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Thursday, February 8 • 10:30am - 12:00pm
Session 5.4 Juried Panel: Teaching For Justice

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This proposed lightning talk panel is based on the 2017 publication Teaching for Justice (Cooke & Sweeney, 2017), which was written as a response to the rising awareness amongst Library and Information Science (LIS) educators of the need to actively integrate social justice frameworks, values, and strategies into LIS teaching practices and curricula as a foundation for training the next generation of just and critically-minded library and information professionals. “Teaching for justice” is a timely topic, as internal conversations about professional identity, status, scope of the field, and the role of LIS education are playing out against a panoply of complex external forces that include: decreased public funding for education and social services, increased state spending on mass incarceration and defense, widening wealth gaps, and the privatization of information. These are just some of the forces that are held in tension with LIS core professional values that emphasize access, democracy, public good, intellectual freedom, diversity, and social responsibility. These tensions are felt in the lived experiences of members of our communities, most keenly amongst those belonging to oppressed and marginalized groups.
Libraries and librarians have the potential to serve as the front lines of advocacy and information provision in their communities. Research demonstrates the critical community-building and informational roles that libraries take on in times of economic downturn, natural disasters, and social crises. These issues raise questions for LIS educators; namely, are we, in fact, preparing students to engage in justice-oriented professional practice? Do they have the appropriate knowledge and tools available to them to name, and interrogate, structures of power and inequality as they impact information professions and user communities?  We cannot expect that students will somehow magically be prepared to take part in conversations about power and privilege or be automatically culturally competent and self-reflective in their practice. These are skill sets that have to be intentionally developed, refined, and practiced as part of a life-long education process. Additionally, many LIS students come to their graduate education without prior exposure to cultural studies, gender and feminist studies, or ethnic and race studies courses. Initiating conversations about power reflected in systems of race, gender, class, and sexuality at this late stage provides a challenge for LIS educators who are effectually tasked with teaching students proficiency in these areas along with discipline-specific knowledge.  Thus, spreading social justice education across the LIS curriculum is crucial for sharing the burden amongst educators as well as for normalizing these values to our students.  
Lastly, it is crucial that students come to think of justice oriented professional practice as part and parcel of everyday LIS work.  The real stakes are in keeping justice anchored as a foundational and persistent feature of LIS professional norms and status quo.  Social justice as an ethical framework can guide daily activities such as policy development, collection building, interpersonal interactions, reference work, information literacy, programming, outreach activities, and cataloging.  Our role as LIS educators is to make these connections explicit for our students and provide them with the tools and strategies they can use as they go forward.  
This panel will feature 10-minute lightning talks from several Teaching for Justice chapter contributors; each speaker will describe their chapter and how they employ social justice in the LIS classroom. All of the speakers have experience teaching either a stand-alone course related to social justice or otherwise infuse social justice principles and frameworks across the LIS curriculum in their courses.
Kevin Rioux will describe his social justice framework, which articulates a “unified social justice stance for LIS curricula” to help bridge potentially disparate conceptual understandings of social justice within the field.
John Burgess will discuss his chapter “Teaching the long game: Sustainability as a framework for LIS education,” which posits sustainability theory as a potential framework for social justice in LIS that is compatible with extant professional values such as fair and equitable access to information and the public good.
Julie Winklestein will discuss her chapter “Social Justice in Action: Cultural Humility, Scripts and the LIS Classroom,” which identifies the concept of “cultural humility” as a potential starting place for social justice librarianship.
Sandra Hughes-Hassell will introduce her co-written chapter “Examining race, power, privilege and equity in the youth services classroom,” which describes her master’s level LIS course “Youth and Children’s Services in a Diverse Society” that draws on critical race theory (CRT) and other cross-disciplinary frameworks to prepare students to work with diverse user communities.
Jenny Bossaller will discuss her chapter “Social Justice in Study Abroad,” which evaluates the intentions and outcomes of three graduate level LIS study abroad programs that she designed and taught at the University of Missouri.
Bharat Mehra and Vandana Singh will discuss their chapter “Library Leadership-In-Training as Embedded Change Agents to Further Social Justice in Rural Communities,” which explains the integration of social justice agendas in the teaching of library management courses that were formed as a part of two grant projects associated with their university’s “Information Technology Rural Library Master’s Scholarship Program.” These short talks will highlight the challenges associated with transforming the normative space of higher education that go beyond updating content modules in a given course. A social justice curriculum, by definition, critiques and disrupts the normative environment, exposing asymmetrical power relations, within the classroom and discipline, for the purpose of formulating interventions and actions to redress inequalities associated with the status quo. It is hoped that these conversations will inspire, validate, and support LIS educators who are or wish to incorporate social justice into their pedagogy. The suite of talks will be followed by a 20-minute moderated and interactive discussion with the audience.
Cooke, N. A., & Sweeney, M. E. (Eds.) (2017). Teaching for Justice: Implementing Social Justice in the LIS Classroom. Library Juice Press.


Thursday February 8, 2018 10:30am - 12:00pm
Standley II

Attendees (30)