I'm interested in Critical Librarianship

Libraries and librarians can upend unfair systems of power and oppression!  Absolutely, they can! Bring your ideas and energy to these sessions. 

Interested in other topics? Check out the conference scheduler and use the drop down "Subject" search field or visit the interests pages to see other topics. 

Extra special thanks to Eamon Tewell and other contributors for collecting their incredible list of programs of interest to critical library workers!


Nothing About Us Without Us! Engaging the Community in Creating Disability Friendly Libraries
Saturday 9:00 – 10:00AM
Interested in making your library more inclusive? Consult the experts – people with disabilities! This panel of librarians, with and without disabilities, can help you identify the self-advocates in your community, create linkages with self-advocacy agencies and develop a plan to include people with disabilities in the planning of your library’s services.

Zine Cultures as Critical Resistance: A Hands-On Workshop to Build Community Engagement and Student Learning
Saturday 9:00 – 10:00AM
A panel of zinesters, zine librarians and cultural scholars will convene a conversation addressing critical practices of literary and artistic resistance within zine cultures. Zines as a medium and platform are texts of subculture that resist dominant social hierarchies in favor of self-made and independently circulated ideas, distributed among community-based networks, and published outside of traditional publishing structures in many different parts of the world.

Bullying, Trolling, and Doxxing, Oh My! Protecting our Advocacy and Public Discourse around Diversity and Social Justice
Saturday 10:30 – 11:30AM
Our institutions and professional organizations espouse diversity as a virtue and actively look for ways to promote and demonstrate these convictions. But this is not without personal risk and challenge to individuals, groups, and organizations who proactively and vocally engage in this work. This panel addresses a sadly common, but not very discussed, aspect of engaging in work on behalf of equity, diversity, and inclusion -- being targeted for harassment because of one's social justice work. 

ACRL President’s Program: Beyond Resilience: Crafting a Caring Organization
Saturday 10:30 – 11:30AM
The ability to "bounce back" from crises, often known as resilience, is increasingly considered an essential skill in many different fields. But might the term be used to shift responsibility for success and survival to individuals, while silencing conversations about structural inequalities. If asking employees to "be resilient" isn't enough, what can we do instead — as individuals or as organizations — to create caring and healthy workplaces in our libraries? 

Libraries Saving Lives: Serving immigrants and refugees
Saturday 1:00 - 2:00PM
Libraries around the globe are responding to and welcoming newcomers of all ages, languages, and nationalities into their communities. By developing services, programs, collections and spaces, they are assisting these particularly vulnerable populations with logistical and cultural adjustment through such programs as innovative language learning meet-ups, job-seeking guidance, and homework assistance. During this program, you’ll hear about how librarians in Malmö, Sweden; Cologne, Germany; and Kentucky, U.S., are using ground-breaking models and creating dynamic spaces to engage immigrants and refugees.  

Moving Beyond the Threshold: Next Steps in Critical Information Literacy
Saturday 1:00 - 2:30PM
There is little doubt of the importance of critical information literacy and the role of librarians, but many librarians are asking themselves, what should come next? Recently, academic, school, and public librarians have been working tirelessly to document, articulate and discuss, our progressively challenging role in cultivating social responsibilities within our communities and amongst our student, in order to frame the conversation for growth. Join leading experts to hear more about breakthroughs in this area.

Libraries and Learning Analytics: Identifying the Issues
Saturday 2:30 – 3:30PM
Higher education institutions have greatly increased pressure on their libraries and librarians to demonstrate quantitative impact of their resources, staffing, collections and programs in relation to learning outcomes, student success and student retention. This is built on a Big Data toolkit, which calls for warehousing large quantities of data for various analytical purposes. This reliance on one-to-one identified student information raises serious and wide-ranging moral issues and ethical quandaries for librarians.


Breaking down barriers: Serving the first-generation student in today’s academic library
Sunday 9:00 – 10:00AM
As colleges, universities, and academic libraries work to adapt their student recruitment, retention, and support services to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse student population, one group of students merits special attention: first-generation college students. This program will present the results of research into the challenges first-generation students face in effectively using academic libraries as well as an initial set of best practices for supporting these students’ academic success that can be adopted by libraries in a variety of institutional environments. 

Whiteness in LIS: Tracing its Impact, Mapping Resistance
Sunday 10:30 - 11:30AM
Practitioners, scholars, and activists are increasingly locating and troubling whiteness in LIS. In fall 2017, the first book-length treatment of the topic, Topographies of Whiteness: Mapping Whiteness in Library and Information Science (Library Juice Press), was published. Join contributors to this volume for a panel that explores both the historical and current impacts of whiteness on the profession, as well as how it can be addressed.

Cultural Competence & Collaborative Conversations: A Path to Providing Equitable Services for Multicultural Patrons
Sunday 1:00 - 2:00PM
In 2016, Arapahoe Libraries introduced two Intercultural Librarian positions. Tasked with supporting and improving the district's services to underserved populations, we took a new approach to developing the district's internal staff training around services to multicultural patrons that was grounded in the concepts of cultural competence and intersectionality. Our goal is to share with you our findings on how these conversations with staff are helping our library district position itself to better serve this group of patrons. 

Intercultural Competence in Knowledge Representation
Sunday 1:00 - 2:00PM
Knowledge organization systems (KOS), including vocabularies and classification systems, represent our world of knowledge and information resources. Inclusion or exclusion of topics, terms, and the choice of “authorized” terms all affect resource representation and access. This presentation will discuss preliminary findings from a recent study on the intercultural awareness and competence of professionals who develop, maintain, or apply KOS.

Breaking Below the Surface of Racism, Whiteness, and Implicit Bias
Sunday 2:30 - 3:30PM
As we work in our libraries providing services to our campus communities, we often find that our institutions exist as microcosms of our larger society, including the presence of racism, whiteness, and implicit bias. In light of our core professional value of diversity and social responsibility, this interactive session will give us an opportunity to tackle what can often be very uncomfortable issues that arise in our library work. 

Brilliance, Magic and Black Girls
Sunday 2:30 – 3:30PM
While all Americans need and deserve to be surrounded with opportunities that prepare them to be successful, it is Black girls whose opportunities are most threatened. As literacy leaders, we need to understand the inequities that currently exist in our society and create strategies to interrupt them. Librarians and authors will discuss what it means to be a young black girl in America, the unseen brilliance that is buried in deficit narratives and the role we each play in empowering these girls to develop and exceed their own high expectations. 

Trans* Customer Service 101
Sunday 2:30 – 3:30PM
Hear from library workers on the front lines about how to serve better your trans users. We will discuss the importance of Safe Zone training, adding pronouns to name tags and verbal introductions, preferred names in the ILS, gender neutral restrooms, gender neutral or trans-friendly signage, as well as other staff policies and workplace culture issues of interest to those looking to improve their services to trans, as well as other queer or gender nonconforming people.


Collection, Conversation, Community: Taking Action to Combat Social Inequities and Fight for Justice in Our Communities
Monday 9:00 - 10:00AM
What is the wealth and value for students and school-aged patrons of using texts to examine current issues in their communities? This session will look at how our students and patrons, from grade school through high school, can make connections with the broader community outside school and library walls by creating through-lines that encourage connections between literature and “real life”.  

Defense Against the Dark Arts: Techniques and Practices to Protect User Privacy When Conducting Data Analytics
Monday 9:00 - 10:00AM
Libraries are faced with the competing needs to protect the privacy of their users while at the same time analyzing the use of library collections and services. This panel session will cover the threats to library user privacy posed by data analytics and the practices and techniques that libraries can adopt to mitigate these threats, including access control, aggregation, and de-identification.

Critical Perspectives in Library Research (LRRT Chair’s program)
Monday 10:00 - 11:00AM
Three papers presenting new research from critical perspectives - Decolonizing Academic Library Research with Indigenous Methodologies (Danielle Cooper, Ithaka S+R); Blue-Haired Librarians: Boomers to Millennials: An Exploratory Study on Generational Stereotypes (Jessica Hayes, Auburn University; Cecelia Parks, University of Mississippi; Samantha McNeilly, Auburn University; Phill Johnson, Auburn University); and The Powerful, Powerless, and Polite: A Linguistic Analysis of Bilingual Reference Encounters (Julie Marie Frye, Indiana University; Maria Hasler-Barker, Sam Houston State University). 

Buried in a “Dying” Field: Pessimism, Uncertain Futures, and the LIS job search
Monday 10:30 - 11:30AM
In 2014, Hiring Librarians, a blog designed to help students and job seekers find jobs in libraries featured a post entitled “Do not go to library school, librarianship is dying.” What does this say about the emotions and affect of the job search? How does the perception of the future of libraries impact MLIS students? How do new professionals and students prepare psychologically for an ever changing field? 

Can I Lose My Job For That? Intellectual Freedom and Employee Protections in the Library Workplace
Monday 10:30 - 11:30AM​​​​​​​
Library work can engage or be motivated by our ethical, political, and moral beliefs, as well as our professional values. What happens when these values and beliefs are called into question during the course of our work in readers advisory, collection development, programming, instruction, or scholarship? 

When to speak up, when to listen: Allyship, race, and communication in the academic library
Monday 10:30 -11:30AM
Being an ally in a library can look very different when practiced by library staff of different racial identities. Reviewing one’s own identity in relationship to power and privilege is an important step in deciding how to communicate with patrons, peers, supervisors, and others. Our panel discusses how racial identity influences our communication styles as allies. Looking at examples of classroom teaching, one-on-one research consultations, and experiences in staff meetings we review various ways race impacts allyship and present questions to ask oneself in the effort to provide equitable spaces for communication in library work.

Servant Leaders in the Library: Overcoming Adversity to Diversity
Monday 1:00 - 2:00PM
Critical Race Theory (CRT), the study of the intersection of race, law and power, and Servant Leadership can be powerful tools to help libraries identify organizational problems and heal their organization. The speakers will expand on the methods attempted to transform their organization in the spirit of Critical Race Theory and the resulting climate change that has been slow-going but nonetheless, positive. 

Hidden Disabilities in the Workplace
Monday 2:30 -3:30PM
The subject of invisible disabilities - referring to symptoms such as “debilitating pain, fatigue, dizziness, cognitive dysfunctions, brain injuries, learning differences and mental health disorders, as well as hearing and vision impairments” - is becoming more prevalent in the workplace. Accommodations made in the workplace for invisible disabilities can include flexible schedule, special software for assisting with scheduling or prioritizing tasks, or architectural changes such as a standing desk. This program investigates invisible disabilities in the workplace, possible coworker perceptions and barriers to requesting accommodations.

GLBTRT Chair's Program: Intersectionality and the Library of the Future
Monday 2:30 - 4:30PM
An interactive panel presentation about intersectionality and how it affects the future of libraries, including staff development and recruitment/retention, community participation, and the ever-strengthening roles our profession has in transforming our libraries and communities into spaces that meet the diverse needs of all people in a complex, dynamic and even dangerous political environment.

A Library for Everyone: Community Centered Design to Promote Inclusive Librarianship
Monday 4:00 - 5:00PM
Research has shown that libraries are valuable informal learning spaces, rich with opportunities to gain knowledge and make meaning in our complex society. However, libraries are not always able to effectively connect with their diverse communities. Design, a theoretical and practical way to provide solutions to problems in today’s society, offers librarians a set of tools, techniques, and theories that harness the role of making in knowledge creation. In this interactive, hands-on speed design session we present 3 quick, easy-to-learn community-centered design techniques to help library staff create more inclusive tools and services for their communities.