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LILAC co-sponsors a Critical Pedagogy Symposium

Keynotes: https://mnylc.org/cps/?page_id=79

Full Schedule: https://mnylc.org/cps/?page_id=325 

Registration: https://criticalpedagogysymposium.eventbrite.com/ 

LILAC is among the co-sponsors of a Symposium on Critical Pedagogy and Librarianship on May 17th – May 19th, each day, 11am – 4pm EST (add time). The event will be held virtually and is open to everyone. The Symposium’s goal is to explore a pedagogy that interrogates and explores structures of power, is designed to address frameworks of anti-oppression, and articulate a vision of justice within the field of library professionals. The symposium was organized by a Committee (see below) and includes workshops, panels, posters, presentations, and lightning talks. 

A critical pedagogy focused on Race 

A critical lens can provide us with tools to understand and dismantle the structures of power and oppression within the library and baked into the positionality of the library itself. In particular, a critical pedagogy that draws in Critical Race Theory (CRT) demands that we understand the centrality of race, racism, and the complexities of intersectional marginalities. CRT understands racism as a phenomenon that is both ordinary and aberrational. Though CRT stemmed from legal studies. It interoperates with multiple fields, including education, and has expanded to communities that center race alongside political identities (TribalCrit, QueerCrit, etc.) to deepen intersectional modes of criticality, furthering the combat of white supremacy.  

Critical Pedagogy has been woven into theoretical spaces within LIS for years now, from  the Library Juice’s 2010 publication of Critical Library Instruction (Accardi, Drabinski, Kumbier Eds. Library Juice Press) to MIT press’s 2021’s, Knowledge Justice  edited by Sofia Leung and Jorge R. López-McKnight, the first collection to directly focus on CRT in LIS. The theoretical frameworks in these texts and many others are now the spine of faculty librarian positions opening at academic libraries. For instance, Critical Pedagogy Librarian roles are being integrated into traditional library teams. What impact might this have on the profession and on institutions? This conference will be a place to think about how we might truly actualize the aspirations of this moment.

How did the Symposium come to fruition?

Initially, the idea was to explore methods of teaching in a remote environment. Co-sponsored with New York based groups such as the Reference and Instruction Special Interest Group (SIG) by the Metropolitan Library Council, ACRL/NY’s Information Literacy/Instruction Discussion Group, the Symposium’s groundwork was laid by two previous Case Studies in Critical Pedagogies forums held in November 2020 and February 2021

The coordinating Committee has 50% BIPOC representation and 50% queer representation. We bring a variety of experience and positionalities to this work, all as providers of public services in libraries. As symposium organizers, an underlying goal is to hold ourselves to a deeper accounting, and to think more rigorously and clearly [by inviting] critiques along the lines of race/ethnicity, indigenous and decolonial perspectives, issues of labor and class, and inclusive of gender/sexuality.

What will the Symposium offer?

The Symposium features more than 50 presenters, showcasing over 30 panels, presentations, workshops, posters, and lightning talks, with two amazing keynotes. Some subjects range from critical analysis to practical applications in: reference by mail to prisons, diversity, equity, inclusion (DEI), LGBTQ+ cataloguing, MLIS interrogations, race-centered services, indigenous studies, silos, echo chambers, COVID implications, public libraries, zines, and womanism.

The Opening Keynote will be presented by Jamillah R. Gabriel, the founder of Call Number, a book subscription box specializing in Black literature and authors. Gabriel also co-hosts LibVoices, a podcast that interviews BIPOC librarians and information professionals about their experiences in LIS. Gabriel’s research focuses on issues at the nexus of information and race via a critical theorist lens, and interrogates how hegemonic information systems and institutions impact Black people and communities will get us started. Our closing Keynote is a conversation between the co-founder of Cite Black Women, Christen A. Smith and the co-founder of Black Women Radicals, Jaimee A. Swift. Shawn(ta) Smith-Cruz, Associate Dean for Teaching, Learning, and Engagement at NYU, and co-organizer of the Symposium, will moderate.

Registration & More Information

Registration is open and is first-come, first serve. The Symposium will be held on Zoom with closed captioning and recording for both keynotes (other events will not be recorded). Interested library folks and anyone interested in criticalities in libraries can register here.

Symposium Committee members:

Emma C. Antobam-Ntekudzi
Instructor/Librarian, Bronx Community College, CUNY

Vikki C. Terrile
Assistant Professor, Public Services and Assessment Librarian & Co-Coordinator of Information Literacy, Queensborough Community College, CUNY

Dianne Gordon Conyers
Associate Professor & Periodicals Librarian, LaGuardia Community College, CUNY

Kate Adler
Director of Library Services, Metropolitan College of New York

Linda Miles
Assistant Professor, Head of Reference & OER Librarian, Hostos Community College, CUNY

Shawn(ta) Smith-Cruz
Associate Dean, Teaching, Learning & Engagement, New York University Libraries & Visiting Assistant Professor, Pratt School of Information

Elvis Bakaitis
Interim Head of Reference, The Graduate Center, CUNY

Stephanie Margolin
Associate Professor & Instructional Design Librarian, Hunter College, CUNY

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