Reference Librarianship & Justice:
History, Practice & Praxis

Editors: Kate Adler, Ian Beilin, and Eamon Tewell
Price: $35.00
Expected: Fall 2017
ISBN: 978-1-63400-051-2
Printed on acid-free paper

Reference work often receives short shrift in the contemporary discourse and practice of librarianship. Reference Librarianship & Justice: History, Practice & Praxis highlights the unique position of reference librarianship, a liminal and dialectical space, potentially distinct from the power dynamics of classroom instruction and singular in its mission and practice. At heart, reference is a conversation and partnership. The stakes are significant, not only because of the unique potential for social justice work but because of the risk that the profession is now overlooking reference’s central importance. This book makes a passionate case for reference work in a manner that is historically, socially and politically compelling.

The book’s three sections explore the praxis, history and practice of reference librarianship in the context of social justice. Praxis grounds us theoretically while seeking to trouble and broaden traditional academic conventions, drawing on diverse epistemological frameworks and disciplines both inside and outside of LIS literatures. History grounds us in the past and makes the case that reference librarianship has a long tradition of social justice work, providing intellectual access, partnership and guidance from the Jim Crow South to the War on Poverty. Finally, Dispatches from the Field explores the contemporary practice of social-justice oriented reference librarianship, in prisons, in archives and beyond. We see how the rich genealogy of social justice in reference librarianship is at work today.

Kate Adler is the Director of Library Services at Metropolitan College of New York. She has a MA in American Studies from the CUNY Graduate Center and an MLIS from Queens College, CUNY. Her professional interests pivot around intersections of critical theory, social justice and librarianship.

Ian Beilin is Humanities Research Services Librarian at Columbia University. He received his MSIS from the University at Albany and his PhD in History from Columbia University. He has published and presented on topics in critical information literacy, neoliberalism in the academy, and modern German history.

Eamon Tewell is Reference & Instruction Librarian at Long Island University, Brooklyn. He received his MLIS from Drexel University and his MA in Media Studies from LIU Brooklyn. Eamon has published and presented on the topics of critical information literacy, popular media and active learning in library instruction, and televisual representations of libraries.