Cultivating collective praxis for scholarly transformation and racial justice:
The Critical Race Theory collective’s introduction to the special issue
This special issue launches from the challenges of white supremacy within Library and Information Studies (LIS) and the demonizing of Critical Race Theory (CRT) within American and British societies. To address these challenges through a commitment to practice as well as theory, a special editorial team for this publication was formed to tackle head on how racialised knowledge justice issues can also manifest in
scholarly publishing spheres. This team is the Critical Race Theory collective (CRTc): an international community of scholars, practitioners and activists working at the intersections of race, libraries, archives, information and education. This extended introduction is split into two parts that describe respectively the process and the product of the special issue. Part One charts the national contexts of CRTc praxis in the US and the UK, and outlines the community-building, restorative and pedagogical principles and
lessons that have (in)formed the CRTc editorial and developmental process. Part Two outlines the papers that constitute the product of the special issue: contributions from American and British authors from interdisciplinary backgrounds who apply CRT frameworks to LIS discourse and practice. Together, these two parts demonstrate the scholar-activist underpinnings of CRTc to address, challenge, resist, interrupt,
and ideally reverse the pushback against all forms of culturally conscious justice, especially racial justice.
Keywords: Critical Race Theory, Library and Information Studies, CRT praxis, racial justice, pedagogy, restorative practice
Critically appraising for antiracism.
Racial bias in research impacts a study’s relevancy, validity and reliability, though presently this aspect is not addressed in critical appraisal tools, and consequently appraisers may not take racial bias into account when assessing a paper’s quality. Drawing on critical race theory (CRT) tenets that racism is ubiquitous and race a social construct, this paper discusses concerns regarding racism in research which have been broadly divided into two categories for critical appraisers to consider…..
The 3%: Positive action for positive change.
In 2019, The King’s Fund Library Service in the UK created a positive action graduate traineeship aimed at correcting the lack of ethnic diversity within the library and information profession in the United Kingdom. This commentary, anchored in the critical race theory tenet of counter-narrative, examines the establishment of this post through the lens of critical race theory, providing insight into how white supremacy presents itself in the implementation of anti-racist recruitment practices.
Health information equity: Rebalancing healthcare collections for racial diversity in UK public service contexts.
COVID-19 illustrated health disparities experienced by racially minoritised people, with heightened risks faced by Black and South Asian communities lending the issue transparency and urgency. Despite efforts to decolonise medical education, deficits in racial representation in research and resources remain. This study investigates the potential and imperatives for healthcare information services to contribute to health
equity through their collections. The literature analysis explores collection management, decolonisation, social justice in librarianship, and Critical Race Theory (CRT) as a framework for change in information contexts. A survey…..
CRT, information, and disability: An intersectional commentary.
Grounded in my perspective as a deaf, Black, and trans librarian who has worked in many Library and Information Science (LIS) roles, I argue in this paper that information scientists and professionals could close the gap in representation and information access by applying a knowledge of intersectionality to our work. I make the case for this by presenting examples of three Black historical “hidden figures” who shaped life as we know it in the USA, highlighting the erased dimensions of their lives as disabled people.
Despite this geographical setting, these intersectional counter stories are relevant to addressing local areas of inequity in information access and resources worldwide.
This community commentary……
CRT in praxis: Library and archival collections at San José State University.
Through various efforts, the staff and faculty of San José State University’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library (King Library) are working towards creating more equitable and inclusive collections. Examining the library’s collecting practices and collections by and about African Americans, this article presents the ongoing work of a working group that was formed in 2020 in response to an Anti-Racism Action Plan developed in the library. By using some of the tenets of the CRT framework such as intersectionality, counter-storytelling, and deconstructing colorblindness and white supremacy, the authors discuss the steps that are being taken to revise, review, and revisit the King Library’s collecting practices in relation to the history of SJSU’s African American Studies program, the Africana Center, and other relevant community history.
Authors: Ana Ndumua; Shaundra Walkerb, Shauntee Burns-Simpsonc,
Nichelle M. Hayesc and Tiffany Mack
Space, story, and solidarity: Designing a Black MLIS student organization amidst crisis and tumult.
Grounded in my perspective as a deaf, Black, and trans librarian who has worked in many Library and Information Science (LIS) roles, I argue in this paper that information scientists and professionals could close the gap in representation and information access by applying a knowledge of intersectionality to our work. I make the case for this by presenting examples of three Black historical “hidden figures” who shaped life as we know it in the USA, highlighting the erased dimensions of their lives as disabled people…
Questions learned: Considering geocultural context within public librarian professional development.
The Librarians’ Inquiry Forum is a practitioner inquiry model for public librarian professional development whose theoretical foundations are based in New Literacy Studies, Critical Race Theory and social epistemology. This research explains the development of the LINQ methodology and design across four public librarian communities of practices situated in geoculturally-specific locations.Data from the
librarian inquiry groups collaboratively researching their professional practice…
A new prohibition era: Book banning, prison abolition, and librarians.
Banned Books Week is a hallmark tradition among US-based librarians and the American Library Association. Yet, the ALA and librarians across the profession are excluding the most significant and egregious violations of intellectual freedom and access to literature and information in our so-called free society – the US prison system. In this essay, the author discusses the significance of carceral book banning and why libraries’ interest divergence from social and prison justice movements are counterproductive and
uphold systems of racial injustice.
Traffic jams on the information superhighway:
The intersectional internet as a roadmap for progressive research.
Opening with Kimberlé Crenshaw’s definition of intersectionality as described
through the metaphor of literal traffic intersections, editors Safiya Umoja Noble and
Brendesha M. Tynes present a well-rounded, deeply articulated collection of writings
detailing the people, products, policies, and politics entwined in The Intersectional…
Intersectional tools for building inclusive houses of knowledge: Review of introduction to intersectional qualitative research (Esposito and Evans-Winters, 2022).
An extended book review of Introduction to Intersectional Qualitative Research (2022) by JenniferEsposito and Venus Evans-Winters (SAGE Publications Inc), which considers its relevance and application to CRT-based intellectual activism in Library and Information Studies.