonial rule plays an important role here with a theme of the shadow of a shadow. This helps create a focus and discussion of how colonialism plays in migration as well as artists now making a resurgence gaining back lands. The mention of Aime Mpane’s art was a great reference to how this artist is able to represent so much about authentic African history due to his art.

A final area of focus is the East L.A. area focused on in this exhibit. This area, the largest Latino population is also a hub and center of Chinese activism dating back to Japanese Internment moments in history. Additionally, topics of structural racism and gentrification are brought out for discussion. Presenters Raul Gonzalez has good presentation on this topic – https://prezi.com/user/z0fwrhfz9qfo/ and a focus on the L.A. artist Nico Avino is worth investigating. A great look at this Boyle Heights area can be found in the Boyle Heights Beat. All of these resources do much to address so many extensions of migration,

Some of the details of this exhibit are that winning public libraries that receive a winning acceptance of this exhibit coming receive a $500.00 stipend to support extended activities tied to this focus, Also, the proposal process opens October 10, 2022 and due by November 10. 2022. The exhibit itself is focused on Middle to High school audiences. The start of the exhibits would officially be March 2023 to August 2025.

I like the fact that community based organizations, as well as community an local colleges, universities, anthropology, historical, and civic groups could have a role to play in bringing this exhibit to Delaware.

So, What do you think would be strengths and benefits of this exhibit coming to Delaware? I see many ties to Delaware based on areas of discussion from the above geographic areas, but the next post, I will elaborate on extensions that this exhibit could have beyond the exhibit itself.

When I was at the ALA Conference, I took photos of the World On the Move exhibit at the Martin Luther King Jr. public Library in D.C..  

1) Questioning individuals of where they are from, what they consider home, how they are able to show where they call home and how they have arrived here involves areas of history, science, geography, and identity.  As the first state, I believe these are all able to be examined through the lens of school and public libraries, and hoped the public would see how parallel and related, as well as valuable it is for both areas of librarians are, together.

I attended the workshop on this session as well.  These things stuck out to me:

2) Another librarian at ALA asked the question of how can small rural areas like Delaware compete with larger areas vying for this exhibit, such as L.A,, Chicago, New York?  The answer was the meaning, importance, and value of who receives these exhibits is in the power of the proposal.  The encouragement to involve institutions like Discover Bank, Museums, etc was mentioned as part of the proposal. My idea was we get testimonies and support from public librarians AND school librarians, as well as school educators, businesses, civic groups, (Communities in Schools, Wellness Centers, etc) The Delaware Department of Education, Delaware Historical Society, The Delaware Humanities, anthropologists in the state, coalitions like Mr. Chraskta has asked us to gather for advocacy, to show how public and school librarians need support, maybe in slightly different areas, but I think this is also a way to bing groups together that have been segregated in advocacy before.

3) The more groups and individuals that can play a part in advocating reasons why this display, interactive, informative, and focuses on families, can emphasize the history of diverse groups that are found in libraries, as well as in the state of Delaware, the better chance we have of having an ironclad proposal to come to Delaware and be one of many beacons of how school and public libraries need more support, advocacy, and legislation to exist and grow.  

4) I believe we can make extensions that would be invaluable to this exhibit, like record weekly stories that can beome podcasts based around this exhibit, use greenscreen and 3D technology to enhance this exhibit, and so much more that can use this exhibit like a One Book Project, showing multiple extensions of both libraries in public and school arenas, through one source like this exhibit.

More to come, but this is a preliminary introduction to this exhibit, and Georgetown has become the focus since it seems the space allowed would be able to accommodate this display.  I am all in to support this and would LOVE to be the first proposal the day the proposals open to hit their desks, and be the strongest argument on the desk to have this exhibit come here!

https://www.dclibrary.org/exhibits/worldonthemove

https://www.americananthro.org/AttendEvents/event.aspx?EventID=57093

I would love your ideas and feedback as we make a strong case for bringing this exhibit to Delaware!

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Get Ready for AMAZINGness!

Tomorrow is the Upward Bound gallery walk and showcase from the last 6 weeks of student work and let me tell you, WHOA. Here s the email I sent to each of them below, you will be amazed when you see what they have accomplished (I will have video and photos for you!)

Breaking out projects on the second week to conquer.

Dear Upward Bound students,

Just a quick note, I was able to get a quick peek into the gallery work created tonight, from all the individual classes projects, WHOA. it is amazing. If you did not finish today, and can, I would HIGHLY advise you, reach out email to your teacher, or get there early tomorrow and give a heads up – and try to be a part and be represented.

It is AMAZING. The projects made for each class and representing your work in each class are A M A ZIN G! I have people from NOT affiliated in Upward Bound hearing and asking about it, and it is going to be an AMAZING representation of how you transfer your creativity, to the classes, to you, yourself. I am so excited! Please remember to thank your teachers because trust me, they stayed way after today to best represent you tomorrow.

For work study, I am equally impressed. In FOUR weeks we did what most can;t do in 8 weeks, and we did not really have more then 4 weeks with other scheduling have-to’s and this stuck with me-

When I ran the Newsroom for the Model United Nations simulation in Mexico City, a the American school, we had FOUR DAYS to cover every country’s news, crisis, etc and create a DAILY newspaper, TWICE a day! – printed and electronic, to distribute to all embassy representatives, students, parents, etc.. It seemed like chaos when you walked into our student newsroom and we were scrambling all over the place., and yet, whoa the things we completed!

Today, if you came into the computer lab, you saw people yelling, asking, worrying, scrambling like MAD and yet, think about what we accomplished today. We literally worked on over 6 different projects in a short amount of time and got alot – I MEAN ALOT done. Wait until you see tomorrow what some of these students did with individual class projects, and the NUMBER of projects EACH student in work study finished in 4 weeks, some finished 4- 5 DIFFERENT projects in this time frame – and if there EVER was a simulation of real life and rising above the challenges, it was here-

I am so so proud of each of you. Amazing things you will see represented tomorrow and remember, it is still not too late to get your project done and be represented tomorrow, it will be worth it if you do – if I can help, let me know.

Tonight, I have TWO students already practicing their work study presentation on zoom so we can see where they need to tweak their presentation, I am amazed and VERY proud of what all of you have done, and STILL can do 🙂

Mr Brake

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In What World Can You Imagine…

“Are we still meeting at the trail at 7? Me and ________ are coming?” -This text message, following one of the hottest and most productive days at The Vince Morris Trail at Chapel Branch came and went as I was in a deep, deep, sleep following the previous sweat shop day of productivity with the 5th week of our Upward Bound Work Study and students with The Nanticoke River Watershed Conservancy rolling forward. The call I received 15 minutes later woke me to the realization that students were waiting at the nature trail this morning.

What will students see if given a chance?

I was disoriented, not hearing from students the night before, and thinking Saturday, a no go to gain more hours on Saturday, so imagine my surprise realizing some were waiting for me the next morning! A little dread filled my push to fall out of bed and quickly get ready and throw the necessary items needed to survive an early morning, a VERY hot morning, in a 10 minute rush to get to the meeting spot. I also thought, “Most people would be annoyed, I think, at not hearing from someone the night before, but I would be annoyed not knowing and I am not at all!” Not annoyed or bothered at all, I followed that thought with, “In what world do you have students, up early, on a weekend, calling you to say where are you, we are ready to work despite a scorching hot morning, let’s do it!” – I was quite proud of the initiative these students had already showed on a heat advisory day, this early in the morning.

I was counting on a in and out of what we needed to do day, grabbed the dogs, with a little foreboding of how they would handle the heat, grabbed a few coolers and icepacks, water, etc. from the adventure of the day before. took out items of the car and set them aside- items I had not taken out yet, moved to pack last minute survival items quickly, dogs in, and hit the trail.

The heat was already blasting as I was pulling in, objectives of the day shared quickly with students, dogs already panting, we dived into the nature trail. For 1.5 miles, we videotaped every single course direction for what would be a 3.1 mile XC (Cross Country) trail, so athletes would know BEFORE hitting the course, the direction to follow- took notes of all intersections/turns that needed directional color matching poles, AND wrote the directions out by hand.

Within the first five minutes of walking the trail, everyone was soaked to the skin. Being asked, “Is that steam rising from your shirt?” was quite funny, as everyone realized the wonders of the heat we were seeing, even being in the canopy of the nature trail. In three hours, the XC trail had been videotaped, narrated, and written down. Dogs were on the ground after having stopped several times along the way due to heat, having lapped up water, trying to find hiding shady spots under the benches, and looked as if their time was done for the outside. Recovering at the end by inhaling freezer pops and bottles of water, objectives were made to accomplish tasks for work study this weekend, and everyone realized how hard and difficult, yet rewarding, what had been accomplished in three hours in the AM on Saturday. Another amazing accomplishment tacked on to yesterday’s achievements.

The realization of images seen that morning, from more works of art found in spiderwebs, mushrooms, and light rays in various parts of the woods – to the chorus of birds surrounding us in the canopy, the awe of such a treasure in a community’s own back yard still remained.

Looking back on the day before, July 22nd and 23rd post:


and taking in the events of today, a SECOND day of pushing through to get all done, in a record pace – I realized a few things-

Brick and mortar buildings are not needed – when you have plans, goals, creativity, and believers of all those three categories, The power we have in our community often cannot be seen, it is in the on-the-cusp-revolutionary ideas that can be enacted to change communities that our youth have, and can be channeled to do some extraordinary feats in our community, things that can’t be seen do not mean they can’t be created and implemented.

Secondly, I realized the power of a licensed Information Science Librarian – the power of young people to achieve some amazing things in a short amount of time, in an unorthodox way, in creative ways that motivate the certified librarians themselves, as well as those that surround them, that unharnessed power can change whole state; can you imagine if that power was present in every single school? What we accomplished in two days could be accomplished EVERY SINGLE DAY in and out of school with the correctly motivated, supported, and certified Information Science Librarian. What many failed to see was how these professionals can impact all areas of their positions, in and out of school.

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“Librarying” Inside and Out

Before we dive in to the actual first day of the American Library Association Conference, what seems as alot of information already received from the ALA Annual PreConference, I felt it necessary to actually tour/visit the inside of the Library of Congress, not recalling that I actually ever had? Kind of ironic but what a collection of exhibits to see!

Lofty ceilings and ornate architecture cemented my beliefe in the celebration of literacy, education, and knowledge as represented by the U.S. government.

This easily reminded me of the daily views you would see in any Mexican/European city of architecture to celebrate so much in the form of accomplishments on a variety of levels, all surrounding the pursuit of knowledge and my interest in what librarianship brings to the masses.

The images honestly do not do justice to the lofty views of the Reading room, then taking in the inside and out images – everything was astounding and exciting to see first-hand.

Images I did not take, but worth the look – absolutely, were Jefferson’s Library collection, Mapping and Growing a Collection, The Not an Ostrich Photo exhibit (the American images captured here were 100% captivating to say the LEAST), Discovering the LOC’s extensive graphic novel and Comic collection (largest in the world I believe?), coming across George Gershwin’s exhibition and celebration of music,it was overwhelming and yet rewarding to see so many extensive views of collections, and ultimately tied to the ALA Annual Conference.

The sprinking of exhibits that ranges from states joining what would be known as the United States, to the anniversary of the Watergate Scandal, to the Emancipation Proclamation to Juneteenth and what that means to U.S history, all are given a voice.

I could not think of a better way to kick off the feeling of such a valuable conference than starting from within.

The lofty views did not disappoint with every detail symbolic of knowledge.

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