About the book

Critical Library Pedagogy in Practice will be an edited collection of 10-15 short, practical, chapters which will explore various aspects of critical pedagogy and how the theory can be applied to information literacy teaching. The book is inspired by the success of the Critical Library Pedagogy Handbook, published by the American Library Association, and the aim for this collection will be to produce a similarly helpful book focussed on the work and practice of librarians in various countries within a classroom context. This book will also be open access and therefore free for anyone and everyone to use.

The editors are soliciting pitches now (due 31 July 2019) and will select chapters from the information literacy and library teaching community in various countries. Topics should be focussed around the praxis (i.e. practical implementation) of critical theory and pedagogy in librarians’ teaching. We expect chapters to be pitched that cover such topics as:

  • De-colonising library teaching, including improving representation of different people in our teaching and our resources/the influence of #whyismycurriculumwhite, #critlib, and other popular social media movements in reassessing both the curriculum and the resources that support it.
  • The use of learning analytics and privacy within the information literacy classroom.
  • Teaching plagiarism in a world where “citing is weird” (Seeber, 2016, p.132). Modelling good practice of referencing and citation within our teaching.
  • Teaching about search algorithm bias and research strategies for how to counteract these biases and surface diverse perspectives.
  • Teaching about source evaluation and authority as constructed and contextual in this era of renewed focus on credibility, “fake news,” etc.
  • Reflections of our praxis within the constraints of one-shot teaching.
  • Creating online resources that use a more critical pedagogy in learning design.
  • Challenging neoliberalism within discussions of information literacy.
  • Experiences within the library and information literacy teaching for people of colour/BAME people, LGBTQ+ people, librarians with disabilities and neuro-atypical people.
  • Teaching students transitioning from further education (FE) to higher education (HE), managing their expectations of what libraries are and do, and encouraging independent study, informed skepticism, and critical thought.
  • Critical andragogy and information literacy with adult learners.
  • Are librarians teachers, and why is pedagogy important for information professionals?
  • Including critical pedagogy within one-to-ones and enquiry/reference desk work.
  • Learning from the US/Canada-this could include chapters by librarians from the States and Canada who have experience of working in libraries in Europe, and who can compare and contrast the learning cultures.

The editors would like to specifically focus on publishing voices that are from under-represented communities within the LIS/Information Literacy sector, including but not limited to LGBTQ+ voices, people of colour, librarians working without having a qualification, librarians with disabilities and neuro-atypical people, and librarians from indigenous communities. We encourage first time authors to submit and are happy to give you any support, guidance, or help you need with the process!

Critical librarianship is a growing field, and yet practical information about how theories can be implemented into our practice in a way that is useful for librarians is limited to informal blogging or scattered and infrequent networking or teachmeets. This book would continue the scholarly conversations surrounding critical practices in library classrooms whilst also providing inspiration to those wanting to include these practices in their teaching. Some European librarians may be questioning how the North American-centric practices illustrated in the Critical Library Pedagogy Handbook and other US publications could be translated to a context outside that of taught credit courses run by tenured professors: in this book they would find their own contexts represented.

The editors are flexible in terms of presentation and format, and want to make the process and end product as inclusive as possible. Chapters could be presented in whatever format would work for the author, depending on the restrictions imposed by the publisher. For example, there should be an understanding that pictures are not cheap to print, so any cartoons etc could be in an online version but maybe not the print – or could have audio format only chapters in an online version – the possibilities are endless!  

References and further reading

Accardi, M. T., Drabinski, E., & Kumbier, A. (2010). Critical library instruction: Theories and methods. Duluth, MN: Library Juice Press.

Accardi, M. T. (2013). Feminist pedagogy for library instruction. Sacramento, CA: Library Juice Press.

Accardi, M. T. (2017). The feminist reference desk: concepts, critiques and conversations. Sacramento, CA: Library Juice Press.

McNicol, S. (2016). Critical literacy for information professionals. London: Facet.

Nicholson, K.P. and Searle, M. (2018). The politics of theory and practice of critical librarianship. Sacramento, CA: Library Juice Press

Pagowsky, N. and McElroy, K. (2016). Critical library pedagogy Volumes 1 and 2. Chicago: Association of College and Research Libraries.

Seeber, K.P. (2016). The failed pedagogy of punishment: moving discussions of plagiarism beyond detection and discipline. In N. Pagowsky & K. McElroy (Eds.) Critical Library Pedagogy Volume 1 (pp. 131-138). Chicago: Association of College and Research Libraries.