#Critlib chat 2 - April 8, 2014

  1. Gregory & Higgins’ intro chapter ( http://libraryjuicepress.com/ILSJ-front.pdf ), was the “official” reading for the chat.

    The Zotero group has more readings.  https://www.zotero.org/groups/critical_library_pedagogy/ 
  2. I'm Kelly, instruction librarian @UILibraries and I'm the designated moderator for tonight. #critlib
  3. Question 1: Is neutrality an impossible construct, per Toni Samek?
  4. Okay, Q1: Is neutrality an impossible construct, per Toni Samek?
  5. After a bit of conversation, Kelly modified the question:
  6. Maybe the better question here is: what would neutrality even look like in our profession? #critlib
  7. Q1 I think everybody has a standpoint, and that's inescapable. We can be equitable, but we can't be neutral. #critlib
  8. A1 Understanding our own standpoints is critical. @CCIBoston brought this up last week. That's a first #critlib step.
  9. @edrabinski Also very difficult since any privilege in our standpoints can easily blind us #critlib
  10. @CarlSHess We can be more and/or less critical about where we might have trouble understanding difference between self/other. #critlib
  11. Q1 Def agree with @edrabinski, like being unbiased, neutrality would be near impossible, but being aware of this is important #critlib
  12. A1 Yes, as much as we try to tell ourselves to be neutral, we inherently are not. Better to own up to your biases IMO. #critlib
  13. A1 What is generally termed "neutral" reinforces existing social relations--supports those with power #critlib
  14. .@CarlSHess great point, silence ("neutrality") essentially means consent in this instance Q1 #critlib
  15. A1 Neutral can also mean unmarked, eg "white women" are just women in the catalog. Subj positions that don't have to be named. #critlib
  16. @edrabinski Yes, "normal" is almost another way to describe neutral. #critlib
  17. As long as there are power differences there can be no neutrality. We need to work to eliminate those differences. #critlib
  18. I think we get into trouble when we unwittingly identify our own interests with those of the power structure - to survive in jobs #critlib
  19. A1: Neutrality is always the goal. Who moderates information production to ensure neutrality? As librarians we are activists. #critlib
  20. A1 Although if we think neutral as amicable, hospitable to other POVs, that seems good, yes? #critlib
  21. @edrabinski I would term that "open," not "neutral," but semantics. Still, we should not be open to everything. #critlib
  22. A1 'neutrality' in librarianship is also used to silence minority, divergent voices and professional viewpoints #critlib
  23. A1 If "neutrality" is roughly = to "radically inclusive," that's great! But I think more often "neutral" = "unaware of own biases" #critlib
  24. @kellymce Having a safe space(?) to openly/evenly discuss all points of view. To ensure equality in information. Too optimistic? #critlib
  25. @Meghan_Dowell #critlib In some ways, hell yeah! But sometimes including "all points of view" enforces oppression. #critlib
  26. A1 When I think of a "neutral" person I tend to imagine a meek person afraid to stand up for anything #critlib
  27. #critlib "neutrality" in librarianship too often means "oh, I have no opinions at all, no indeedy. That's against the rules."
  28. When we say "neutral" we really mean "disinterested" as in "willing to learn, not approaching inquiry aiming for pre-det. answer #critlib
  29. A1 To me, claiming "neutrality" is like saying "I'm not racist." Crit. ped. means YOU need to critically reflect on yr own exp. #critlib
  30. @catladylib def or like "I'm not racist, so I don't have to do anything else now," like checking a box off #critlib
  31. @pumpedlibrarian exactly, you're never done reflecting or considering how to improve your own perspective. #critlib
  32. . @catladylib Crit. lib. definitely means instructor reflecting on own exp., on assumptions in classroom, on how manage class, etc #critlib
  33. Q2: In what ways has infolit been co-opted by “corporatist efficiencies and risk management?”
  34. A2 Culture of assess does seem to be part of prob, but wonder if there are ways to make part of solution (or I try to when teach) #critlib
  35. @kellymce I'd say having more focus on Bloom's affective outcomes could be one thing, or rewriting standard outcomes to... 1/2 #critlib
  36. @kellymce ... have a SJ "in order to" portion, just 1 ex of a small way and still figuring it out myself 2/2 #critlib
  37. @pumpedlibrarian I think what and more importantly why you are assessing is the issue here #critlib
  38. @lisalibrarian @catladylib @pumpedlibrarian This also seems about institutional culture, not nec. inherent to assessment. #critlib
  39. @catladylib @lisalibrarian @pumpedlibrarian (I tweet in the midst of a pilot assessment project in which I plan to do just that :( #critlib)
  40. @pumpedlibrarian is prob cult of assmnt (which seems prof resp to me - are we having impact we intend) or imposed/assumed outcomes? #critlib
  41. @edrabinski @pumpedlibrarian and whether students have learned it (learned as active verb not passive experience) #alignment #critlib
  42. @lisalibrarian @catladylib @pumpedlibrarian This also seems about institutional culture, not nec. inherent to assessment. #critlib
  43. @kellymce @lisalibrarian @pumpedlibrarian depends on approach to assessment too. Formative seems a better fit for crit. ped. #critlib
  44. @lisalibrarian @catladylib @pumpedlibrarian This. But also: have students describe what *they* are going for & then observe. #critlib
  45. A2 Reduction of #infolit to job skills, I think inherent in the definition, something to work against. #critlib
  46. A2 Relying on/promoting subscription resources and cultures of assessment immediately come to mind #critlib
  47. A2 Can we flip this to acknowledge our complicity, as teachers, in “corporatist efficiencies & risk management?” #critlib
  48. A2 Also wonder abt defining skills in advance, what standards and assessment do, how does that foreclose what could messily emerge? #critlib
  49. @edrabinski "Messily emerge" describes pretty much all the best learning I've ever done. #critlib
  50. A2 another problem: our info lit inst is shapes in part by our institutions' curricula - which have been cooped already #critlib
  51. @ibeilin #critlib Often curricula are not coopted as much as assumptions about what "good" info looks like, where it comes from.
  52. A2 We're not outside our corporate insts. So how do we stay critical of our own roles inside of them? #critlib @jacobsberg
  53. Also why I prefer "critical" in these convos. Critical to me is just abt getting some strategic distance from structures of power. #critlib
  54. A2 @edrabinski And how do we educate, but not "prepare souls" for “corporatist efficiencies, et al.?” #critlib
  55. I think we get into trouble when we unwittingly identify our own interests with those of the power structure - to survive in jobs #critlib
  56. Q2: Hmm yeah, I mention how to search google better in instruction sometimes. talk about corporatist. Gotta own up to that. #critlib
  57. @catladylib We also teach how to use our corporate-made databases and catalogs. Would need radical rethink of lib to avoid #critlib
  58. @catladylib I like to talk about Google's near-complete monopoly with students, even if just in passing. #critlib
  59. @jacobsberg @edrabinski @catladylib showing comparable alternatives can be such a simple way to blow minds/critique the empire! #critlib
  60. i.e. "Google better" not in terms of better search strings, but in interpreting results more critically & doing iterative process #critlib
  61. @kellymce @jacobsberg @edrabinski @catladylib Show how many trackers are on a page, how different results for different people #critlib
  62. @kellymce @edrabinski @catladylib And it makes for an excellent jumping off point for critiquing other issues in info lit. #critlib
  63. A2: canned searches, large scale databases, following institution curriculum, checking off the #infolit checklist #critlib
  64. A2 I find it fascinating & jarring when I see prof dev/consulting re: IL in the workplace: it's the SAME IL we do! (or should be) #critlib
  65. A2 And I mean that as in, "workplace IL" shouldn't be a "thing" -- it should be critically engaged as we aim to be in educ context #critlib
  66. A2 I have to do assessment, part of my job description, can be critical, but eventually the report is due. #tension #critlib
  67. A2 And there's this big push for ROI in lib. instruction which doesn't aid crit. ped. IMO. Everything is about data and stats. #critlib
  68. A2 might be fun to flip it and allow student to critique IL assessment standards - could do with revised version just out #critlib 1/2
  69. A2 have them answer questions: what do you think we left out? what are we missing with these? #critlib 2/2
  70. A2: A non-critical infolit could treat info as "objective," reify it into fact rather than continue ?ing it & its social effects #critlib
  71. A2 Most insidious are the big tools that end up totally defining the disciplinary research experience.. ie certain legal dbs #critlib
  72. @aliqaesong Yes. Like there is no bibliographic universe beyond westlaw. #critlib
  73. @edrabinski Right? Like primary law never existed before digitization. I always highlight the 'value-added' content = $$$$$ #critlib
  74. @aliqaesong My ref class last night we looked at Web of Science/Scopus/citation dbs. What are you paying for, and is it worth it? #critlib
  75. @edrabinski I wish I was in your class! Totally missed out on db eval from the 'what are you paying for' angle in libschool #critlib
  76. A2 I want to teach my students to evaluate sources, navigate a complex info environment, not be shackled to a proprietary platform #critlib
  77. A2 There aren't many targeted dbs for my field. Scholars ability to identify this, think crit abt info politics, profitability key #critlib
  78. A2 re: our corporate institutions & @EamonTewell 's tweet abt databases: what if we only taught students the free internet? #critlib
  79. Yeah, open is probably a better word. Or commonly available? A2 RT @bfister: @mauraweb @EamonTewell erm, well, free? Sadly, not. #critlib
  80. Relentless needling can be a good thing! Esp. open, often so carelessly thrown around, we shld be ready to define it. #critlib @CarlSHess
  81. @bfister @mauraweb Definitely this! Incorporating OA when possible, encouraging alternatives to subscription resources #critlib
  82. A2 Don't know the history, so I'm asking--has it ever NOT been about that? Is there a pre-Fall info lit? #critlib
  83. @CarlSHess feel like an "elder" in IL convos recently. so, will take a stab if you can fill in a bit more about "pre-Fall" info lit?
  84. @lisalibrarian What I meant is the ? is premised on the idea that at some point info lit was not corporate/neoliberal/etc. Not sure if true
  85. @CarlSHess I'd assert that IL itself is not but IL-as-practiced is ... for variety of reasons #critlib
  86. @CarlSHess I personally don't believe there was a BI-->IL shift but rather same theory but need to rename to try to reclaim #critlib
  87. @lisalibrarian See, that's where i want to learn more cause I always hear it described as a conscious shift #critlib
  88. @CarlSHess tho reclaiming was unsuccessful. think that is what may be happening with new ILframework. another attempt. #critlib
  89. @CarlSHess I think it was an attempt to shift PRACTICE (TEACHING), not in the underlying learning sought #critlib
  90. @donnarosemary @CarlSHess that there are a lot of other things impacting practice than just the learning outcomes. #critlib
  91. @donnarosemary @CarlSHess another way to Q this - why so many "studies" claiming students IL b/c of a one-shot? #impossible! #critlib
  92. @Rudibrarian @donnarosemary @CarlSHess That conclude that+get published? Um, yeah. But evidence that claim is based on-not so much! #critlib
  93. @lisalibrarian @donnarosemary @CarlSHess I don't think I've ever seen the claim. I'll have to poke around....
  94. @lisalibrarian @donnarosemary @CarlSHess if claim is made, i'd like to know how they got there. Have to refute bad lit to make best case
  95. @donnarosemary @CarlSHess well, power structures in libraries - e.g., new librns required to teach sessions from a script #critlib
  96. @kellymce @bfister @donnarosemary @CarlSHess flippantly I agree. but don't want to dismiss librarians suffering under this in pain #critlib
  97. @donnarosemary @CarlSHess unrealistic financial models - e.g., teach 100 sections of COMP 101 in 3-4 weeks w minimal staffing #critlib
  98. Q3 "What can we do to empower students to raise their critical consciousness of information and how can we inspire them to apply this outlook for fairness and the equality of all people?"
  99. A3 Smethng I do w/studnts is exercises in analyzing info systems*as*system: wht are the buttons avail to you&what do they do/notdo? #critlib
  100. I wonder if it's telling we haven't much yet answered Q3 #critlib
  101. @kellymce The difficulty of putting are desires to be critical information literacy instructors into practice #critlib
  102. Find this Q3 about empowerment challenging. Skill & vocab buildiing are mechanical, but also empowering, no? #critlib
  103. Biggest hits in my #infolit sessions: truncation & hanging indents. #critlib
  104. @edrabinski biggest hits in my #infolit sessions: truncation & @zotero. #critlib Also Barnard Bibliobabe 1" buttons.
  105. Q3 Empowering hard, think problem-based learning is a method to at least gain attn, to show they are capable of making a diff #critlib
  106. A3 Help our communities to "think like a Marxist." ;) Have them ask, always be aware of "who benefits?" #critlib
  107. @jacobsberg I'm definitely adding "think like a Marxist" to the learning outcomes of all my lesson plans #critlib
  108. @CarlSHess That is an actual learning outcome that can be assessed, btw. ;) @kellymce #critlib
  109. #critlib A3: Getting a little sip of critical consciousness of info is often doable -- getting students to apply it for equality, tho???
  110. Q3: I had my students write a narrative from the perspective of someone w/o info access they enjoy. Got some awesome responses. #critlib
  111. @kyledenlinger Great idea. @mswygart made an assignment that gets at this by asking students to find info on being gay in diff eras #critlib
  112. @kellymce @EamonTewell @kyledenlinger @mswygart SO GOOD. Used Readers Guide, look up gay info, 1970s/80s/90s/today. Index terms. #critlib
  113. Q3 Many of my students will go work for nonprofits, unions, and we talk abt what they'll have access to and what is publicly avail #critlib
  114. A3 I think students already are very critical and we need to listen to them more carefully and learn from them more. #critlib
  115. @ibeilin They are incredibly critical about some things, completely blind to others. It can be interesting to deal with #critlib
  116. A3 This is such a tough q for me. Still figuring out how to best empower students. #critlib
  117. A3: asking students to consider what voices not represented in info resource; what assumptions about audience are made #critlib
  118. A3 In comp courses I stressed rhetoric in order to focus on the "who benefits from X vs Y?" critical consciousness. #critlib 1/2
  119. A3 Would LOVE to hear more tips on how to bring that into constraints of 1shot sessions & teaching search methods #critlib 2/2
  120. @CarlSHess @foureyedsoul I mean, there's not a tonne that suggests oneshots are really good for...much. #critlib
  121. @kellymce @foureyedsoul 1shots in conjunction with other things maybe but our critical librarianship can't be trapped in the 1shot #critlib
  122. @edrabinski I agree it can't be taught insofar as the full development occurs on the spot. Introducing ideas and vocabulary can tho #critlib
  123. Q3 Most fruitful 1-shots: econ history classes. Those students GET commercialized info, access restrictions, corporate secrecy #critlib
  124. @CarlSHess @kellymce @foureyedsoul Except we assume all IL comes from librarians. It doesn't. It's much bigger. #critlib
  125. @edrabinski @lisalibrarian Collaborate, build together? Part of this is language we can use in our institutions. #critlib
  126. @kellymce @edrabinski Yes, those good. I keep thinking "invite" bc does infer teacher role. But, also problematic. #critlib
  127. @Rudibrarian @donnarosemary Indepth collab is so constrained by bigger political picture, lack of time, alwys be assessing, etc. #critlib
  128. A3 I try to help them help each other when I can, and highlight inequity in info. Stress the importance of their own voice. #critlib
  129. Q3 is also challenging bc I find myself *telling* students to be critical of info they see. And you can't rly be told that. #critlib
  130. @edrabinski right! exactly. That's something they need to determine on their own. Easier for some than others. #critlib
  131. @edrabinski BUT letting them know that being critical *is an option* is a first step twd empowerment IME. #critlib
  132. @edrabinski They realize they have the *choice* to turn off autopilot(in their habits/brains)if they choose. I then name benefits. #critlib
  133. @donnarosemary Dunno if this stuff can be taught didactically. Who knows. I don't have a smart assessment plan in place! #critlib
  134. A3: I like to ask how the student will use the info they found. It helps me understand their level of critical thought. #critlib
  135. @lisalibrarian @edrabinski I mean, it would also be disingenous to pretend we're not teachers, in teacherly roles. #critlib
  136. Modeling & enacting respect for students! Thank you; gives me something I can always do under constraints. @donnarosemary #critlib
  137. @foureyedsoul Indeed it's one of the main things that keeps me sane in my role. #critlib
  138. Q4: How do you teach students to take action?
  139. #critlib A4: I actually find this question problematic, because I think this is also something I frequently *learn* from my students.
  140. Struggle w language of "empower students" + "teach to take action" ... imposing on them seems contrary to #critlib Not sure what instead tho
  141. Have some of these same anxieties. Who am I to know what's right? #critlib @lisalibrarian
  142. @lisalibrarian If empowerment is an imposition I'm not sure what the word even means then #critlib
  143. @lisalibrarian Yes, as if students have no power/power to be bestowed. Sweet-spot teaching is power-sharing. #critlib
  144. A4 Don't think necessarily awful to try to do this in a 1 shot, sometimes it's ok to just plant a seed if that's all you can do #critlib
  145. @pumpedlibrarian my problem with planting seeds is that I forget to water them and support them. #critlib
  146. So important to remember it's a long process. MT @pumpedlibrarian sometimes it's ok to just plant a seed if that's all you can do #critlib
  147. @pumpedlibrarian Yeah -- letting students know where you're coming from can be a big deal. It meant a lot to me as a student. #critlib
  148. @pumpedlibrarian Yes - Planting seeds is what happens at a one shot - hopefully there can be follow up when they return later.., #critlib
  149. If incompatible, working hypothesis will have been confirmed. ;^D Of course, still have to do them. @kellymce @CarlSHess #critlib #sisyphus
  150. Those moments when my own assumptions abt gender/race/class trip me up, how #critlib also needs political education for us.
  151. A4 I think another #critlib prac we can successfully accomp in 1shots is modeling&enacting respect for students as authorities in own right.
  152. @foureyedsoul I've found that group discussions are a great way for students to situate what they learned, even in one-shots #critlib
  153. Feeling sad cuz all my instruction is over for the term & I can't apply all I'm learning in #critlib NOW. There are still #consultations tho
  154. @barnlib I think one-on-one consults are the best/most conducive to #critlib discussions with students.
  155. A4 Also never underestimate power of asking for a student volunteer to record actionable takeaways frm disc on white brd #critlib #lotechftw
  156. Q5:How do you take your students' gender, sexuality, language, race, class, ability, etc. into account?
  157. Q5 was not intended to tack intersectionality in at the end, btw... #critlib
  158. A5 I've found that Wikipedia, and who edits, can be a good lead into this conversation. #critlib
  159. There was no time to discuss this question. Suggestions for future topics were requested.
  160. Also, if you wanna suggest a topic and/or moderate a future #critlib, we've got a form for you:  http://tinyurl.com/critlibmod 
  161. My #critlib pitch is for MLIS students -- submit a paper for the Braverman Memorial Prize!  http://progressivelibrariansguild.org/content/award.shtml  Deadline is May 1.
  162. My #critlib pitch is you should read When Who You Are is Off Topic since it relates to the issues of "neutrality"  http://geekfeminism.org/2013/07/11/when-who-you-are-is-off-topic/ 
  163. The Librarian Stereotype: Deconstructing Presentations & Perceptions of Info. Work (book, ACRL) will be out by June, latest! #critlib pitch
  164. Finally, thanks and reminder of the next chat.
  165. Just reminder, #critlib moves to every other Tuesday from here out. So we'll see you back on April 22! When in doubt, check the cheatsheet.