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

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.

A Quick & Easy Guide to They/Them Pronouns

You may have noticed the they/them pronouns module on this site.  I created it because so many people seem unfamiliar with the practice of using they/them pronouns, and many of the materials available on pronoun usage assume some level of prior knowledge.  I hope that it provides useful, accessible information on they/them pronouns and nonbinary gender identities.

If you’re looking for something in book form – or even comic book form! – I’m happy to recommend the recently released A Quick & Easy Guide to They/Them Pronouns by Archie Bongiovanni and Tristan Jimerson.


Here is an interview with the creators on

The book is available from Limerance Press , or you can search for it in your local library through Worldcat.  (Not in your library’s collection?  You can always suggest it as a purchase.  This increases the chance that other people who need this resource will be able to find it!)

2018 In the Margins Booklist Announced

The 2018 In the Margins booklist – a list of books of interest to and partially selected by “youth who are marginalized, on the streets, incarcerated, drug-addicted, or struggle with combinations of these issues” – has been announced!  The top winners for this year are


Beacon House Writers. The Day Tajon Got Shot. 230p. Shout Mouse Press. March 2017. PB $14.80. 9780996927451.


Young black male, white police officer, tough neighborhood, fear, preconceived ideas and alternating perspectives–all the ingredients for another shooting in America.  This time, though, the own-voice authors are ten female students who committed two years of their lives to work on the story’s production, in order to make it clear that Black Lives Matter.



Porinchak, Eve. One Cut. 256 p. Simon Pulse. May 2017. 241p. HC $19.99. PB. $10.99. 9781481481311.

One Cut

A good kid dies.  Or was he murdered?  Or is there more to the story than meets the eye?  This book pulls from the true story that sent a white suburb into chaos, opening up the possibility that the good kids aren’t all that they seem.



Social Justice / Advocacy

Ross, Richard. Juvie Talk. 271p. MacArthur Foundation. 2017. PB $24.95.  9780985510626.

Juvie Talk

Life is a play and we are all the characters. The children who have had their lives affected by the juvenile justice system are also “playing parts that have been written for them by society” (R. Ross). Juvie Talk takes the voices of those youth and allows them to tell their stories. But this book goes further–allowing students and teachers to create plays on the book’s website. Unique, creative and inspirational.


See the press release for the awards list on School Library Journal.

See the full list, including nominees, at the In the Margins site.