Category Archives: Twitter chat

academic libraries & the student loan crisis

Blue Persian cat
From Our domestic animals, their habits, intelligence and usefulness / by Gos de Voogt (1907)

69th chat, Tuesday November 1: academic libraries & the student loan crisis

Moderated by @kevinseeber @modbrarian @beccakatherine
Storify by @violetbfox

Suggested readings:

Discussion questions:

  • Q1. How is the student loan crisis affecting you, your library, and/or your campus? #critlib
  • Q2. What programming/resources are libraries providing to address the student loan crisis? What else could we be doing? #critlib
  • Q3. Many factors in higher ed have contributed to the present situation. In what ways, if any, are academic libraries implicated? #critlib
  • Q4. Speaking of loans, what can libraries, librarians, and grad programs do about reducing the cost of an MLIS? #critlib


This is a list of terms the moderators anticipate might come up during the chat, though it is not exhaustive. If someone uses an abbreviation or term you don’t understand, we encourage you to ask that person, or a moderator, for a clarification.

  • DOE: Referring to the U.S. Department of Education, which issues a large number of student loans.
  • Financial Literacy: An understanding of how money works, including concepts connected to borrowing, including interest rates and repayment plans.
  • FA or FinAid: Referring to Financial Aid, both the general concept of providing money to students attending college, as well as offices of Financial Aid on college campuses.
  • OER: Shorthand for “open educational resources.” These are often no-cost-to-the-student online materials designed to supplement or replace textbooks.
  • OA: Shorthand for “open access.” Typically describes individual articles, as well as whole journals, that made available online at no cost to the reader.
  • Ss: Shorthand for “students.” (Because abbreviating it as “studs” would be kind of creepy.)

inclusion at public service points

From Kittens and cats : a book of tales / Eulalie Osgood Grover (1911)
From Kittens and cats : a book of tales / Eulalie Osgood Grover (1911)

68th chat, Monday October 17 2016: diversity/inclusion/anti-oppression at public service points

Moderated by @gnomadlibrarian
Storify by @violetbfox

Suggested readings:

Discussion questions:

  • Q1. What does diversity and inclusion mean to you and/or your library? #critlib
  • Q2. What does an anti-oppressive service model look like? #critlib
  • Q3. Beyond hiring diverse desk staff, what other steps can we take to create an empowered and inclusive service point? #critlib
  • Q4. How can we incorporate diversity/inclusion/anti-oppression training into general service point training–especially for student employees? #critlib

For further exploration:

history of critical librarianship

two cats, one sitting and looking at camera, while a white cat stands in a vase
From Our domestic animals, their habits, intelligence and usefulness / by Gos de Voogt (1907)

67th chat, Tuesday October 11 2016: history of critical librarianship

Moderated by @ClaireB_LIS @violetbfox
Storify by @KristynMC83

Note: critlib follows in the footsteps of many critical, radical, progressive groups, while adding a unique voice. We’re using “critical librarianship” below as a shorthand to refer to all library workers who seek to promote social justice and question the commodification of libraries and the value of “neutrality”.

Suggested readings:

  • Morrone,  M., & Friedman, L. (2009). Radical reference : socially responsible librarianship collaborating with community. The Reference Librarian, 50(4). (pdf)
  • Harger, E. (2016). Which Side Are You On? : Seven Social Responsibility Debates in American Librarianship, 1990–2015. (link to WorldCat; especially the Introduction and chapter 1)

Discussion questions:

  • Q1. What are similarities or differences in current approaches to bringing social justice into libraries vs. previous efforts? #critlib
  • Q2. How is the work of previous critical librarians evident in library practices today? Is it more evident in some areas of practice? #critlib
  • Q3. What do the critical theory-focused elements of #critlib bring to the critical librarian conversation? How do they detract?
  • Q4. What do we lose if we aren’t aware of our critical librarianship history? #critlib

For further exploration:

  • Pettigrew, K., Fidel, R., & Bruce, H. (2001). Conceptual frameworks in information behaviour. Annual Review of Information Science and Technology, 35, 43–78.
  • Pettigrew, K., & McKechnie, L. (2001). The use of theory in information science research. Journal of the Association of Information Science and Technology, 52(1), 62–73.
  • Kagan, A. (2015). Progressive Library Organizations: A Worldwide History. (link to WorldCat)
  • Samek, T. (2001). Intellectual Freedom and Social Responsibility in American Librarianship, 1967-1974 (link to WorldCat).

You can find more great resources suggested by @LibJuice Press.



From The Bluestocking / Mary Baldwin Seminary (1910)

66th chat, Tuesday September 13th 2016: #LIUlockout

Moderated by @ibeilin
Storify by @feministlib

This chat will be more open-ended than the standard chat, with the following questions being just the start of the conversation. Feel free to suggest questions using the #critlib hashtag!

Readings and background reference material (document created by @fiiidget):

Discussion questions:

  • Q1. The #LIUlockout has been horrifying to witness & much worse to go through; what have been your reactions as a librarian/fac. member/student? #critlib
  • Q2. Are there any groups/individuals who you’d like to see show more support for students & faculty affected by the #LIUlockout? #critlib
  • Q3. What can we do now to end the #LIUlockout, and to prevent it from happening again? #critlib

public/academic collaboration

From Kittens and cats : a first reader / by Eulalie Osgood Grover (1911)
From Kittens and cats : a first reader / by Eulalie Osgood Grover (1911)

65th chat, Tuesday September 6th 2016: collaborations between academic & public libraries
6pm Pacific / 7pm Mountain / 8pm Central / 9pm Eastern

Moderated by @AprilHathcock

Find more information about this chat at April’s blog: Public-Academic Library Collabs

Discussion questions:

  • Q1. How can academic libraries support public libraries with research?
  • Q2. How can academic libraries be more aware of and help out with public library advocacy?
  • Q3. How can big research university libraries share with community colleges as well as public libraries?

Wikipedia & #critlib

striped angora cat on a pedestal with caption "Tiger and white male, weight 16 lbs."
From The Angora cat : how to breed, train and keep it / edited by Robert Kent James (1898)

64th chat, Tuesday August 23rd 2016: Wikipedia & #critlib

Moderated by @oksveta @fiiidget @nora_almeida
Storify by @poorcharlotte

Suggested readings:

Discussion questions:

  • Q1. What is your stance towards/relationship with Wikipedia (WP) & what experiences have brought you to that stance? #critlib
  • Q2. In what ways could Wikipedia be a potential resource or site for enacting #critlib?
  • Q3. In what ways are the pillars (i.e. Neutral Point of View) and/or organizational structures of WP in tension with #critlib? [link to Wikipedia page for the 5 pillars]
  • Q4. Do librarians have a responsibility to address pitfalls of WP like gender/race/identity gaps? #critlib
  • Q5. What accounts for historic maligning of WP by libs and what does this tell us about our own stance towards information? #critlib

For further exploration:

ethics of digitization

line drawing of a fluffy Persian cat
From Alumnae Recorder / Pennsylvania Female College Alumnae Association (1888)

63rd chat, Monday August 8th 2016: ethics of digitization

Moderated by @tararobertson and @zinelib
Storify by @tararobertson

Suggested readings:

Discussion questions:

  • Q1 What are pros & cons of make digitization decisions informed by personal & community ethics, in addition to/instead of The Law? #critlib
  • Q2 When making digitization decisions, how do we balance the needs of (living) subjects & (future) scholars, now vs. 100s from now? #critlib
  • Q3 What are some #critlib models of providing community/research access to a collection, vs. protecting privacy?
  • Q4 How should #critlib digitization decisions differ with regard to  race, gender, sexuality, disability, etc. vs. those of default identities?
  • Q5 How should #critlib digitization decisions differ with regard to porn vs. other content like newspapers, books, or historical photos?

“offensive” items in the collection

startled looking kitten on a cat-sized wooden chair
From Kittens and cats : a first reader / by Eulalie Osgood Grover (1911)

62nd chat, Tuesday July 26th 2016: “offensive” items in the collection
6pm Pacific / 7pm Mountain / 8pm Central / 9pm Eastern

Moderated by @zoh_zoh
Storify by @violetbfox

Suggested readings:

Discussion questions:

  • Q1. What kinds of materials in your library have offended your users?
  • Q2. What kinds of materials in your library have you & your staff found offensive?
  • Q3. Is it censorship to relocate/reclassify items?
  • Q4. How do you empower your users to be directly involved in collection development and maintenance?

value sensitive design

black and white cat sitting on upholstered furniture
From The Angora cat : how to breed, train and keep it / edited by Robert Kent James (1898)

61st chat, Tuesday July 19th 2016: value sensitive design

Moderated by @metageeky
Storify by @violetbfox

In multiple discussions, twitter chats, and conference presentations, the need for library work to understand, respect, and address issues of diversity is continually brought up. We talk about the need to not only re-design our cataloging methods but also questioning the underlying technology that drives discovery. This requires navigating, balancing, and integrating diverse aspects of academics, society, and technology. Value sensitive design (VSD) is one design approach to consider for tackling these challenges. VSD emphasizes identifying and respecting human values throughout the interactions of society and technology. Using a multidisciplinary perspective that draws on philosophy, social sciences, and engineering, VSD has been applied to many domains, including city planning, assistive technologies, and Internet privacy policies. Let’s explore its potential for innovation and progress in library work, especially in regards to critical librarianship.

Suggested readings:

Discussion questions:

  • Q1. How would you define Value Sensitive Design?
  • Q2. What are some explicitly-supported values in library work?
  • Q2b. In VSD, designers need to recognize if there are any values they explicitly support. Are there explicitly-supported values in #critlib work?
  • Q3. How can VSD be applied to #critlib? What areas of library work could VSD and #critlib benefit?
  • Q4. What might be some challenges in applying VSD to library work? How could those challenges be overcome?

Additional resources:


Kitten sleeping in tiny bed, covered with blanket
From Kittens and cats : a first reader / by Eulalie Osgood Grover (1911)

60th chat, Monday July 11th 2016: caregiving
11am Pacific / noon Mountain / 1pm Central / 2pm Eastern

Moderated by @sarahcrissinger & @ibeilin
Storify by @nishamody

Suggested readings:

Discussion questions:

  • Q1. How do you define “care”? We often talk about caregiving in terms of parenthood, but what are other forms of caregiving? #critlib
  • Q2. How do social expectations (or a lack of such expectations) for caregiving affect you or your workplace? #critlib
  • Q3. What are some of the structural, policy-level impediments one might encounter as a caregiver in LIS? #critlib
  • Q4. We often see a disparity in benefits between staff in different roles, e.g. professional, support, faculty. Is this true in your work? #critlib
  • Q5. If you have benefits others don’t, how can you work to create more inclusive policies around caregiving? #critlib

Additional resources: