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Thinking Outside the (Library) Box: Using Your Librarian Skills for the Public Good

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Description

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.

Contributors

  • Sian Evans, Moderator

    Siân Evans is the Information Literacy & Instructional Design Librarian at Maryland Institute College of Art and the co-founder of Art+Feminism, a campaign to create meaningful changes to the body of knowledge available about feminism and the arts on Wikipedia. Her writing can be found in journals such as Art Documentation and The Serials Librarian, and her work with Art+Feminism has been covered by The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, ARTnews, and more. She firmly believes that librarianship is information activism, and spends her free time with her precious pitbull, Pickle.

  • Nora Almeida

    Nora Almeida is a volunteer at Interference Archive, an all-volunteer, collectively run archive of social movement ephemera. The mission of Interference Archive is to explore the relationship between cultural production and social movements through public programs, exhibitions, and publications. Nora also works as a librarian and teacher at the New York City College of Technology

  • Sherry Antoine

    Alice Backer is a social media professional, lawyer and free culture curator. In 2015, she launched AfroCROWD, a multilingual initiative to increase Afro descendant participation in crowdsourcing initiatives such as Wikipedia and Wikidata.

  • Alice Backer

    Alice Backer is a social media professional, lawyer and free culture curator. In 2015, she launched AfroCROWD, a multilingual initiative to increase Afro descendant participation in crowdsourcing initiatives such as Wikipedia and Wikidata.

  • Jenna Freedman

    Talk to me about zines, Radical Reference, you cat(s), my cats, and open positions at my library.

  • Lia Friedman

    Director of Learning Services at UC San Diego / Radical Reference Volunteer/Staff Librarian Make/Shift Magazine, UC San Diego / Radical Reference

  • Heather Hart

    I'm interested in questioning dominant narratives and proposing alternatives to them. I am a public artist and co-run Black Lunch Table, an oral history archiving project with a metadata tagged dynamic searchable database and a Wikipedia editing initiative.

  • Jen Hoyer

    Jen Hoyer from the Interference Archive will discuss archive-based activism, organizing volunteer archive programming, and building ephemeral collections. The Interference Archive is an all volunteer, open stacks archive that “... [uses] cultural ephemera to animate histories of people mobilizing for social transformation. [They] consider the use of [their] collection to be a way of preserving and honoring histories and material culture that is often marginalized in mainstream institutions.