August 9, 2013
There is a Facebook group that will serve as the start of a network for librarians with philosophy backgrounds. It is called Philosopher Librarians. Join if this description works for you:
Welcome, librarians who have degrees in philosophy, whether they be undergraduate degrees, masters degrees, or phds. We’re here because of what we have in common, and perhaps also to plan an event. Interested in the philosophy of libraries? The philosophy of information? Collection development for philosophy departments? Quirky things that only philosopher-librarians say? We’re a different breed; here is the place where we can speak our language. The group is also open to people who just know they belong here.
I am hoping that we will build enough of a network to have a luncheon at ALA, perhaps with a speaker and the announcement of an award winner.
May 23, 2013
Jesse Shera, Librarianship, and Information Science
Jesse Hauk Shera did perhaps more than any other figure in defining library and information science in the mid 20th century. He pioneered the application of information technology in libraries and in the field of documentation, as head of the American Documentation Institute (now ASIST), as a professor at the Graduate Library School in Chicago, and as head of the library school at Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. At Western Reserve, Shera founded the Center for Documentation and Communication Research. But despite his efforts in introducing information technology to the field of libraries, Shera was a humanist and a historian who emphasized the human side of librarianship and the sociological nature of the profession, especially in his advancing years. His theory of social epistempology provided a philosophy for librarianship as a professional calling and as a research-oriented discipline, where deep subject knowledge and an understanding of the needs of readers are more important than technological tools.
H. Curtis Wright’s study, originally published in 1988 by Brigham Young University’s School of Information Sciences, is the only book-length biography of Shera that has been written. The focus of Wright’s biography is Shera’s role in defining and negotiating the boundaries of library science and information science, as he sought to make the most intelligent use of technology in libraries without getting lost in the capacities of the astounding tools that were being developed. Wright succeeds in showing how over a long career, Shera developed an intellectual foundation for librarianship that was dependent neither or the new ideas of information science and its technologies nor on traditional methods. This book is a superb introduction to Jesse Shera’s life and career and its meaning. Includes a foreword by Kathryn La Barre and an index by Victoria Jacobs.
This book is available from Amazon or your favorite vendor to libraries.
April 3, 2013
In the Library with the Lead Pipe published an interesting editorial this morning titled, “DIY Library Culture and the Academy,” though editorial may not be exactly the right word for it, because mostly it is a call for discussion of the ideas it presents. Library Juice Press is mentioned as an example of a DIY project, and so as you might guess I have some comments.
Lead Pipe editors Emily Ford and Micah Vandergrift both refer to the history of DIY, Emily stating that it is (in a way) what academic librarians have been doing all along, and Micah calling on the specific meaning of DIY in punk culture as a standard we should be keeping in mind. I would like to talk about it in terms of something that happened in the 60s and 70s that was called the “new careers movement,” and what sociologists of the professions at the time were calling “the revolt of the client,” because it was an important DIY moment that relates to this one. I am drawing these comments largely from a couple of papers written by sociologist Marie Haug: her 1969 paper with Marvin Sussman titled, “Professional Autonomy and the Revolt of the Client,” in Social Problems 17.2, and her 1975 paper titled, “The Deprofessionalization of Everyone?,” in Sociological Focus 8.3, which was a response to an influential paper by Harold Wilensky in 1964 titled, “The Professionalization of Everyone?”
Marie Haug developed a concept of deprofessionalization in response to the idea first proposed by Daniel Bell (famous for the term “the information society”), that the rapid proliferation of knowledge and technology would give more power to professionals and would also increase the share of knowledge-work as part of the economy, as machines would gradually take over all of the less-skilled work. Haug thought about this idea in terms of something that had begun happening in the late sixties, which sociologists termed “the revolt of the client.” What this referred to was the way “the person on the street” had started to feel alienated by the authority of professionals of whom they were clients, started to see them as “The Man” and started demanding the right to take care of needs that the professions had a monopoly over fulfilling, at the street level. Simultaneous to this revolt against the authority of the professions were some other social changes that had begun to enable non-professionals to perform some of these roles. Haug focuses on the medical profession, but we can see how the same changes gave power to people working in paraprofessional or non-professional roles in various institutions or outside of institutions completely. Haug observed that the professions’ monopoly on knowledge was being eroded by the general increased level of schooling, and also by the rise of computers, since data-driven software allowed for professional knowledge to be codified for access by non-professionals (essentially what happened later with desktop publishing software). So Haug argued that contrary to the main stream of the sociology of the professions at the time, these factors would lead to a loss of autonomy for professionals, who had previously enjoyed a strong monopoly on the knowledge on which their practice was based. In medicine specifically, the “new careers movement” was the beginning of the trend of giving nurses and nurse practitioners more of the privileges of MD’s in terms of basic medical practice. There was a gender element to the new careers movement and the revolt of the client in addition to a class element. So, I think that moment is important to think about in the context of DIY, because it links what are now a couple of separate meanings that DIY may have – the punk idea that Micah Vandergrift evokes in order to talk about the political reasons behind DIY, and on the other hand the power that desktop software gives people to do a lot of things pretty well that formerly required a professional (like desktop publishing). At the time of the “new careers movement,” the social trend toward deprofessionalization that Haug saw just beginning was motivated at one level by the desire for a sort of revolution in a political sense, and was enabled at another level by mass education and computerization.
While the rise of the new careers movement and the erosion of the professions’ monopoly on knowledge might seem simply like something to celebrate, Haug was concerned that it would lead to an increase of power for the bureaucrats who worked in professional institutions, resulting in less autonomy for professionals. This does seem to have happened and seems still to be happening (and in an ironic way may be part of the impetus for DIY practice among professionals now). At the same time, she acknowledged that people did become empowered outside of the professions in meeting needs formerly in the total purview of the professions. There is a certain way, however, I think, in which changes that enable DIY and sub-institutional work can redistribute and veil professional control as much as they can undo it. The reason for this is way software that makes use of professional knowledge in a codified form has decisions embedded into it, so that what for the professional may be questions of judgment to apply in various different contexts become software limitations of which users may not be aware, not having the background of a professional who can articulate the questions that the software has already answered for the user. Software that empowers us also makes decisions for us, decisions that are by nature outside of our focus as we are using it. (This is part of the argument for open source software.)
As librarians, we occupy an ambiguous position in the space defined by these changes. We claim an area of professional expertise but do not claim a monopoly over it; in fact, our professional ideology goes against the monopoly of knowledge on which professions are traditionally based. Our self-defined role is to empower people with knowledge, yet we try to protect our status as a profession as having a unique ability to do it. We also occupy an ambiguous position as designers of systems at the same time we are users of systems in which professional knowledge is embedded that we don’t necessarily have access to (think about the opacity of function of next-generation discovery tools). This may mean, in Haug’s terms, that we function both as professionals, with authority over a knowledge domain and a need to protect our autonomy from encroachment by the bureaucracies of our institutions, and as allies of clients who want solutions outside of the professions, in pursuit of an opening-up of professional privileges (though copyright battles, through access to medical and legal knowledge that we can share, etc.). In light of this, I think DIY work can accomplish a number of goals. First, it can enable us to do things that our bureaucracies have made difficult for us to do, despite the fact that we are ostensibly the professionals in our organizations. Second, it can demonstrate for our users that we are their allies who work in the same “DIY consumer space,” meaning that we understand the limitations they confront or feel that they confront. Third, DIY tools that are sold to consumers can afford us the benefits of professional knowledge outside our own fields without the cost of high-level business-to-business deployment, which we can’t control as individuals anyway.
I think there is also a dark side to observe, as well as a danger in attempting to understand DIY entirely through a historical lens, and that is that the kind of DIY affordances we are talking about are a part of a major economic shift that has taken place over the last half-century, away from Fordist production toward more software-driven, small-scale, customizable production and the different economic relations (and subjectivities) that Post-Fordism entails. There is a lot written about these changes in the field of political economy, but I would like to mention one article that relates to DIY specifically: Yiannis Mylonas’ article in Triple C, titled, “Amateur Creation and Entrepreneurialism: A Critical Study of Artistic Production in Post-Fordist Structures.” (Full disclosure: Mylonas has a chapter in the upcoming Litwin Books title, Piracy: Leakages from Modernity, edited by Martin Fredriksson and James Arvanitakis.) Mylonas suggests that the DIY orientation is a part of the transformation of everybody into an entrepreneur, i.e. the spread of neoliberal subjectivity. So, I am careful about getting behind it as a “cause,” though I like to take part. Furthermore, I can admit to having the ambition to bridge the gap between DIY voice and institutional voice, and to cross that bridge, as entrepreneurs generally do.
- Rory Litwin was an academic librarian prior to working full time as a small press academic publisher and continuing education provider with Litwin Books, Library Juice Press and Library Juice Academy.
January 14, 2013
AAUP has just released its new Joint Statement on Faculty Status of College and University Librarians, a new version of a similar statement drafted in 1973 and reaffirmed a couple of times since then. What I’d like to point out is that the new statement backpedals significantly on what it actually says about faculty status. The earlier statement said that AAUP considers academic librarians as faculty across the board, irrespective of how they are considered by their institutions, while the new statement says that faculty status of academic employees should depend upon the librarian’s function in teaching, research, and service at a given institution, with the institution being responsible for setting the specific criteria and procedures for according faculty status. In other words, AAUP has retracted its strong support for faculty status of librarians, stating only that, essentially, “librarians should have faculty status where they should have faculty status, according to their institutions.” It is pretty toothless now. I also note that there is no link provided to the earlier statement.
January 3, 2013
There’s a passage that stood out to me in an article I read a few months ago, “Why Must We Be Small? Reflections on Political Development and Cultural Work in Brazil’s Landless Movement” by Tamara Lynne. (The piece is the Fall 2011 issue of Perspectives on Anarchist Theory; it’s not online, but you can see a glimpse of it on the Justseeds website.)
Speaking of her own entry into political activism via anti-World Trade Organization (WTO) protests, Lynn writes:
No teach-in, no books or notebooks, no academic discussion could have accomplished what thirty seconds of action told me about my own power and its connection to why we were resisting the WTO. However, post-WTO, the processes of political development I observed appeared to focus on information. There was an attitude that if people simply had the correct information, they would see clearly what to do and take action. This view misses the point that most people feel powerless most of the time, their experiences of themselves and their world are often submerged, and that many people do not have enough sense of their own power to speak up in the face of injustices in their daily lives, let alone in the face of unjust international trade agreements. (p. 44)
I’ve written a little about this topic before, about the potential and the limitations of “information” in liberatory social movements. So, as an early-2013 thought, how might we who work in libraries offer information in various formats while also creating channels for people to grasp a sense of their own power?
To bring this to something rather more concretely applicable to the library context, I was also struck by a line in Anil Dash’s recent post The Web We Lost:
The technology industry, like all industries, follows cycles, and the pendulum is swinging back to the broad, empowering philosophies that underpinned the early social web. But we’re going to face a big challenge with re-educating a billion people about what the web means, akin to the years we spent as everyone moved off of AOL a decade ago, teaching them that there was so much more to the experience of the Internet than what they know.
His “we” is developers and technologists, not librarians (not that some librarians don’t also have those skillsets!). But still. Here we are, in our buildings, with our classrooms and computer stations, and whatever slice of humanity that uses our libraries looking for education and empowerment on any number of levels. How do we best use this opportunity our work affords us?
Happy New Year.
December 3, 2012
Call for Papers
TITLE: Focus on Educating for Sustainability: Toolkit for Academic Libraries
EDITOR: Maria A. Jankowska
PUBLISHER: Library Juice Press
BOOK ABSTRACT: In the last ten years literature on greening libraries has expanded considerably. Furthermore, by signing the Presidents’ Climate Commitment, university presidents and chancellors committed their institutions to finding new solutions to environmental, economic, and social issues through their teaching, research, and service operations. Since 2007, higher education has observed exponential growth of programs integrating sustainability literacy into teaching and research. Academic libraries must respond to this increasing focus on educating for sustainability and go beyond greening libraries to become active partners in advancing education and research for sustainability.
OBJECTIVE OF THE BOOK: This edited collection strives to capture the current status and future direction of libraries’ commitment to advance the focus of educating for sustainability. It will serve as a toolkit offering a wide range of best practices, case studies, and activities ready for implementation within academic libraries.
POSSIBLE TOPICS: With this call, the editor invites articles, essays, and case studies that describe specific activities undertaken by academic libraries or visions for future activities that support university sustainability research and teaching. Such activities may include, but are not limited to, the following:
· Integrating sustainability literacy into information literacy instruction and university courses
· Selecting materials in support of sustainability-related curriculum
· Creating effective research guides on sustainability topics related to social equity, economic practicality, and the environment
· Promoting open access content resources related to sustainability
· Partnering on university sustainability curriculum design and collaborative teaching
· Participating in university efforts to educate for sustainability across disciplines
· Supporting the university’s sustainability research, teaching, and outreach
TARGET AUDIENCES: The editor believes this book will be of interest to a large variety of audiences including the following:
· Librarians seeking inspiration for ways to combine their expertise with their passion for sustainability
· Library managers interested in leveraging and highlighting library services that support their institution’s focus on sustainability
· Teaching faculty collaborating with libraries on projects related to sustainability
· University administrators interested in the strategic role of libraries in educating for sustainability
SUBMISSION GUIDELINES: Authors are invited to submit abstracts and proposals of 300-500 words to email@example.com by January 15, 2013. Notifications will be sent by February 26, 2013. A first draft ranging from 1,500-7,000 words will be due by April 2, and a final manuscript will be due by June 25, 2013.
Submitted manuscripts must not have been published previously or simultaneously submitted elsewhere. Following review, articles will be returned via e-mail for revision before final acceptance. All materials are edited as necessary for clarity. Submissions should include an abstract of no more than 150 words (highlighting the scope, methodology, and conclusions of the paper) at the beginning of each manuscript. Authors should follow the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th ed. Examples are available at: http://www.dianahacker.com/resdoc/p04_c09_o.htm (Research and Documentation Online by Diane Hacker).
Submission of proposals should include:
Name of author
300-500 word abstract
Abstract submission: January 15, 2013
Notification of abstract acceptance: February 26, 2013
Full chapter submission: April 2, 2013
Communication of review results to authors: May 2, 2013
Final chapter submission: June25, 2013
Estimated publication date: 2013
November 30, 2012
I HATE the slogan, “Librarian: The Original Search Engine.” It is on a coffee mug that was given to me as a gift by a family member, and it seems to appear in my Facebook news feed every month or so. I find it problematic as an attempt to promote the services of librarians or the value of the library profession, and I don’t know why more people don’t see this.
To say that “librarians are the original search engine” is to concede that search engines do what librarians do, which would be another way of saying that there is no reason to talk to a reference librarian if you can just Google it. While it is true that before the internet, many people relied on reference librarians as a source of factual information that is now readily available through a search engine, it is a sad thing to see librarians tacitly accept the idea that this kind of provision of simple factual information adequately describes what it is we do by sharing this slogan.. A better slogan would be designed to get at what librarians can do that search engines don’t know how to do, and would communicate something of the way a librarian’s general knowledge and understanding of people gives her the ability to translate a user’s question into a search of resources (including Google) that will actually help. Very often, library users come to the reference desk after having hit a wall searching Google because of something specific that they do not know or do not understand about their subject of inquiry or the nature of the resources that will help them. Given that kind of knowledge gap, Google alone can only take them part of the way, and what they need is the consultation of an educated and understanding human being. Google, Microsoft, and others are investing a lot into research that will allow their search engines to take steps in the direction of interpretation and guidance, but AI researchers almost always underestimate the breadth and creativity of human intelligence as they seek to imitate it. So if we say that librarians are like search engines at all, we are misunderstanding our own skills, role, and social contribution, and in the process failing to see what we need to do to expand our expertise or train future generations for the profession. If you want a slogan for a coffee mug, I would prefer to see one with an SAT-style analogy, like, “Librarians are to search engines as astronomers are to telescopes.” People who don’t know much about astronomy can get some use from a telescope, but we understand that with an astronomer’s knowledge it can become much more powerful as a tool for discovery. We would not say, “Astronomers: The original telescope,” and we wouldn’t think for a second that that a slogan like that would be flattering to astronomers or supportive of the astronomy profession.
The other problem with the slogan is that it only has in mind the librarian at the reference desk, who is the tip of the iceberg of the library profession. Users talk directly to reference librarians, and as a former reference librarian I would never want to understate the breadth and depth of the skills involved in helping people find information in that role (retrieval and access). However, a good slogan for the library profession should also encompass the other roles that librarians play in their institutions, as selectors, organizers, and preservers of information resources who have their communities in mind, and as the creators and maintainers of the systems and intellectual infrastructures that facilitate the connections between them.
In conclusion, please don’t buy a librarian a coffee mug or other item that says, “Librarians: The Original Search Engine.” What to do if one is given to you is a more complicated question.
November 7, 2012
If you can make it to the Boston area on Saturday, November 17, head to the Women’s Studies Research Center at Brandeis University. The wonderful Boston collective of Radical Reference is putting on a symposium called “Practical Choices for Powerful Impacts: Realizing the Activist Potential of Librarians.” It features a panel of “librarians who use their skills to undertake consciousness-raising in libraries and within the LIS profession; actively participate in anti-oppression and empowerment work; and develop programming that supports the library as space and library as a means of liberation,” followed by group discussions. And it’s free!
October 24, 2012
The 2013 LACUNY Institute -
Libraries, Information, and the Right to the City
April 5, 2013
John Jay College of Criminal Justice
Christine Pawley – Former director of the School of Library and Information Studies, University of Wisconsin – Madison and historian of print culture in America.
Jessa Lingel – Doctoral student at Rutgers and author of “Occupy Wall Street and the myth of the technological death of the library.”
In recent years movements of scholars and activists have advanced a concept known as “the right to the city.” As the noted geographer David Harvey puts it “the right to the city is far more than the individual liberty to access urban resources: it is a right to change ourselves by changing the city.” Situated at the heart of a global metropolis the Library Association of the City University of New York
(LACUNY) is in an excellent position to initiate this dialogue.
The 2013 LACUNY Institute committee welcomes proposals that examine how library and information professionals engage in such social transformations. The majority of the world’s population now resides in urban areas making questions surrounding the city central to understanding the shape of the 21st century. The goal of the 2013 institute is to create a dialogue about how library and information professionals can (or should) move beyond being guarantors of access and become engaged in communities’ production of knowledge. We consider “the city” to be the public sphere broadly defined (i.e., proposals that examine these issues in small communities are welcome). The massive technological transformations of recent years have changed the nature of both libraries and the public sphere. At the 2013 LACUNY Institute we would like to explore the roles of libraries and information in the polis of the future.
Here are few examples of subjects that would be considered appropriate:
Librarians and social movements
Libraries and public services
The ethics of representation
Services to traditionally marginalized groups
Critical information literacy
The ethics of user generated content
The ethics of neutrality
Libraries and civic engagement
Open access and the public’s right to information
We look forward to your participation in the spring of 2013!
Submission of proposals for papers should include:
name(s) of presenter(s)
abstracts of 300-500 words.
Presentations will be 20 minutes with time allocated for questions and discussion.
Full papers will be published in a special issue of Urban Library Journal.
Submit a 300 to 500 word abstract to this webform or email a word document with the above information to firstname.lastname@example.org
Deadline: December 21, 2012
Notification of acceptance: January 25, 2013
October 9, 2012
Libraries are not businesses. They do not fare well when the majority of people in a society believe that the “free market” is the only viable economic model. However, there is much of value that libraries can learn from the business community and the concept of marketing is one example. Library leaders have been arguing for decades that librarians need to “get out the message” concerning the value of libraries and what they do—whether the audience is college undergraduates, the general public, or employees served by a special library. But what is effective marketing within the context of libraries?
I would argue that in order to be effective, library marketing must succeed in two things. First, it must capture the attention of the intended audience. Second, after capturing that attention, it must provide useful information about the organization or the services offered. Unfortunately, much library marketing seems to succeed at only one or the other of these objectives. Historically (and currently to a great degree as well), libraries have been successful at producing useful information about their collections and services. Librarians have spared no effort in putting together brochures, websites, research guides and pathfinders, publicity about programming, and more. But in many cases such efforts have fallen short because they do not reach their intended audience. The element of creating interest and capturing the attention of that audience is missing.
Librarians are aware of this problem of failure to reach the intended audience, but in many instances have reacted by over-compensating in the opposite direction. They have gone to such lengths to capture the attention of potential library users that the underlying message, the information they need to convey, is lost or missing. A recent case in point is the very entertaining YouTube video put out by the University of Maryland’s McKeldin Library. This was promoted on ACRL’s LinkedIn page as “Now THIS is how to market a library” by UMD Libraries’ Director of Communications. The video is one of many re-creations or parodies of South Korean rapper Psy’s catchy “Gangnam Style” music video that has recently taken the internet by storm. The UMD student who produced it did a great job with the video—you can tell that a lot of planning and work went into its making. The student performers admirably dance and lip-synch to Psy’s hypnotic beat and repetitive lyrics with the McKeldin Library serving as the main setting for their lively re-creation. Yes, the video features a stereotypical librarian—a middle-aged woman with glasses and a stack of books—but even she is hip enough to get in on the fun. The video has certainly been a success by many measures, including having garnered over 100,000 views in its first week of being posted online.
In terms of library marketing, however, the UMD “Gangnam Style” video does not succeed at effectively providing information about the library or its services. The only message that seems to be communicated about the library is: “See how tuned into popular culture we are.” That doesn’t truly rise to the level of effective marketing as I have defined it. This video is the 21st century, Web 2.0 equivalent of students vying to see who can stuff the most people into a phone booth. UMD may have beaten out their peers by producing an internet meme using more people and higher production values, but it is doubtful that any UMD student understands more about their library and its services as a result of watching it.
Using tropes from popular culture to promote the library is a good idea, and it is certainly something that other libraries have attempted with varying degrees of success. Brigham Young University’s Special Collections produced a “Theatrical Trailer” that plays on themes from various popular and cult movies, from the Harry Potter series to Being John Malkovich. The production values are very high and the video effectively communicates that “treasures” of historical value are located in this area of the library. It also counters the stereotype of barriers to access in special collections with the tag line stating that “Anyone can come.” Another example is Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana, which made a humorous video involving another trope—zombies. In their YouTube video, a young couple is menaced by the undead while out at night. They find safety and the information they need to survive a zombie attack (in a book of all places!) at their public library. The video manages to convey the fact that useful and even obscure information can be found at the library, without hitting the viewer over the head with the message.
Popular culture can be mined effectively for library marketing, and its use is not a strategy that librarians can afford to ignore. Some may feel that they have succeeded in marketing if their audience feels positively about the library or is at least made aware that it exists. That is certainly a necessary step. But grabbing people’s attention by showing that the library is tuned into popular culture is not enough. Librarians need to do more than merely entertain with their attempts at marketing. They need to rise to the next level and do what they do best—clearly communicate useful information to those who need it.
October 4, 2012
ALA is now offering library vendors their “first round assignments for ALA 2013,” that is, their booth assignments in the exhibit hall. I want to juxtapose ALA’s two summaries of the Annual Conference, one for librarians and the other for vendors:
The Annual Conference is the best place to expand your network, build your knowledge, and improve your profession.
Exhibiting at ALA tradeshows provides the best and most comprehensive opportunity to reach decision-makers in the library industry. We look forward to seeing you in Chicago next June.
Interesting that ALA speaks the vendors’ language when talking to them – ALA Annual is a “trade show” for the “library industry.” This despite the fact that libraries seem to be the primary if not one of the biggest markets for almost all of the vendors present. You would think that ALA could have the confidence in librarianship as a social institution to call the conference a conference and the field of libraries a field.
This is another sign of the effects of member dues constituting a small proportion of ALA’s revenues versus a half century ago, when we really could say that it was a member organization. (To be fair, ALA’s justification for this change in revenue patterns – that its transformation into a business came about in order to meet the demands of members – is probably true.)
October 2, 2012
I liked this post from Hack Library School, written by Amy Frasier: “Whither Reference?” Amy notes with alarm that reference isn’t being taught as a standalone class at her library school. I want to note for the benefit of more senior and cynical readers that this is a current library student who is concerned about the lack of a reference course at her institution…
August 8, 2012
Emily Ford does a great job with this overview of library philosophy in In the Library With a Lead Pipe: What We Do and Why We Do It, published this morning. Much of it is a review of the literature in this important thread of LIS scholarship, covering a span that runs from 1934 up to some very recent work. Full disclosure: she includes a Library Juice Press publication in her discussion.
June 30, 2012
Class and Librarianship: Essays at the Intersection of Information, Labor and Capital.
Edited by Erik Sean Estep (Southern Illinois University Edwardsville) and Nathaniel F Enright (Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology). To be published by Library Juice Press in 2013.
The current crisis of capitalism has led to the renewed interest in Marxism and its core categories of analysis such as class and exploitation. In our own discipline—Library and Information Science—voices and ideas that have long been confined to the critical margins have been given buoyancy as forms of critique have gained traction.. Our volume will allow for a fresh look at at the interaction of information, labor, capital,class, and librarianship.
Questions that can be explored in contributions include, but are not limited to: class differences in the workplace, faculty and staff relations at libraries, poverty and public libraries, information science pedagogy and class, the commodification of information, information and class struggle, class bias in classification systems and the class politics of mental or digital labor.
We welcome contributions from scholars and practitioners alike. If you wish to discuss your contribution with us please feel free to do so by contacting Erik Estep (hobsbawm17 at gmail.com) or Nathaniel Enright (natenright at gmail.com).
Abstracts of no longer than 500 words are due on August 30. We will let you know if you make the cut by September 30. Final papers due February 1 2013.
June 1, 2012
Take note of this outrageous situation at the Canadian Library Association conference yesterday. Librarians opposing cuts to the Canadian National Library and Archives were ejected from the conference by force for passing out leaflets. The Executive Director of CLA claimed that the library conference was “not the right venue” for such activism. Read all about it on the blog of the unionized librarians of the University of Ottawa.