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Radical Librarians Collective
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Libraries as a feminist issue and feminism as a library issue (Adrienne Rashbrook-Cooper
A discussion about inequality within and without LIS structures. Or, indeed, possible solutions/opportunities for change - please do expand and elaborate as you wish. Would welcome more input.
The push towards public library mutuals; empowerment or a Trojan Horse?
(Alan Wylie @alan_wylie)
The coalition government wants to see public services ‘spun out’ into staff-led mutuals and co-ops as part of their vision for ‘open public services’. York Libraries and Archives have already gone down this route with Birmingham Libraries following closely behind. The implications are that public libraries will have to become more business-like, how does this fit with our ethos? Do SocEnts, trusts and co-operative councils pose the same threats?
Is this part of a genuine desire to maintain strong public services, empower workers/users/communities and improve service quality or an ideologically driven desire to shrink the state and cut public spending?
For background to this see;
An apparent lack of Critical Theory in LIS?:
of a critically reflexive discipline, depoliticised neutrality and the fallacy of "employability"
Should employers be training employees and academic courses be encouraging those undertaking LIS studies to be producing and developing critically-founded knowledge?
Libraries have a steeped history in social politics and the neutrality that emanates from the contemporary sphere appears to continue a wider narrative of passivity from individuals that have lost agency in the political domain: Is the often assumed objective, neutral position of the profession is a flawed limitation, and is there a lack of critical foundation within the field of LIS? Has this contributed to a depoliticisation (or political apathy) across the field?
Without critically aware staff, how can the library and information professions be said to be informing, enhancing, assisting, teaching or training information skills to their patrons? Can we locate and provide relevant information and sources of information without critically evaluating at subjective and intra-subjective levels?
Disseminating radical ideas
What outlets are there for communicating radical ideas both in the day-to-day of our working environment and throughout the wider working communities we engage in? How can we work at multiple levels - personal, workplace, "professional" (urgh, sorry...) and scholarly communities - to effectively counter the prevailing capitalist/statist discourses? Should we prioritise any of these levels over others?
What potential is there in existing
/relationships/structures, i.e. unions, journals/publishers etc., and to what extent do we need new forums and spaces? What form should these spaces take?
Radicalising the professional routes…
How would we remodel the qualification? How would we tackle the depoliticisation of a profession that is inherently political? How could and should this be reflected in a professional body and how would this manifest itself in constructing an appropriate model for library services?
All of these things could be crammed into one session. Or only two things. Or one. Or none. This is an opportunity to constructively explore an alternative route for the profession – from qualification to the institution itself.
Radicalising professional routes (Ian Clark @ijclark)
The push towards public library mutuals (Alan Wylie @alan_wylie)
An apparent lack of Critical Theory in LIS? (Kevin Sanders @moananddrone)
Disseminating radical ideas (Dan Grance @DanPGrace)
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