April 6, 2018

CFP: Deconstructing Service in Libraries: intersections of identities and expectations

Call for Chapter Proposals

Working Title: Deconstructing Service in Libraries: intersections of identities and expectations
Editors: Veronica Arellano Douglas and Joanna Gadsby
Submission Deadline: July 15, 2018
Publisher: Library Juice Press

Note: We use the term librarian in this call, but we do not mean to limit submissions to those with an MLS degree. All library workers are encouraged to submit chapter proposals.

Book Description
Research into the construction of librarians’ professional identities indicates a strong emphasis on our work as service providers, from both within the profession and the larger environment in which we exist. When taken to its most extreme conclusion, the service ethos that informs librarianship can turn into what some some in the field informally refer to as “Handmaiden Syndrome”– the expectation that librarians be at the beck and call of faculty, students, patrons, and administrators. This is most visible in traditional, patriarchal constructions of service that rely on hierarchical power structures, such as those present in academia and other educational and cultural institutions. But Roma Harris argues that librarianship has the potential to transform the ideal of service from one that exploits those in service roles toward a more democratic and potentially empowering exchange. To do so means an acknowledgement of the high level of emotional labor on the part of the librarian, who is constantly negotiating her sense of personal worth and professional value in pursuit of “good service.” It also raises questions about what components of identity we ignore or devalue when focusing on service as a defining feature in our profession.

This book will unpack the ways in which race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, class, and ability combine with an “ethic of service” to create, stagnate, or destruct librarians’ professional identities, sense of self, and self worth. We would like to examine the power structures, values, and contexts that influence our personal, professional, and institutional conceptions of service in libraries, as well as the costs and consequences (to ourselves and our institutions) of these very personal identity negotiations.

Possible Topics

Possible topics include but are not limited to the following:

Section 1: Situating Service in Librarianship
This introductory section will include a history of service values and behaviors in librarianship. It will examine the ways in which this value has been internalized by practitioners without a clear, agreed upon definition across the different subfields of librarianship.

Section 2: Intersecting Identities & Service
This section will include contributed chapters on the intersections of the ethos of service and personal identity. Questions explored may include:
• How do librarians’ personal identities influence their conception of service in libraries?
• What does service in libraries mean to you?
• In what ways do gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, class, and/or ability influence service expectations of librarians; the ways in which service is performed/carried out; and the ways in which service is perceived by others?
• How do definitions and expectations of service shape professional identities of librarians?
• What are the consequences of not meeting service expectations? How do these consequences differ based on personal identities?
• What is the role of power in service roles and how is influenced by intersectional identity?

Section 3: Reworking the Concept of Service in Libraries
This section will attempt to redefine the concept of service in libraries through a variety of critical theoretical lenses. Contributed chapters may, for example, rework service through a feminist, critical race, or critical disability framework. We also welcome theories and perspectives from other fields. Questions explored may include:
• Do we need a new shared definition of service in libraries?
• Should we abandon the ethos of service in libraries altogether?
• If so, what other professional values should take precedence?
• How can service be redefined to promote a critical, just, and inclusive work and patron environment in libraries? Can it do this?

A variety of traditional and nontraditional scholarship methods are welcome, including but not limited to rhetorical analysis, critical analysis, lyric scholarship, autoethnography, ethnography, phenomenological research, interviews, and other methods of exploring personal and collective identity and the ethos of service.

• CFP distributed: April 2, 2018
• Deadline for Chapter Proposals: July 15, 2018
• Notification of Accepted Chapter Proposals: October 1, 2018
• First drafts due: January 15, 2019
• Second drafts due: March 15, 2019
• Final drafts due: June 1, 2019
• Editing: June-August 2019
• Submission of final manuscript: September 1, 2019


Please email abstracts of up to 500 words to serviceinlibrariesbook (at) gmail (dot) com.

Abstracts should briefly describe your topic and how your chapter examines the ethos of service in libraries in relation to identity, and/or a larger theoretical framework. You are welcome to submit multiple abstracts about different possible topics. If your submission is tentatively accepted, the editors may request modifications. Material cannot be previously published.

Final chapters will be in the 2000-5000-word range. Abstracts that discuss service in tribal college libraries, HBCUs, Hispanic-serving institutions, community colleges, archives, special libraries, and libraries outside the United States are especially welcome.

Please direct any questions to Veronica Arellano Douglas and Joanna Gadsby, editors, at varellano (at) gmail (dot) com or jogadsby (at) gmail (dot) com.

About the Editors

Veronica Arellano Douglas is the Reference & Instruction Librarian and Instruction Coordinator at St. Mary’s College of Maryland. She received her BA in English Literature from Rice University and MLIS from the University of North Texas. Her research interests include feminized labor in librarianship, intersectional librarian identity, critical information literacy and librarianship, feminist pedagogy, and relational theory.

Joanna Gadsby is the Instruction Coordinator & Reference Librarian at University of Maryland, Baltimore County. She holds an MLIS from University of Maryland, College Park and an MEd from Loyola University. Her research interests include critical and constructivist pedagogies as well as issues that shape librarian identity.