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.