After the mass shooting at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin on August 5, 2012, an APALA member forwarded an email, which included basic information about Sikhism and links to resources, and asked if we, too, should post something. As librarians and information professionals, it makes sense that we should be providing information to the public whenever we can, especially if we can include lists of resources. When it comes to any of the APA populations, APALA should definitely be the one to take the lead.


For this particular topic, I knew exactly who I would ask, but I was hesitant because I didn’t want to add a burden to someone who is grieving for and with those in Oak Creek. I did eventually ask Gurpreet Kaur Rana, Global Health Coordinator at the Taubman Health Sciences Library at the University of Michigan. Preet wrote an extremely personal and poignant essay, entitled “Six Yards of Normal,” in which we learned a little bit about what is “normal” for her. I was especially struck by her last sentences: “We need to have a discourse on “normal”. You need to learn about my “normal”. I need to learn about your “normal”. We need to be aware and educated about the communities and people that make up the fabric of this country. Our differences do not make us different.


She is absolutely correct about the need to have such a discourse. Consequently, I have decided to begin a series of essays called “What’s Your Normal?” The hope is that you will heed Preet’s call to “learn about your normal” and offer a slice or two of what is ordinary or typical for you but may be uncommon for or unknown to others. By sharing our stories, I believe that not only will we learn about each other, but we would also highlight the different kinds and forms of identities within APA populations.


At the end of her essay, Preet included a list of relevant resources. She will continue to add to the list, but she also wanted it to be interactive so you are welcome to add to the list, too. The links will eventually be compiled, expanded on, and put in the resources section of our website. This will go a long way towards our development of this section.


I hope that you will be inspired by Preet’s essay and send in your own. The essays and initial resources will be published at regular intervals and will go in the features section of our website. Please send your essays, along with a list of resources, to Melissa Cardenas-Dow (melissa.cardenasdow[at]gmail[dot]com).


To summarize:

What: “What’s Your Normal?” is a series of personal essays, accompanied by resource lists, highlighting the different kinds and forms of identities within APA populations.

Who: You will share a story or two that gives insight into your identity(ies) or what is normal for you.

When: Now. Any time. The essays will be published at regular intervals.

Where: The APALA website will publish these essays. The essays and initial resource lists will reside in the features section. The compiled and expanded resource lists will go in the resources section.

Why: Because we want to learn about you and from each other. Because we want to showcase the diversity within APA populations. Because we want to create resource lists that will be useful to librarians, other information professionals, and the general public.

How: Send essays and resource lists to Melissa Cardenas-Dow (melissa.cardenasdow[at]gmail[dot]com).


I am looking forward to hearing from you and learn about your normal soon. I thank you in advance for sharing.


Jade Alburo
APALA President, 2012-2013