The sexy librarian or the bun lady?

postcard_teaching-libraries-archivesIsn’t it time for alternative figurations of librarianship in the digital age? In her paper Beyond the Bun Lady, Sanne Koevoets discussed the pervasive stereotype of the librarian, as utterly disempowered and in service of keeping the library’s order in tact. Librarianship as a feminized profession is suffering from a profound image problem. The fact that libraries are changing into or merging with digital, virtual knowledge spaces offers new opportunities to examine, deconstruct and perhaps correct this image, including the new forms of power emerging from those places.  With the help of hilarious filmclips she illustrated her story.

Teaching with gender

The central focus of the 2013 Spring conference, April 26-28, Gothenburg was  ‘Teaching with gender’. What are our experiences of teaching gender in inter-disciplinary and transnational classrooms and in various academic disciplines? Is there an emancipatory possibility in the use of new technologies in teaching practices? What is the role of Women and Gender libraries and information centers in this respect?

For three full days there were panels, paper presentations and discussions on challenging issues, like feminist pedagogy and didactics, antiracist education, knowledge transfers in gender and queer studies etc.  In this blog I will focus on the interesting contributions of colleagues in the field of women/gender  information.

A new exciting volume in the AtGender Teaching series was announced: Teaching Gender with Libraries and Archives by the editors Sara de Jong  and Sanne Koevoets. Questions concerning the gendered nature of library collections , the gendered nature of knowledge, the politics of selecting materials is a political practice in itself. The volume also aims to answer questions and challenges posed by the demands of new technologies. The book will be available soon, both online and physical via AtGender.

New technologies

That new technologies offer great possibilities to show hidden treasures was shown by Berith Backlund from KvinnSam, the Swedish National Resource Library for Gender Studies in Gothenburg. In her presentation ‘The History of Nordic Women’s Literature’, not only a digitization of a work published in Denmark and Sweden between 1993-2000. By using new technology the work has been enriched with links to works on and by the authors , personal notes and articles. A truly great resource for researchers.

Sharing Women and Gender information in Europe

People looking for information on the subject of Gender Based Violence can nowadays access the resources of 6 European Gender Libraries via one portal, which was the result of a successful cooperation between Amazone (Brussels), Atria, Amsterdam; CID femme, Luxembourg; Kvinnsam, Gothenburg and the Gender library of the Humboldt University in Berlin. Tilly Vriend from Atria told about the background of the project and demonstrated the database which offers more than 26000 books, articles, periodicals, databases on the subject.

Sharing resources is also the aim of the project META in Germany, a project of i.d.a., the umbrella organization of German speaking women/lesbian archives and libraries. They recently received funding to create a central meta data database of all 40 members of i.d.a., to create a new website and facilitate easy communication among members. A great challenge lies ahead.

Bogadottir from the University of Iceland discussed possible reasons why so few women collections are preserved at general archives. She promotes projects to encourage women to value and respect their own history. The library as a knowledge broker was illustrated by Sara de Jong in her paper The digital and postmodern turn. She rather sees the library as an active agent in creating knowledge rather than a passive collector. Hence, critical feminist perspectives cannot only be found inside the library, but should also be applied to the library itself!



Nordic Women’s Literature



Cover of the book