Blog

Interview with LitTV

I’m honored that my interview with youth in San Francisco has been posted on LitTV.

LitTV is a series of video documents in collaboration with San Francisco Bay Area teens, exploring connections between fire and knowledge, showcasing some of the unique features and personalities that make up the San Francisco Public Library, and the vital role that librarians play in their communities. It is produced by the artist Minerva Cuevas for the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s Public Knowledge initiative.

LitTV with Jeanie Austin

Thank you to Minerva Cuevas and the amazing SF youth!

Predictive Policing

Jackie Wang provides a thorough introduction to the fallacies and justifications for predictive policing in “This is a Story About Nerds and Cops.”  In the piece, Wang writes about the ways that predictive policing is utilized to reassure the public of the supposedly bias-free impetus behind police activities as well as the impossibility of predictive policing to be neutral.  Additionally, Wang notes that the affective dimension of fear and the desire for safety may, in many ways, be manufactured or at least be incommensurate with actual threats –

Empirically, there is no basis for the belief that there is an unprecedented crime boom that threatens to unravel society, but affective investments in this worldview expand the domain of surveillance and policing and authorizes what Manuel Abreu calls “algorithmic necropower.” The security state’s calculation of risk through data-mining techniques sanctions the targeting of “threats” for death or disappearance. Though the goal of algorithmic policing is, ostensibly, to reduce crime, if there were no social threats to manage, these companies would be out of business.

“This is a Story About Nerds and Cops” is included in Carceral Capitalism, a book of Wang’s essays, and is available online in e-flux (87) at https://www.e-flux.com/journal/87/169043/this-is-a-story-about-nerds-and-cops-predpol-and-algorithmic-policing/.

Early History of Jail/Prison Library Services

For librarians following the prison strike of 2018 (and for those who are not yet doing this), R.J. Rubin’s U.S. prison library services and their theoretical bases is essential reading for background perspective on how librarians have historically thought through library services in jails and prisons.  Published in 1973, it is a signpost into how library services came to exist in jail in prisons, librarians’ belief in their own theoretical and professional expertise, and how short a time there have been librarian-led services in jails and prisons in the United States. You can access the full text at

Rubin, R. J. (1973). U.S. prison library services and their theoretical bases. Occasional Papers, No. 110.