the future of ALA

tabby cat sitting on a fence
From Children and gardens / by Gertrude Jekyll (1908)

81st chat, Tuesday April 4 2017: the future of ALA
6pm Pacific / 7pm Mountain / 8pm Central / 9pm Eastern

Moderated by @MaxRenewals @bembrarian @violetbfox
Storify by @elwags

Just a reminder that if you’re an ALA member, elections end Wednesday April 5th. Please vote!

Discussion questions:

  • Q1. What’s your ALA story? How do you feel about ALA and how has your journey caused those feelings?
  • Q2. Do you feel participation in ALA is a/an (explicit or implicit) requirement for library professionals? Should it be?
  • Q3. How could ALA be made more valuable for non-MLIS-holding library workers?
  • Q4. What would you like to see ALA do that it’s not doing now?

open access & the politics of knowledge sharing

tabby cat with a bow around its neck, sitting on a table
From Our domestic animals, their habits, intelligence and usefulness / by Gos de Voogt (1907)

80th chat, Tuesday March 21 2017: open access & the politics of knowledge sharing
6pm Pacific / 7pm Mountain / 8pm Central / 9pm Eastern

Moderated by @ashleydfarley & @bree_uw
Storify by @ashleydfarley

Discussion questions

  • Q1. Do you agree or disagree that scientific research should be freely available? Include your reasoning. #critlib
  • Q2. Do librarians have a clear role in the open access movement? Why or why not? #critlib
  • Q3. Share a story where open access to research articles has impacted your personal or professional life. #critlib
  • Q4. Does your library support Open Access? If so, how? #critlib
  • Q5. Do you think librarians can become the sole disseminators of research? Should they be? #critlib

Suggested readings

teaching beyond the academy

black and white photo of a long-haired orange cat
From Mammals of other lands / Charles J. Cornish [and others], editors (1917)
79th chat, Tuesday March 7 2017: teaching beyond the academy
6pm Pacific / 7pm Mountain / 8pm Central / 9pm Eastern

Moderated by @esquetee & @Kirsten_Clair
Storify by @Kirsten_Clair

Discussion questions:

  • Q1. What do you think your role in the classroom is for preparing students beyond one-shot classes/assignments? #critlib
  • Q2. Are we preparing students to be lifelong learners? Why or why not? #critlib
  • Q3. Do you ever teach resources that are outside those provided by your institution? How could this change your teaching approach? #critlib
  • Q4. What is one thing would you change about your library instruction if you had a magic wand? Would you change anything? #critlib

business, professional, medical, health, & STEM education programs

three kittens in tiny rocking chairs
From Kittens and cats : a book of tales / Eulalie Osgood Grover (1911)

78th chat, Monday February 27 2017: critlib chat on business, professional, medical, health, & STEM education programs
11am Pacific / noon Mountain / 1pm Central / 2pm Eastern

Moderated by @librarianilana @kennygarciamlis @CaitlanMaxwell @JessicaJerrit
Storify by @kennygarciamlis

Discussion questions:

  • Q1. What education program or discipline do you work with? What unique challenges do you see in your discipline?
  • Q2. How are you using critical pedagogy or critical information literacy in your instruction?
  • Q3. Why have you adopted #critlib? How has using or reflection on #critlib affected your work?

first-generation library workers in the academy

oil painting of striped cat with closed eyes
From St. Nicholas vol. 11 no. 12 / edited by Mary Mapes Dodge (1884)

77th chat, Tuesday February 7 2017: first-generation library workers in the academy
6pm Pacific / 7pm Mountain / 8pm Central / 9pm Eastern

Moderated by @brinepond
Storify by @aliversluis

Suggested readings:

Discussion questions:

Note: first generation/working class abbreviated as “1G/WC”.

  • Q1. What difficulties do 1G/WC library/archive workers experience that others may not? #critlib
  • Q2. What things have 1G/WC had to learn that others may take for granted? #critlib
  • Q3. What tips/advice would you give to 1G/WC students/future students? #critlib
  • Q4. What are ways to address classism in libraries/archives/the academy? #critlib
  • Q5. How can we encourage everyone stand in solidarity with 1G/WC people on a tangible level? #critlib


  • First generation student: a college student whose parents/guardians have not completed a bachelor’s degree

validity of student evaluations on teaching

From The cat : a guide to the classification and varieties of cats / by Ruth Shippen Huidekoper (1895)

76th chat, Monday January 23: validity of student evaluations on teaching
11am Pacific / noon Mountain / 1pm Central / 2pm Eastern

Moderated by @Infinity_Dots
Storify by @Infinity_Dots

Suggested readings:

Discussion questions:

  • Q1. In information literacy settings do you perceive any bias towards you or coworkers? (either in student evals or in students’ reactions in the classroom)
  • Q2. How does this bias affect you or a coworker personally and professionally?
  • Q3. What emotional management (or self-care) strategies, if any, do you employ to cope with bias?
  • Q4. How do you evaluate the effectiveness of your IL instruction? How do you mitigate bias?
  • Q5. What forms of evaluation would you like us to further embrace as a profession?

sexual harassment of library workers

drawing of five striped cats
From Public school phonic primer. Part II / authorized by the Education Department of Ontario (1903)

75th chat, Thursday January 12: sexual harassment of library workers
6pm Pacific / 7pm Mountain / 8pm Central / 9pm Eastern

Moderated by @overcastallen@RobinDesmeules@CharissaAPowell@dejah_thoris
Storify by @publibchat

This joint chat was presented in partnership with @publibchat (a new chat dedicated to topics pertaining to public libraries). Thank you to the moderators and the librarians behind publibchat for making this chat happen!

Suggested readings:

Discussion questions:

  • Q1. What measures are in place your work to protect you? Support you? Are they adequate?
  • Q2. Are incidences of sexual harassment openly discussed at your work? What would you like to change?
  • Q3. If/when you raised a concern, how was it handled?
  • Q4. How do you support your colleagues?

collaborations between K-12 & academic librarians

two striped cats sitting on a house roof
From Little folks in feathers and fur, and others in neither / by Olive Thorne (1875)

74th chat, Tuesday January 10 2017: collaborations between K-12 & academic librarians

Moderated by @fobettarh & @jessicahochman

Discussion questions:

  • Q1. How did/do you perceive classes related to teaching, learning, and pedagogy in library school? #critlib
  • Q2. How do stereotypes of teachers and librarians damage school librarianship and library instruction in general? #critlib
  • Q3. What kind of education or training would benefit instructional librarians in public or academic libraries? (If you have a PK-12 ed background & work in another library, what do you wish you could share with your colleagues?) #critlib
  • Q4. Are you aware of collaborations between school, public and/or academic librarians? How could such conversation be encouraged? #critlib
  • Q5. What are the barriers to PK-12/academic collaboration? How can these start to be broken? #critlib

critical reflection

kittens looking in a box labeled "with great care"
From St. Nicholas vol. 19 no. 11 / edited by Mary Mapes Dodge (1892)

73rd chat, Monday December 19 2016: critical reflection
11am Pacific / noon Mountain / 1pm Central / 2pm Eastern / 7pm GMT

Moderated by @lisahubbell
Storify by @lisahubbell

Critical reflection: questions and techniques for writing or group discussion to examine our practices

Critical reflection is an essential tool for raising our awareness of how we put theories into practice, and for conscious improvement on an ongoing basis. It can be done through writing, or out loud with others in “critical friend” relationships. It is used in the Ignatian Catholic practice of examen to look back on each day, and often recommended as a professional development tool for practitioners in education, nursing, organizational development, and other fields.

Discussion questions:

  • Q1. How/when do you build in time to reflect on your own work/praxis? Frequently, sporadically, in certain settings/circumstances? #critlib
  • Q2. Have you found any tools, practices, habits that spur such reflection for you? Is your approach more structured or free-form? #critlib
  • Q3. Do you examine your work, strivings, failures in light of specific theories, models, questions? How do you engage with them? #critlib
  • Q4. What challenges or obstacles do you encounter in using critical reflection in practice? How do you overcome them? #critlib
  • Q5. Does reflection propel you to shift your thinking, to take action? By itself, or combined with other input? If not, what does? #critlib


Suggested readings:

Sample questions for reflective writing:

The readings below offer a range of sample questions for reflection. You may want to try using some of these before the chat. If you’re inspired to blog about your experience with critical reflection as a practice, feel free. You may also want to keep your writing or sharing private, and vent to your heart’s content.

More information about resources that were mentioned during the chat and further reading can be found at