Edge Case Too: The Intersections of Identity

Short Form


A thing that human brains do is generalize groups based on the individuals that they personally know who make up that group, either as examples of the group or as exceptions to the group. Thus, you get both #YesAllWomen and #NotAllMen. The easy way to beat this human tendency is to surround yourself with more than one person of that given identity or group membership....More likely than not, there's going to be one, maybe two, people in your immediate work circle who are part of groups that you're interested in recruiting more of into your profession or project. Usually. As we pointed out above, in some cases, you have one in your entire department who carry the entirety of their group identity with them wherever they may be going, without anyone else to be able to share the burden of being everyone's shortcut example of how that group behaves.


Everyone professes a want for a more diverse workplace, yet several industries and areas seem unable to convert that desire into actual results. Is it an inability to speak to people in way that gets them excited, or are there deeper pressures and forces at work than there would appear?

We’ll take a look at how difficult it can be to get into a workplace where less than twenty percent of the people in the United States in your area of study look like you, and the challenges that come along with trying to recruit, from the experience of one Youth Services librarian.


diversity, recruitment, public libraries, youth services, allegory-by-example

Speaking experience

Speaker, Open Source Bridge (2015, The Library Is An (Almost) Open-Source Insitutuion, 2016: Postcards from the Edge Case and Librarians and Open Source: We Need Code Too!)

Speaker, American Library Association TechSource Conference (2008: Smash Bash)

Spotlight on Success Poster presentation at Washington Library Association Conference (2013, Mind The Gap)

Speaker, Storytime Extravaganza (2016, Early Literacy Asides: You already have what it takes)

All slides and commentaries available at https://heofhishirts.neocities.org/presentations/index.html


  • Alexheadshot

    Alex Byrne

    Pierce County Library System


    Youth Services Librarian for almost a decade, Linux user for longer, player of games of all sorts and wearer of floral print shirts. Very interested in the ways that public libraries can better assist and find the needs of their communities, how open source code can help raise a generation of coders and hackers, and how open technologies can help free public libraries from vendor lock-in and prevent the adoption of technologies that run counter to public library principles just to get at content.