Friday, April 06, 2018

More than a LibGuide: taking social justice into the library classroom #lilac18

The next talk I'm blogging from LILAC was Elizabeth Brookbank (Western Oregon University, USA) More than a LibGuide: taking social justice into the library classroom. She reported on creating a LibGuide as a sort of response to her feelings about the bad things coming up in the USA news. She noted that there were concerns that creating Libguides about social justice issues could be seen as a superficial response (there was dicussion about this on Twitter e.g. "Keep Calm and create a LibGuide"). Therefore Brookbank reflected on critical library pedagogy and thought about how she could engage with these issues more deeply with students.
She identified a class on Communication and Social Change where the academic teaching it was interested in taking a new approach.
Brookbank and the academic co-taught, firstly introducing the idea of being critical about information and technology. They showed the students a video of Safiya Noble talking about social influences on technology, and discussed issues from that. They used the US example of NFL and "take a knee" protests, showing how different search strategies brought up different kinds of results. They also critiqued the traditional library databases, looking at whose voices were included or not included. So searching tactics included trying to find less mainstream publications or authors, not just how to find the "best" material in the traditional definition. They also discussed with the students about the good and less good things about the media that may give more of the non-mainstream perspective.
As an assignment, they had to find different types of material, that gave different perspectives, for a Black Lives Matter library display. This material was drawn on by the library for the display (including some student summaries of sources). There was a second assignment getting students to identify material to do with immigrant rights, relevant to a university website.
The speaker said that she had used some of this in other classes, and it has influenced her responses on the reference desk, using different strategies and examples.

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