In Pursuit of Antiracist Social Justice: Denaturalizing Whiteness in the Academic Library

Title

In Pursuit of Antiracist Social Justice: Denaturalizing Whiteness in the Academic Library

Identifier

https://www.ideals.illinois.edu/bitstream/handle/2142/89748/64-2-brook.pdf?sequence=2

Description

This article examines racism and the culture of Whiteness in academic libraries in three major areas of public services: space, staffing, and reference service delivery. The authors perform a critical discourse analysis, drawing on critical race theory, critical geography, critical education, and social psychology to examine foundational library scholarship and professional standards. Academic libraries, as products and representations of their parent institutions, are situated within the well-documented systemic and institutional racism of higher education in the United States. This is reflected in the monocultural geography and spaces of academic libraries. It is seen in the organizational culture and hiring practices of libraries, which are overwhelmingly staffed by White workers, while serving an increasingly diverse student body. Finally, it is reflected in the traditional tenets of reference service delivery, including approachability, responsiveness, and objectivity. The authors argue that racism is embedded in academic libraries through a culture of Whiteness. Consistent with social justice traditions in librarianship, they offer tools and suggestions to realign the profession with antiracist values and practices that will enable libraries to better serve their communities.

Creator

Brook, Freeda
Ellenwood, Dave
Lazzaro, Althea Eannace

Source

Library Trends, Vol. 64, No. 2, pp. 246–284.

Publisher

Library Trends

Date

2015

Rights

© 2015 The Board of Trustees, University of Illinois

Format

Text

Language

English

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Citation

Brook, Freeda Ellenwood, Dave Lazzaro, Althea Eannace, “In Pursuit of Antiracist Social Justice: Denaturalizing Whiteness in the Academic Library,” Anti-Racism Digital Library, accessed August 4, 2020, https://sacred.omeka.net/items/show/346.