eNseleni Library

What I’m Writing – 25 June 2018

So this is a new type of post for me: writing about what I’m writing!

I’m excited about some upcoming projects and thought I’d use this as a way to share the news but also flesh out some thoughts. It always helps me to share new ideas (verbally or in writing) and get feedback, so feel free to share any you may have!

I’ve always loved the research process and enjoy writing. Being a librarian in the academic institutions that I have, I haven’t had the requirement of writing to support tenure or for any other reason, really. Despite this, it’s always been a goal of mine to achieve my doctorate, to research, and to publish.

As a “non-traditional” undergrad and grad student (read: I was a single mom, working full time while in school), I didn’t have time to pursue writing and publishing like some other students. But I was able to dive into the research process when I began working on my doctorate in 2009.

This was such a challenging process and I devoted any time I had to it until its completion in 2016. During this time, I wasn’t researching or writing anything besides this dissertation about public libraries in South Africa.

eNseleni Library

A boy uses his local library in eNseleni, South Africa. (Photo by Karla J. Strand)

It’s been a couple of years and aside from newsletter articles and book reviews, I haven’t published much until recently. This summer, I was able to have an article based on my doctoral work published in Library Management journal. This is technically my first peer-reviewed article accepted in an academic journal and a big accomplishment for me!

Since then, looking for new writing projects has paid off and I am happy to share that I have signed a contract with Litwin Books/Library Juice Press! Part of the “Series on Gender and Sexuality in Information Studies,” my book will be edited by Emily Drabinski. It is tentatively scheduled for publication in 2020 and will be about the history of the Office of the Gender and Women’s Studies Librarian at the University of Wisconsin, where I am currently the librarian.

The office has a wonderful history; one that demonstrates the power of women working together to affect change. I have four decades of office files and archives to sift through for the book, as well as a couple of previously published chapters that briefly cover highlights up to about 1990 or so. I’m excited to dive into research, reading, and writing on a focused project again.

GWSL Office files

Files in my office. (Photo by Karla J. Strand)

I’ve also gotten approval to submit a full draft essay for possible inclusion in an ebook focused on feminist leadership. My contribution will examine the role of libraries in the leadership development and empowerment of women, the initiatives some libraries are already undertaking to meet these goals, and the importance of libraries in addressing the gender imbalances of the current era. While there’s still a chance it might not be accepted, this is my summer writing project and I figure if it isn’t accepted for this ebook, I can submit it for publication elsewhere.

So that’s what I am up to on the writing front! Subsequent posts will be used to flesh out some ideas, share resources, and try out some themes. Until then, I welcome any feedback and would love to hear about your writing!

I’d like to write more and encourage more discussion on my posts, so to that end, I am joining the 2018 Book Blog Discussion Challenge for the remainder of the year! This challenge is hosted by Feed Your Fiction Addiction and It Starts at Midnight. For this challenge, I aim to post a new discussion post each month from now on (so this would have me at Level 1) and I hope you will participate!

So let’s discuss!



Do you like to research and write? Are you an academic, independent scholar, fiction or poetry writer? Do you write for work or fun? Would you love to publish a book someday? What are your writing projects this summer?

The Book of M by Peng Shepherd

What I’m Reading – 13 May 2018

Happy Mother’s Day!

We’ve been working so hard on home renovations that it is nice to have a bit of a break today. I’ve been super busy at work as well but am still carving out time to do some reading. Here are some of the highlights:

I just started and ARC of Hybrid Child by Mariko Ohara which, while it is a classic of Japanese speculative fiction, it is only in its first translation here in the US. It’s actually the first English translation of a major work of scifi by a Japanese woman author, period, so wow, that’s awesome. Always have to wonder what took so long but it’s here now, at least. And so far, I would recommend you get your mitts on this book! It is strange and mysterious and fascinating so far. I may take this Mother’s Day and read it all!

I just finished listening to Beauty Queens by Libba Bray and sorry but I didn’t love it. At all. I posted a little review on GoodReads. I just started listening to This Book is Overdue! by Marilyn Johnson and it’s not too great either actually… I mean, it would be more interesting to someone who didn’t know anything about librarianship I think but it’s also just dated. I am striking out with aduibooks lately… any suggestions? I also recently finished Monsoon Mansion and am working on reviews for A Little in Love with Everyone by Genevieve Hudson and The Book of M by Peng Shepherd, so be watching for those.

There have been a lot of great articles I’ve been reading lately, it’s hard to share them all! I recently created a Resource Guide to Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (#MMIW) and so read a lot of those articles as I included them. I just couldn’t find a great bibliography or guide out there, so I figured the least I could do was to create one. So please share it and also let me know what’s missing from it; I plan to continue adding to it.


Heads of the Colored People by Nafissa Thompson-Spires

What I’m Reading – 17 April 2018

It’s been way too long since I’ve posted What I’m Reading – so here’s a new one.

In the last month or so, I’ve finished reading several books:

My reviews of these books are coming soon.

The following articles caught my attention during this time:

I’ve finally caught up with this season of The Walking Dead. Like many of you, my partner and I are watching Wild Wild Country which is such a strange story that I had actually never heard before. We love Santa Clarita Diet with Drew Barrymore; it is hilarious. Oh and I also loved the documentary, Seeing Allred, about the indomitable Gloria Allred. It’s a Netflix original and you should watch it.

What are you reading and watching? What are your thoughts on these articles? Comment below and let me know!

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How We Get Free by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor

What I’m Reading – 29 Jan 2018

Unlike many of you, I did not watch the Grammys. I love music but haven’t watched music award shows in years. Instead the gf and I finished binge-watching RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 8… I know, I am behind, but trying to catch up. In the meantime, I am recording the latest season of Ru’s all-stars. Also, I am finishing up my review of Red Clocks by Leni Zumas and have begun reading Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi.

I’m also reading:

Besides RuPaul, I’m watching Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor discuss “What We Can Learn from the Black Feminists of the Combahee River Collective” on Democracy Now.  If you haven’t read Taylor’s latest book, How We Get Free: Black Feminism and the Combahee River Collective, you are missing out. Go get it right now!

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Girls Burn Brighter by Shobha Rao

What I’m Reading – 15 January 2018

I want to read ALL THE BOOKS by women. Seriously, it’s becoming a problem.

I was able to whittle down my must-read fiction by women in 2018 list to 12 (plus a bonus book by -gasp!- a man) and that was near impossible. Still as I am tooling around on The Twitter I see books that I am horrified that I left off the list. Perhaps there will be a Part II? And I mean, we haven’t even gotten to my non-fiction list yet. #nerdproblems

I am still looking for books by and about Palestinian women and Native American women. I would love for these to be debut books, up and coming women writers. If you have ideas, please comment below! 

So here’s what I am reading today:

Girls Burn Brighter by Shobha Rao – I am *in love* with this book. The main character, Poornima, is so vivid, I can almost feel her pain, her fear, her disappointment but also her joy and resilience. I hope to finish this one in the next couple of days and post a review this weekend. But Saturday is the Women’s March and I will be spending that day in Milwaukee, voicing my utter contempt for 45 and the current state of affairs in our country, so we will have to see what I can get done…

I am still listening to Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi and reading Alice Bag‘s Violence Girl. I am thinking about writing a larger article on Alice, her music, and her writing for an upcoming issue of Resources for Gender and Women’s Studies: A Feminist Review.

And here are some articles:

  • Leaving Women and Girls Behind in the Data Revolution is Not an Option by Jemimah Njuki on The Wire – This article aligns well with my own research on the necessity of relevant, current information by/about women in their development and agency. Njuki stresses the importance of data collection, especially regarding women’s land rights and ownership. Local libraries or information centers could help with this; my goal is to increase awareness of the role that libraries can play in increasing women’s rights and empowerment.
  • Nafissa Thompson-Spires is Taking Black Literature in a Whole New Direction by Tyrese L. Coleman on Electric Lit – The authors discuss Thompson-Spires’s new book, Heads of the Colored People. In the interview, Thompson-Spires send an important message to “literary gatekeepers”:”I want them to recognize us all and not pit us against each other. There can’t only be this narrative of the one “anointed Black writer” who gets the attention at a time. People can get equal attention and an equal playing field. I also want them to recognize that Black writing is art in the same way other writing is. That we can take risks that other writers can take. I would like to see more space for all of us and more recognition of the many things we can be, which is what my collection is about.” As a librarian and book reviewer, I will keep these words with me.

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The Nix by Nathan Hill

What I’m Reading – 8 Jan 2018

It was hard to get away from news about Oprah’s speech at the Golden Globes last night and her possible interest in running for president, but I managed it! Here’s what I’m reading today:

I’m still making my way through Call Me By Your Name and Homegoing – although I should specify that I am listening to Homegoing on my massive commute each day.

I do enjoy a good narrator for an audiobook. Homegoing is narrated by Dominic Hoffman who does an excellent job changing his voice a bit depending on the character. He has a deep, commanding voice. I also enjoyed Ari Fliakos, who narrated The Nix. Just the way he read it made it funny.

What about that Casey Affleck? While we know he has troubles keeping his hands to himself, he also is no good at book reading. He took The Jungle, an otherwise already gross book, and made it much, much worse. His pronunciations are a bit lacking.

What are your favorite audiobooks?

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An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon

What I’m Reading – 5 Jan 2018

Just a short update for today, that I meant to post yesterday!

I’ve finished The Power by Naomi Alderman. Such a great book! If you like A Handmaid’s Tale, you will like this book. I’m now onto Violence Girl by Alice Bag, Call Me By Your Name by Andre Aciman, and A Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon.

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What I’m Reading – 2 Jan 2018

Hey, 2018!

I am just finishing up The Power by Naomi Alderman and it is so good. I will count it towards my reading goals for 2018!

Next on the list for fiction is An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon. I am super excited about this one. Then I’d like to re-read A Wrinkle in Time quintet.

Of course I am looking to round out my 2018 reading list and so I am getting caught up in others’ reading lists!

I’m also reading:

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Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

What I’m Reading – 29 Dec 2017



And this Twitter thread:

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