Program

8:30-9:00 Registration
9:00-9:15 President’s address and ACRL/NY business meeting
9:15-9:20 Opening remarks
9:20-10:30 Power, Standards, and Library Instruction
Jill Conte and Andrew Battista (New York University)
Teaching with Data: Visualization and Information as a Critical Process
We will show how librarians can teach critical data literacy while attending to the process of finding, interpreting, and visualizing data. Lisa Gitleman suggests that the idea of “raw data” as a form of evidence arises from the “unnoticed assumption that all data are transparent” and indeed are “the fundamental stuff of truth itself”. This assumption is, however, both ideologically and practically problematic. It not only denies that the collection of data is a culturally ­constructed process, emerging from historical and political contexts that reveal some things while obscuring others, but it also misrecognizes that data is not ready to work with as it comes to us. Drawing from constructivist learning theory and critical library pedagogy, we outline a data discovery, interpretation, and visualization exercise for library instruction. Ultimately, we recognize that teaching students how to integrate data as a form of evidence into their prose is an important step in the process challenging the social construction of authority. This talk is based upon our forthcoming lesson plan within the #critlib Library Instruction Handbook (ACRL Press).

Shannon Simpson (John Hopkins University)
Displacing the Neutral Classroom
TILE: The Toolkit for Inclusive Learning Environments, developed at John Hopkins University, contains classroom activities for faculty to use in order to interact more meaningfully on a course regarding myriad areas of diversity. The activities are intended to help students develop the ability to become more conversant about diverse issues in their fields; it is also focused on the engagement of students that otherwise may feel on the margins when their own unique experiences remain invisible. Through concrete examples from the TILE project, this discussion will demonstrate tangible ways in which librarians can address assumptions and elevate the conversations in classrooms and on our campuses. Critical librarianship asserts information is not neutral; it is high time the notion of the neutral classroom ends as well.

Emily Drabinski (Long Island University – Brooklyn)
Instruction Standards and Professional Power
The field of critical library pedagogy has done significant work to trouble standards as universalizing mechanisms that disconnect teaching librarians from their classrooms, too often focusing our attention on abstractions rather than the students we serve each day. In some ways, the Framework for Information Literacy in Higher Education incorporates those critiques, offering a new model of information literacy that encourages librarians to develop their own interpretations of the frames in their own contexts. What these critiques miss is the structural power that standards afford librarians. Standards help us communicate with other higher education bodies, comply with institutional reporting requirements, and serve as platforms for resource claims at the institutional level. How can librarians leverage the institutional power that standards produce while resisting their tendency to homogenize teaching and learning? How can we resist standardized approaches in our daily work while strategically deploying standards to facilitate our labor?

10:30-10:45 Break and posters
10:45-11:40 Power, Labor, and Archives

Stacie Williams (LYRASIS/ArchivesSpace)
Money, Power, Respect: Archival Labor as a Reflection of Neoliberal Values
Archival labor depends on a steady stream of employees who are usually underpaid or not paid in anything more than their interest or “passion” in the field. I will parallel how we perform this labor with the larger paradigm of neoliberalism, especially as it pertains to academia, and argue for ways that we can change the current system of labor to something more equitable for not just the workers, but also for the people who we hope can have access to this information.

Aliqae Geraci and Jim DelRosso (Cornell University)
Documenting dispute: Who is preserving the record of public sector collective bargaining?
Collective bargaining is a highly-regulated struggle between workers and employers for power in the workplace and society, and one of the most contentious public policy issues in the United States. In the past decade, much has been written about the pay, work rules, pensions, and benefits negotiated through public sector bargaining, and thousands of bills touching on worker rights have been introduced at the state level. All too often, these debates occur without ready public access to the critical sources documenting the relationship between unions and public employers: the collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) themselves.

In order to situate current conditions in the context of working class history, the public must have access to the full range of documents that describe working conditions and employment relationships in unionized workplaces. Information access is a political issue, and strategic intervention by libraries can help center these primary sources in policy battles over workers’ rights.

This session will trace the historical role of labor libraries and describe day-to-day service to labor researchers and rank-and-file patrons, describe the condition of state-level collections of public sector CBAs, and discuss strategies and best practices for materially supporting the information needs of labor communities through targeted collections and services.

11:40-12:55 Lunch and poster sessions
12:55-2:00  Peer Review: Problems of Power

Gr Keer and Lana Mariko Wood (California State University – East Bay)
The peer reviewed journal article remains the gold standard for scholarly discourse in most academic disciplines, despite numerous critiques of bias in peer review (Lee et al. 2013) and the development of alternative publishing models and metrics (Suls & Martin 2009; Björk & Hedland 2015). Echoing the priorities of faculty in other disciplines, academic librarians are charged with instructing students about the peer review process and how they can access peer reviewed literature. This instruction provides both opportunities and constraints for critically evaluating the power structures embedded in the peer review process that are often reflections of the power imbalances in academia itself.

Through a survey of academic librarians, we critically examine how librarians contextualize peer review for our students, whether we interrogate (or encourage students to interrogate) peer review’s primacy within academia, and how (or if) concepts from the ACRL Framework arise in our pedagogy. We look to the literature to incorporate perspectives on critical information literacy and leading critiques of peer review, including evidence of the role and influence of power and money in the peer review system (such as journal ranking, publisher reputations, access via database vendors, socio-economic barriers to access to academia and peer reviewer demographics).

2:00-2:15 Break and poster session
2:15-3:25 Money, Power, and Vendor-Library Relationships

Angela Galvan (SUNY Geneseo)
Architecture of Authority
One of the most powerful ways vendors have influenced the academic library environment is through the systematic relocation of core values from libraries to vendors via our software. Libraries passionately articulate values, but the execution of those values ultimately manifest in library systems developed by third parties with competing agendas. Examples of these problems include: a tendency to ignore user privacy (Adobe, all ILS software); embedding neoliberal values into library assessment (Alma analytics and other dashboards/visualizations); encouraging inequalities between institutions by maintaining proprietary or poorly documented API; and reassigning the responsibility of product development to libraries (see Reidsma’s recent work on Summon’s Topic Explorer algorithm, and vendors insisting an enhancement can’t be done, only to have librarians find solutions).

With the continued consolidation of library vendors, third parties have unprecedented control of institutional data and influence over academic libraries’ ability to innovate and to define users’ needs. This power differential forms the basis for the library-vendor relationship. Noting other problematic practices in libraries such as hostility toward technology, an inability to negotiate, and ever-shrinking budgets, this talk will identify and deconstruct the architecture of authority in library systems, and offer potential avenues to reclaim power within our systems.

Eileen Clancy (CUNY Grad Center, Beyond Citation)
Sharers Gonna Share
Although the sharing of tens of millions of journal articles among academics and students outside of the regulated spaces of institutionally-licensed library databases has gone on for years, it was only recently that a lawsuit filed by a publisher against Sci-Hub brought these practices to broader public. The problem of lack of access to the scholarly record has arisen out of a collision between the budgets of even the largest research libraries and the rapacious fee scales of commercial publishers. In the U.S., a quiet groundswell of guerilla open-access activity around journal articles has mostly taken the form of informal trading of PDFs and sharing of log-ins. Even so, many faculty and students are not able to obtain crucial articles, putting them at significant disadvantage to peers at wealthier institutions. In other Western countries, consortia purchasing models for library databases, such as CrossAsia in Germany and JISC in the U.K., allow relatively open or low-cost access. Historically, U.S. government and private foundations have orchestrated the means for research libraries to acquire necessary resources. We will explore the possibilities of access outside current models, including international structures for consortia purchasing and historical precedents for government and private foundations’ involvement in funding acquisitions for research libraries.

Nat Gustafson-Sundell (Minnesota State University, Mankato)
The Library & the Consortium: Don’t Trade Away Library Agency without Considering the Cost
Libraries entrust negotiating authority to consortia upon the assumption that consortia will exercise scaled leverage when dealing with vendors, thus leading to better outcomes for libraries. However, there is little research investigating the supposed advantages of consortial membership for libraries. I will problematize the assumption that consortial deals “must be” better than direct deals. In fact, I will show that consortial deals can drive up library costs. Having relinquished negotiating authority and agency upon the expectation of better deals, libraries can end up prisoners of any number of bad deals.

3:25-3:45 Closing remarks and raffle