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ROI: Region One Insights February 6th, 2023
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Critical Librarianship and Pedagogy Symposium 2022

Posted by on December 14th, 2022 Posted in: Uncategorized

Being that I am new to librarianship, the concepts behind pedagogy are mostly unfamiliar to me. Pedagogy was discussed in library school, but only from the standpoint that one is already familiar with pedagogy. Coming from a social work background I have never learned the basic theories and frameworks associated with pedagogy. Every time I have seen a training on pedagogy, I am quick to sign up only to find out that they have skipped the basics and start right in the middle with what I would identify as intermediate. Even though the Critical Librarianship & Pedagogy Symposium 2022 did not present on the basics of pedagogy, it was still worth attending.

The symposium was hosted by University of Arizona. The symposium was not only free, but virtual, making it possible for me and others from around the country to attend. In addition to their sessions, they also had pre-symposium podcasts for participants. It lasted three half days, giving participants some flexibility.

According to the website, University of Arizona (2022) shares that “Critical pedagogy recognizes that education is shaped by outside political and economic forces, often to the detriment of politically and culturally marginalized students. Those who practice critical pedagogy teach students how to recognize and critique the oppressive power structures inherent in educational systems.” They had my attention.

Here are a few of the sessions I attended:

Being taught to be professionals vs. workers: critical consciousness and LIS education

Yoonhee Lee, University of Toronto

This session will explore the question “what if we–in the library and archives field–were taught to think of ourselves as workers–under racial capitalism?” Looking at the ALA core competencies, standards for ALA accreditation, and LIS curricula, I will point to examples of how LIS education socializes LIS students to become “professionals,” rather than developing critical consciousness as library workers under racial capitalism. Then, I will explore how this education impacts how we approach “diversity, equity, and inclusion” in the field. Participants will have the opportunity to reflect on their professional and/or worker identity and contribute to a collective brainstorm of what and how critical consciousness in relation to labor and racial capitalism can happen in LIS education both in and outside the formal classroom.

Unpacking white language supremacy in the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy

Anders Tobiason, Boise State University

Who is the model information literate individual? Taking its cue from Critical Discourse Analysis, Antiracist Black Language Pedagogy, and Habits of White Language (HOWL) Supremacy, this presentation questions the foundational image of the information literate individual lying at the heart of the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy. The audience will gain an understanding of how the ACRL Framework operates within the norms of white supremacy culture, reinforces whiteness as a neutral background, and codes the idealized information literate individual as white. Participants will have opportunities to ask questions and engage in interrogating the implied standards in the Framework throughout the session. After this session, participants will be able to begin to identify ways in which White Supremacy Culture infuses how the Framework conceives of information literacy and problematize foundational practices which assert that one must “become” information literate in a particular way.

MLIS education and trauma-informed archival labor: preparing the next generation of liberatory memory workers

Katherine Schlesinger, University of Arizona

This presentation introduces the concept of trauma-informed archival labor and practices, positing that such knowledge is essential to undertake liberatory memory work including projects engaged in decolonization, reparations, repatriation, and redescription. Trauma-informed archival labor refers to instances when archivists experience symptoms of stressor-related disorders including trauma while working with records documenting traumatic events, or with survivors of traumatic events described in the records. Trauma-informed archival practices seek to support all those working with such collections. Despite the risks of encountering traumatic archival materials, most students in US-based MLIS  programs are currently not trained to recognize and manage archival trauma. This presentation presents preliminary findings of a 2022 research study examining trauma-informed archival education in US-based MLIS programs, discusses the implications of those results, and offers possible next steps for MLIS educators. A Q & A session will engage the audience.

Creating accessible instructional videos: design, captions, and more

Melissa A. Wong, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Many academic libraries offer instructional videos for using their websites. Unfortunately, research shows that many of these videos are inaccessible to patrons with disabilities. For example, Clossen and Proces (2017) found that only 52% of videos they examined were properly captioned and many had additional accessibility problems. In this workshop, participants will learn to create fully accessible instructional videos. The workshop begins with a brief overview of disability that puts accessibility practices into context, then introduces design practices that support accessibility, including advice on planning, scripting, narration, typography, and graphic design. Finally, the workshop introduces standards and practices for captions, transcripts, and descriptive audio. This workshop includes an opportunity for participants to evaluate an existing instructional video for accessibility and time for Q and A. Takeaways include an evaluation rubric, a checklist of accessibility practices and standards, a suggested design process, and a list of resources for further information.

Teaching toward wholeness: empowering relationality in the information literacy curriculum

Sheila Garcia Mazari, University of California Santa Cruz; Maya Hobscheid, Grand Valley State University

Recognizing that research can be traumatic for individuals from historically excluded groups, this session will guide participants through a set of student learning outcomes related to the emotional stages of research. Formatted as a rubric to assess student learning, these learning outcomes focus on framing student research through a human-centered lens, valuing past lived experiences that may intersect with research topics and the research process. Participants will be asked to begin the session by reflecting on their personal experiences encountering academic literature that either reaffirmed or came in conflict with their lived experiences. Facilitators will provide their own examples and highlight how they have used the rubric to inform how they establish relationality in the information literacy curriculum. This includes practices such as: undertaking a “making space” mentality during research consultations, negotiating teaching methods with instructors through a trauma-informed approach, and co-creating social contracts for engaging in a space.

Exploring fat liberation in instruction

Liz Chenevey, James Madison University

The intersection of fatness and health is often a popular research topic for students. As the fat studies discipline and conversations around body positivity and fat liberation continue to evolve, it is important for librarians to bring this perspective into our critical instruction practice. This lightning talk will be a beginning exploration into how fatness and fat liberation can show up in how we teach information literacy. The fat liberation and fat studies movements will be introduced, and we will explore opportunities to better incorporate this perspective into information literacy instruction. The audience will take away ideas for incorporating fat liberation into their teaching. While the presenter’s perspective is mainly from working as a liaison to health and behavioral studies students, the talk will be broad enough to apply to a variety of disciplines.

Hip hop-based community engaged learning & the academic library: 6 Years of VTDITC

Jasmine Weiss and Craig Arthur, Virginia Tech University Libraries

Program description was provided from the perspective of faculty and students.

There were definitely some things I noticed about these sessions and others offered. Not only did they focus on education, but they focused on topics that we don’t like to talk about in education. There was a focus on marginalized populations that are typically left outside of rooms where decisions are made, white supremacy in education and research, wellness, and other controversial topics in relation to education. While I am no pedagogy expert, I as familiar with the subtopics. Despite this, there was still plenty to learn. I think it is safe to say these are not topics most of us discuss in our day to day work or in our staff meetings. While academia and information science professions struggle with these types of issues, I hope that at the very least Critical Librarianship & Pedagogy have people asking more questions and engaging in dialog with their colleagues around these issues.

It is looking like I am going to have to seek out the basics on my own.

Hats off to University of Arizona for a job well done.

This post was written by Tiffany Chavis, Health Literacy Librarian, NNLM Region 1 at the University of Maryland Baltimore.

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Tiffany Chavis

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Faith Steele, MLS, is the Outreach and Education Librarian for Region 1 for the Network of the National Library of Medicine at the University of Maryland Baltimore. She connects libraries to community health partners and provides training and funding to help communities access quality health information

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