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C&CS Presents: The Feminist Reference Desk, July 9th at 1pm

June 19, 2018

C&CS Presents

The Feminist Reference Desk: A Discussion on the “Mommy Librarian”

and Neutral Library Spaces

with Maura Seale, Celia Emmelhainz, Erin Pappas, and Nina Clements

July 9, 2018: 1 pm Eastern (10 am Pacific)

~Register here for the Zoom link!~

The recent book, The Feminist Reference Desk, has brought together several pieces of librarian and feminist theory including intersections of emotional labor and reference transactions, the feminist ethic of care, what neutrality means in our current library spaces, intersectionality at the reference desk, feminist disability studies and the reference desk, and other aspects of feminist pedagogy. 

Celia, Erin, and Maura will provide a brief overview of their chapter, “Behavioral Expectations for the Mommy Librarian: The Successful Reference Transaction as Emotional Labor.” In it, they argue that RUSA’s Guidelines for Behavioral Performance of Reference and Information Service Providers rely on and reproduce expectations for gendered emotional labor in reference work, while undermining professional authority. They further challenge the idea that, on the librarian side, reference transactions occur in neutral sites divorced from social contexts. They will then open it up to a broader discussion about emotional labor in libraries, including how it is/is not valued and assessed.

Nina will also provide a brief overview of her chapter, ““Nothing More than a Gear in your Car:” Neutrality and Feminist Reference in the Academic Library.” Like the chapter above, she challenges the idea that the library, specifically the academic library, is a neutral space. Instead, it is a politicized space. The thrust of the chapter challenges that the notion of neutrality is a means of reproducing the dominant ideologies of a group, such as patriarchy. Hopefully, this overview will lead to an interesting discussion of the notion of neutrality in our society.

Maura Seale is History Librarian at the University of Michigan and was previously a Collections, Research, and Instruction Librarian at Georgetown University. She edited, with Karen P. Nicholson, The Politics of Theory and the Practice of Critical Librarianship, which was published by Library Juice Press in March 2018. She has also written about critical library pedagogy, race and gender in librarianship, and the political economy of libraries. She welcomes comments @mauraseale on Twitter.

Celia Emmelhainz is the Anthropology and Qualitative Research Librarian at the University of California, Berkeley. She has led workshops internationally on ethnographic assessment in libraries, and publishes on critical librarianship and on qualitative research studies in academic libraries. Comments welcome @celiemme on Twitter.

Erin Pappas is Research Librarian for the Humanities at the University of Virginia. She has presented and written on international digital libraries and DH projects, early-career mentoring, and occasionally conducts improv workshops for librarians, with Kate Dohe. You can find her on Twitter @erin_pappas, but usually only during conferences.

Nina Clements is Librarian & Information Literacy Coordinator at California State University Channel Islands. She is interested in information literacy as well as the intersection of the arts and librarianship. You can find her on Twitter @biblioscribbler.


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