While we teach that "authority is constructed and contextual," librarianship typically relies on institutions that may not welcome critique of their power structures or dynamics. Working outside or between these institutions can create dynamic ways to help build a more equitable world. There are many successful examples of this radical library work, such as the panelists we bring together from AfroCROWD, Art+Feminism, Black Lunch Table, Interference Archive, and Radical Reference. These organizations’ missions touch on Wikipedia editing, para-institutional reference and instruction work, public programming and non-institutional archiving. This panel explores how librarians can decenter the institution and create spaces, physical and virtual, that are active sites of resistance and activism. Attendees can expect to leave with a greater knowledge of how this work, which has happened on the margins of our field for a long time, can relate to their library practice both within and outside the institution. They can also expect to get constructive advice on community organizing, outreach and marketing, and diversity and equity planning, all of which will help them cultivate a social justice oriented practice and help with the practical, everyday machinations of librarianship.
Following bell hooks’ model for critical pedagogy, this panel will be a guided, open-ended discussion between a number of librarians, archivists and information activists who have been doing this work both in and outside of the traditional institutional strongholds of librarianship. Topics may include but not be limited to: awareness of intersectional identities in library work, creating institutional partnerships, securing funding through grants and crowdsourcing, and partnering with community organizations.