Social Justice and Library Work

Social Justice and Library Work

A Guide to Theory and Practice

1st Edition - October 6, 2017

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  • Author: Stephen Bales
  • eBook ISBN: 9780081017586
  • Paperback ISBN: 9780081017555

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Although they may not have always been explicitly stated, library work has always had normative goals. Until recently, such goals have largely been abstract; they are things like knowledge creation, education, forwarding science, preserving history, supporting democracy, and safeguarding civilization. The modern spirit of social and cultural critique, however, has focused our attention on the concrete, material relationships that determine human potentiality and opportunity, and library workers are increasingly seeing the institution of the library, as well as library work, as embedded in a web of relations that extends beyond the library’s traditional sphere of influence. In light of this critical consciousness, more and more library and information science professionals are coming to see themselves as change agents and front-line advocates of social justice issues. This book will serve as a guide for those library workers and related information professionals that disregard traditional ideas of "library neutrality" and static, idealized conceptions of Western culture. The book will work as an entry point for those just forming a consciousness oriented towards social justice work and will be also be of value to more experienced "transformative library workers" as an up-to-date supplement to their praxis.

Key Features

  • Justifies the use of a variety of theoretical and practical resources for effecting positive change
  • Explores the role of the librarian as change agents


Professional librarians as well as library paraprofessionals. All library workers, regardless of subject or area specialization and library school students. The book could be used as a supplemental text for Masters level library school courses, including courses on critical theory and methods, information society, and participatory action research

Table of Contents

  • 1. Introduction
    2. Theory: Intellectual Materials for Transformative Librarianship
    3. Practice: Tools for Transformative Librarians
    4. Praxis: Theory in Practice
    5. Conclusion

Product details

  • No. of pages: 200
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Chandos Publishing 2017
  • Published: October 6, 2017
  • Imprint: Chandos Publishing
  • eBook ISBN: 9780081017586
  • Paperback ISBN: 9780081017555

About the Author

Stephen Bales

Stephen Bales is Professor and Humanities and Social Sciences Librarian and Associate Professor at Texas A&M University Libraries, where he is the subject liaison for Philosophy, Religious Studies, Communication & Journalism, and Anthropology. He is also an Adjunct Lecturer at the School of Information Sciences, University of Tennessee. His research areas include the philosophy of libraries and librarianship, and ideology and the library.

Affiliations and Expertise

Humanities and Social Sciences Librarian and Associate Professor, Texas A&M University Libraries, USA

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