Let My Voice Heard

January 20, 2017

Today, on the day of the Inauguration of the 45th President of the United States, I like, so many other citizens of our country anxious and frightened about what lies ahead for our country these next 4 years.

My fears and anxieties are based on the track records and remarks by Mr. Trump, Mr. Pence, the people whom he has chosen to fill his Cabinet positions and other key positions in our government.

My proactive action plan for every day of these next 4 years is to:

  • Let my voice be heard through writing letters to our elected officials on issues that most concern me — more about that later on in this post.
  • Let my voice be heard by my involvement in local, statewide, and national groups which are involved in those issues.
  • Let my voice be heard through creativity — poetry and prose directed to those issues.
  • Let my voice be heard through spirituality — personal daily prayer and meditation; prayer at my local synagogue, and participation in our great community-wide non-denominational spiritual events.

The issues that I am most concerned about:

  • Social justice initiatives (African American, Hispanic American, LGBT, antisemitism, religious tolerance, physically, mentally, and emotionally challenged individuals, women — in no particular order of importance).
  • The Arts
  • The Environment
  • Literacy and education
  • Poverty and hunger
  • Libraries and museums
  • The economical divide
  • The digital divide

In order that the progress that has been made in the past century not be halted and erased, each of us who is concerned must speak up on a daily basis.

I will and I can.

 

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Thinking Outside My Box at the Interfaith Gathering of Unity

November 14, 2016

“The true nature of religion is kindness” — Dalai Lama

 

For over 25 years I have worked as a librarian in the diverse communities of Linden, Rahway & Jersey City, New Jersey and Brooklyn, New York.

My patrons have come from all parts of our vast world, from many religions including Jewish, Christian, Moslem, Coptic, Hinduism, Sikh, Baha’i and Buddhism.

I have learned great lessons from so many of these wonderful men, women, teens, and children — lessons in tolerance and the thirst for knowledge, among other things.

Tonight I was blessed and privileged to be able to attend a moving and spiritually lifitng program/service, The Interfaith Gathering of Unity” sponsored by the Hudson County Brotherhood/Sisterhood Association and held at the Islamic Center of Jersey City.

I gained so much from the speakers’ teachings and from some, their personal accounts of coming to the United States and to Jersey City and the welcoming embrace of the other religious institutions and leaders in times of oppression and bigotry.

We were given flowers, we joined in song, we were united in our vision of tolerance and respect for each other’s beliefs.

It gave me renewed hope in my kindred comrades in spirituality in Jersey City, because no matter what our beliefs, we all believe in peace, love, kidness and respect for each other.

 

 

 

 

The Next Four Years: Personal Reflections & a Charge to Others

November 9, 2016
Growing up, I like so many others was confronted with hostility and bigotry, because I was different. First it was because I had cerebral palsy (which when I was very young was very evident), then when we moved to NJ not only because I had CP but because I was Jewish.
 
It was a very hard childhood and adolescence for me. I couldn’t understand why people wouldn’t judge me on my own merits.
 
I also faced bigotry as an adult while job-hunting.
 
Since a young age, because of these experiences, I have been involved in social justice advocacy, for those others who were harassed and denied equal rights because of their differences.
 
If Donald Trump had not spewed hatred of different groups nor ignorance of human rights and foreign relations, I too MIGHT have voted for him.
 
If he had disassociated himself from others who spew hatred and intolerance, I might have voted for him.
 
But that was not to be.
 
Despite her faults, I saw and still see in Hillary Clinton, a great humanitarian and social justice activist who also has had foreign relations leadership.
 
Up until today, I have not seen these qualities in Donald Trump and it saddens me and frightens me.
 
For those of you who have known me since grade school or high school, are you going to guarantee that I wont be harasses and discriminated against in these next four years?
 
For those who have known me in college or in my professional working life or through community activities, I also pose these questions.
 
Will you guarantee that my Latino, African-American, LGBT, Jewish or Muslim friends and colleagues and acquaintances will not be subjected to harrassment and worse?
 
I truly respect those of you who voted for Donald Trump. You had your reasons.
 
Will you promise me that out of respect for me and those others that I have mentioned above that you will stand up for me and the others when you hear of any discrimination or intolerance towards us?
 
I would and have stood up for you and tried my best to help you and others in my daily work as a librarian and a community builder
 
I want to listen to you and your concerns and your visions foor making America better.
 
Let’s start this conversation.
 
And please let’s continue to have each other’s backs!

A Day to Celebrate Librarianship, Librarians, Libraries & Those Who Love Libraries, Books & The Other Multifold Treasures of Libraries

September 15, 2016

I sat on the couch in our library’s staff kitchen during my lunch today and watched my colleague and friend Carla Hayden take her oath of office to become the next Librarian of Congress (the first African-American and first woman to be nominated & confirmed for this highest position). I cried tears of joy, as many of our colleagues have also shared via social media. Joy that such an accomplishment was finally possible and joy that Carla Hayden is the perfect person to have accomplished this “first”.

Having known Carla through our American Library Association for the past 25 years, I have seen her passion, commitment, tenacity, and integrity and her strength and vision as a leader both in the best of times and in the most challenging situations. You can go to your local library and look her up in print media or “Google” her for more of this backstory.

It was not only her numerous accomplishments, but also what she has said in different situations and settings over the years, very often standing up for those who had no voices which has continued to impress me greatly. Then there is also her fantastic ability to create partnerships with different organizations and businesses. Carla is also fantastic at “thinking outside of the box”.

Despite our differences, librarians are a tight family. We have each others backs. We rejoice at each others triumphs and weep at the tragedies that have confronted individuals, libraries and their communities.

 

Today was definitely a day when librarians and all those who love and support libraries rejoiced. Our only tears were tears of utter happiness.

Congratulations again, Carla!

 

 

Carla Hayden Librarian of Congress Swearing-In Ceremony, 9-14-16

The Escalators (9-11 Yartzeit)

September 11, 2016

From 1995 until February 2001 I commuted to Brooklyn from Monmouth County. Very often I took the North Jersey Coast Train to Newark and switched to the PATH train to the World Trade Center. There I would transfer to the subway for the ride to Brooklyn.

I spent a lot of time in the World Trade Center at the stores and food places on my commute to and from work.

As we commemorate the 15th anniversary of 9-11 tomorrow, my thoughts and prayers are with those who perished at the World Trade Center, at the Pentagon, and on the airplanes, and with the families, friends, and colleagues that they left behind.
I would like to share this poem that I wrote a while back:

The Escalators

I saw you glide by me
On the Escalators.
There were a lot of you — Too many to try to count.

If i tried hard enough,
I could focus in
At some of your faces.

There were many of you
Who got off with me
At the first landing

Some of you joined me at the deli,
Right next to the escalators
There used to be a bar there too,
But that appeared to have been shut down
For quite a while
As far as I remember

Perhaps we walked further and stopped off at Borders
For a quick book fix

Or we ventured further into the innards
Choosing the fancier deli
For our first meal

Some you continued to walk with me
Down to the subway
For the next leg of our commute

Sometimes we ascended still another escalator
And momentarily left the building
Perhaps to go to the Post Office
Or Staples
Or Century 21 or J & R

Too many of you, however,
Continued ascending the escalators,
Almost as if you were getting ready
To go up to heaven,
Or so it seemed,
To a weary commuter like myself
With a too vivid imagination

I tried to focus hard
On your faces
Hoping to memorize
Each and everyone
Of them… Of you

But too no avail

Then the day came
With a new job
That I no longer
Needed to travel this route

Yes, I returned to visit
But not often enough

And then
The escalators were gone
As were too many of the people
And the buildings

Yet in my mind
For the longest time,
Even now sometimes,
I vividly see you ascend the non-existant escalators
Up past me
I want to silently scream
“No, stop! Don’t go there”
But I don’t
I can’t
Because for too many of you
It’s too late
So many of you —
Too many of you
Ascended those escalators
One last time
And rose up to heaven

@2016 Janice Leslie Hochstat Greenberg

Orlando

June 17, 2016

I turned 61 years old 2 days after the tragedy at the Pulse Club in Orlando.

In just the first thirteen years of my life, 3 of this nation’s beloved leaders were assassinated.

In my twenties, Rabin, Sadat & John Lennon were murdered.

These last twenty years have brought a slew of killings.

The Pulse nightclub tragedy hit me very hard for several reasons.

First of all, gay clubs are places where people feel accepted, not judged. Just like I feel in my synagogue.

Second, there are a number of people who are very important parts of my life, my support system, who are gay.

I just do not understand why people can hate so blindly, so over-encompassingly to want to destroy as many innocent lives as possible.

I refuse to stand by anymore. No, I haven’t been silent, but I want to give a purpose to these feelings.

I want to make a difference in my own small way.

I am still trying to figure out how, but I know that I will.

 

Healthier Living — By Choice (or Not)

July 29, 2012

I have been a member of Weight Watchers for a very long time — off and on.

I have been coming to the Sunday morning session for the past 2 tears (sic–years).

Our diverse group is a support system for it’s members.

Each of us faces our own problems and challenges, yet no matter how unique, there is similarity in each of our situations.

We learn from each other.

I have had many good leaders over the years. Phyllis is a jewel.

Some notes from today’s meeting:

We need to plan for compulsive eating and not tracking

By tracking we see the foods we eat.

Behavior modification.

Being accountable.

You can’t be in here for [because of] someone else.

You do need fats, protein, carbs.

You need to read your body.

Portion distortion.

Reworking our brain.

Afraid to hit lifetime???

Regression is scary part.

Revisit Week 1 [book].

Our automatic response is food.

The behaviors which brought us here ate always with us

Each meal is a new meal.

Changing my mindset.

Can’t beat myself up.

It’s all choices I choose to make.

I Find it harder to put activity into my life.

Using exhaustion as an excuse..

Focus on YOU as an Individual.

This is an emotional journey.

It doesn’t work out until you find something to replace stimulus you are used to.

    RECIPE

FOR BREAKFAST [or snack]

3 egg whites
1 cup oatmeal

Splash

of Skim Milk
Optional–a little vanilla.

THIS WEEK’S TOPIC —

BE THE PRO IN YOUR HOME

    Be Your Own Pro

    in Weight Watchers Weekly (p. 6-9).
    Prep multiple meals at once.
    Tack exercise onto other activities.
    Find simple, tasty recipes on ETools and in Weight Watchers Cookbooks.
    See fitness demos and get workout plans on ETools

Whatever your goal, you can get there, of you’re willing to work.

Advocating for and Empowering Our Library Support Staff

January 29, 2012

I am wondering a lot lately how I can be a better mentor to library support staff.

By mentor I mean resource sharer, lobbyist for better salaries and working conditions, and advocate for the availability and financial support for training.

Yes, I also mentor support staff who want to go for their MLS or PhD — but the mentoring I wrote about above should be a given in all library settings, and too often isn’t.

ALA has the LSSIRT (Library Support Staff Interests Round Table) and their are certification programs and workshops also available on the state-level–but are support staff given the opportunity and means to take advantage of these programs/workshops?

I feel it is immportant to keep this dialogue going.

Please feel free to comment or direct message me.

Thanks!

Thinking Outside My Box

October 31, 2009

“Thinking Outside My Box” has become a regular part of my daily routine at work.

In cataloging, one needs to think about how to make a bibliographic record better so that more of the library’s patrons can find that particular book. Perhaps adding a book’s description in the 520 field (if there is none), or subject headings in Spanish for a Spanish language book, or the number of pages (many bib records don’t have a complete 300 field) or for a children’s book the grade or age level.

Working with patrons, many times a patron will ask for one thing and through  detective skills we are able to help them find what they actually want.

Very often adults will come in to the library to get information for their children or grandchildren, etc. and not think about getting a library card for themselves. Perhaps they are not aware of the many free services our libraries offer.

Thinking outside my box gives me a unique perspective. It is a work in progress because I am learning everyday how to do it better.

The same could be said for academic libraries. I know college students who barely if ever set foot in their own college libraries. They are never able to benefit from that library’s many services.

As a member of the American Library Association for almost twenty years, I am constantly surprised and disappointed to find that many people I know who work in libraries across the United States are not members.

Reasons often cited include the expense, not being able to attend conferences, or that they are not “professional librarians.”

I have decided to run for ALA Council because as I wrote in my Candidate’s Statement of Professional Concern:

“ALA needs to advocate more for unserved populations, as well as the underserved. We need to find ways to offer equity of access for library workers who for financial, staffing, or personal reasons can not become members and/or attend conferences. I want to create new policies which would allow members to fulfill ALA’s vision of an organization of advocates to those we serve as well as those we work with. We need a national brain trust database of experts in different areas of librarianship. We need a database of all conference presenters.
ALA needs to play a greater role in literacy initiatives across the generations. We need to seek partnerships with those organizations which focus on child and teen illiteracy.
As an active member of REFORMA and BCALA, and as a presenter at JCLC in 2006, I will ensure that views of our ethnic caucuses will be represented on council.”

In other words, ALA needs to think more outside it’s box and I can be a guiding force in that direction.