Equitable Information Access and Librarianship Praxis: Let’s Get Critical

Today’s Read:
Lauren Smith & Michael Hanson
Communities of Praxis: Transforming Access to Information for Equity
The Serials Librarian, v. 76, nos. 1-4, pp. 42-49
DOI: 10.1080/0361526X.2019.1593015

I recently submitted a proposal to write a chapter on Critical Legal Studies for a new library science textbook, and it was accepted.

In the proposal, I used the Critical Legal Studies research guide I created for our library to create a framework for the future book chapter. Basically, I want to get the content of this guide into some kind of written form, since library research guides have a bit of an ephemeral quality.

While the chapter will be primarily about critical studies in law, it will also include some basic information about critical librarianship. I want to encourage future law librarians consider issues of disproportionate representation and information access in their own professional practice. Or, put another way, I hope that they will choose to incorporate praxis into their practice of librarianship.

For this reason, this recent article from The Serials Librarian caught my eye, and I decided to blog about it. The article is based on a presentation given by Lauren Smith at the 2018 NASIG (formerly the North American Serials Interest Group) conference. In her talk, Smith discussed three themes that are necessary to “democratize” information, which means making sure that all people are empowered to exercise their right to access it: power, praxis, and privilege.

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“Get out of the bitter barn and play in the hay”

Citation:
Hansjörg Znoj, Features of Embitterment, in Embitterment: Societal, Psychological, and Clinical Perspectives 5 (Michael Linden & Andreas Maercker eds. 2011).

The TV show Friends has resurged like no one’s business recently. The quote in the title of this post comes from that show, and it was Phoebe Buffay who said it in “The One With The Prom Video,” which happens to be the first episode of the show that I ever saw. That was the episode that had the whole Chandler/Joey gold bracelet thing, and, of course, the prom video that started the whole Ross and Rachel relationship.

That quote comes to mind whenever I perceived bitterness in myself and others, which I promise is relevant here.

Anyway, this is the first time in this experiment that I have analyzed a book chapter instead of an article. It was helpful in terms of understanding the psychological construct of bitterness, which has been on my mind a lot lately. However, and perhaps more importantly, it showed that book chapters rarely can stand alone in a rewarding way.

In other words, I may know more about embitterment than I did before, but I’m still not really sure what to do about it.

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