April 30, 2017

The Power of Powers of 2

fwordDespite the fact that I consider myself a lifelong feminist, I am still surprised and dismayed at how easily I can overlook discriminatory behavior toward women. Or not even discriminatory behavior but things that are much more subtle, like situations that discourage women from speaking up or participating.

So when a colleague forwarded a notice about the Ada Initiative’s “Allies Workshop” (now called the “Ally Skills” workshop), I jumped at the chance to go. I had heard of the Ada Initiative and I was interested to hear what they had to tell me. The workshop I attended in San Francisco included mostly men from startup technology companies. I learned more about the subtle ways in which discrimination occurs and how to be a better ally to those experiencing such discrimination. I was also surprised and pleased to discover that I learned a lot from situations that others had experienced and described in our interactive sessions.

I left the workshop feeling more knowledgeable and empowered to help make a difference. But more importantly, I learned more about how my own behavior can be modified to provide space for voices that might otherwise go unheard. I also left being impressed with Valerie Aurora, who led the workshop. Little did I know at the time that we would cross paths again soon.

The 2014 Code4Lib Conference was able to sign on Valerie Aurora as a keynote speaker, and she requested to be interviewed rather than to give a speech. I was happy to offer to do the interview, which you can see here. It was one of the best sessions we’ve ever had at Cod4Lib, and not because of the interviewer.

Now the Ada Initiative is asking for our help and I’m happy to help publicize the library-specific campaign to raise money to support and expand their work. Suggested donation amounts use powers of 2, which is totally a geek thing. Andromeda Yelton, Bess Sadler, Chris Bourg, and Mark Matienzo joined forces to help raise $4,092 (2 to the 12th power) in matching funds. This means that any donation you make is automatically doubled. The campaign runs from now to September 15th, so donate now!

Feel the power of using powers of 2 to build a more equitable and just society. #libs4ada

Donate to the Ada Initiative

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Roy Tennant About Roy Tennant

Roy Tennant is a Senior Program Officer for OCLC Research. He is the owner of the Web4Lib and XML4Lib electronic discussions, and the creator and editor of Current Cites, a current awareness newsletter published every month since 1990. His books include "Technology in Libraries: Essays in Honor of Anne Grodzins Lipow" (2008), "Managing the Digital Library" (2004), "XML in Libraries" (2002), "Practical HTML: A Self-Paced Tutorial" (1996), and "Crossing the Internet Threshold: An Instructional Handbook" (1993). Roy wrote a monthly column on digital libraries for Library Journal for a decade and has written numerous articles in other professional journals. In 2003, he received the American Library Association's LITA/Library Hi Tech Award for Excellence in Communication for Continuing Education. Follow him on Twitter @rtennant.