“I Am BCALA” is a campaign to showcase and highlight the membership of the caucus. On a regular basis, we will profile members of our organization on our site and on our social media platforms. Interested in participating? Apply online
Our first “I Am BCALA” feature is Jasmine Harris. Jasmine is Assistant Library Manager at Baltimore County Public Library.
How long have you been a member of BCALA?
I have been a member of BCALA for 1 year.
What does BCALA mean to you?
BCALA is pride, dignity, and community. Connecting with my people is incredibly energizing. We bring life, creativity, innovation, and pure ‘dopeness’ to all that we touch. I’m so excited about the new wave of young Black library professionals.
In our country’s current climate, how do yo handle microaggressions and/or blatant aggressions both inside and outside of work?
Handling unintentional microaggressions is a little easier than blatant aggressions. I have finally gotten to a space of self-confidence where I am able to confront, or consciously decide to turn away from, aggressions. Early on in my career, I was eager to make an impression and I didn’t want to shake things up. Though I endeavor to continue to make positive impressions, I will not do it at the expense of my dignity. Blatant aggressions can be tricky. I deal with those situationally.
What are you currently reading or listening to?
I’m never reading just one book. I tend to overwhelm myself with all the books that I desire to read. I’m currently listening to Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller. For fun and to take my mind off school work I’m currently reading Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi.
What advice would you give to new black librarians?
I absolutely love mentoring and connecting with new Black librarians. My advice would be to show up and speak up. For some, myself included, this may be a hard step, but I have learned that voices of color are needed in librarianship. So be present, advocate and serve your community with intention. Also, this is something that I share with all new librarians, think about the future of libraries. What will be our roll in the 5-10 years? How can you position yourself to be involved in the growth and evolution of librarianship? Be tech-curious and remain open to learning new and exciting things.
Share one of your long-term professional goals with us.
I’m currently in grad school for Information Architecture, User Experience Design. I want to combine my background in public libraries with UX Design and create amazing virtual spaces for our customers. Libraries tend to skip out on the necessary work needed to build a website that will meet the need of the user, is engaging, and aesthetically pleasing.