Category Archives: Twitter chat

Wikipedia, open access, and social justice

black and white drawing of two cats sitting near an empty plate
From The fireside sphinx / by Agnes Repplier (1901)

98th chat, Monday January 22 2018: Wikipedia, open access, and social justice
11am Pacific / noon Mountain / 1pm Central / 2pm Eastern

moderated by @voxpopulare
Storify (pdf, html) by @violetbfox

This chat will happen during the #1Lib1Ref campaign, an effort to encourage all librarians to get involved in editing Wikipedia.

suggested resources:

discussion questions:

  • Q1. How have you engaged with Wikipedia in the past week, month, or year (personally or professionally)? Is there anything that keeps you from engaging more than you do? #critlib
  • Q2. In general, how does Wikipedia supplement or enhance your work or that of your students, faculty/staff colleagues, or general library patrons? #critlib
  • Q3. Based on the readings about Wikipedia as activism and indigenous Wikipedia, what do you see as the potential for Wikipedia as a site for activism or eliminating information gaps about/for marginalized populations? #critlib
  • Q4. Based on your experience and the readings, how do you engage with Wikipedia an information resource, a community, or both? #critlib
  • Q5. How can we use Wikipedia more effectively as a tool to support global engagement among scholars, activists, information professionals, and people in need of open information resources? #critlib

doing critlib research

drawing of anthropomorphic cat holding feather quill and writing on paper
From Letters from a cat : published by her mistress for the benefit of all cats and the amusement of little children / by Helen Hunt Jackson (1880)

97th chat, Tuesday January 9 2018: doing critlib research: a #libparlor #critlib mashup
6pm Pacific / 7pm Mountain / 8pm Central / 9pm Eastern

moderated by @hailthefargoats and @libraringkat

The Librarian Parlor (LibParlor) is a blog for conversing, sharing expertise, and asking questions about the process of developing, pursuing, and publishing library research. In this first of two #critlib chats, the Librarian Parlor Editorial Team would like to explore the process and theory behind conducting research with a critical librarianship lens. We hope this chat provides insight on best practices for starting and doing this research, as well as provide perspectives and theories for further exploration. The LibParlor Editorial Team believes our mission of creating community and conversation to demystify research aligns with the mission of #critlib to engage in discussion on critical perspectives.

(A wrap-up blog post from the moderators, featuring some of the participants’ suggestions for resources, is also available.)

Suggested resources:

Discussion questions:

  • Q1. How did you get involved with critlib and what kind of #critlib-related research are you working on right now or hope to work on soon?
  • Q2. How does #critlib pedagogy influence your research and how do you incorporate critical approach in your research?
  • Q3. What’s the most influential #critlib theory/book/article you’ve read and how has it impacted your research and day to day work as a librarian?
  • Q4. Have you received any pushback from colleagues about doing #critlib-related research? How have you handled these conversations? How would you hope to handle them if this happened to you?
  • Q5. What do you hope to achieve with #critlib research?

2017 year end chat

black and white drawing of a striped short haired cat
From McGuffey’s eclectic primer / by W.H. McGuffey (1909)

96th chat, Monday December 18 2017: year end chat
11am Pacific / noon Mountain / 1pm Central / 2pm Eastern

moderated by @catladylib and @kellymce

About a year ago, #critlib chats began to focus on what it meant to be an information professional in a hostile, fascist, and overtly racist political environment; and it’s become a tradition to host an annual reflective chat for the #critlib community to reconnect with why they do the work that they do. We recognize that 2017 has been a difficult year politically, and need for information works to organize and resist has never been greater. This week’s chat invites the #critlib community to reflect on the year, share what their struggles have been, what they’re grateful for, and how we can organize the collective for the upcoming year.

Discussion questions:

  • Q1. What has critical librarianship looked like for you this last year? #critlib
  • Q2. What is (or isn’t) welcome back in 2018? #critlib
  • Q3. What are you grateful for at the end of this year? What are you grieving or angry about? #critlib
  • Q4. What did you read this year that resonated? #critlib
  • Q5. What will you focus on next year? #critlib

user personas for digital collections

black and white photo of two cats sitting next to two well-worn boots
From The Angora cat : how to breed, train and keep it / edited by Robert Kent James (1898)

95th chat, Tuesday December 5 2017: user personas for digital collections
6pm Pacific / 7pm Mountain / 8pm Central / 9pm Eastern

moderated by @kate_thornhill and @hskettler
Storify (pdf, html) by @CLIRDLF

Please use both hashtags: #critlib #dlfaig in this chat!

The Digital Library Federation‘s Assessment Interest Group‘s User Experience and Cultural Assessment Working Group’s Twitter chat will focus on the ethical implications of designing user personas as they apply to the creation and universal access of digital collection and repository technologies. These effects are often inscribed by white-straight-cisgendered librarians’ and technologists’ perspectives and values, and influence digital collection building and repository system development and maintenance. The intent of this #critlib #dlfaig chat will be to underscore and outline the snowball effect of early stage human-centered design processes influenced and perpetuated by systemic inequalities.

Suggested resources:

Discussion questions:

  • Q1. What are pros and cons of using user personas for digital libraries and collections? #critlib #dlfaig
  • Q2. How can we most ethically and responsibly design user personas for digital collections? How should communities be included and involved? #critlib #dlfaig
  • Q3. When conducting user research for user personas, what crucial aspects should digital library practitioners should be aware of to offset bias in the digital library design process? #critlib #dlfaig
  • Q4. When designing systems to support digital collections, what are core system functions to include in user persona behavior goals? #critlib #dlfaig
  • Q5. How do digital collection selection practices and workflows influence and define user personas? #critlib #dlfaig
  • Q6. The DLF UX and Cultural Assessment working groups are in the beginning stages of developing a user personas rubric. What criteria should be included in it? What should be measured? #critlib #dlfaig

Context/additional information:

critical librarianship and comics

black and white photo of a long haired kitten wearing a light-colored crochet sweater
From Kittens and cats : a book of tales / Eulalie Osgood Grover (1911)

94th chat, Tuesday November 28 2017: critical librarianship and comics
6pm Pacific / 7pm Mountain / 8pm Central / 9pm Eastern

moderated by @ohelmiller and @stephliana
Storify (pdf, html) by @NoetheMatt


  • graphic novel vs. comic: comic is the medium, graphic novel is a form more socially accepted.
  • minicomics: usually refers to handmade or micropress (creator-published/self-published or very small press) comics.
  • webcomics: comics created for and published on websites. May range from daily strips to full-length graphic novels. (Distinguished from digital comics, which are usually traditionally-published comics meant to live as print works but made available on digital platforms.)
  • sequential art: artwork that tells a story through sequential narrative (including storyboards, animation, and illustrated novels). Comics are sequential art, but not all sequential art is comics.
  • see also: BookRiot’s Glossary of Comic Terms

Suggested resources:

Discussion questions:
  • Q1. How have you used (or seen comics used) in library practice? How would you like to see comics used in libraries? #critlib
  • Q2. What programming ideas or experiences do you have that examine comics through a critical lens? That use comics AS a critical lens? #critlib
  • Q3. How do cataloging and/or shelving practices in your library affect the perception or discovery of comics? #critlib
  • Q4. Given institutional norms, how can we keep comic collections weird? #critlib
  • Q5. Comic suggestions for the new-to-comics-critical-librarian? #critlib

Radical Reference

black and white photo of five long haired kittens
From Our domestic animals, their habits, intelligence and usefulness / by Gos de Voogt (1907)

93rd chat, Tuesday November 14 2017: Radical Reference
6pm Pacific / 7pm Mountain / 8pm Central / 9pm Eastern

moderated by @mauraweb @Audrey_Sage_ @NicoleG_Haus
Storify (pdf, html) by @violetbfox

Radical Reference is a collective of library workers and information workers who believe in and work towards social justice and equity ( In the past RadRef provided online reference services to activists, journalists and researchers who requested help looking for information and resources, and supported protests and other street actions. The NYC chapter has recently reactivated, and we’d like to host a chat to think on and discuss what RadRef could be in these times.

Suggested resources:

Discussion questions:

  • Q1. Have you heard of or been involved with RadRef in the past? Where/when? What draws you to this work?
  • Q2. What are other activist library groups? Can you share some examples of activist library groups’ activities?
  • Q3. How can library/information workers contribute to and work with other activist groups?
  • Q4. How can we keep up the momentum and sustainability in our activist library work?
  • Q5. What would you like to see RadRef do or be? How can we make it happen?

radical empathy in archival practice

black and white photo of a tabby cat
From The diseases of the cat / by J. Woodroffe Hill (1901)

92nd chat, Monday October 23 2017: radical empathy in archival practice
11am Pacific / noon Mountain / 1pm Central / 2pm Eastern

moderated by @dinahhandel & @kellywooten
Storify (pdf, html) by @lizahar

Suggested resources:

Radical Empathy (from the Caswell and Cifor article) is “a willingness to be affected, to be shaped by another’s experience, without blurring the lines between the self and the other.” Caswell and Cifor’s radical empathy posits that, “subjects are embodied, that we are inextricably bound to one another through relationships, that we live in complex relations to each other infused with power differences and inequities, and that we care about each other’s well-being. This emphasis on empathy takes bodies and the bodily into account.”

Caswell and Cifor propose that a feminist ethic of radical empathy shifts four key archival relationships: relationships between the archivist and the records creator, the archivist and records subject, the archivist and user, and the archivist and larger communities. Participants in a “Radical Empathy in Archival Practice” panel at the 2017 SAA meeting proposed a fifth responsibility, that of the archivist to the archivist.

Discussion questions:

  • Q1. Reflect on the 4 relationships discussed in the article and share your experience with any that resonated with you. #critlib
  • Q2. How can we remain emotionally open and vulnerable yet remain grounded? Can we be both affective and effective archivists? #critlib
  • Q3. When do the tenets of our profession complicate or uplift our capacity to be radically empathetic? #critlib
  • Q4. How do we create a radically empathetic 5th relationship between archivists? How can we facilitate spaces for emotional education/actions? #critlib
  • Q5. How can we navigate conflicting responsibilities between all of our affective relationships? Which relationships do we prioritize? #critlib

open educational resources (OER)

black and white photograph of two cats sitting on a wooden chair with a padded seat
From St. Nicholas vol. 27 no. 10 / edited by Mary Mapes Dodge (1900)

91st chat, Tuesday October 3 2017: open educational resources (OER) 
6pm Pacific / 7pm Mountain / 8pm Central / 9pm Eastern

moderated by @zoh_zoh @aliversluis @eriksation @SarahEHare
Storify (pdf, html) by @violetbfox

Suggested resources:

Discussion questions:

  • Q1. What critical questions and ideas are missing from current conversations about OER? #critlib
  • Q2. How does privilege intersect with making and using OER? #critlib
  • Q3. Are there any commonalities between critical information literacy and open pedagogy? #critlib
  • Q4. How is it harmful to frame OER as a simple solution to complex issues (educational, economic, etc.)? Have you seen this framing? #critlib
  • Q5. How does OER labor get rewarded (or not)? How does this differ across groups (librarians, instructional technologists, faculty)? #critlib

spatial justice

From Art and criticism : monographs and studies / by Theodore Child (1892)

90th chat, Monday September 18 2017: spatial justice: white supremacy in public art and architecture
6pm Pacific / 7pm Mountain / 8pm Central / 9pm Eastern*
*note special evening Monday time

moderated by @a_meeksie & @vin_alyssa
Storify (pdf, html) by @violetbfox


  • spatial justice: Spatial justice brings together social justice and space. How space is organized (what and who occupies any given space) is a crucial dimension of human societies, reflecting social realities and (in)justices while also influencing social relations (Henri Lefebrve, 1968, 1972). This concept can be used as a guiding tool to understand and reflect on solutions to social injustices that are embedded in both space and society.
  • public art: art in any media that has been planned and executed with the intention of being staged in the physical public domain, usually outside and accessible to all.

Suggested resources:

  • Brook, Freeda, Dave Ellenwood, and Althea Eannace Lazzaro. “In pursuit of antiracist social justice: denaturalizing whiteness in the academic library.” Library Trends 64.2 (2015): 246-284. (especially section on “The racialized space of the academic library” pdf)

Discussion questions:

  • Q1. What is the function of public art and architecture where you work/live? #critlib
  • Q2. What narratives/whose history is dominant in and around lib*/archives in your community? #critlib
  • Q3. If lib* take an antiracist approach to cultivating culturally responsive spaces, what do we need to examine first and why? #critlib
  • Q4. How can we can work to counteract & subvert oppressive spatial elements, such as monuments that function as microaggressions? #critlib
  • Q5. What barriers might we encounter in trying to do this work in our profession & how can we overcome those barriers? #critlib

Additional resources:

the weight and worth of professionalism

black and white photo of a cat wearing cat-sized eyeglasses and a bonnet
From Kittens and cats : a book of tales / Eulalie Osgood Grover (1911)

89th chat, Tuesday September 5 2017: the weight and worth of professionalism
6pm Pacific / 7pm Mountain / 8pm Central / 9pm Eastern

moderated by @TheGnarrator
Storify (pdf, html) by @lisahubbell

Suggested resources:

Discussion questions:

  • Q1. What is the culture of professionalism in your workplace? In your area of librarianship?
  • Q2. How do definitions of professionalism differ from the democratic and social values advocated by librarianship?
  • Q3. What are ways that professionalism is oppressive?
  • Q4. How can we cultivate acceptance of different attitudes towards professionalism/redefine professionalism to be more inclusive and accommodating of different experiences/identities?
  • Q5. How do you represent yourself authentically in the workplace or as a job seeker while navigating organizational expectations?