Friday, November 29, 2013

Mea Culpa from an African-American Male Librarian

MEA CULPA -- my bad.

Four months have passed since my last post. Please forgive the long "radio silence".  I will try to keep the content relatively fresh. I will try to post at least once a week.

Unlike my last post, this entry may seem very apolitical to some. I am on the last day of my Thanksgiving vacation/ early birthday celebration. Since last Tuesday, I've been vacationing in Chicago with a very old and close Nigerian friend and four other very friendly and easy-going Nigerians.

I often describe myself as "African American," but my time with my African brothers prompts me to question the hyphenated identity. How African is this African-American male librarian when he often feels alienated in the presence of  men from the homeland? Perhaps I should just strike through the "African" in the title of my blog: The Professional Life of an African-American Male Librarian.

But that move seems to deny my ethnic heritage. Like my Nigerian friends, I am connected to Africa, even if I cannot understand African languages and cultures.  Even if I am more culturally and linguistically connected to Western Europe/ America than to Africa.

What do James Bond, Doctor Who, and Martin Luther King, Jr's "I have a Dream" speech and I have in common? We all turn 50 this year.  I cannot believe that I will celebrate 50 years of living. I honestly didn't think I would make it. Then again, I never thought I would be a librarian at this age.

Librarian Stereotype*

And as you can see from my "selfie," I don't look anything like the stereotype on the left. That's because we librarians come in all shapes, sizes, genders, sexual orientations, etc. It's a wonderful thing.


I love all the benefits and challenges of being in this profession. Currently, I am applying to two doctoral programs in Michigan. I want to study what impact, if any, do collaborations between embedded librarians and first year writing instructors have on first year students' academic literacies. Within the next five years, I hope to have dual appointments at a mid-size to large research university. I would love to teach  upper-level writing and rhetoric classes and to coordinate library instruction.

*Image from

1 comment:

  1. Good post...the thing is we're the name of the thing and we're not the name. we're constantly evolving so even the librarian you are today may be a very different librarian tomorrow.