Articles of Interest
- “You can't read your way out of racism”: creating anti-racist action out of education in an academic libraryUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel Hill University Libraries shifted from having an education- and programming-based “diversity committee” to a council of librarians advocating for action, anti-racism and social justice, both within our organization and across campus.
- Toward belonging and mutual hospitality: decentering whiteness in the “new normal”The postquarantine reopening of public libraries presents an opportunity for resetting the way libraries welcome patrons. Unfortunately, vestiges of inhospitable, white supremacist practices experienced in public libraries may accompany the “return to normal.” In addition to emphasizing policies and practices that are unwelcoming to patrons and staff from historically marginalized backgrounds, this article presents actions to be employed in an effort to transition the library to a place of belonging and hospitality for marginalized staff and community members.
- In Pursuit of Antiracist Social Justice: Denaturalizing Whiteness in the Academic LibraryThis article examines racism and the culture of Whiteness in academic libraries in three major areas of public services: space, staffing, and reference service delivery. The authors perform a critical discourse analysis, drawing on critical race theory, critical geography, critical education, and social psychology to examine foundational library scholarship and professional standards. Academic libraries, as products and representations of their parent institutions, are situated within the well-documented systemic and institutional racism of higher education in the United States
- Is the Library a “Welcoming Space”?: An Urban Academic Library and Diverse Student ExperiencesThis article presents a case study of an urban academic library's attempt to identify factors that influence the perceptions of students of color concerning the library as a welcoming space. The goal of this study is to determine if there are qualitative divergent factors along racial lines concerning how students use this library. The research is grounded in the theory of symbolic interactionism and Critical Race Theory. The authors then used these theories to focus on three themes that emerged reflecting racial differences among library users. This project adds to the limited scholarly research concerning the influence of the library on the experiences and the retention and success rates of students of color.
- Enough Crocodile Tears! Libraries Moving beyond Performative Antiracist PoliticsThis editorial calls for social justice actions in libraries and discusses possible ways the library and information science (LIS) professions (including practitioners, educators, administrators, and students) can move beyond solely performative antiracist politics in responding to the contemporary social unrest against racial injustices in the United States. My critical push is for authenticity, integrity, and accountability in libraries and among affiliated stakeholders (e.g., LIS, American universities and colleges) considering their historical and ongoing collusion with systemic racism (Chou, Pho, and Roh 2018; Matthews 2020). Contextual embeddedness in historical racism “nested within a larger social, cultural, political, economic, and legal climate” of white oppression and white privilege has shaped limited practices to decenter whiteness in LIS today (Hudson 2017a; Mehra and Gray 2020, 193). Recent racial atrocities by law enforcement agencies complicit in the horrific murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Aubrey, Rayshard Brooks, Walter Wallace Jr., and others has exposed cultural hypocrisy surrounding racial equality and politics (Hylton 2020). The slowness in dismantling whiteness and
- Counterstoried Spaces and Unknowns: A Queer South Asian Librarian Dreaming; Knowledge Justice: Disrupting Library and Information Studies through Critical Race TheoryIn Knowledge Justice, Black, Indigenous, and Peoples of Color scholars use critical race theory (CRT) to challenge the foundational principles, values, and assumptions of Library and Information Science and Studies (LIS) in the United States. They propel CRT to center stage in LIS, to push the profession to understand and reckon with how white supremacy affects practices, services, curriculum, spaces, and policies.
- Counterspaces: A Unit of Analysis for Understanding the Role of Settings in Marginalized Individuals’ Adaptive Responses to OppressionResearch and theory on the intervening variables that enable individuals who experience marginalization and oppression to achieve well-being have historically relied on an individual level of analysis. Yet, there is a growing body of literature that highlights the roles that contexts play in facilitating processes that result in wellness among marginalized individuals. This paper proposes a conceptual framework that highlights a specific type of setting, referred to as “counterspaces,” which promotes the psychological well-being of individuals who experience oppression.
Music and Podcasts
- “Being Able to Listen Makes Me Feel More Engaged”: Best Practices for Using Podcasts as ReadingsWe investigate student listening compliance, preference for audio versus print content, and exam performance when professionally produced podcasts are assigned as “readings” and provided in both audio and print formats. Listening/reading compliance for the assigned podcasts was high compared with figures reported in previous research. The most popular format for accessing the content was listening, followed by reading, followed by doing both. Most students perceived their selected mode made it easier to focus and comprehend. Many students switched their mode of access between assignments, and some mentioned that having options was important. Students who read podcast transcripts were more likely to answer exam questions correctly than those who only listened to the podcasts, a finding likely tied to multitasking behavior reported by listeners. Our findings suggest instructors should provide students access to both podcast audio and transcripts and explicitly teach students how to best engage with podcast content.
- Are virtual reference services color blind?This study reports an experiment that examines whether librarians provide equitable virtual reference services to diverse user groups. The relative absence of social cues in the virtual environment may mean greater equality of services though at the same time greater inequalities may arise as librarians can become less self-aware online. Findings indicate that the quality of service librarians provide to African Americans and Arabs is lower than the quality of service they provide to Caucasian, Hispanic, Asian, and Jewish students. This study adds to the knowledge of subjective bias in the virtual environment by specifying those that are discriminated against online, identifying the kinds of discriminatory actions of virtual reference librarians, and identifying the type of queries that more frequently result in unbiased service.
- Colour blind: Investigating the racial bias of virtual reference services in English academic librariesThe face-to-face academic reference interview, while once the only means of accessing the services of professional reference librarians, is in the process of being almost entirely replaced by a range of online reference services. While such virtual reference services (VRS) provide convenient and instant access to guidance and support from librarians, they also potentially allow responding librarians to let their unconscious biases impact the service provided based on the racial or ethnic belonging of the user. This email-based observation study seeks to investigate whether there is evidence for implicit ethnic bias or discrimination displayed in virtual reference interactions conducted at academic libraries in England. Findings from the data analysis of a total of 158 received responses demonstrate trends of some unequal service provision provided to users based potentially on ethnicity or race, as well as an overall lack of adherence to professional guidelines on best-practices for academic reference interactions.
- Service equality in virtual referenceResearch is divided about the potential of e‐service to bridge communication gaps, particularly to diverse user groups. According to the existing body of literature, e‐service may either increase or decrease the quality of service received. This study analyzes the level of service received by different genders and ethnic groups when academic and public librarians answered 676 online reference queries. Quality of e‐service was evaluated along three dimensions: timely response, reliability, and courtesy. This study found no significant differences among different user groups along any of these dimensions, supporting the argument that the virtual environment facilitates equitable service and may overcome some challenges of diverse user groups
- Teaching at the Desk: Toward a Reference PedagogyProposes that academic librarians use constructivist learning theory, primarily composition theory, to develop a pedagogy for the reference desk. Implies that reference is a form of teaching, and that to maximize their educational effectiveness, academic librarians need to approach reference transactions as academic conferences where teaching and learning take place.
- The Reference Interview: Some Intercultural ConsiderationsThe intercultural aspects of the reference interview have not been considered in the professional library literature. This article proposes that attention be given to better intercultural communication with black students on predominantly white campuses. Librarians on white campuses can do their part, using the reference interview to understand black students better, ultimately helping to make multicultural diversity a reality in the future.
Young Adult Literature
- Collecting Young Adult Literature for Small College Library with Emphasis on African-American, Immigrants, and LGBTQ LiteratureYoung adult literature in academic libraries can serve as an introduction to diverse cultures for white, middle-class students who may not have been exposed to diverse communities before attending university. At the University of Evansville, young adult literature has been a recent addition to the collection. The collection policy was altered to include material that would appeal to a more diverse population that the University of Evansville is attempting to recruit and to provide material needed for the classes on diversity that are being introduced to the curriculum.
- Zine Authors’ Attitudes about Inclusion in Public and Academic Library Collections: A Survey-Based StudyZine collections are becoming an increasingly popular addition to public and academic library holdings. Although academics have made strong arguments for the value of zines’ inclusion as part of our cultural heritage, current research does not focus on zine authors’ perspectives. How do the zine writers themselves feel about having their work—which is often highly personal—collected, shared, and sometimes circulated in the public and academic library sphere? This study will report the findings of a survey designed to uncover zine authors’ attitudes about having their works collected, shared, and circulated—in academic libraries, public libraries, and institutionally affiliated archival collections across the United States.