Critical Librarianship in a Post-Truth Age

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SCELCapalooza 2017


Recognizing that everything we do is necessarily political, critical librarianship rejects neutrality, which can be described as the aspirational state of being for all and against none, and instead takes as its project social justice. A commitment to and protection of the professional values and ideals of librarianship, including privacy, intellectual freedom, access, and diversity, is tethered to such a project. Critical librarianship demands that we defend these values and ideals, and it insists that information and the work we do with it – creating, collecting, preserving, and sharing – is important and is necessary, especially in an age of post-truth politics. From the “guerrilla archiving” event at the University of Toronto meant to preserve environmental data to the wave of responses from library organizations to recent executive orders, libraries have already begun to respond. Drawing upon this work, the speaker’s research, and more, this talk considers what it means and might look like to call upon critical librarianship to reimagine our individual roles as librarians – and more broadly our profession – in a post-truth age.