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Self-Care is Not Selfish: Reflections from ALA Annual 2019

This year, I was able to attend ALA Annual for the first time. I learned a lot from the workshops, panels, and sessions I attended but one of the most salient and crucial for me was on self-care. This was the first session I attended and set the tone for the rest of my conference.

The panel was “Self-Care is Not Selfish: Preventing Burnout,” presented by Emily Clasper, Janie Hermann, Djaz Zulida, Carson Block, and Kyle Courtney. I also want to give a shout-out to Sarah Houghton who couldn’t be there in person but graciously recorded a video for us!

As a disabled person who is chronically ill and believes in interdependence, community care, and anti-capitalism as a way to dismantle the systemic issues which create the need for much of our self-care, I am very critical of a lot of self-care discourse. However, this panel also highlighted the importance taking care of each other. When reflecting on my conference experience, I kept thinking back to how this panel - so I created a zine based on what I learned and questions it raised for me, grounded in the practice of radical vulnerability.

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In this zine, I talk about the power of no, navigating ALA Annual events held at bars as a person in recovery, creating space for others to share their stories, what it means to be "healthy" as a chronically ill person and including disabled people in self-care, and what self-care is. I also discuss the power of community care and collective change in addressing the systemic issues that create the need for self-care, interdependence, how we can show up for each other at work, recognizing/preventing burnout, and the importance of knowing your local resources.

This zine was originally created for my Cornell colleagues who couldn’t attend ALA Annual this year but if you’d like a color copy, I’d be happy to send one to you in exchange for $3 for postage. Please e-mail me if you’re interested!