September 17, 2014

CAPAL15: Academic Librarianship and Critical Practice – CFP

Call for Proposals
CAPAL/ACBAP Annual Conference – May 31-June 2, 2015
Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences 2015
University of Ottawa
Ottawa, Ontario

The Canadian Association of Professional Academic Librarians (CAPAL) invites you to participate in its annual conference, to be held as part of Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences 2015 in Ottawa, Ontario, which lies in unceded Algonquin territory. The conference offers librarians and allied professionals across all disciplines an alternative space to share research and scholarship, challenge current thinking about professional issues, and forge new relationships.

In keeping with the Congress 2015 theme, Capital Ideas, the focus of CAPAL15 is critical practice: the intersection of our work as librarians with purposeful critical reflection on the dominant ways of thinking, speaking, and acting that characterize academic librarianship. With academic librarians negotiating increasingly fraught settings in the academy and beyond, it is more important than ever that we inform our work with rigorous examination of our assumptions, practices, and environments, both through reflection and dialogue within the profession, as well as through engagement with other disciplines and communities.

CAPAL15 encourages the broad participation of all those with an interest in fostering critical inquiry in academic librarianship. We seek to cultivate multiple understandings of critical practice:

Practice: Critical practice asks us to consider the role of critical reflection in shaping our approaches to day-to-day professional practice. What do such concrete applications look like? How, for instance, do you apply feminist perspectives to your collections work? What does your library instruction session look like when designed through a critical pedagogy lens? What, more broadly, is the value of such applications of critical reflection?

Theory: Critical practice also points to the practice of critical theory itself – the interrogation of the limits of particular assumptions in academic librarianship and/or the investigation of LIS problems using theoretical frameworks from other disciplines. How, for instance, might postcolonial theory allow us to think more critically about intellectual freedom? What can political economy perspectives tell us about research practice in LIS?

Professional and civic engagement: Critical practice refers to critical exploration of our goals and struggles as a profession, as well their connection to other political goals such as the empowerment of students, faculty, and other members of the community, or the struggle to define universities as public space and research as public good.

Our exchange of ideas at CAPAL15 will involve the pursuit of discussions spurred by any of these interpretations of critical practice or others, by their points of intersection, and even by the recognition of their limits. Papers presented might relate to any aspect of the following sub-themes (though they need not be limited to them):

- Critical approaches to core practices: information literacy, collections, description, archives, copyright, metrics, technology, etc.
Critical reflections on core values: intellectual freedom, (open) access, privacy, preservation, professionalism, etc.
- Critical reflections on professional issues: LIS education, deprofessionalization, governance, advocacy, etc.
- Intersections of librarianship with social and global justice, equity, decolonization
- Librarianship and higher education in relation to neoliberalism, austerity, and other socioeconomic phenomena
- Critical library research practice and/or methodologies
- Critical approaches to librarianship and culture
- Critical reflections on working in and across different disciplines in the humanities, social sciences, sciences, and beyond
- Critical theory and philosophy in librarianship

The Program Committee invites proposals for individual papers as well as proposals for panel submissions of three papers. Individual papers are typically 20 minutes in length. For individual papers, please submit an abstract of 400-500 words and a presentation title, along with a brief biographical statement, and your contact information. For complete panels, please submit a panel abstract of 400-500 words as well as a list of all participants including brief biographical statements, and a separate abstract of 400-500 words for each presenter. Please identify and provide participants’ contact information for the panel organizer. International proposals and proposals from non-members are welcome.

Please feel free to contact the Program Committee to discuss a topic for a paper, panel, or other session format. Proposals and questions should be directed to Dave Hudson, Program Chair, at

Deadline for proposals: December 8th, 2014

Further information about the conference, as well as Congress 2015 more broadly, will be available soon.

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Information Ethics Roundtable 2015 – CFP

Information Ethics Roundtable 2015

University of Wisconsin Madison
April 9th & 10th

Theme: Transparency and Secrecy

Information and the CFP here

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September 15, 2014

Interview with Jessica Moyer

Jessica E. Moyer is an assistant professor in the School of Information Studies at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota in Literacy Education and MS and CAS degrees from the University of Illinois, Graduate School of Library and Information Science. Moyer has taught reference and readers’ advisory courses for the LIS programs at the University of St. Catherine, San Jose State, and University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee as well and continuing education courses for the American Library Association. She is scheduled to teach some courses in Readers’ Advisory with Library Juice Academy coming up. Jessica agreed to do an interview on the Library Juice Academy blog to give people an idea of what they will get out of her courses, and a bit about her in general.

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September 10, 2014

Interview with Jason Bengtson

Jason Bengtson is the Head of Library Computing and Information Systems at the University of Oklahoma’s Robert M. Bird Health Sciences Library. A co-editor of the Technology column of the Journal of Hospital Librarianship, he is also a member of the NN/LM South Central Region Technology Advisory Committee and ASIS&T. Jason is teaching a series of courses on web technologies, focusing on client-side scripting using Javascript. He agreed to do an interview for the Library Juice Academy blog to tell people about his classes and what they can expect to learn from them, as well as a bit about himself.

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An ironic concern over net neutrality

In her January piece on net neutrality in Wired Magazine that I have just now seen, former ALA President Barbara Stripling says, “…[W]ithout net neutrality, we are in danger of prioritizing Mickey Mouse and Jennifer Lawrence over William Shakespeare and Teddy Roosevelt. This may maximize profits for large content providers, but it minimizes education for all.” (I found this article linked from Margaret Heller’s informative discussion of net neutrality on the ACRL Tech Connect blog, but that is not what I want to focus on here.)

The comment I have to make about this quotation from Stripling is that it is ironic given the increased focus on popular media in public libraries since the early days of the “Give ‘em what they want” philosophy of collection development, pioneered by Charlie Robinson and Jean-Barry Molz of Baltimore County Public Library in 1979. This marked the beginning of collection development guided primarily by circulation stats, and it had the effect over time of stripping collections of materials deemed elitist and of interest to a limited number of patrons. It had the effect, really, of prioritizing Mickey Mouse and Jennifer Lawrence over William Shakespeare and Teddy Roosevelt. This trend has been in place for a long time and public library collections have been reshaped by it. I have never liked this trend, because I believe in the educational function of public libraries, but in my experience most public librarians really do not, believing that our role is not so “top down.” So this particular objection to net neutrality (and there could be others) lacks authority coming from the leader of a social institution that made the same baleful turn decades ago. Stripling may believe in the educational role of libraries as I do (I don’t know), and she may share my disgust at the way public libraries have developed since Charlie Robinson had his major influence, but I have not heard her offer the same argument regarding prevailing collection development policies as she has about net neutrality.

I apologize if I am unfairly focusing on a statement made in passing, but I think it does reveal a certain hypocrisy among the library community at large if we are so concerned about net neutrality favoring the interests of popular consumerism over higher cultural values when we are unconcerned about the same problem in our libraries.

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September 8, 2014

Message from Patrick Keilty on the Salaita dismissal

Dear Colleagues,

Some of you may have heard about the recent controversy surrounding Professor Steven Salaita, who was dismissed from his tenured faculty position by the Chancellor and Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, for controversial statements he made on Twitter.

I am writing to ask you to consider signing a petition of LIS practitioners and scholars in support of Professor Salaita’s intellectual freedom and freedom of speech.

The American Association of University Professors lays out the facts of the case in their letter to the Chancellor.

You can also see a letter of concern from the American Historical Association, and another letter from the American Anthropological Association.

Brian Leiter, a constitutional law professor at the University of Chicago, outlines the constitutional ramifications of UIUC’s decision.

As of this writing, eleven departments at UIUC have taken votes of no confidence in the Chancellor, a national conference held at UIUC has been canceled, and countless speakers have pulled out of speaking engagements at UIUC. Thousands of scholars have signed petitions in support of Professor Salaita, including discipline-specific petitions. You can find one petition of scholars here.

I ask you to please consider signing the petition of LIS practitioners and scholars.

Thank you.

All best,

Patrick Keilty
Assistant Professor
Faculty of Information
University of Toronto

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September 3, 2014

New book: Critical Journeys: How 14 Librarians Came to Embrace Critical Practice

Critical Journeys
How 14 Librarians Came to Embrace Critical Practice

Author/Editor: Robert Schroeder
Price: $28.00
Published: September 2014
ISBN: 978-1-936117-92-5

A growing number of librarians are engaged with critical theories such as critical pedagogy, feminist theory, queer theory, critical race theory, or post-colonialism. Because librarians have backgrounds in all disciplines and inhabit a uniquely central space in our culture, they are combining these theories in unique ways. By remixing ideas from Foucault, Freire, hooks, and Habermas, new and creative practices are emerging. In this book you will hear the story of fourteen librarians and how they each came to be engaged in a critical practice. In each chapter a different academic or public librarian will be interviewed. Interviewees will include instruction librarians, catalogers, archivists, administrators, and library school professors. Discover what these librarians find inspirational about critical theories, how they work to create a critical practice in their professional lives, and how they see critical practices growing in our profession. Hear these librarians reflect on their own critical practices of librarianship and perhaps become inspired to begin a critical journey of your own.

Table of Contents



Maria T. Accardi
Jonathan Betz-Zall
John Buschman
Deidre Conkling
John Doherty
Emily Drabinski
Dave Ellenwood
James Elmborg
Benjamin Harris
Julie Herrada
Mark Hudson
Heidi Jacobs
Alana Kumbier

Bob Schroeder’s Journey

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August 22, 2014

The Digital Future of Education – New Issue of the International Review of Information Ethics

International Review of Information Ethics
Vol. 21 – July 2014
The Digital Future of Education
edited by Johannes Britz, Michael Zimmer


The Digital Future of Education: An Introduction
by Johannes Britz, Michael Zimmer

The Ethics of Big Data in Higher Education
by Jeffrey Alan Johnson

Student Privacy: Harm and Context
by Mark MacCarthy

The Ethics of Student Privacy: Building Trust for Ed Tech
by Jules Polonetsky and Omer Tene

Teachers as nightmare readers: Estonian high-school teachers’ experiences and opinions about student-teacher interaction on Facebook
by Maria Murumaa-Mengel and Andra Siibak

Canadian University Social Software Guidelines and Academic Freedom: An Alarming Labour Trend
by Taryn Lough and Toni Samek

Digital Content Delivery in Higher Education: Expanded Mechanisms for Subordinating the Professoriate and Academic Precariat
by Wilhelm Peekhaus

Digital Education and Oppression: Rethinking the Ethical Paradigm of the Digital Future
by Trent M Kays

Book Review: Honorary Volume for Evi Laskari
by Herman T. Tavani

All content is free, here.

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August 21, 2014

Message from Patrick Gavin to Litwin Books

Dear Rory Litwin and the entire Litwin Books team,

I am writing to express my gratitude for the opportunity to apply for the Dissertation Award. Having such a venue for doctoral students to share our work is important, if unfortunately rare. It is with great honor and happiness that I have accepted the 2014 award. Thanks to all of you at Litwin Books! Please also pass on my appreciation to anyone else involved, most especially the members of the advisory board, Jonathan Furner, John Budd, and Ron Day. Indeed, it was a wonderful opportunity to have been able to share my writing with scholars of such pedigree. Please also extend my gratitude to Ron Day for his kind words regarding my project.

Work on the project continues. As it wraps up over the course of this academic year, I will certainly keep Litwin Books in the front of my mind as a potential venue for its publication.


Patrick Gavin, MA, MLIS
Doctoral Candidate, LIS
Faculty of Information and Media Studies
University of Western Ontario

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August 18, 2014

Call for Submissions: Series on Critical Race Studies and Multiculturalism in LIS

Series on Critical Race Studies and Multiculturalism in LIS

Sujei Lugo, Series Editor

Litwin Books and Library Juice Press seek book proposals and manuscripts for a new series, Critical Race Studies and Multiculturalism in Library and Information Studies, edited by Sujei Lugo. This series aims to collect and publish works from theoretical, practical and personal perspectives that critically engage issues of race, ethnicity, cultural diversity and equity in library and information science (LIS).

Potential topics include:

  • Historical understandings and current explorations of race, racism and whiteness in LIS and LIS education
  • Critical race and multicultural approaches to LIS and their relation to: anti-racism, censorship, immigration, information access, institutional and systemic racism, intellectual freedom, gender inequities, language, post-colonialism and settler colonialism, power structures, social justice, structural oppression, transnationalism, and white privilege
  • Analysis and exploration of race and ethnicity and its intersections with ability, age, class, gender, nationality, sexuality, etc.
  • Theoretical perspectives and practical strategies for promoting racial equity and addressing racial oppression in the profession, including cataloging, collection development, community outreach, funding, instruction, Internet, library schools, management, programs, technology, and the workplace
  • Practical approaches and examples of developing collections and archives in nonprofits grassroots, and other community-based organizations that work for/with historically marginalized racial communities
  • Works that address library and information needs of African Americans, American Indians, Asian Americans, Chicano/as, Latino/as, etc.
  • Explorations of issues of race and whiteness in children’s and young adult librarianship, school librarianship, and prison librarianship
  • Historical perspectives on racial, ethnic and cultural issues in librarianship and the role of activists, archivists, librarians, social movements, and library associations, organizations or groups have played in promoting racial equity and challenging racism and oppression in the profession
  • Works that explore and discuss race and librarianship in countries outside the United States are also welcome

Please submit queries, proposals, and manuscripts to Sujei Lugo,

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August 7, 2014

U.S. sought to edit the historical record of a court proceeding

This news from the Electronic Freedom Foundation:

UNSEALED: The US Sought Permission To Change The Historical Record Of A Public Court Proceeding

A few weeks ago we fought a battle for transparency in our flagship NSA spying case, Jewel v. NSA. But, ironically, we weren’t able to tell you anything about it until now.

On June 6, the court held a long hearing in Jewel in a crowded, open courtroom, widely covered by the press. We were even on the local TV news on two stations. At the end, the Judge ordered both sides to request a transcript since he ordered us to do additional briefing. But when it was over, the government secretly, and surprisingly sought permission to “remove” classified information from the transcript, and even indicated that it wanted to do so secretly, so the public could never even know that they had done so.


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Library Juice Press Annual Paper Contest

Library Juice Press Annual Paper Contest

The intention of this contest is to encourage and reward good work in the field of library and information studies, humanistically understood, through a monetary award and public recognition.

The contest is open to librarians, library students, academics, and others.

Acceptable paper topics cover the full range of topics in the field of library and information studies, loosely defined.

Papers submitted may be unpublished, pending publication, or published in the year of the award.

Single and multiple-authored papers will be accepted.

Any type of paper may be entered as long as it is not a report of an empirical study. Examples of accepted forms would be literature review essays, analytical essays, historical papers, and personal essays. The work may include some informal primary research, but may not essentially be the report of a study.

Submitted papers may be part of a larger project.

The minimum length is 3000 words. The maximum length is 10,000 words.

Criteria for judgment:

- Clarity of writing
- Originality of thought
- Sincerity of effort at reaching something true
- Soundness of argumentation (where applicable)
- Relevance to our time and situation

The award shall consist of $1000 and a certificate suitable for framing.

Entries must be submitted in MS Word format by September 1st. Entries may be submitted to

The winning paper, and possibly a number of honorable mentions, are announced on November 1st.

Papers will be judged by a committee selected for their accomplishments in the field, and in order to represent a range of perspectives.

Although we are a publisher, submission of a paper for this award in itself does not imply any transfer, licensing, or sharing of your publication rights.

Past winners

2013 – Ryan Shaw, for “Information Organization and the Philosophy of History”, published in JASIST in June 2013.

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Letter from Don Lash to NYPL on one-sided “controversial” labeling of Israel/Palestine studies

Letter from Don Lash to New York Public Library President, on one-sided “controversial” labeling of books on Israel/Palestine:

Dear President Marx,

I previously communicated with your office in an e-mail on August 5, during which I expressed concern that access to important work by the prominent academic historian Ilan Pappe was restricted to a non-circulating research collection and could only be viewed by appointment. It was also given a “trigger warning” in the form of a categorization as “controversial literature.” I informed you that I had made an offer through AskNYPL to arrange donation of copies of The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine to circulate. I have since received a response, and I was pleased that this offer was accepted.

My remaining concern is over the fact that the Dorot Jewish Division, the research collection that as of now has the only copy of The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, is permitted to to characterize work critical of Zionism and Israel as “controversial,” a designation that is not used for pro-Israel, anti-Palestinian literature in its collection or elsewhere in the NYPL catalog. The designation is used for a range of historical and political works beyond those of Pappe. More troublingly, in effect such works are associated with other literature given trigger warnings by the collection, most notably virulently anti-Semitic literature and Holocaust denial literature. The implicit suggestion is that these categories are somehow akin, which is not only offensive but indefensible on the merits. In addition to the content-based stigmatization of one perspective on the history of Palestine/Israel, the trigger warning is a disservice to students and scholars, who may be misled by the characterization into thinking the work is of dubious quality. This is particularly likely when access is restricted and library patrons would have to make an extraordinary effort even to see the work.
I suggest that you or a designee look at how the collection is applying these trigger warnings, what criteria is used, and whether the effect of this practice is to privilege work promoting one viewpoint and disadvantage work promoting others. While these practices appear to be limited to the Dorot collection, I think this matter affects the integrity of NYPL as a whole.

Thank you for your careful consideration of this matter.

Don Lash

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August 3, 2014

Conference Agenda – Gender and Sexuality in Information Studies

Litwin Books has organized a colloquium to take place this October at the University of Toronto, based on our book, Feminist and Queer Information Studies Reader.

The colloquium is called Gender and Sexuality in Information Studies (named after Emily Drabinski’s series with Litwin Books). We have recently posted the schedule of presentations, so you can see what will be going on there.

The deadline for abstracts is passed and all the papers have been selected, but there is still room for more people to attend. You can register here.

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July 18, 2014

REAL: Resistance Education At Libraries

Exploring Deep Green Resistance, I ran across their library campaign: REAL: Resistance Education At Libraries. The idea is to organize efforts to promote radical environmentalist literature at libraries, by prioritizing libraries according to where such materials are most needed. I will be sharing this info with TFOE and the Sustainability Round Table, although there is something of a mismatch in terms of overall goals and a sense of the degree to which things have to change…

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